Tuesday 8 May 2018

Updated; far right, UKIP & Tommy Robinson looking to forge path forward; time to build resistance

The far right For Britain party were part of the demonstration

(pic – Guy Smallman)

Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism  as well as others, opposed the DFLA

Various strands of the far right and openly fascist groups assembled in central London, last Sunday. They had come to hear the ludicrously titled ‘free speech’, rally called by ex English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, after Twitter has blocked his hate speech, online. Robinson had cancelled a proposed far right demonstration at Twitter HQ.



Information has reached UAF that a wealthy, British businessman is funding Robinson, and there is talk of a UK wide tour, for Robinson, funded by well heeled friends. This remains to be seen and we will release any credible information we receive.




Overall, at least 4000 racists, Trump and UKIP supporters and open nazis heard a succession of failed politicians and far right speakers. Alongside this, a march by the increasingly violent and thuggish Democratic (sic) Football Lads Alliance (DFLA), a split from the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) joined other bigots after gathering at Speakers Corner. The latter march numbered around 2000 and went to Robinson’s hate rally, in Whitehall.




The miniscule National Front were there, rubbing shoulders with the Black Death, aka UKIP. Ex BNP members mixed with ex EDL members, with Tommy Robinson being greeted as a hero to the islamophobes and fascists. His name was sung by fascists and UKIP supporters, alike, drinking around Westminster.




Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism held a counter protest of around 400. The fascist football firm, the Chelsea Headhunters joined forces with Glasgow Rangers thugs (the so called Blues Brothers alliance) and attacked anti racists. They were repelled,  yet another smaller group tried the same later, also to be rebuffed. Some wore Ulster Defence Association shirts, the banned paramilitary group, which has long had fascist connections. Indeed a prominent ex UDA commander and DFLA member, was arrested the day before the march.



The nazi terror group, Combat 18 was run partly by members of the Headhunters, one of whose leaders, Charlie Sargent, was convicted of murder, in 1997. Sergent is back in jail but some of his associates from that time such as Rob Gray, were at Robinson’s rally. Gray was sent to prison in 1997 for producing the deeply racist C18 magazine, “The Stormer”.

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Around 15 football firms were in evidence, other than those mentioned, Leeds, Leicester, Spurs, and from the West Midlands eg Walsall and Aston Villa. There was not the large contingents seen on earlier FLA demos’ such as from West Ham and Millwall. Ex Britain First members marched alongside them, clearly the former looking for a new home, in the wake of Britain First’s leaders, recent jailings. Open nazis like the violent, Pie and Mash Squad freely roamed around Robinson’s gathering.




The day’s events should alert much wider sections of our movement to what is occurring and the need to build wider forces to resist the far right’s attempts at coming back.



The DFLA are not entirely happy with their day as this Admin post on their closed Facebook wall shows,

dfla london march

However, there can be no room for complacency over Sunday and the confrontational street movement aligning with politicians such as UKIP and For Britain’s Anne Marie Waters. Though Robinson didn’t get the turn out of 10,000 that he had promised, the day was a warning. As UAF has said before, there are clear parallels to what is taking place across Europe with the far right, for instance, the relationship between PEGIDA’s growth in Germany and the AfD’s rise. Many who voted for and play organisational roles in the AfD, came through the ranks of PEGIDA’s islamophobic marches.



Trump supporters

There was a large plethora of Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” hats and a delegation of the US far right, Anti Communist Action group. Apart from Robinson,  the biggest cheers went to Milo Yiannoupolous, who had flown in from America to deliver a 20 minute sexist and islamophobic tirade. The latter had recently been dropped by other far right outlets such as Breitbart, over disgusting remarks relating to the age of consent. Robinson however, clearly has no issue over this.



Robinson said, “The people of this country have been silenced for 20-30 years with the tag of racists. They have managed to silence people so that they are too scared to speak up when they see things that are wrong. They now realise that that tag is dead: no one cares anymore with being labelled racists.” Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan were booed whenever their names were mentioned.



The clearly well funded assembly of hate was akin to a leadership rally of the currently splintered far right, particularly, for Robinson. He clearly has an opportunity to regroup the forces of the far right after the EDL has been reduced to a pathetic rump. Electorally weak and fragmented, the far right may be, but this will not last indefinitely. On the terrorist fringes are groups like the now banned National Action, whilst electorally, there exists no avenue for fascists, for now. Hence Robinson and his political allies in UKIP sense their opportunity to fuse street politics with political representation.



Compering the far right day was Breitbart’s London editor, Raheem Kassam. Breitbart is not a news site or a media outlet in any meaningful sense. Breitbart is a far right outlet, with a blatant anti muslim and pro Trump agenda.

It distorts and disseminates vile propaganda eg Alex Marlow, editor of Breitbart, told CNN last year, that it was ‘dishonest’, in its efforts to help Donald Trump win. Ex White House insider, Steve Bannon, who was chair of Breitbart, regularly shares platforms with fascists such as Marine Le Pen



Such developments are of concern to all anti fascists; the “free speech” rally brought together fascists and Ukip. Ukip flags and members of their youth section with party pin badges were dotted through the crowd. The far right right youth group Generation Identity (GI), chatted amicably with UKIP members. However, fascists from the National Front at one stage tried to attack GI members, for reasons not yet clear.



Thugs from far right groups and the DFLA also physically attacked two Muslim speakers, showing their true colours. Even those sympathetic to Robinson have noted the “thuggish elements” on the march and bemoaned that this might damage upcoming events. This reflects the fact that there are weaknesses within Robinson’s unholy alliance and something that may yet cause problems for the likes of  Gerrard Batten, who presently is happy to pose with far right thugs.



The DFLA, which has been increasingly working with Ukip leaders, is acting as the bridge between the two. After their meltdown in the local elections in England last week, the Ukip leadership see the DFLA as an opportunity to rebuild their base.



Ukip leader Gerard Batten poured out Islamophobia and his speech was polluted by anti Semitic imagery. He claimed that an “alliance of the far left and big international business” was behind “political correctness” and a drive for a “globalist system controlled by an elite”.



Batten then turned his ire towards Muslims claiming that the “elephant in the room was Islam” and that “we have imported into Western civilisation a dark age ideology”. He implored people “to organise politically. You can have a march of thousands of people like you’ve had today, there were marches before and did they change anything? I would like you to join Ukip.”



(UKIP funder Lord Pearson has also backed the DFLA and islamophobes like the ‘Veterans Against Terrorism’. The deputy leader of the far right AfD in Germany, recently spoke at a meeting in the Midlands, hosted by UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge. Fortunately, the night was fairly small, just twenty five turned up to hear Beatrix Von Storch.

Von Storch was rightly criticised for saying in 2016, that German border police had the right to shoot illegal immigrants. Etheridge has also asked fascist EDL members to join UKIP.)




Anne Marie Waters, leader of the far right For Britain party, also railed against “Islam” and “cultural Marxism” to loud applause directly after Batten. She was previously deemed too Islamophobic for Ukip. There was also widespread pandering to antisemitism by defending ‘Count Dankula’s’ antisemitic online videos, and having Mark Meechan as a speaker.



Anti fascists and anti racists response

The left must take the threat of the far right regrouping seriously. At the 400-strong SUTR and UAF demo Michael Bradley from Stand Up To Racism told the rally, “The DFLA and Tommy Robinson say they want free speech. But what they really want is the right to intimidate people and encourage racist attacks. The BNP had the same aim.


Black youth and trade unionists and the left and anti-racists confronted them on the streets in large numbers and there was intense campaigning against them. That is why the  BNP and the NF were defeated.”


Crucially, some trade unions backed the demonstration with Homerton hospital Unison, Portsmouth trades council, Lambeth NUT/NEU, Islington NUT/NEU, Redbridge NUT/NEU, London Magazine NUJ, UCU London, Lambeth Unison, RMT LGBT members, Oxfordshire health Unison, Portsmouth City Unison and other banners on Sunday.



The RMT sent a delegation to the anti fascist demonstration, which is to be welcomed and must be built upon. We will need bigger numbers when the original FLA marches in Manchester on 19 May, and the DFLA takes to the streets in the same city on 2 June. The FLA are experiencing problems, in the light of founder John Meighan’s resignation. They are now run by ex EDL members and are obviously looking jealously at the DFLA. It may be a matter of time before the FLA merges into the DFLA, as many in both camps want.


Event details for May 19 are here, https://www.facebook.com/events/2001642030103263/



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