Reports of recent activities of the anti-Muslim English Defence League and Infidels groups, which have been a washout.
Crivvens! Jings! And Help Ma Boab! What a total failure for both the English Defence League and the Infidels this weekend. The EDL called a ‘national’ demo in Leicester and managed to get a paltry 700, which is rubbish, but the Infidels breakaway faction had such a piss poor turnout in Rochdale that even one of their staunchest supporters claimed it ‘was a disaster.’ Shame.
Less In Leicester
The EDL demos have been in sharp decline over the last year and the days when they could mobilise a few thousand are long gone. Plod was all over them from the start in Leicester and had amassed 2,200 flatfoots to police the day - which meant 3 plod per EDL. Money well spent. The EDL plotted up in the designated area and were marched round the town and out again sharpish, job well done. Plod couldn’t wait to get rid and piled them on coaches and escorted them out of town. No surrender? Oh, you just did! The poor EDL were stood about in the freezing weather unable to get a drink because of the alcohol ban which made listening to Mr Tommy’s interminable speech all the more difficult. Despite his multiple financial woes Mr Tommy was wearing an expensive coat and a flat cap (how proletarian, what next? Bring a wheelbarrow?).
However, Mr Tommy had to stop halfway his speech to tell someone off for ‘Seig Heiling’ which was the highpoint of the day. Several members luckily missed out on the ‘big day’ having spent the previous night with Stella and Charlie, the EDL royal couple, whilst 1 hapless fuckwit in all day waiting for a lift that never came from his ‘friends.’ Never mind, at least you saved a few quid and kept warm!
The EDL fared badly but the Infidels fared even worse. 2012 is the year of the Infidel in case you hadn’t noticed but to be honest it hasn’t started off well. They managed to get about 30 odd out of bed and over to the Rochdale demo and were then forced by plod to stand in a back street well away from the general public, fenced in and totally outnumbered. The weather was freezing and it snowed. Some didn’t even get to the Dale and were arrested in Manchester beforehand. Amongst the multitudes were a couple of members of the Combined Ex-Forces, a delusional wannabe paramilitary organisation whose regimental motto is ‘Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic!’ They are generally seen as the EDL’s ‘home guard’ and their ‘successes’ have included members smashing up a kebab shop in Plymouth, fall outs over who is the real Captain Mainwaring, causing the arrest of 170 EDL on Remembrance Day after ‘threatening’ plod with snipers, and announcing a ‘secret’ meeting in Manchester then having to cancel it because of plod bother.
Standing alongside the bedraggled few were the entire membership of the Nazi British People’s Party. The BPP is quite a colourful outfit, though mainly white, and luminaries include Eddie Morrison, one of our favourite alco-nazis, Ku Klux Kev Watmough (Bostik’s Man Of The Year, 2004) and Martin Gilleard! Martin was arrested in 2008 on explosive charges as well as the not inconsiderate matter of child pornography! He is now in jail for a very long time and has converted to Islam in fear of reprisals from other inmates. The BPP are connected to the ageing Combat 18 who readers will remember got severely beaten by the EDL in London a couple of years ago. The Scottish Defence League didn’t show because they have all fallen out with the Infidel ‘leader’ John ‘No Showy’ Shaw and would much rather go round Glasgow attacking left wing paper sales and pro-Palestinian stalls. Not exactly Braveheart that is it?
The Infidels are very angry with plod about this humiliation and told PC Burt Sturgeon that if ‘we are treated like animals, we will act like animals’ thus divesting themselves of any last scraps of dignity they were clinging onto. They have said they are coming back for a flash demo and will not be liaising with Plod any more so good luck with that one (just remember what happened at the Oldham flash demo when plod got very cross with you all!). Snowy has got a lot of thinking to do because this is extremely embarrassing for him as he has been talking it up for a while now. Snowy is desperate to increase the numbers and has no qualms about standing with Nazis like the BPP, loyalist/BNP supporters like the SDL and fascist losers like the Merseyside mob.
The Infidels decided to market themselves as openly far right but this has marginalised them and the only people who take them seriously are a bunch of no hopers who have been booted out of the BNP or are clinging onto shipwrecks like the National Front (who the Infidels had a fight with at their last demo in Newcastle). Not only that, but several posters on the Nazi Shirtfront web forum have been accusing Snowy of being a ‘tout.’ Snowy plays a big drum or something in a Loyalist marching band called the Leeds Crown Defenders and is mates with a chappy called Frank Portinari who was connected with the Ulster Defence Association and convicted of gun-running. Snowy has been accused by the Nazis of informing on the loyalists because of his ‘frequent trips to Derry’ and the fact that he is an ex-crack addict and has had previous dealings with plod. One of the ‘Malatesta’s’ extremely reliable friends also claims he can prove this but we will wait and see. On the far right the accusations of being a ‘grass’ are made so regularly that it is practically meaningless.
‘The party’s over...’
So it’s not looking good for the EDL. They have lost much of their early support through boredom, dissatisfaction with the leadership, the futility of being surrounded by plod in a freezing car park and arrests. The Infidels faction has diluted their support further but are rapidly proving to be a waste of time. Other fallouts continue with the EDL however. LGBT ‘leader’ Liam Woods who has just got out of prison has been booted out. Roberta ‘sane no’ Moore recently of the EDL’s joke Jewish Division has finally severed all ties with Mr Tommy. Alan Lake, Mr Tommy’s evil puppet master, has been exposed and named as Alan Ayling and been sacked from his job. And our old friend Billy ‘Bunter’ Baker of the miniscule English Nationalist Alliance has been arrested and had all his PCs and things seized for making ‘unwise’ threats on Facebook. Naughty, naughty Bill. Isn’t it time you grew up and got a job? Oh, you can’t can get down the job centre can you because you’re in court tomorrow. Shame.
So what next? Well the EDL have promised to turn up in Liverpool tomorrow to protest about ‘Muslamic groomers’ and have been making threatening noises to anti-fascists who are intent on a counter-protest. The EDL are none too bright and think ‘I don’t like pedos, UAF don’t like me, ergo UAF must be pedos.’ Clever stuff. They are also looking forward to the upcoming Dispatches programme on telly which they think will attract ‘millions’ of new members. And so do we.
PS: if you haven’t already read Beating The Fascists do so! Here’s a promo!
Malatesta: No Copyright
Leicester Solidarity Group
Leicester Solidarity Group should have a report on this soon. Also, should be a few comments from Leicester AF later.
And here's the LSG
And here's the LSG report...
On Saturday 4th February, numerous anti-fascists withstood freezing temperatures and a bitterly cold windchill to stand against the fascist EDL’s visit to Leicester.
Prior to this, Mayor Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Council, politicians, some ‘community leaders’ and the police had predictably told locals to stay at home and see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Shops were advised to close, pubs were shut, and, displaying a fine spirit of the blitz, Leicester market was closed as well.
The EDL, meanwhile, threatened to bring ‘thousands’ of drunken fascist hooligans into Leicester. However, some of us knew better, fully aware that the splits and infighting among the EDL with its organisation literally falling apart at the seams would take its toll. The fact that it was generally a bit nippy and the pubs would be shut was also sure to damage the EDL Special Brew Division’s turn out as well. As it happens, the fash did manage to collect about 500 (the Leicester Mercury claims 700) dubious specimens of the ‘master race’ for their march, with the highpoint being the burning of an Argentine flag. Argentina, as everyone knows, is ‘the most muslim country in the world, probably…’ (but we reckon geography is not the EDL’s best subject).
So what of the anti-fascists on the day?
The day started with a number of independent anti-fascists in town, basically looking at the lay of the land. The situation was, the police had the Clock Tower pretty much locked down, with cops everywhere and a string of riot vans bumper-to-bumper at the Haymarket-Eastgates-Church Gate turning. The rest of the City Centre was also pretty heavily policed. This meant that, certainly at the Clock Tower, the scope for any serious anti-fascist activity would be severely hampered, if not impossible.
Unite Against Fascism, after several previous U-turns to do with cooperation and non-cooperation with the police (telling people to go on their march, telling them to go to the Clock Tower, then to their march, then to the Clock Tower again), finally managed to create a demonstration of somewhere between ‘dozens’, ‘50’ and ‘200’ people on Gallowtree Gate, a couple of hundred metres from the riot vans at the Clock Tower. They seemed pretty much kettled though, and apparently, they were pushed back by the police up to Belvoir Street. From there they went on to the A Block rally and then they had their march through the backstreets (chanting 'Whose backstreets? Our backstreets?' we wonder) which took them back to A Block again for some music.
To be fair on the UAF, however, they (and others) did an excellent job of getting the information about the EDL’s visit out onto the streets with lots of leafleting. Also, we should recognise that their organisers did put their money where their mouth is and, at some point before the EDL visit, refused to cooperate with the local plod's planned march, despite the threat of arrest. So fair play at least on this score, even if they did backtrack later.
As for the independent anti-fascists, they did two things. Some avoided being moved on or picked up by the dibble and managed to hover around town until the heavily policed EDL turned up. In spite of the heavy policing, about 200 independent anti-fascists (these included some Leicestershire Solidarity Group members) still managed to get to the Clock Tower and chant ‘Nazi scum, off our streets!’ which was vigorously taken up by groups of Asian youth in the area. Well done to all of them for getting in there. The second group of independents (which also included LSG people, as well as members of the Anarchist Federation and one or two socialists) headed off to help defend St Matthews from any potential fascist attack. Down by the Campanile, Belgrave flyover and the Belgrave Gate roundabout, they joined about, at times, 200-300 (at other times, fewer) mainly Asian, Somali and Kurdish anti-fascists in keeping a barrier between the local community and potential roving EDL bands.
We hear there were also mobilisations in Highfields, and a ‘moving kettle’ of around 60 Asian youth were driven out of the centre by the police and moved into Highfields. We also got word that some anti-fascists tried to head the EDL off at the pass, with some shenanigans going on in Abbey Park in the general direction of the EDL rallying point and near the canal. We are now hearing reports that the police used dogs on Asian youths. Also noted was the EDL coach that got lost and had to be escorted out of East Park Road (what did we say about their geography?), and the EDL van that parked up in Highfields (to ask for directions?) and was quickly shunted out of the area by the cops before any unfortunate mishaps could befall them.
The balance sheet
All in all, the EDL are in a rut and a turn out of 500 out of a threatened 1500 is rubbish. The infighting and division in their ‘movement’, the fact that they are routinely so heavily policed in towns without beer, and the fact that they are generally about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit wherever they go, must also be thinning the ranks of this futile organisation. For the EDL, this march will be a massive fail which can only lead to even fewer numbers on wherever they next decide to head for.
For the anti-fascists, it’s a little more complex and there are positives and negatives. It needs to be said, that however good the intentions of many of their members, Unite Against Fascism is not an effective means to fight fascism. Firstly, UAF is a front organisation for the Socialist Workers Party. This means, its prime motive is the building of the SWP and any effective anti-fascism is purely incidental. Secondly, and more importantly, the UAF does not appear to believe in effectively confronting fascism as their main objective.
While Ross Willmott and some members of UAF may think that a state ban on the EDL is a way forward, we contrast this with militant anti-fascism, always. Besides, asking for a state ban on anything is never an option, asking the boss class for any kind of support is a bit like asking the baby batterer to mind the creche.
Instead, the UAF-SWP usually prefers to have marches or rallies (often with music) away from the fascists. This is not a bad aim in itself, and there is always scope for such activities, but it should not be the default tactic, as is the case with UAF-SWP, certainly not when the fascists are planning to march in our town. Finally, UAF-SWP’s cooperation with the police, Council, etc, is a serious check on any meaningful anti-fascist activity. True, they eventually decided not to cooperate with the police, but only when push came to shove. The fact that their starting point is normally ‘what deal can we make with the police and the Council’, who both have zero interest in defeating fascism and only seek containment, is a serious flaw in their strategy.
All that said, the fact that there are a number of people on what is often termed ‘the left’ who are prepared to do what they can to take on fascism (some UAF members included), and the fact that there are local people in certain communities who are also prepared to defend their areas is certainly a good start. However, such groups working together can often be a haphazard affair and there is occasional suspicion on the part of the different groups concerned. While this is sometimes understandable, it needs to be addressed.
Let’s not forget, fascism is not merely anti-muslim (or anti- whatever their most recent target is: anti-semitic, anti-black, anti-asian, anti-asylum seeker, anti-gay, anti-‘red’, etc). First and foremost, whoever their scapegoat happens to be, fascism is fundamentally anti-working class. And this is they key which must never be forgotten; building a genuine working class unity that is prepared to take on those who seek to divide us for the benefit of the boss class must be our priority.
And whilst the vast majority on the EDL march had been bussed in from outside the city, trying to pretend that racism is not an issue within Leicester flies in the face of the everyday experience of many of Leicester's residents.
Let’s also not forget that the real winners on the day were none other than the police. This more than anything should tell us we all need to seriously rethink our tactics.
That’s our starting point. Let’s get to it!
I found this to be an
I found this to be an interesting critique of UAF and the SWP from a trotskyist perspective. It basically says that Trotsky wouldn't approve of them buddying up with reactionary Islamists and goes through his original thoughts on the whole 'United front' tactic. Worth a read:
good stuff from antifascists
good stuff from antifascists this week. 100 turned out in galsgow to prevent attacks on papers sales and stalls!
EDL -> BFP
EDL -> BFP