Anti-fascist action in Lincoln and London this weekend

20 01 2014

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Saturday saw mobilisations against the far-right in both Lincoln and London. The bad guys this time were not the EDL but some of the plethora of tiny but even nastier far-right groups who think the EDL are a bunch of liberals.

Lincoln

The demonstration in Lincoln was called by the ‘East Anglian Patriots’ but supported by a number of allied far-right groups. They parachuted in from the outside (Lincoln is not in East Anglia!) to impose their views on the population of the town regarding the proposed construction of a mosque.

After (of course!) gathering in the pub for several hours, the charmers of the EAP marched through town chanting “burn the poppy – we will burn the mosque” – which surely constitutes some sort of mass threat of racist violence. And of course lest we forget, these are unfortunately not idle threats. Before this current application, the same group (Islamic Association of Lincoln) purchased an old church in the Boultham area of Lincoln to be converted to a mosque, but the church was burnt down in a suspected racist arson attack in August 2008. This new proposed mosque is a replacement for the one that was burned down.

Although all the EDL splinter groups are relatively small they are all friends with each other, so with every outing for any of this alliance of tiny factions we can expect the usual ragbag of fascists – the Infidels, the South East Alliance, March for England, the English Volunteer Force etc etc. The advertised speakers at the rally in Lincoln included Paul Pitt, AKA Prodromou of the SEA (last seen at a rally for the openly Nazi Greek Golden Dawn – very patriotic!) and convicted animal-abusing anti-semitic farmer John ‘Snowy’ Shaw of the Infidels who recently proclaimed: “I am a radical bigoted intolerant extremist and proud of it”. A delightful bunch!

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Paul Pitt trying to pretend he isn’t a Nazi

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The ‘Patriots’ have clearly not been happy with there being any opposition to their hate crusade. They made threats against the pre-demo rally organised by Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism. In the event the threats only amounted to some NF stickers on the building and a grand total of two (!) people turning up to try and disrupt the rally. They were unsuccessful.

Also the main organiser of the Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism march received numerous death threats saying ‘if he showed his face in Lincoln today, he would be a dead man’. As far as we are aware he led the march, addressed the crowd through a megaphone, talked to the media and lived to tell the tale.

The last time the ‘Patriots’ were in Lincoln in June they mustered about 250 racists and were opposed by a smaller but resolute crowd of locals. This time numbers on the anti-fascist side were up and those on the fascist side were down. Reports suggested that there were about 150 on each side on Saturday.

There was a small amount of confrontation in Cornhill area, and one report that “Anti-edl protesters push the eap back to…the high street” but by and large the rival marches took their separate courses and dispersed.

So well done to all Lincoln anti-fascists for pulling off a successful opposition to the ‘Patriots’. It is often difficult to put in the slog-work of organising something like this but we have seen before what happens when the far-right are not opposed in sufficient numbers. Also it is important that they do not get to regard anywhere as ‘their patch’ and that we show them that wherever they raise their heads they are pariahs.

The Lincoln counter demonstration seems to have been mainly organised through the Trades Council and had the support of many trade unions. This is of course true across the country that many of the most resolute anti-fascists in all areas have been local trades unionists.

Top moments from Lincoln included when a Lithuanian anti-racist from the Lincolnshire Eastern European Community Group decided to walk into the EAP demo, take the megaphone and address the assembled fascists on the benefits of understanding and tolerance and how “everyone should work together”. Funnily enough this mild message did not go down well with them, as they quite enjoy being racist and hating people and have no inclination to stop. Still, hats off to that man for having the balls to go and give the ‘Patriots’ a piece of his mind!

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London

Meanwhile, across the country, a group called ‘Britain First’ held a demo in Cricklewood, North London. The pretext for their outing was the potential opening of a Muslim Brotherhood office on Cricklewood broadway. Obviously Cricklewood must be a bit of a come-down for them after ruling Egypt. Quite what impact 20 or so fascists would have on the plans of people who have been imprisoned, tortured and sent to concentration camps on and off for 60 years is unclear.

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Britain First is a group set up by key people from the BNP who defected, including James Dowson (currently on bail for very serious sectarian violence in Ulster last year during the marching season). Dowson, once described as “the man who owns the BNP”, functioned as some kind of sugar-daddy to Griffin’s ailing organisation before leaving to found BF. Dowson is also an extreme evangelical Protestant, heavily involved in violent anti-Catholic and anti-abortion campaigning and with links to Loyalist paramilitaries.

It appears the only thing the Muslim Brotherhood did wrong was to be the wrong religion. Authoritarian, hierarchical, patriarchal religious oppression is apparently fine with Britain First, as long as its done by the correct sort of Protestant.

A local opposition to Britain First under the banner of ‘Brent United’  was swiftly organised. This was not done in support of the Muslim Brotherhood but against the racist and Islamophobic agenda of BF attempting to divide the local community. BF had no placards or leaflets to explain to the local community why they were there, supporting a suspicion that they’re not that fussed about the Muslim Brotherhood particularly and it could have been the Muslim Guinea Pig Breeders Association and they would have been there just the same.

Britain First were penned in a small enclosure and made no attempt to string their banners across Cricklewood Broadway and stop traffic as they had intended.

The counter-mobilisation, although organised quickly, outnumbered the racists. Numbers reported were about 25 BF at their peak and three times as many local opposition. Counter-demonstrators distributed leaflets to the public about the nature of Britain First and many passing locals joined the counter-demonstration. BF numbers eventually dwindled to about a dozen who were escorted away by police to chanting of ‘Brent united will never be defeated’.

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What we’re dealing with – the splinters

So not a bad day for anti-fascists, showing that it is possible to respond to the far-right on the streets both at short-notice and with a longer timescale to mobilise. The interesting thing about all of this was that none of these groups were the EDL.

Following the departure of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the EDL is dwindling and fragmenting and it is the loose alliance of ‘patriot’ groups who are mopping up the haemorrhaging supporters. The alliance of groups in Lincoln got about the same number as the EDL got in Wakefield in November.

In general, as ’Tommy’ discovered, and as anti-fascists have always known, the mass of EDL members are more straightforwardly racist than the ‘official’ EDL line. Now ‘Tommy’ has jumped ship to join the Muslamics, EDL divisions are champing at the bit wanting to know why the EDL isn’t supporting the more openly racist and fascist splinter groups. The EDL leadership has tried to lay down the law, condemning all the ‘false patriot’ groups, however this attempt has possibly backfired as EDL divisions are leaving to join the ‘Patriots’. Three North West EDL divisions just left and Scunthorpe, Gainsborough and Brigg just left too. The total count of those leaving the sinking ship could be as high as 15-20 EDL divisions. The ‘Patriot’ groups they are moving to are a loose alliance which already includes the fruit of previous splits from the EDL (the Infidels, South East Alliance etc).

NW EDL

On a local level, EDL members are not heeding the leadership’s call to shun the splinter groups. There were several EDL at the Lincoln demo like South Yorkshire organiser Ian Crossland. There have been rumblings within South Yorks so there is a slight chance that this could be yet another split.

The EDL is far from finished but it is looking increasingly like it will become merely one among many in an alphabet soup of far-right groupuscules, all more extreme right than the EDL itself. This means that anti-fascists are possibly facing a harder task of keeping tabs on a proliferation of a greater number of smaller but nastier fascist groups.

All the more reason to keep mobilising on the streets and to keep organising between times!

Next up – opposing the actual EDL in Slough on 1st Feb!


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Information

12 responses

20 01 2014
Martina Feuril

The two boneheads: Left: Piers Mellor (Death In June fan boy who has links to the European Black Metal scene & member of the new British Union Of Fascists). On the right: Eddie Stampton-aka-Mark Pringle (veteran of Blood & Honour, Combat 18, BNP & merchendise seller for EDL)

21 01 2014
ben

Not a bad article, I think it’s unfair how the faces of the ‘racists’ are shown and not those of the ‘anti – racists’ which I think is rather cowardly and possibly shows they are not as proud, brave or passionate as the other side. Hiding names and faces really does say alot.

22 01 2014
antifascistnetwork

Straight-forward and practical – both the police and fascists seek to identify anti-fascists – put names to faces so as to be able to threaten, intimidate, arrest or attack them. We wish to give them no help. Exposing yourself (or far worse unknowing and unconsenting others) to this for the sake of ‘pride’ is foolish.

22 01 2014
10 Days till Slough! | Anti-Fascist Network

[…] are moving rapidly. As mentioned in our report on recent actions in Lincoln and London the EDL seems to be fragmenting and whole divisions are […]

21 02 2014
Solidarity in Grantham against the EDL this Saturday! | Anti-Fascist Network

[…] a demonstration in Lincoln against the proposed construction of a mosque. Locals in Lincoln were very successful despite threats and intimidation at organising a sizeble counter-protest. Let’s hope Grantham is […]

10 06 2014
Oppose the ‘South East Alliance’ in Cricklewood Sat 14th June | Anti-Fascist Network

[…] Muslim Brotherhood having a tiny office above a kebab shop on Cricklewood Broadway. This issue was last exploited by the far-right back in January when rival fascist scam-merchants Britain First had a demo there and were outnumbered 3 to 1 by a […]

16 06 2014
Victory in Cricklewood! Fascists fail and retreat | Anti-Fascist Network

[…] Hence the people of Cricklewood being besieged by racists – initially by Britain First earlier this year and now by the […]

3 07 2014
North West London gets organised against the fascists | Anti-Fascist Network

[…] new group was formed in response to the continued harassment by Britain First and South East Alliance of a non-existent office of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood. July 19th […]

8 07 2014
North West London gets organised against the fascists. | Wessex Solidarity

[…] new group was formed in response to the continued harassment by Britain First and South East Alliance of a non-existent office of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood. July 19th […]

9 07 2014
North West London gets organised against the fascists: AFN. | Hastings Anarchists

[…] new group was formed in response to the continued harassment by Britain First and South East Alliance of a non-existent office of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood. July 19th […]

21 07 2014
Victory in Cricklewood! Fascists fail and retreat | Wessex Solidarity

[…] Hence the people of Cricklewood being besieged by racists – initially by Britain First earlier this year and now by the […]

21 07 2015
Anti-Fascists take to the streets this Saturday: Lincoln and Wakefield | Anti-Fascist Network

[…] Against Racism and Fascism have been organising a counter-demonstration. They have previously held very successful counter-demonstrations against attempts by the ‘East Anglian Patriots’ to march in […]

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