Home | Friday 14th August 2009 | Issue 687
FASH GET THE BRUM RUSH
AS ANTI-FASCISTS CLASH WITH THE FAR RIGHT IN BIRMINGHAM CITY CENTRE
Last Saturday, business-as-usual shopping at the Bull Ring in central Birmingham was brought to a halt as sporadic street fighting broke out between a burgeoning new section of the far right in Britain – the English Defence League (EDL) – there to demonstrate against ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ (read: any Muslims), and anti-fascists alongside the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) umbrella group. The mainstream media obligingly printed pictures of white lads being beaten up by Asians, fuelling the fires of racial hatred. Around 400 anti-fascists – mostly local youths - did a good job of kicking the arses of some 150 EDL bandwagoners. In total 35 were arrested and three injured.
The English Defence League, and Casuals United, are supposedly non-BNP, non-NF multi-racial groups united against Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia Law in Britain. But a handful aside, all the faces on their side of the demo were white. Casuals United are the product of a recruitment drive on the football terraces – a common practise in eastern Europe, with footy supporters seen to be patriotic and with a gang mentality. Despite maintaining the charade that they aren’t linked to the BNP, the EDL were started by a BNP member, are fronted by known Combat 18 members, and you couldn’t slide a rizla through the gap between the BNP and EDL agendas, apart from the EDL trying to draw British Afro-Caribbeans into the Islamophobic mix. They say the UAF is a government backed campaign to target them – admittedly it has support from Labour MPs as well as SWP involvement - but the fact is that regardless of the UAF, anti-fascists have actual broad public support, and the EDL/BNP don’t.
The rise of the EDL this year has followed demonstrations and scuffles at several Military parades in Luton and other towns between far right nationalists versus Asian and white anti-fascists (See SchNEWS 670, 671). In Luton the National Front demonstrated on April 13th, and on May 24th the EDL demonstrated there – both times mosques and other properties were attacked in Muslim-heavy areas of town. Far-right groups are planning to return in larger numbers over the August bank holiday at the Harrow mosque in North West London, and are threatening another demo in Manchester in early October.
The public presence of British racist nationalists and xenophobes continues to increase – as is typical in times of economic hardship - however the up-for-it anti-fascist movement is also growing stronger but needs increased support, particularly out on the street.
* Mobilisation against BNP’s Red, White and Blue festival – August 15th - against the BNP as they try to have their celebration of island-mentality xenophobia. Meet at Market Pl Codnor, Ripley, Derbyshire DE5 at 9am followed by a National Rally at 11am, see http://nobnpfestival.wordpress.com
* See these websites www.uaf.org.uk http://jasonnparkinson.blogspot.com