Short answer: no.
A few days ago, Brighton and Hove News published this article. It’s an interview with Matthew Cook, one of the organisers of this year’s Kemp Town Carnival. In it, Mr Cook argues we should ignore the planned fascist march in Brighton, and leave it to the Police to deal with, whilst we all party it up at the carnival.
Since “just ignore them” is a fairly common message we get sent, we thought we’d look in a little bit of depth at why this is such a bad idea.
There’s a lot of stuff coming up for antifascists in the South East in the next month or so. Here’s a round-up of stuff you should be aware of.
Today is the International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners, called for by New York City Antifa. Their callout states:
Antifascists fight against those who—in the government or in the streets—dream of imposing their fascist and other Far Right nationalist nightmares on the rest of us. Throughout the world, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and racist bigotries are on the rise. Antifas are on the frontline in confronting these reactionary politics, and we will not forget our comrades imprisoned in the course of this struggle.
The AFN is one of the groups supporting this callout, alongside antifascists from as far afield as Finland, Sweden, Australia and the US (full list of supporting groups below).
As part of the Antifascist Network, Brighton Antifascists have enhusiastically taken up the call for solidarity actions.
Yesterday was the EDL’s national demonstration in Oxford. After bottling it in Brighton, they were relying on having a good day to retain some credibility. Unfortunately for them, that’s not exactly what happened.
This weekend has been very busy for antifascists around the country, with many demonstrations and some interesting (and worrying!) developments.
First off, SS wannabes National Action staged a “White Man March” in Newcastle. North East Antifascists, alongside London Antifascists and many other autonomous groups, confronted them and made sure they had a real shit time. Chants such as “Hitler was right!”, plus burning an LGBT and Israeli flag, got 9 of them (ie half of their demo) nicked for racial hatred. It ended with around 20 idiots standing protected by dozens of police, sieg heiling to an empty street. Well done guys, that was a major victory for the white race /sarcasm.
Phew, what a night!
Last night, Brighton Antifascists had a very successful benefit gig in the Cowley Club, Brighton’s premier radical social center. Negative Measures and Teef from Brighton and Damaged Head and Harda Tider all the way from Sweden played for an audience of easily 100 enthusiastic punks.
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.