Getting organised to Stop the March for England – Brighton April 27th

6 03 2014

For the last few years there has been an annual far-right event in Brighton held around St George’s Day in April. The “March for England” which is confusingly both an organisation and an event has held a march through the town to ‘celebrate’ St George’s Day since 2008.

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Last year’s March for England

Readers may be familiar with previous anti-fascist mobilisations against the far-right shambles. Campaign group Stop the March for England has organised thousands of local Brighton residents to take to the streets to oppose the racists, seeing them massively outnumbered and being escorted totally surrounded by police through huge crowds of jeering heckling Brightonians. In 2012 the route of the march had to be abandoned due to massive opposition on the streets and the MfE were chased all the way back to the train station.

Well, surprisingly, despite these obvious indications that they are not wanted in Brighton, they have decided to return again on April 27th this year. The local newspaper is currently claiming the route of the march will be along the seafront as per last year (see photo above).

MfE is one of the plethora of small far-right splinter groups more right-wing than the EDL, which have historically supported each other and shared personnel. This means that a demo by MfE attracts not merely their own tiny membership but also Casuals United, the South East Alliance, The Infidels etc etc.

The very first MfE demonstrations in Brighton went unnoticed by the population of the town. After a year or two when people became aware of them, local anti-racists at first gave them the benefit of the doubt and took them at their word to be a non-racist, non-exclusive celebration of Englishness.

However, they very soon revealed themselves to be a nasty mob of racists pretty much indistinguishable from the EDL and thus began to be treated as such. When unopposed, MfE members flew EDL flags, gave Nazi salutes and abused members of the public with racist and homophobic abuse.

MFE violence

Very few of the MfE are from Brighton and most of their organisers appear to hail from Portsmouth. Their reasons for choosing to come to Brighton always appeared to be to do with the town having a largely tolerant cosmopolitan reputation which they disliked as insufficiently ‘patriotic’.

The nasty politics behind MfE have only become more apparent as time has gone on. This year they have abandoned any pretence of the march being a ‘family celebration of St George’s Day’ which was never very plausible and have told people not to bring children. The even loonier fringe of the far-right as represented by Casuals United have been publicising the event as a violent revenge-fest against liberals and the left for mobilising against them in the past. They are now promising to “smash… left-wing scum”

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The entirely peaceful and non-violent family day out that is the March for England

The publicity for this year’s March for England primarily focusses on how much the far-right hate Brighton. Their plan appears to be to hold a demonstration whose key point is to tell the inhabitants of Brighton how much they hate the town and everything it stands for. They then seem surprised when this does not endear them to the inhabitants of the town.

on tour

In addition to this, MfE and the other far-right splinters of the EDL have now officially joined forces to form ‘United British Patriots’ (UBP) –  an alliance of ‘patriot’ groups who add to the EDL’s Islamophobia a more traditionally far-right support for Ulster Loyalist terrorism and a vociferous opposition to the left in all its forms – trade unions, anti-racist organising, the peace movement, student protests, anti-austerity actions – you name it…

Also MfE members and supporters have been linked to and supported openly fascist groups and organisations. For example, Paul Prodromou is ex-leader of Essex, Kent and Sussex EDL and now leader of the South East Alliance – one of the organisations promoting and supporting this year’s march in Brighton. He is prominent in the UBP alliance and has also spoken from the platform at MfE in Brighton before. When he is not organising an innocuous ‘family’ celebration of St George’s Day in Brighton, Paul Prodromou likes to go on demonstrations organised by the New British Union of Fascists (an attempted revival of Mosely’s Hitler-loving anti-Semitic outfit of the 1930s) in support of Greece’s murderous Golden Dawn fascist party.

Paul Pitt, Piers Mellor Eddie Stampton-aka-Mark Pringle

Paul Prodromou trying to pretend he isn’t a Nazi on a pro-Golden Dawn demo organised by the British Union of Fascists

This is merely one example – but the closer you look at the ranks of the UK’s ‘patriot’ movement, the even more obviously unsavoury they become.

This year’s March for England is being promoted as a ‘unity’ demonstration for the newly-founded UBP alliance as they hope to siphon off disaffected EDL members and take over from the ailing organisation as the biggest far-right force on the streets. All the members of all the UBP groups are being encouraged to come to Brighton. April 27th could be a key opportunity to try and squash this new fascist threat before it grows.

Rest assured that the people attempting to march through Brighton on April 27th will be some of the more unpleasant closet fascists, extreme nationalists, homophobes and Muslim-haters it will ever be your misfortune to encounter.

Opposition

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Stop the March for England have started this years mobilising effort to resist the far-right’s annual parade of hate. This year they are running a series of educational workshops and discussions in the run up to April to open a discussion amongst the residents of Brighton about the March for England, why people are determined to oppose it and all of the issues this raises about free speech, people’s rights to march and demonstrate, about the different forms racism takes in modern society and how we can all fight against it.

Also stickers and flyers have started to hit the streets to let everyone in town know about the mobilisation to oppose the far-right.

Watch this space for more information and updates as the day gets closer.

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