Sunday 2 September 2018

Worcester sees off fascist English Defence League – again!

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Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, crowd and outdoor
Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and outdoor

Saturday was an excellent day for anti fascists in Worcester. Over 500 people marched against the fascist English Defence League (EDL). This is the second time in as many months that the EDL have been humiliated in the city,



Bereft of any strategy other than the classic fascist one of ‘march and grow’, albeit in this  case,’ march and stagnate’, the EDL are gluttons for anti fascist punishment. They are a far cry from the era of 2010- 11, when they could amass up to 5000 islamophobes and British National Party members, alongside Nazis and posed a real threat.

The EDL were able to march, due in large part to the large numbers of police. However, they were humbled by many in Worcester. Much credit  to Worcester TUC who co ordinated the day. Firefighters from the Fire Brigades Union stood alongside many muslims who helped lead a lively day. The EDL were intent on inflaming islamophobia over the issue of a proposed new mosque. They failed, miserably!

Many Labour party members were among trades unionists from the civil service PCS union, the rail workers RMT, the teachers NEU union, Unite the union, postal workers from the CWU union and of course, the FBU.

Perhaps 100 EDL heard racist rants from bigots who were constantly mocked by locals. Anti-fascists were clapped by dozens of shoppers who joined in our chants. Not a few EDL stayed  in the one pub that was forced to serve them, by police, drafted in to ‘facilitate’ the  fascists….To add to their embarrassment, the EDL’s sound system experienced continual problems.



Young Polish women joined anti fascists and were just some of many teenagers who showed what Worcester is really about; multi racial and a city that has put itself on the map for mobilising against little Hitlers, such as EDL. Various fascist non entities made up the rag bag EDL, some affiliated to  the racist Democratic Football Lads Alliance.



The day had started with leading campaigner, Salma Yaqoob, kicking off an excellent anti fascist rally. Salma made a hard hitting speech. She tore into bigots like Boris Johnson who are ‘intent on ramping up Islamophobia’. In a well received talk, she said the ‘spirit of Cable St’ must always remind us that it’s working people who in great numbers  can beat back fascists.



The local leader of the council was one of several speakers who said, Today, we again are opposing unwanted fascists who have no place here. He went onto say that fascists should always be opposed’.
Firefighters & #justiceforGrenfell speakers went down a storm. ‘ We know who the real enemies are; it aint our Muslim brothers & sisters ! Those at the top of society who are scapegoating our friends should know; we stand united against efforts to divide & rule!

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Bookmarks bookshop who were recently targeted by fascists, had a representative speak. Anti fascists were ebullient in a show of solidarity with Bookmarks staff. UAF and Stand Up To Racism also spoke, underlining the need to urgently build our forces up, to halt fascism. The international anti fascist conference on October 20th, mobilisations against the DFLA/ Tommy Robinson, plus the November 17 Unity demo, were highlighted,


Anti fascists, post rally, marched to close proximity of the EDL. Dozens of shoppers stopped and  applauded us. As one firefighter remarked, ‘Look at the goons over there, they are gutted’! We held a short rally and mocked the EDL, as their demonstration folded and those attending slunk out of town. There then followed a vibrant march back to the original rally point. Spirits were high; the EDL had been rumbled, unity in action had won out!



Local muslims treated people to refreshments after the march. A touching show of solidarity from a community who under threat from fascists, showed courage and great imagination during the day (the drummers were fantastic!). Pressure had been put on march organisers by some in authority to accede to unacceptable limits on the day. To their credit, people stood firm and organised in the face of such duress. Another victory and an example.




The EDL clearly remain a fascist rump. Mobilisations such as today from anti fascists will be critical in resisting the far right, based around their key UK figure, Tommy Robinson. As UAF and Stand Up To Racism have continually stressed, the best way we can aid anti fascists in places like Germany (currently of course, resisting the far right in Chemnitz) is to build broad forces here to mobilise against our own, far right. A message of support read out in Worcester from German anti fascists who were demonstrating in Chemnitz, at the same time as in Worcester, did not fall on deaf ears




The organisation, vitality and energy of yesterday were inspiring and bode well for anti fascists. Wherever fascists appear, it’s such as in Worcester that can help block their path. Book up to the international conference, here,





















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