Why no platform is still relevant, and the trouble with liberal “anti-fascism”

1 12 2013

Antifa Masked_0

by Phil Dickens

re-blogged from Libcom // original here

Some on the liberal end of the anti-fascist movement have argued that “no platform” is dead and free speech the best antidote to the far-right. This argument rears its head time and time again, but it bears shooting down every time.

Today, a Robert Sharp posted a short blog on Liberal Conspiracy to argue against no platform. It is, he argues, “counter-productive” because when fascists have a platform “they expose themselves as incoherent and small-minded, and it gives the rest of us a chance to argue against them.” It’s actually a fairly standard liberal argument.

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Anti-Extremism or Anti-Fascism?

28 11 2013

no-pasaran-580x280

by Liz Fekete

re-blogged from The Institute of Race Relations // original with footnotes here

Anti-extremism frameworks, popular in policy and academic circles, are masking the multi-dimensional and pan-European nature of contemporary fascism and the role of the state.

Not since the early 1990s, and the pogroms at Hoyerswerda and Rostock have Europe’s far-right movements posed such a tangible threat to the safety of racial and religious minorities. In truth, levels of violence and state responses are far more worrying today than in the 1990s when hostels housing asylum seekers and guest workers were firebombed. There are a number of reasons why the central issues associated with far-right violence and racism are not being fully and publicly discussed.

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When the captain refuses to go down with his ship: Yaxley-Lennon quits the EDL

9 10 2013
1381267299-quilliam-press-conference-after-edl-leader-resignation_2903859

all ex-extremists together apparently

[reblogged from whileromeburnsjournal.wordpress.com]

Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days’ news and my only regret in saying anything about it is that I will in some small way be adding to the vast amount of publicity that Yaxley-Lennon has gained for himself in one day by his canny shift sideways in the Islamophobic marketplace. He’s the topic of conversation and has made all opinion gravitate around himself, so that love him or hate him, we’re all talking about him.

Anti-fascists should not be automatically celebrating Yaxley’s move. The real thing to celebrate in this is not anything to do with Yaxley-Lennon’s phoney personal journey but the confusion and chaos generated in the ranks of the far-right by the hand-grenade he has thrown into their midst. In the short term, we’re going to see a lot of confused and demoralised racists arguing with each other, and that’s good news for everyone else. Eventually a general re-alignment of the far-right seems likely – what the end result of that will be is hard to say now. The most likely outcome is that either under the EDL name or another we will see the EDL free to become more openly racist and fascist, which is the pattern we have seen with the splinter groups – Infidels, Casuals and EVF. Certainly the EDL isn’t going to have to pretend so hard not to be racist anymore as apparently even their erstwhile leader found it easier to leave than to expel the racists.

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Building Anti-Fascist Communities

1 10 2013

slaf_inle

by South London Anti-Fascists // taken from Occupied Times

After the local elections on the 2nd May 2013, there was a certain level of satisfaction amongst some anti-fascists that the British fascist threat was in the process of being comprehensively defeated. Despite five years of national economic turmoil, the British National Party (BNP), riddled with splits and infighting, faced electoral oblivion. The strategic focus of the two most recognised anti-fascist organisations, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Hope Not Hate, appeared effective, with the number of elected BNP councillors falling from its peak of 57 in 2009 to its current two. Their leader, Nick Griffin, MEP for the North West, is left to defend the BNP’s sole European Parliamentary seat in 2014. Andrew Brons, a former BNP and National Front activist, is also believed to be attempting to defend his European seat in Yorkshire and the Humber with the British Democratic Party, an organisation he set up last year. In November 2012, the English Defence League at Westminster were unable to mobilise 100 people for their national march and their “March for England” splinter group was chased off the streets of Brighton.The far-right seemed increasingly irrelevant. Then on 22nd May 2013, Lee Rigby was brutally murdered and everything changed.

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Rules of engagement: Anti-fascism after Tower Hamlets

24 09 2013

altab_ali_parksticker

re-blogged from While Rome Burns

The Tower Hamlets demonstration against the EDL on September 7th was a big day for those of us who have been hoping for a renewed opposition to be able to tackle the rise of the far-right and the new forms of racism spreading in this country.

There were a lot of expectations riding on what happened on the 7th and a lot turns on how it comes to be perceived and what lessons are drawn from it.

Context is everything

Since the last time the EDL were in Tower Hamlets in 2011 many things have changed. They suffered a general decline in their fortunes and early this year we were all getting ready to write their epitaph. Then everything changed in May when the EDL managed to swiftly exploit the murder of a British army soldier in London. Suddenly there were 2000 of them on demos again, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon was being interviewed on TV all the time, their Facebook likes went from under 24,000 to over 100,000 within a day and they seemed to have leapfrogged further ahead than they ever were before. The last few months have in general been a frightening time when the far-right have looked like they were winning.

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Countering the resurgence of the EDL: report and thoughts from the anti-EDL counter demo at Downing Street

29 05 2013

This is a repost from While Rome Burns 

In the last week the extreme right has been making all the running in the aftermath of the killing of soldier Lee Rigby on Wednesday. We have seen a sudden outpouring of racism and speedily-organised mobilisations by the EDL. The demonstration at Downing Street on Bank Holiday Monday was the first ‘official’ EDL event organised in response to the killing which anti-fascists had any time to respond to. Luckily UAF called a counter demonstration so the racists did not meet unopposed. The EDL demonstration was advertised for 3pm, although they had all organised to meet up earlier in Leicester Square. The rally organised by UAF was announced for 2pm, also at Downing Street.

When I arrived, the main UAF/anti-fascist contingent were behind police lines outside Downing Street and the cops were not letting anyone else join them. There was a small number of EDL the other side of them (estimated at 150). As I was unable to join together with the anti-fascist crowd, I tried to walk around the perimeter of the demonstration. It was then that I encountered a large number of EDL coming down Horse Guards Road. There were at least 500 of them and they appeared to be going wherever they pleased, marching freely through central London chanting, shouting and waving their flags with almost no police in attendance and no opposition. Apparently this main group of 500 or so had come from Leicester Square. There were some police vans tail-ending the march and a small number of police on foot were following them. However, when asked, one of the cops in attendance claimed to have no idea where the EDL were going. So it could be that the EDL were just being allowed to have an impromptu march wherever they liked or that the route had been agreed with the police but the cops were just unwilling to share this with members of the public.

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WALTHAMSTOW 2 EDL NIL. WHAT NEXT FOR ANTI-FASCISM AFTER THE ‘RETURN TO WALTHAMSTOW’?

13 11 2012

A little late reposting this, but it contains stuff worth reading! Its taken from the anarchist journal blog While Rome Burns.

This Saturday’s attempt by the English Defence League to return to Walthamstow marked another chapter in the decline in fortunes of the organisation. Time was when they could get 3000 to a national demo. Now they only managed 60. After a previous national demo at Walthamstow where 300ish EDL were outnumbered by a couple of thousand opposition, leader ‘Tommy Robinson’ (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon to his mother) announced there would be a return to Walthamstow. A strange strategy… what made him think that re-running the whole thing two months later would change the result is mysterious.

Saturday also topped off a week of misfortune for the organisation – 53 of them all got nickedapparently on the way to do something to an East London mosque including glorious leader ‘Tommy’ who has been remanded till January. This meant that ‘Tommy’ and the leadership were unfortunately unable to attend the return to Walthamstow.

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