It’s been a terrible few weeks for the English Defence League and this weekend appeared to be the icing on their shitecake. After the successful blockade and buggering of the racist rag-tag bunch when they attempted to march through Walthamstow in September, the discredited leadership decided upon a ‘rematch’ to settle the score. From the very beginning this was doomed to failure, with Tommy Robinson getting nicked along with 52 others on Saturday 20th, whilst allegedly on route to an east London mosque in the back of a removals van.
A few days before the ‘rematch’, a ban was put in place prohibiting all marches in four London boroughs for 30 days – in anticipation of ‘serious public disorder’ if the EDL march went ahead.*
Despite the promises to EDL supporters that they would no longer liaise with the police, the remaining ‘leaders’ agreed to a static demonstration outside Parliament instead.
Here’s a report from a local anti-fascist on events in London on Saturday 27th October:
“We joined up with others from a near-by group early in the morning and set about a spotting mission to see what we could see.
“After making the journey up to Walthamstow and having a mooch about it was obvious that the EDL weren’t calling anybodies bluff and definitely hadn’t made an appearance (despite what they were saying in the run up). The Unite Against Fascism/We Are Waltham Forest demonstration was just starting to gather. It attracted over 200 people and defied the march ban put in place days before.
“Heading back down to central London and checking in at a few of their favourite drinking holes, there wasn’t even a whisper. A small group was seen entering the tube tailed by a group of police twice their number. At the same time reports were filtering through that only 50 EDL supporters had gathered in a pen at Westminster, heavily outnumbered by journalists and police. Around 25 anti-fascists made an attempt to get to them, but their advance was stopped by the large numbers of police present. One EDLer was nicked during the scuffle.
“Half expecting some of the rowdier (and more stupid) elements to head east to either have a pop at the East London Mosque or the London Anarchist Bookfair being held in Mile End, we headed that way. Nothing to report, apart from thousands of people having a jolly time at another very successful bookfair.”
The picture is plain for everybody to see; the EDL only managed to muster between 50-80 people (total) to a ‘national’ demonstration, one that had been billed as ‘the come back’ at that. This is in comparison to the estimated 100,000 who marched against cuts in London the weekend previously, and the thousands who attended the London Anarchist Bookfair on the same day.
The EDL are nosediving into insignificance, something that even the remaining die-hards are fast realising. It’s at times like these when anti-fascists need to make a concerted effort to drive them into the ground- for good! Previously far-right groups have faced dwindling opposition as they’ve gotten smaller and smaller, allowing them to re-organise and re-emerge later on.
Whilst Saturday proved to be another major set back for the EDL and their divisive and reactionary ’cause’, anti-fascists could have had a much bigger impact. If 1/10 of the people attending the Anarchist Bookfair had chosen to get out on the streets, the day would have ended very differently for the EDL. Lets not give them room to breath. See you on the streets!
*For the record – we do not believe in banning marches nor do we believe that the state can be used to oppose fascism. The ban equally covers possible marches by anti-fascists, trade unionists or any others wishing to protest or get a message across. Opposition to racist or far-right groups can only come about through a truly democratic and grassroots position. To rely on state repression is to undermine the principles of self-organisation and direct democracy that we believe in, and to put our faith in an institution far more destructive and divisive to the working-class than the fascists currently are.