What does Dover Mean for Antifascists?

14 09 2015

There are already a lot of reports of what happened in Dover on Saturday knocking about, so we’ll keep ours short and sweet, and focus on the analysis. What does Dover mean for the Antifascist Movement in this country?

The day started with a 150-strong bloc of locals and AFN gathering in Pencester Gardens, forming up behind a large “Open the Borders” banner, and marching to occupy the fascists’ RV point at the Castle Inn.

Dover1

The AFN bloc forming up.

Things kicked off almost immediately with the main group of fascists, numbering 200-250, arriving and attempting to force the antifascists back with a shower of bottles, fireworks and bananas. Antifascists responded in kind, and the police ended up pushing the fascists back. The main group of nazis then march around the back of the pub, and attacked from a different direction. The police line briefly failed, and fist-fighting broke out in the car park opposite the pub. The fascists took a few injuries and where taxed a flag, then retreated behind a police line and began showering the antifascists with bricks and bottles, leading to a number of injuries on our side.

3 (2)

Antifascists holding the line against the NF.

A local makes her feeling known amit the chaos.

A local makes her feeling known amit the chaos.

An injured fascist after clashes with the AFN

An injured fascist after clashes with the AFN.

Another injured fascist holds a stolen red flag.

Another injured fascist holds a stolen red flag.

After these clashes, police kettled the antifascists in an attempt to get the nazi march started. In an audacious move, antifascists broke out of the kettle and moved back onto the route of the NF march. This led to their march being delayed by another 40 minutes or so (the start had already been delayed by our actions at the pub). Eventually, the police kettled us again, forced us back and marched the fascists past, up to their rally point. They briefly broke out of their kettle and tried to confront us, but lost their nerve and retreated back behind the police, to shower us with bricks and lumps of metal again. After this, antifascists marched through the centre of dover, and back to Pencester Gardens, to disperse safely.

Antifascists break a police cordon.

Antifascists break a police cordon.

Antifascists block the neo-nazi march route.

Antifascists block the neo-nazi march route.

Brighton Antifascists display the fascist flag they took off some far-right idiot.

Brighton Antifascists display the fascist flag they took off some far-right idiot.

So, now on to the analysis. How did this happen? Why were there so many neo-nazis and what can we do about it?

Well, the first thing to point out was that, for them, this was everybody. The far-right pulled out all the stops to mobilise for this, whilst we, as a movement, were slightly hamstrung by mainstream NGOs deciding to call a massive protest in central London. It’s fantastic that nearly 100,000 people marched in support of refugees and migrants, but if only 1/100 of those people had made the choice to come to Dover, the day would have been very different. The far-right see this as their issue, and are therefore willing to work very hard to mobilise around it. We need to match that energy.

In many ways, this re-emergence of open white supremacism in the UK is a direct result of the rise of the EDL. The EDL gave these groups confidence, and made nationalist demonstrations a normal sight on our streets again. Because we didn’t stop the EDL quickly enough, we now have openly nazi groups like National Action and Saturday’s mob operating on our streets in numbers for the first time since the early 90s. We must learn this lesson, and put this genie back into the bottle before it gets worse.

Across Europe, the far-right have been organising around this issue. In Hungary, the presence of the fascist Jobbik party in Parliament is one of the factors in the Hungarian Government’s far-right anti-refugee stance, and on the streets, migrants have been subject to attack by Jobbik linked hooligans (and in one case, a Jobbik supporting reporter). In Germany, arsons of refugee hostles have become common, and in Heidenau, neo-nazis rioted against refugees coming in by bus. The far-right PEGIDA movement has also re-emerged. In Northern Italy, African Migrants have been unable to leave their shelter after neo-nazis and locals attacked them with stones and bananas. In Calais, where refugees and migrants gather to try and make the journey into England, the fascist group Sauvons Calais (Save Calais) have attacked both migrants and solidarity activists over the last few years.

It is clear our home-grown fascists want to replicate this violence, and the demo in Dover was just one attempt at that. So what can we do to halt this growing tide of fascism?

First thing’s first, NOW is the time to either get involved in your local group, or start one if there isn’t already one in your community. Get your mates together, talk about the refugee and migrant crisis, far right violence and what you can do about it. The AFN can and will help you. We can help with the costs of printing leaflets and posters, we can steward meetings, we can provide materials and speakers. Email us or read the “Get Involved” section of our website for more info.

Secondly, we need to take this growing tide of fascism seriously. Yes, 200 is not a huge number compared to the thousands that marched in central london, but it would be unthinkable for 200 open neo-nazis to march like they did in Dover just a few years ago. We need to re-state the case for militant antifascism, and point out to people that ignoring them or mocking them online is not enough. They must be actively combatted or they will only grow in numbers and confidence. Every successful demo for them makes it more likely that their next demo will be bigger and more violent. But we can beat them. Successful community mobilisations like Stop the March for England in Brighton and StopWMM in Liverpool show that we can break the spine of their movement if we work hard in our local communities and act together and militantly on the streets.

The next AFN mobilisation is in Colchester, Essex, against the rump of the EDL on the 26th September. See you there!


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11 responses

15 09 2015
Dav Gil

Overall not a bad article but there are a couple of points that I disagree with. Firstly I do think that for the Nazis the Dover mobilisation was everybody, the dregs of the far right. Why is that? Because contrary to the EDL mobilisations giving them confidence, the fact that the anti fascist forces broke the BNP and prevented the EDL from growing splintered them, which means that the Nazis are down to the hardcore. So no more pretending to be only against Islamists, on Saturday we had the full seig-heiling I-love-Hitler display. That doesn’t speak of a movement trying to break out of the ghetto but of one retrenching.
If we look at Germany we see the same. Pegida was a failure in the face of the huge spontaneous mobilisations of Germans against them, this meant that although able to hold big mobilisations in Dresden they were unable to replicate this anywhere else. The result is that in the face of the refugee crisis they are unable to respond on a mass basis. Hence the firebombings and surge of attacks on refugee centres across Germany. It’s a classic return to individual terror for them. they seek to build hardened cadre. Unfortunately it is likely that our sad bunch will follow suite.
Secondly I think it is wrong to see the demo on Saturday in London as doing anything except massively undermining the racists ability to mobilise around the current crisis. Their ideas are shown to be rejected by thousands of people in an active way. There has been an expression of revulsion at the ideas of Jobbik, The FN and all the lesser racists. That doesn’t mean that they have gone away and yes we need to maintain mobilisation but we should be much more confident than a few weeks ago.

15 09 2015
Lolada Lolik

nice1,no pasaran!

16 09 2015
1 10 2015
Jeremy Smith

I’d like to know that you are inclusive of gays as I myself am gay. I am also a transexual. Is your organisation supportive of people like me.

6 10 2015
antifascistnetwork

absolutely. we are against all discrimination and prejudice. if you’re interested – get in touch!

24 12 2015
montion

Reblogged this on CDNpoli.

3 01 2016
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[…] Far-right snaggle-tooth and “unity” leader of the South East Alliance, Paul Pitt (pictured below hitting his son in the face with a stick whilst trying to attack antifascists), has really been doing the rounds for this one, and many groups are pushing this demo as very important. Last time, in September, saw an unexpectedly large turnout from the fascists (200-250 or so), and this one is likely to be or a similar size or bigger. It’s therefore very important for as many antifascist activists to make it to the counter-protest as possible. For more info on what happened last time, see report backs here and here. […]

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[…] have things reached this stage? A decent analysis by the Anti-Fascist Network (AFN) can be read here. They write, ‘every successful demo for [the far-right] makes it more likely that their […]

3 04 2016
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[…] following on from demonstrations in September and January that saw increasingly intense levels of violence, yesterday’s far-right and […]

4 04 2016
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[…] Far-right snaggle-tooth and “unity” leader of the South East Alliance, Paul Pitt (pictured below hitting his son in the face with a stick whilst trying to attack antifascists), has really been doing the rounds for this one, and many groups are pushing this demo as very important. Last time, in September, saw an unexpectedly large turnout from the fascists (200-250 or so), and this one is likely to be or a similar size or bigger. It’s therefore very important for as many antifascist activists to make it to the counter-protest as possible. For more info on what happened last time, see report backs here and here. […]

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