Sunday, June 19, 2011

EDL in Redbridge: More violence against Asians

The English Defence League marched through Redbridge and Dagenham yesterday (unusually with no police escort in Redbridge), and, true to form, they Asian local residents, one of whom had his jaw broken. More from Flesh is Grass and Hope Not Hate.

Added: And the EDL brought violence to Leeds over the weekend too (h/t WS in comments). They are due in Romford this weekend - and the same story will most likely be repeated there.

18 comments:

Waterloo Sunset said...

They also attacked an anti-fascist gig in Leeds yesterday. Apparently, they threw some bricks through the window and ran away. I don't know much more at the moment, but I should get properly up to speed tomorrow.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Write up of the events in Leeds here-http://manchesterafa.org/2011/06/19/edl-attack-rage-against-racism-gig/

jams o donnell said...

Hmm the EDL show their true colours. again. They will be in Romford next Saturday. I daresay they will be a drunken rabble shouting racist abuse and worse

bob said...

Thanks WS. Interesting material about the Infidels. What do you think about the misplaced EDL antipathy towards the UAF? And what do you think of MAFA's analysis: "The UAF has failed working class communities and allowing the EDL to take the place of what should be the left." In what way do the EDL take the place of the left? The logical inference from that is that the left should be tougher on Islam and/or on immigrants, a la Blue Labour?

More positively, there seems to be a bit of a re-grouping in smaller cities away from London (Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool) of independent anti-fascists as a viable alternative to UAF.

Waterloo Sunset said...

I don't think the antipathy towards the UAF is at all surprising. The right wing loyalist football hooligan scene has always had hostility to the "reds" as one of its defining traits.

I think MAFA are overstating it there. That was more the case with the BNP. I think it's more that the UAF tactics aren't effective at countering the EDL. In particular, the "everyone against the extremists" tack isn't working against the EDL, who don't see themselves as part of the political mainstream anyway. So I don't think the inference is quite what you suggest. (Although there is still the issue of how the left should react to far right Islamists, obviously). It's more that the UAF aren't countering the EDL effectively. Obviously, they aren't in any position to physically oppose them. But they aren't ideologically effective either. A failure to make the class element clear in their propaganda means they aren't really putting a different analysis out to weaken the EDL. Liberal "defend multiculturalism" stuff isn't the same thing. We should be linking specifically to the cuts and pointing out how the EDL have repeatedly sided with the Tories in attacking workers.

On top of that, they seemingly can't get the numbers out anymore. One of their main arguments against squadism has always been to counterpose it to mass mobilisation. But now they're getting squaddist numbers without having the capability of doing anything with that.

Glasgow and Edinburgh as well. It is interesting that, with the sole exception of Cardiff, this seems to be specifically a northern trend. Although that's not entirely surprising. The last century left has always had a bit of a stranglehold on London politics and that has a knock-on effect for the rest of the south.

Flesh said...

"We should be linking specifically to the cuts and pointing out how the EDL have repeatedly sided with the Tories in attacking workers."

Could you expand on that further Waterloo? What are good ways to demonstrate that the EDL are inimical to the interests of almost everybody?

And where does tackling political Islam fit in? Hardly any organised anti-fascism does, which is real mistake. So while Nick Lowles knows and says that Islamism breeds the EDL and the EDL breeds Islamism, in practice Hope Not Hate doesn't tackle political Islam, UAF has absolutely no interest in doing so, and the subject is entirely absent from the Mancesterafa site.

Sarah AB said...

I'm on the HnH mailing list and I did a bit of telephone canvassing for them at the election. I got a questionnaire recently about strategy and I did say I thought they should do a bit more to tackled political Islam - though I said so in a rather anxious and reluctant way I think!

I would have thought a good way to tackle it, given the (I suppose understandable) anxiety HnH seems to have - would be to support anything organised by British Muslims for Secular Democracy or similar.

bob said...

In terms of HnH, because of the Searchlight-is-Zionist meme, it would be tactically difficult for them to overplay criticism of political Islam and better for them to stick to the far right territory they know well.

In terms of the anti-fascist movement more broadly, I think the best recent model we have is the Whitechapel United Against Division mobilisations last summer (or was it summer before? I lose track).

Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Flesh

I think the most important tack when putting out anti EDL literature is not to focus it on "almost everybody", but to specifically try and undermine their support among potential recruits.

Some specific ideas.

* Point out their links with sections of the rabidly pro free market tea partiers in the US
* Their support for certain terrorists/terrorist acts
* EDL members stating that they are in favour of banker's bonuses for "English bankers"
* Their attacks on anti-cuts campaigners
* The fact that much of their leadership really doesn't come from the "salt of the earth working class lad" background they try to portray. Steven Yaxley-Lennon is a small businessman with a property portfolio. Their funder, Alan Lake (who has links to the Swedish Democrats) is a multi-millionaire.
* The fact that one of their founders was done for child porn. (That last one is possibly a bit controversial, as it's not capital p Political. But I think it's a useful tack to take).

In summary, the message I think we should be trying to put across is that the EDL are a scab organisation.

On far right Islamism, the honest truth is I don't have an easy answer on what we should do because I'm not entirely sure.

I think Sarah has a good point about supporting any elements of the Muslim community trying to do something around this. Much as I think we should target anti BNP propaganda towards their potential supporters, I think the same applies here and I think there are obvious issues with trying to do that with no Muslim involvement.

Aside from that, I think that Bob is right that "Whitechapel United Against Division" showed a good way forward. They put out statements condemning both the EDL and the Troxy conference, with a lot of involvement from the local community. A bit before that, I remember Antifa holding a counterdemo to both the NF and Abu Hamza in London. On the day, they managed to link up with some Sikh lads who'd turned up. I think more activity along those lines is the way forward.

brocklydave said...

The final collapse of the BNP is overdue and the latest challenge to Griffin from Brons likely to cause more splits.This makes the EDL the main extreme right threat .
I see them as a symptom of larger forces at work.Many people unfortunately see themselves connected through shared hatreds rather than shared ideology.Tabloids run negative stories on the poor ,immigrants,benefit claiments and politicians in general.They do this not only because it suits the proprieters beliefs but they think it sells papers.
EDL members seem to think they are being patriotic and standing up for Britain however warped their view of that is.
Therefore it is essential that those who oppose them provide a positive alternative .
That alternative should include a view of britain as a tolerant ,vibrant place with the self confidence to be inclusive.
But part of this pride in tolerance must show opposition to racism and intolerance.
So opponents of the EDL must not only opposse them but any other groups promoting intolerance.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Off Topic:

Bob: I thought you might be interested in this, if you haven't seen it yet:

http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/89650/letters-rosa-luxemberg-review

bob said...

Thanks CC, will check out.

Agree with most of what WS says re EDL, but am doubtful about the effectiveness of the scab line given very low level of "class consciousness" of EDL recruits - Lake as an American millionaire compelling, but not Yaxley-Lennon as a businessman.

Btw, EDL are marching in Plymouth on 9 July.

Back later hopefully - more to say!

Waterloo Sunset said...

As a small update from someone who was in Leeds, apparently the EDL turned up early in the day (it was an all dayer), before most gig goers were there.

And Yaxley-Lennon as a businessman does at least go some way to countering the whole "EDL are working class hardmen" image, sadly reinforced by some leftists.

Mind you, the more I think about it, the more I think the "nonce" angle is one of the strongest, cynical though that is.

Sarah AB said...

I have just noticed they are due to march in Cambridge on 9 July - protesting about a new Mosque (replacement for old and inadequate small mosque which forces them to hold big services in a sports centre). Both new and old sites are a few minutes from where I live. The UAF are organising a counter march.

Flesh said...

Sarah, yes, saw that.

Noticed this with interest. After the Gay Free Zone business last year, LGBT activists negotiate a pledge from the East London Mosque to stop hosting homophobic speakers:

"Hate and division have no place in Tower Hamlets or anywhere else. Extremists, of both the religious and political variety, seek to keep us divided and at each others' throats. Through this action, the East London Mosque will help to rebuild trust between and within communities and to thwart the attempts of those who would try to play us off against each other."

Flesh said...

I somehow missed this too, which would have been a major stimulus for the East London Mosque negotiations - anti-racist conspiracy of silence Police framing the EDL for the 'Gay Free Zone' postering, Tatchell being rightly Outraged.

Isn't everything weird.

Sarah AB said...

Flesh - I'm just a bit sceptical about the ELM living up to its promises - but obviously if they do, that's great. Yes, there seems have been some wish to brush aside Muslim involvement in the homophobic stickers business.

BUT I am aware of no problems at all with the Cambridge mosque - there was a comment on a local website which described Mill Road in a way (as a resident for over ten years) I don't recognize at all. The only unwanted presence from my point of view is the EDL - there's some kind of family w/e in Cambridge on the day of the march but I won't feel like taking my children out with the EDL marching.

Flesh said...

Hi Sarah, "I won't feel like taking my children out with the EDL marching" - completely understandable. It's intolerable that parents should feel unable to take their kids out onto the streets with the EDL around, and that is why they need to be addressed urgently, both directly and indirectly. I hope the march passes off without incident, and that the Mill Road community rallies in defence of its Muslims.