Anyone who’s been keeping an eye on the growth of the far-right in Europe over the last year can’t help but have noticed “Pegida” (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamification of Europe), a German group who have been marching every week for several months, drawing many thousand supporters in their home city of Dresden.
Attempts to take the Pegida format beyond Dresden have been somewhat underwhelming. Low numbers and large antifascist counter-protests have dogged their demonstrations in cities like Cologne, Hannover and Berlin. With the creation of Pegida groups outside of Germany, this pattern of failure has only continued, with their attempt at marching in Malmö, Sweden, hilariously outnumbered.
Displaying openly Nazi symbols is illegal in many countries, so European fascists have taken to using a plethora of symbols, logos and codes to hide their real views. This fashion has spread to British Fascists as well, so we’ve written a short guide to help people understand the confusing world of far-right iconography. Know your enemy!
On Saturday, around 30 fascists from several groups including New Dawn (an English Golden Dawn supporters group), NOP England (the ex-pats division of a notorious Polish neo-nazi group) and a few others held a demo in front of the Greek Embassy in London, supposedly in support of jailed members of GD.
Of course, Antifascists were out in force to oppose them, with a demo called by Antifascist Action for Greece (AAfG) and UAF, alongside London Antifascists, London Black Revs, Dywizjon 161, Brighton Antifascists and other autonomous groups.
At the very start, around 25 militant antifascists mobbed up and surrounded Holland Park tube, where the fascists were supposed to gather. After some scuffling with police, the antifascists moved slightly further up the road, only to advance again as soon as the rag-tag group of fascists appeared. Despite a lot of macho posturing, the fascists were content to hide behind, then be led away by, the small amount of police present. Antifascists quickly moved round to the embassy itself, and blocked the road, leading to a stand off with some riot police, who moved vans into place between the two demos. The fascists attempted to hold their rally, but no-one could hear a word they were saying over the heckles and jeers of antifascists. By this point the Golden Dawn lovers where considerably outnumbered by a rowdy crowd of around 70 antifascists. As soon as their speeches finished, they slunk off, tails between their legs. Victory to the antifascists!
Honourable mention also goes to Lyon, which was a scene of a massive, militant antifascist demonstration this weekend, protesting against the far-right Front National conference being held in the traditionally left-wing city.
Yesterday saw the EDL drag their limp corpse through Luton again, despite it being as plain as the nose on your face that everybody hates them, and nobody wants them there.
Whilst the local Asian community defended their area and made it amply clear the EDL would not enter Bury Park district, the UAF, North London antifascists and the AFN (including a large contingent from Brighton) assembled and held a rally. Whilst this was on-going, several groups of autonomous antifascists slipped through the police cordon and found their way to the EDL pen, getting out a banner and giving them some abuse.
Meanwhile, the EDL, who had barely managed to pull 300 people for a national demonstration in their hometown, where largely confined to the outskirts of town by the Police, were they chanted to empty streets and a small audience of hostile locals.
This is the end of the EDL “marching season”, and it’s certainly ended with a whimper, not a bang. Hardly a triumphant return, more of a soggy walk, the EDL had a shit time, leaving the question hanging in the air: how many of them will return for the next marching season? Brighton antifascists will be there to find out.
Brighton Antifascists have been busy recently flyposting important message on the streets of Brighton. Here are some examples of posters that appeared recently in our communities:
Recently Anti-Fascist Network (to which Brighton Antifascists are affiliated) published a statement about events in Rotherham, which is a good response to the far right trying to capitalise on the tragedy of abused children. You can read full text here:
Comrades at Brighton Anticapitalist Action also published a very good analysis of Rotherham case and far right’s double standards , definitely worth reading: http://brightonaca.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/something-aint-right-in-rotherham/
Last Saturday, the far-right group (and March for England regulars) “The South East Alliance” tried to march through Cricklewood in North London. Antifascists mobilised against them, with callouts from the Antifascist Network, the UAF and local Unions. Read the rest of this entry