Report: October 13th – We Go Where We Want

15 10 2018

by London Antifascists

There’s no doubt about it, #stopdfla was a good day out for anti-fascists, and an absolutely terrible showing for the Democratic Football Lads’ Alliance. Over 1000 militant antifascists from a broad coalition of groups mobilised for a vibrant, proudly anti-fascist unity demonstration which didn’t allow the police or the fascists to set its agenda. It went, for the most part, where it wanted. The addition of another 500-800 participants on a Stand Up To Racism rally in Old Palace Yard meant that, for the first time in London in 2018, anti-fascists outmatched what the far right were able to pull onto the street. The Unity demo’s call out was for Portland Place at 12pm, and ten minutes after noon the numbers of anti-fascist protesters, ranging from seasoned to newly recruited activists, was quickly growing. Soon afterwards, a large and dynamic contingent of women and non-binary anti-fascists approached the meet up point to join the Anti-Fascist Network grouping, and our numbers swelled. Anticipation among the crowds grew, and despite intel suggesting a potential risk of the demo being attacked by fascist hoolies at the meet up point, everyone assembled safely. We’re confident if they did happen to be in the area they’d have taken one look at our numbers, how organised our blocs were, and thought better of it.

At 12.45pm we began to prepare to march towards our destination to intercept, disrupt, and block the DFLA. The streets of central London were filled with the noise of the sound system blaring out female grime artists, while red and purple smoke filled the air and flags were waved proudly as we marched to face down the fascists. Banners from a broad coalition of organisations were sported, and hundreds of us clapped in unison to the chant “siamo tutti antifascisti!”/ “we are all anti-fascists!”. The mobilisation maintained discipline and militancy, and we were proud to be marching alongside so many new comrades determined in our aims to deny the far-right a platform and show the DFLA they are not welcome in our city. We received word that the DFLA had begun their route, and by 2pm we had moved up to a thousand militant anti-fascists to meet them at Pall Mall, holding the space long enough to force the cops to halt the fascists’ pathetic march.

Some London Anti-fascist members joined the Football Lads and Lasses Against Fascism contigent, a new organisation of football casuals who stand against the fascist and racist elements in football clubs. They turned out a large number of lads and lasses and were extremely effective on the day. We’re excited about the new group and look forward to working with them in the future.

The DFLA had a terrible day. At its start, their march pulled around 2000, their worst showing in London, but those numbers quickly dropped and by the time the march reached Trafalgar Square they had around half that. Worse for them, it was clear they hadn’t been able to attract any new members or appeal to groups outside of their core supporters. Their demonstration was old, white and predominantly male – drawn from the usual groups of racist, anti-left hooligans, Islamophobic political parties and outright neo-Nazis. Despite the DFLA leadership announcing ahead of time that their march would be silent to commemorate the victims of grooming gangs, there was little sign of the campaign on the day. Participants couldn’t stick to the silence for long, catcalling and harassing two women in a convertible on St. James’s Street and breaking out into renditions of God Save the Queen and Rule Britannia when their march was blocked on Pall Mall. In Trafalgar Square, when confronted by the Unity demonstration, their frustration boiled over and several DFLA members performed Nazi salutes and threw cans at anti-fascists. With their folk hero Tommy Robinson turning his back on them it seems likely the group is entering a period of slow decline, barring any significant external event.

This victory doesn’t mean anti-fascists should get complacent. Our efforts need to focus on a continuing process of movement building to make sure that when the far-right mobilise next we have an even bigger response. This doesn’t just mean convincing more people to join actions, but also to get involved in long term organising to build a strong anti-fascist movement. For us, the key dividing line is the one that divides the vast majority of us — black, white, female, male, non-binary, British-born, and migrant — from the bosses and their state: class. Distinctions of “race”, ethnicity, gender, religion or immigration status are exploited by both the far-right and the ruling class to keep us divided. We will deal with the far-right by confronting them wherever they organise, and by helping develop working-class alternatives in our workplaces and communities that can cut the roots of racism. A class-based anti-fascist movement must build the kind of infrastructure that will sustain our movement for years to come.



3 responses

22 10 2018

Reblogged this on Wessex Solidarity.

22 10 2018
17 10 2018

Unfortunately my marching days are over, but I’m delighted to hear that the demo in London went so well. Thanks and congratulations to all of you who stood up against these far right bullies.

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