Whilst undertaking their usual Saturday morning paper sale in Lewisham several SWP members were viciously assaulted by a group of fascists. At least two people required hospital treatment. This is the latest in a growing list of attacks against anyone that the fascists deem to be 'left wing'.
Reproduced via - http://transpont.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/fascist-attack-in-lewisham-today.html
Any further information relating to this story will be gratefully received and added to the blog post.
Reports on Twitter and elsewhere that one person (and possibly two people) needed hospital treatment today after extreme right wing thugs attacked a socialist stall in Lewisham town centre.
I didn't see the actual attack, but it did not surprize me. As reported here yesterday, Unite Against Fascism had announced that an anti-BNP cavalcade would be starting out from Lewisham Clock Tower at 11 am. I was down there at 11 and there was no sign of the lorry, but there was a very obvious group of about 10 -15 fascists standing by Lewisham Food Market and closely watching what was going on at the Clock Tower. They had scouts posted on corners nearby presumably looking out for signs of the cavalcade.
I got a good look at one of them as she came away from the group and stood at the bottom of Lee High Road - a pasty faced woman with dyed black hair and an eyebrow piercing, wearing a black Paul's Boutique coat with a yellow cancer charity daffodil. I think the rest were all blokes, mostly in their 20s or younger wearing various rain gear [can I just be clear that I don't have a problem with eyebrow piercing or Paul's Boutique - the description is included because it might help the victims identify their attackers, not to make any snobby point about EDL dress codes]
I tweeted 'In Lewisham waiting for arrival of anti-BNP bus, ten or so moody looking possible BNP by clock tower'. After about half an hour it looked like the cavalcade wasn't coming. I heard that the lorry had technical faults and so wouldn't be coming to Lewisham, so I headed off.
As I was leaving I saw a couple of local Socialist Workers Party members on their way to set up their regular Saturday stall and warned them about the dodgy crew nearby. Fair play to them, they refused to be intimidated and went ahead as normal. Shortly afterwards they were attacked.
On Twitter the attack is being blamed on the 'English Defence League', but it's difficult to say whether they were BNP or EDL or both. The EDL did post a crowing message on twitter (laughably comparing their opponents to 'fascists').
No doubt they will be boasting of their audacity in operating in a multi-racial area like Lewisham. Hardly an act of great bravery though for the cream of the master race to attack two people selling papers, one of them a pensioner.
Presumably Lewisham police were sheltering from the rain in their huge station opposite the scene of the attack. The perpetrators were present for at least 45 minutes before the attack, can't believe that a group of young black men looking menacing in the same place would have escaped their notice.
Update (Sunday 29 April): two further witnesses have left acccounts in the comments -
- 'I was there and helped one of the attacked men up. He must of been in his late 60's and was punched to the ground.The other guy was headbutted and looked like he had a broken cheekbone. I offered to take them to the hospital but they opted for an ambulance. No police anywhere even though it was opposite one of the biggest police stations in Europe. They wasn't just young, there was older guys in there 40's with them too'.
- 'I was there too. A group had gathered quite a while before and even though I had no idea of the planned meeting it was obvious they were up to something. Maybe 7 or 8 younger men plus an older man and the woman with Paul's Boutique coat. After attack they left laughing. They hardly ran. Very surprised police did not come at all during this time'.
The older man who was attacked was apparently 74 years old (just to be clear the second person attacked isn't a pensioner).
EDL isn't fascist
EDL isn't fascist http://libcom.org/library/new-integralist-conservatism-briefing
oh whatever its the full
oh whatever its the full correct name of that shit is...
SWP leadership are cunts for
SWP leadership are cunts for expelling the security squads in the '80s. they'd rather let their membership get beat up than risk a bit of bad press
that is true. we are in a bit
that is true. we are in a bit of unfortunate situation here as allowing fash to attack SWP paper sales with impunity will only encourage them to attack other initiatives as well.
Harrison wrote: SWP
If your talking about Red Action, tbh, I'm not shedding any tears.
I think we should take this a little bit more seriously than, oh well, fuc the SWP. At the end of the day, a fair few number of their membership are just misguided and harmless (they will either leave or join better groups in the future). This lesson is bigger than this. Look at what is happening in Liverpool and other places. I don't mean to be a cliche bastard but....they come for the swappies....and I did nothing. This is a development we need to take notice of.
The Red Action that pretty
The Red Action that pretty much made up a good part of the AFA that then went on to put this sort of stuff on the shelf. You might not like their politics, but they were a bit tasty on the cobbles as comrade Dyer would say.
If fascists beat up SWP paper
If fascists beat up SWP paper sellers, we should come to the aid of the SWP activists. Not because we like their politics - we don't - but simply as a matter of solidarity. Today, they attack the SWP, tomorrow - or yesterday - they attack anarchists or other working class activists. An injudy to one is an injuryto all - and we have to apply that to Trotskyists as well.
Those fascists attack SWP-ers, not because of what is wrong with SWP-ers,but because, in the eye of fascists, they are working class fighters, i.e. because in fascists' yes, they are very much similar to us. Defending SWP-ers is, in this caase, a matter of self-defence.
Poking fun at the SWP, criticizing them - as needs to be done - should not be a reason to dismiss this need for defending them.
Not only would the SWP not
Not only would the SWP not come to defend anyone else from fascists, they wouldn't even report it in their paper.
It is certainly worrying that people have been attacked whilst selling papers - everyone needs to be aware of the risks when undertaking high-profile activities.
Ariege wrote: Not only would
As an organisation, you're probably right. As individual members tho, I know lots who would.
Chilli Sauce wrote: Ariege
it was my experience with the SWP's German clone, that one of the few things when they were reliable was in the case of fascist or racist attacks
Could not agree more
Could not agree more
I have bad experiences in
I have bad experiences in situation like these with Sparts (selling their paper on the front line of a demo when clashes with cops or fascists could occur at any moment) and some autonomous people and some anarchists (keeping information about a fascist meeting secret to attack it on their own ... which was prevented by loads of police, a broader mobilization would have been a far more sensible thing in that situation)
Arbeiten wrote: Harrison
i think i wasn't very clear, i'm not blaming the membership for being in a shit organisation, i'm saying that communists need to start looking at organised security when going to do outreach stuff in certain areas, the SWP leadership were cretins for not taking note of this.
I think there should be big
I think there should be big shows of support as has been customary before when 'fash' have attacked people who were obviously not going to be able to defend themselves.
TBH when people say "in
TBH when people say "in certain areas" they don't mean Lewisham. Lewisham ought to be somewhere the far right fear to tread, they hate it because it is somewhere that working class folk of all colours rub along OK.
This is a case of liberal lefties organising something, an "anti-BNP cavalcade", but not preparing adequately for any likely fash response. When the fash showed and the UAF didn't, the fash went for whoever else happened to be there. They won't be back next weekend, this is a one-off; any sustained presence by the far right would be dealt with and they know it.
Quote: Not only would the SWP
Not quite, this time. Socialist Worker, this week.
They do not make it too clear, however, that it was a SW paper sale where it happened, focusuing almost entirely omn the pensioner being attacked.
Minor point, but I think you
Minor point, but I think you should remove that stock fascist picture because it's not made clear that it doesn't relate to the event described. It wasn't taken in Lewisham on that day, where there were no police present and indeed it was pouring with rain. I've seen the picture mentioned on twitter as if it was taken that day. We need to discuss stuff like that on the basis of the facts rather than (unintentionally) feed into myths.