Rules of engagement: Anti-fascism after Tower Hamlets

24 09 2013


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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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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The new Integralist Conservatism: a briefing

24 09 2012

The following article has been ripped from

The new Integralist Conservatism: a briefing

Jon Gaynor provides an introduction to the right-wing current of thought which encompasses groups like the EDL, anti-Muslim bloggers and authors, and populist political parties.

The brutal massacre perpetrated by the Norwegian right winger Anders Behring Breivik has been met with shock and puzzlement, not least amongst pundits struggling to come to terms with a terrorism not committed by Muslims, but by a vehemently anti-Muslim rightwinger.

It is not enough to dismiss Breivik as a ‘madman’, or a ‘nut’. His was a carefully planned, reasoned and executed strike. Moreover, it was a thoroughly political act, politically motivated and with political content. Breivik’s rationale was not born in a vacuum, nor was it a post-hoc rationalisation of his actions. It is telling that psychological explanations are reserved for white terrorists, wheras the rhetoric of jihadis is taken at face value.

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