the day the EDL didn’t show up

Richard Price reports on last month’s English Defence League and Islamist provocations in Tower Hamlets and the left’s response. See here for an interview with a Bengali secular activist on the same theme.

In mid-May an event was announced for June 20th at the Troxy Ballroom in Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, organised by the UK-IC (UK –Islamic Conference) (1) . The list of speakers was impressive and global including the likes of the Malaysian Sheikh Hussein Lee. And bigots to a man: and, of course, they are all men.  All of them having been quoted as spouting filth supporting violence and rape against women in marriage, killing gays and violent anti-Jewish racism (2).

Sadly, instead of an immediate reaction of east London progressives to oppose this meeting, the EDL (English Defence League) (3) jumped up and said they would march against the meeting. The EDL are an odd crew, a few right wing libertarians ideologically against Islamic conservatism, a few neo-Nazis trying to ferment race riots, but what appears to be a majority who are ‘British loyalists’ i.e. working class conservatives, who support the notion of a ‘Great Britain’ and will fight for that, who, while ignoring the massive loss of power neo-liberalism has wrought on us, are panicked by the almost irrelevant threat of Islamism in the UK.  On the one hand it says it is simply against Islamism and the threat to British liberalism brought by that but its attacks on Islamism end up looking pretty much like scapegoating all Muslims, deeply dangerous in a period when we need to be united against the state as it attacks. Continue reading “the day the EDL didn’t show up”

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anti-fascism and the BNP in barking and dagenham

by Glyn Harries

At the May 2010 Barking and Dagenham council elections, the BNP lost all their 12 Councillors, all previously elected in 2006. And their national party leader Nick Griffin, who it was suggested would take the Parliamentary seat, only came 3rd, and petulantly walked away declaring Barking and London ‘finished’.

But away from the headlines the actual results in Barking and Dagenham show the BNP nearly doubled their vote from 2006 to 2010, though where they had stood previously their vote did decline slightly. I have used their highest votes in each ward. While it is good news to see the Councillor parasites of the BNP wiped out, the Hope not Hate victory claims are as ever deeply flawed. Continue reading “anti-fascism and the BNP in barking and dagenham”

english defence league march on parliament

by Amanda Latimer

On March 6th, the fascists marched on Parliament.  More disturbing than their actual presence or message, however, was the fact that someone let them in the front door.

The English Defence League’s (EDL) march on Parliament was called with three days’ notice to welcome the visit of the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders to the House of Lords.  Somewhere between the “free speech” placards carried by the 200 or so EDL supporters, the predictable mire of nationalist and fascist salutes and equally predictable targets of their racism, was a feeling that, as one anti-fascist demonstrator put it, “This shouldn’t be happening.”  The march flew in the face of a long-standing rule that no one can march on Parliament whilst it is in session; a rule that was not simply broken by the EDL, but accommodated by the State.  What kind of message does it send when a far-right group is not only given permission for such an extraordinary action, but when their right to “deliver their message” is accompanied by a police presence in the hundreds, also convened over three short days? Continue reading “english defence league march on parliament”

‘get this racist jack straw off the bbc’…?

Leaflet for tonight’s demo against Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time

– Labour and Tory anti-fascism is a con
– Support migrant-worker organising: no borders
– For workers’ action against racist propaganda

strawprison

The recent row over the British National Party’s appearance on BBC Question Time displays the level of anger at the rise of the far-right party. All of us have turned out today because we oppose Nick Griffin’s racist effort to blame immigrants for all of society’s ills, including the economic crisis, and do not want his rubbish to gain more of an audience. But given the level of establishment racism, a campaign to defend immigrants must not stop at mere anti-BNPism, nor can the growth of the far-right be stopped by appealing to the existing authorities to silence them. Continue reading “‘get this racist jack straw off the bbc’…?”

british nationalism and the rise of fascism

For all the left’s talk of German-style Nazis, fascism has very British roots. In a shortened version of an article he wrote while in the Republican Workers’ Tendency, Chris Ford shows the link between loyalism and fascism

uvf

In an exercise in deception, British Left and Right historians have placed an Italian label on this movement. It better deserves a British one. The first movement of 20th century fascism emerged in 1910 to enforce the unity of the United Kingdom. It was a time of militant workers’ struggles and resurgent Irish nationalism. The crisis over the national question split the British ruling class. The liberal wing advocated devolution within the Union, then called Home Rule. The most reactionary wing, without a parliamentary majority, set its frontline on the Irish question. The Tory Unionist Sir Edward Carson raised the 80,000 strong UVF in defence of empire and against unpatriotic socialists and papist nationalists. Two decades before German generals moved behind National Socialism, British generals were backing the British nationalist UVF as a rallying force for counter-revolution in the UK. Orange reaction set about the sectarian division of the working class. It was the shape of things to come in Europe as a whole. Continue reading “british nationalism and the rise of fascism”