Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The English Defence League continued again

Some more articles and posts on the English Defence League for your attention. My conclusions at the very bottom.

"Who Are the English Defence League? And Are They Fascist?" by Ben Gidley at Arguing the World: argues that the EDL is the unstable inheritance of two different traditions, one "suited" (associated with the anti-Islamic right) and one "booted" (basically football hooliganism), then makes some points about why the EDL matters and some speculations about how to combat them. Also posted at Engage and Harry's Place, both with discussion threads. Unfortunately, HP's thread illustrates the law of diminishing returns with blog commentary and is not worth ploughing through, except to get a taste of the EDL's more intellectual supporters. However, the comments by Monty are intelligent so I extract them here:
To me, the most interesting aspect of the EDL is their nebulous nature. We don’t know who, or what, they are. And they seem to have picked up on the fact that formal organisation, with membership and leadership, tends to make new movements vulnerable to legal action and proscription by the Home Office.
For a grass-roots movement, which doesn’t want to morph into a political party vehicle for a few individuals, it looks quite shrewd. How do you ban an organisation which has no tangible structure, no leaders, no membership, no money, and only manifests itself as three initials which could change at a whim? It is more of a flash network, like the people who descend on someone’s house when they get wind of a party and free drinks. You can’t ban it.
And you can’t infiltrate it’s leadership and “turn” it to a different direction. It has no formal leadership.[...]
another tactic which the EDL have been using quite effectively: Namely the proposal of a protest demo at a specified time and place, and the subsequent cancellation of same.

In the case of their Troxy demo, their event was called off because their stated aim had already been met. But the EDL can cancel, or simply not arrive, with absolute confidence that the UAF et al will turn up wanting some aggro, and finding none, start an actual or near riot, tangle with the police, and generally draw public attention to their most appalling behaviour.
Then when the pictures hit the newspapers, there’s plenty of violence, but no sign of the EDL, and no EDL arrests, because they weren’t there.
If you look at the cost/benefit analysis of that approach, it’s quite smart.
Explaining the English Defence League by James Bloodworth at Obliged to Offend. I've already linked to this, but wanted to draw your attention to comments by Duncan, now blogging occasionally at Though Cowards Flinch, where he may one day write a post about this, which will be worth reading. In the meantime, here's a flavour:
the BNP and the EDL are separate entities with different political genealogies even though both of them fit the label ‘far right’. The BNP can still be placed in the fascist political tradition, even if much of their current rhetoric is at odds with that, and the political CV’s of all the main players 
In contrast, the origins of the EDL are in football firms, which with a few exceptions have never been explicitly linked to right-wing groups despite the latter’s fantasy about this, and other ‘right but not racist, honest guv’ groups from around the milieu of loyalist supporters on the mainland, as in March for England or the British Ulster Alliance.
I think it’s useful to compare what’s happening now with the last time, to my knowledge, when some football firms became politically active which was in the early 90’s in opposition to Irish republicanism. It was during this time that large numbers turned out to attack the Bloody Sunday demos in London and the Scottish National Firm was formed, involving supporters from almost every team except Celtic.
Although this was disruptive and dangerous at the time, and sparked some high profile incidents like the abandoning of the England – Ireland football game in 1995 mid-match, this movement was short-lived and fizzled out.
This is why I think it makes sense to treat the EDL and the BNP separately, even if I think that support for both of them is being generated by the same underlying processes.[...]

The EDL are potentially dangerous and much more interested in direct confrontation but the main threat from the far right is still undoubtedly the BNP. 
Via Duncan: "Addressing the problem of the English Defence League" by Phil Dickens at Liverpool Antifascists. Dickens, who blogs here and here, is one of the most intelligent writers in the UK anarchist blogosphere, and he has also been published in Shift, my current favourite anti-capitalist periodical. (Read, for example, his argument against multiculturalism or his explanation of why One Law for All gets no publicity compared to the EDL.) Here's a long extract:
The answer is not to ignore them, quite simply because those the EDL appeal to are the ignored and marginalised of society. Some may side with this rag-tag organisation because they’re racists looking for a barney, but most harbour quite genuine grievances and – in the absence of anything else – turn to the EDL because they’re saying the right things.

This is why Unite Against Fascism’s (UAF) approach is also ineffective and even counter-productive.

All of these issues are lost in cries of “Nazi scum off our streets” by a group which is happy to align itself with anybody from the leader of the government which is currently attacking the working class to openly bigotted Muslim “leader” Iqbal Sacranie. They really do want an alliance of everyone against the fascists, no matter how unsavoury some elements of that “everyone” may be.
A prime example is the recent protest in Tower Hamlets. The EDL were due to protest an event held by Islamists called “The Book That Shook The World.” Local groups issued a statement “against fascism in all its colours,” which denounced the EDL and the Islamic Forum of Europe with “their very reactionary version of political Islam.” By contrast, UAF called the event “a peace conference, organised by a Muslim charitable foundation and aimed at building understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims” and those who thought differently (such as the Whitechapel Anarchist group) were soon accused of racism.
This is why the EDL hold credibility when they claim that UAF “support Muslim extremists.” The group, essentially just a recruiting front for the Socialist Workers’ Party, is so desperate for its “broad and common front” against fascism to work that it won’t criticise anybody but the EDL and BNP.
The English Defence League is a reactionary organisation which serves to divide the working class against itself. But so, too, are the groups on the Islamic far-right. The only sensible response, as the locals did in Tower Hamlets, is to unite the working class to “be on guard against Fascism in whatever form it occurs.”
"A very un-English Defence League" at Contemporary Anarchist. I haven't fully digested this yet. It talks about the ways in which American-based "neo-conservative" (a misnomer in my opinion) groups fund the EDL. This bit, however, is the most pertinent to some of our issues:
Most recently, English Defence League attempted to draw support from Britain's Jews by creating what has been referred to as a 'semi-fictitious' Jewish division. Jewish leaders in Britain have consistently rejected calls by two EDL-associated groups operating in Britain -- SIOE and EDL -- as racist and Islamophobic.
Britain's Jewish community likened the malicious lies of the EDL and SIOE about British Muslims to those spread by Hitler about Jews. This ICLA- alliance, using the EDL divisions on facebook and also their forum, then began threatening Britain's Jews, using characteristic ad-hominems and veiled threats, calling them Kapos and dhimmis, and falsely claiming that 'hundreds of British Jews' had joined. These claims regarding the depth of British Jewish support are false.

A detailed analysis of their facebook group membership showed Jewish support (no greater than 30%) came from outside of Britain, mainly from American, Canadian and French Kahanist-linked and Likud-Herut activists, whilst the bulk of supporters (70%) came from gullible EDL rank-and-file nationalists, unknowingly hoodwinked by the EDL leadership into supporting non-English foreign lobby groups.
The last bit comes from a new anti-EDL blog from the people that brought us the blog version of That's Funny, You Don't Look Anti-Semitic.

"Who Are Atlas's Thugs? Inside the Weird Alliance of the Pro-Israel Fringe and Far-Right British Football Hooligans" by Max Blumenthal at Huffington Post from back in March makes some of the same allegations as the above post. Essentially, the claim is that Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs is bankrolling the EDL and that the EDL are the product of the BNP's "Zionist" turn. I think Blumenthal's analysis is wrong, as he claims that "The reorientation of the BNP around a pro-Zionist, Islamophobic platform led directly to the rise of the EDL." Now, it is true that BNP leader Nick Griffin has made a bid to present the BNP as pro-Zionist, but this is hollow, and the EDL's apparent pro-Zionism is unrelated to it. The EDL authentically express what the BNP are cynically attempting to tap into: a widespread hatred of Islam across British society. For the EDL, being pro-Israel springs from being anti-Muslim.

"The Fascist EDL Attacks Birmingham Palestine Solidarity Campaign Stall" by Tony Greenstein. This post starts with a recent viscious attack by some apparently EDL linked thugs on a PSC stall. TG goes a small step further than Blumenthal and reiterates his equation between the EDL and "the Zionists" which we looked at here. While I think he is making his points in good faith, the fact that an out and out antisemite in the comment thread, “Eleanor”, takes up his points as evidence for “Jews” being fascists illustrates what is at stake here, and why he is playing a dangerous game. To my mind, the “Judeo-Nazi” trope which this feeds is today’s equivalent of the old “Judeo-Bolshevik” trope and is fast becoming the key weapon in the antisemitic arsenal.

Searchlight Names EDL Leader “Tommy Robinson” as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon” by Richard Bartholomew. This post is about the revelation that one of the key EDL leaders is an ex-BNP member.

Not sure which of these posts by "Malatesta" at Libcom I've already linked to, so I'll link to them all. I think the analysis is fairly sound, and they are quite informative, but I think s/he over-emphasises the BNP link and fascist presence in the EDL. ‘Shema Israel!’: The EDL Jewish Division; The BNP, EDL & Violence; The EDL & A ‘Different’ Kind of Racism.


Turning now to most visible face of the opposition to the EDL, Unite Against Fascism (UAF).For those who don’t know, this is the fusion of the SWP front organisation, the Anti-Nazi League, with the smaller Socialist Action front, National Assembly Against Racism. It is my view that, as Phil Dickens says, their strategy against the EDL is not only ineffective but potentially counter-productive. They inflate its importance and threat and they exaggerate its fascism. As the EDL targets areas with large numbers of Muslims, the UAF understandably orientate to Muslim youth in challenging it – but in ways which tend to promote a particular communalist politics of resentment. The most striking example of this was the UAF mobilisation in East London last weekend. First, they claimed that the Islamist conference the EDL were demonstrating against was a moderate, peaceful event – which goes against all the evidence (see one of the speakers, Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, talking about homosexuality here, and then imagine what the SWP would say about an American Christian speaker who said anything like this). Then when the council decided not to host the Islamists and the EDL called off their demo, the UAF still called for a massive mobilisation, cynically expecting to find recruitment fodder amongst the hyped up local Asian youth. And then they invite George Galloway, saluter of fascist dictators, to speak at the event, where he says, “And lastly to the EDL, take a look around you, boys. Take a look around you at this crowd. If you dare touch a hijab on a Muslim woman’s head – if you dare – if you dare – if you dare touch a hair on the beard of a Muslim man in Tower Hamlets – you will have to fight your way through 10,000 dead bodies first." Then the UAF exit the area, leaving local communities to pick up the pieces, while the hyped up youths head to Whitehall to join up with the Al-Mujiharoun fascists.

As with the SWP’s failed Respect [sic] adventure, the game they are playing is almost suicidal. Making no in-roads in the working class, they think they can tap into Muslim anger and recruit some naive Asian youth – but the tail ends up wagging the dog and the SWP end up trailing behind some of the most anti-working class, racist, homophobic and misogynist political forces imaginable.  

To conclude, the key points are:

There is mounting evidence of fascist elements in the EDL leadership, including ex-BNP elements. But the EDL is a totally different creature than the BNP; it is not (or at least not yet) a fascist organisation. Rather, it is a hybrid of Atlas Shrugs style civilisational paranoia with elements from football hooligan firms, united in a racist hatred of Muslims. It is this hatred of Muslims, rather than any pro-Jewish sentiment, that drives its self-proclaimed support for Israel. To oppose it by allying with Islamism is dangerous, and to oppose it with faux-militant gesture politics is foolish.


More links and discussion at Engage.

15 comments:

Waterloo Sunset said...

Gidley's article is broadly excellent and a welcome contribution to the debate on the EDL. So these criticisms should be taken in that spirit.

I think he tangles himself up a bit too much in the question of whether the EDL are actually fascist or just far right Islamophobes. The definition is largely semantic at the current time, at least as far as tactical considerations go. We need to strike a happy medium between the crowd that shout "fascist" at any right winger they disagree with and between those who argue Pinchochet wasn't really fascist because he didn't follow a classically fascist economic policy.

I also think that, while he's almost there, he hasn't grasped the significance of this:

On the other hand, the clumsy application of a “militant” or physical response is likely to be counter-productive. If the EDL win on the street, this will heavily contribute to its glamour. Socialist Workers Party students playing at being street fighters behind police lines or Muslim kids playing up to a script of extremist youth–this will only feed the EDL narrative.

Absolutely. But that's actually an argument against faux militancy. The need for the EDL not to win on the streets is a strong argument in favour of implementing a physical strategy, where tactical conditions permit. And in the handful of places that genuine well–organised militancy has taken place (Glasgow), it's actually been among the most effective at stopping the EDL in their tracks.

His failure to fully join the dots here is probably why he's unsure of what we need to be looking at in the short term.

From Contempory Anarchist:

A detailed analysis of their facebook group membership showed Jewish support (no greater than 30%) came from outside of Britain, mainly from American, Canadian and French Kahanist-linked and Likud-Herut activists

That, in itself, raises some difficult questions though. Not so much with the Kahanists, who are neglible in UK terms. But Likud-Herut do have a functioning international organisation, including a branch in the UK. If this goes much further, we're going to have to start dealing with them as indistinguishable from the EDL. Which gets even more complicated if they're turning up on pro Israel demonstrations organised by more mainstream groups and being allowed to operate publically. At which point, I think (I'm still not entirely decided on how it would be best to handle this, so I'm still in the position of thinking out loud on this) we have to look at precedent. When certain Monday club types were inviting NF speakers and working alongside them in the 80's, the policy adopted was that Tories as a whole weren't a target, but Tory activities with open fascist participation should be treated as fascist meetings. The two situations aren't directly comparable, but I'm minded to say there's an obvious parallel.

Ben Gidley said...

Waterloo Sunset,

Thanks very much for the generous comments. On the militant issue, I broadly agree with you. The reason I put “militant” in scare quotes to describe the UAF was partly to distinguish it from genuine militant anti-fascism. It is not militant anti-fascism that I reject; it is a clumsy application of it.

In some ways, it is probably the case that in the short term the best medicine for the EDL is similar to that which worked against the BNP before its turn from the streets in the early 1990s. But I hesitate to recommend that for a number of reasons. First, policing and surveillance have expanded enormously since then, and it is a much riskier proposition. Second, the EDL is able to mobilise larger numbers more frequently than the BNP generally could. Third, the time it would take to re-build a militant anti-fascist network with the sort of capacity AFA had would be considerable.

In Scotland, the networks on which militant anti-fascism drew (a much stronger working class socialist milieu, the Republican/Celtic/Hibs connection) changes the balance of forces considerably. In somewhere like East London or Bradford, there is clearly an appetite for physical confrontation from Muslim youth, but to participate in unleashing this probably comes with more risks than benefits in the absence of a strong political infrastructure to deal with the fall-out.

The Likud-Herut point is important, and I will think more about that.

Entdinglichung said...

somewhere related: Ahmadinejad Foreign Minister: 'Iran enemies deserved to fail in world Cup'

Waterloo Sunset said...

Ben,

Thanks for your reply. It looks like we have a lot of common ground on this. To draw out some of your points.

First, policing and surveillance have expanded enormously since then, and it is a much riskier proposition.

Absolutely. You may or may not be aware of this, but at the end of AFA's existence, experience was that the police were taking a much harder approach to both us and the fascists, for their own reasons. And CCTV has massively exploded since then. There are no simple solutions to this. While masking up hides people's identities, in my view it raises as many issues as it solves. The more subtle 'sunglasses and baseball cap' approach will defeat basic surveillance (and Redwatch), but isn't much protection against any serious state analysis of individual photographs. The best solution would be for anti EDL mobilisations to simply be too big for individuals to be picked off easily, but that's a lot easier said than done at the current time.

. Second, the EDL is able to mobilise larger numbers more frequently than the BNP generally could.

Again, that's a very fair point. Whether they can keep up this momentum when the novelty wears off is an interesting question, but not one that we can do much other than wait and see. While it's important to be realistic about their capabilities, we need not to overstate them either (which you don't seem to do, but is a problem with some analysis). They're a core of seasoned hooligans with a lot more hangers on and thrillseekers, not the streetfighting supermen some of the more hysterical sections of the left treat them as.

Third, the time it would take to re-build a militant anti-fascist network with the sort of capacity AFA had would be considerable.

Definitely. I think that realistically we need to look at what needs doing, but accept that is different than what we can do straight away.

Another practical issue we need to face is the fact Red Action are no longer around. While they could be absolute sods to work with, it's undeniable that they were a strong part of what made AFA capable of winning physical confrontations with the nastier parts of the far right. And we're suffering from their absence.

Waterloo Sunset said...

The UAF: I suspect we're of a very similar view here. The UAF are trying to ride both the liberal and the militant horses and doing a poor job of managing either. To a level where they're often pointless and sometimes actively counterproductive.

Hope Not Hate: My hostility to Searchlight is a matter of public record, but I'll try to push that to one side to analyse HnH fairly. They're obviously very much a liberal pro establishment antifascist group. And, on their own terms, I think they're pretty good at that. They're good at cultivating the necessary media contacts for that strategy to work and their propaganda is well crafted and works as far as their approach of presenting the far right as 'beyond the pale' goes. There is the difficult question of whether antifascist groups should be focusing on building support for a specific political party. Whether that's the SWP or the Labour Party. But, on the whole, the question of whether to support HnH is likely to come down to how sympathetic someone is to the liberal antifacist ideology. On the EDL, that's going to specifically be how keen people are on largely prioritising calling for the state to ban EDL marches.

Antifa: I'm sympathetic to Antifa, as I suspect you may be. And their hearts are in the right place. But, realistically, they're tiny and arguably a bit moribund. They'e never really managed to escape the anarchist ghetto and don't seem to have a realistic idea of how to do so. Which makes them great against small groups like the BPP, but I'm less convinced they have the capability to serious tackle the EDL. I would both think and hope that Antifa activists would have a significant role to play in the kind of antifascist recomposition we're talking about.

The Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists: Despite being the worst idea for a name since Carl Barat decided that "Dirty Pretty Things" was a good idea to call a band, this seems promising to me. It's sprung from the AWL from what I can tell. Which could be useful in terms of the concept that any antifascist movement needs to be strictly agnostic on the issue of Israel. (Correct on general political terms in my view. Absolutely necessary with the EDL, particuarly if we are going to look at the Likud-Herut issue seriously).

They also seem to have a good grasp of the need for both militancy and mass mobilisations where possible. And their activists have shown a desire to expand their work into a more broad based antifacist group. Hopefully that will include finding a place for those of us who aren't prepared to call for a Labour vote, even critically.

All that said, it's still very early days with this particular initative. But it's at least one worth keeping an eye out.

Waterloo Sunset said...

In Scotland, the networks on which militant anti-fascism drew (a much stronger working class socialist milieu, the Republican/Celtic/Hibs connection) changes the balance of forces considerably.

I think you're absolutely correct on that and I should possibly have considered that more carefully. While there are lessons from Scotland that we can draw, it is undoutably the case that Scottish antifascists are in a stronger position. The fact that the EDL actually believed that a group that uses so much loyalist imagery and slogans could count on support from the Celtic and Hibs firms is rather amusing. It's interesting to note that the EDL's other big failure was Cardiff, which also involved the hostility of the local firm. While we can hope that particular issue spreads (and there are rumours about both Blues and Villa), realistically very few of us on the left are in a position to influence football firms. And any attempt to do so would likely be counterproductive. Best to just sit back and watch I think.

In somewhere like East London or Bradford, there is clearly an appetite for physical confrontation from Muslim youth, but to participate in unleashing this probably comes with more risks than benefits in the absence of a strong political infrastructure to deal with the fall-out.

True, although that points to the urgency of the task facing us. Muslim youth are looking more and more up for physical confrontation and that's going to happen with or without us. Without some kind of focus, as you point out, that's a very dangerous situation. We also need to recognise that, while we should have no truck with Islamism, not all Muslim youth who enjoy playing with extremist imagery are actually Islamists. In many cases, it's more the same sort of motivation that leads to fifteen year old goths wandering round in "Jesus is a cunt" t-shirt. It's more about vague anti authority instincts and 'sticking it to the man' then it is a serious statement of political ideology. I think we may need to show that we're serious about fighting the EDL before there can be movement on this issue. Understandably, a lot of Muslim youth are going to have no time for people suddenly trying to offer leadership, without those people having previously demonstrated that this is a position they deserve.

Apologies for the length of this (I suspect it may be longer than your original article!) but I thought the points you raised were important enough to be worth looking at in full.

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James Bloodworth said...

Last year was the worst on record for anti-Semitic attacks in Britain, yet where is the UAF's condemnation of this? That a group supposedly espousing as its core mantra an opposition to fascism cannot bring itself to condemn attacks on the very group of who suffered most under fascism during the 20th century is nothing short of a disgrace.

Socialist Action activist and UAF signatory and speaker Ken Livingstone led the charge, jumping to defend the Muslim Brotherhood's Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, after Peter Tatchell had outed him as an inciter of terrorism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. In January 2009, Qaradawi gave a sermon televised by Al-Jazeera in which he expressed the hope that the 'believers' would one day inflict upon the Jews a 'divine punishment', akin to Hitler's Holocaust. According to the Muslim Council of Britain, Qaradawi is a 'renowned Islamic scholar' who 'enjoys unparalleled respect and influence throughout the Muslim world'. I am not aware of any UK anti-racist organisation having condemned them. Indeed, I have found not a single occasion on which the UAF have spoken out against the genocidal anti-Semitism that is prevalent in Islamist political discourse.

Why? Because it is not politically useful; it cannot be labelled "our fault"; and it emanates in most part from the new friend of the SWP - reactionary Islam.

Apparently, they just don't see that as a problem.

one in the know said...

'I'm sympathetic to Antifa, as I suspect you may be. And their hearts are in the right place. But, realistically, they're tiny and arguably a bit moribund. '

This situation might be connected to these facts:

'policing and surveillance have expanded enormously since then, and it is a much riskier proposition'

Anyone looking to recreate old style militant antifascism should be prepared for a level of represseion that afa never had to deal with.

Ben G said...

Thanks Waterloo for your replies. I think I agree completely with everything you say, except I have become less ill-disposed towards Searchlight since my late AFA days, although I keep my pinch of salt to hand.

I also need to think much more about the Muslim youth angle before making up my mind. I agree about the shallow commitment most have to radical Islam. And I certainly agree that "we" can't leave the field to the Islamists and their fellow travellers. The WAG strategy in the East End seems quite sensible - making a clear overture to local Muslim people while also a strong opposition to Islamism. (In the East End, the Bangladeshi secular nationalist presence and its close involvement with the least radical parts of the Labour party probably made that easier.)

On the Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists, I agree about the name, and I wonder to what extent they actually "exist" outside the internet, and have any mobilising power. I am not sure if they have subsumed themselves in the Stop Racism and Fascism Network (SRFN) set up in March http://srfnetwork.org/ as the AWL seems to have supported that.

I wonder if you have a take on them, as I presume they are the closest to what you outline. However, I can't tell if they "exist" either - the website is very patchy.

bob said...

On SRFN, I notice the website's local groups section has been populated a little since I last looked http://srfnetwork.org/local-campaigns/

The campaigns listed below are not necessarily formally affiliated to SRFN, but we list them either because they share elements of our political approach and/or because activists from these campaigns have been involved in helping to launch SRFN.
- Notts Stop the BNP
- Liverpool Antifascists
- Manchester Anti-Fascist Alliance
- Cardiff Communities Against Racism
- North East Against Racism
- South London Anti-Fascist Group
- South Yorkshire Stop the BNP
- Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism


I don't know much about some of them, but the ones I do know tend to be more the type of group I think is needed now: grassroots, independent and politically open.

Waterloo Sunset said...

@ one in the know

Absolutely. And, to be clear, I'm not calling for some kind of "AFA historical reenactment society". I'm of the view that a group broadly in the militant tradition is needed. Times and conditions change and antifascists need to change with them. While the lessons of AFA are useful, they aren't directly translatable. A straight recreation of AFA isn't on the cards, any more than AFA was a straight recreation of the 62 Group.

There's two main (mutually exclusive) approaches to tackling the problem you outline.

People can go completely covert, not openly recruit and do stuff like target the homes of prominent fascists. That isn't something I favour. It leads to an abandoment of ideological confrontation and reduces the struggle to a simple matter of political gang warfare. (Antifa's moves in that direction are one of the reasons for their relative lack of success for me, and as you point out, that's heavily linked to the issue of policing and surveillance).

The other approach is to, as far as possible, mobilise enough people to be able to stop the fascists operating on the streets. At the moment, we simply don't have that capability. But it's what I think needs to be the goal.

That's mostly about the EDL though. Physical confrontation has little, if any, part to play with the BNP currently. That is still very much about 'hearts and minds'. And there the broad approach outlined in "Filling the Vacuum" is still the correct one. Some people are probably better placed for the former and some for the latter. In particular, I look forward to hearing the results of the internal discussions the IWCA have said they're having.

@ Ben

I'd agree the WAG approach was basically the right one in Tower Hamlets. And the statement put out by the secular Bangladeshi organisations was good, although they really fucked up by adding names to it without checking with people. Apart from anything else, it allowed the usual elements to ignore the content.

I'm positive about the SRFN, and I'm on their mailing list, but it's still early days. My understanding is they have a genuine presence in certain cities, including the ones Bob mentioned, but aren't a fully functioning national network yet. (And they're being pretty honest about where they have that presence. They aren't listing places where they simply have a few contacts).

Hopefully this will take off properly, but we will see.

Mr Clark Kerr said...

As a AWL member I hope I can clarify Waterloo Sunsets questions. The Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists was a initiative we launched around the General Election with the support of some people in the Labour Representation Committee to present socialist politics even when there was not a Socialist candidate. It produced some good anti BNP leaflets but it is not a ongoing concern as such.

The Stop Racism and Fascism Network comes out of a series of conferences the Notts Stop The BNP group held on working class anti fascism. The notts group was founded a few years ago by the Socialist Party, AWL, Labour Left and Anarchists. They organised the protests against the BNPs Red White & Blue festival in Derbyshire the last three years running. This year it has been cancelled partly due to these protests. Anyway more established grass roots anti-fascist groups have got involved from around the country partly as they have began to break away from Hope not Hate/ Searchlight due to its instance with doing stuff like putting Alan sugar on the front of their leaflets.

Luther Blissett said...

Hi Bob, I've changed the url for the "not edl jewish division' blog: Not EDL Jewish Division

You'll be interested to hear that the facebook group for the original division has now jumped ship, lock stock and smoking gun, to the JDL UK chapter (also on facebook).

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