As the BNP continue to implode the EDL are siphoning off support for their own brand of racism.
It has been a bad week for the BNP again with the guilty verdicts on hedgerow terrorist David Lucas for gunpowder and ammo and Peter Tierney of Liverpool BNP guilty of assault (they apparently share the same fashion consultant). Liverpool BNP are also in a bit of a homophobic tizz over the sexual proclivities of one of their members. (There is an amusingly rancid thread on VNN if you need any more info on that one.) Post-election Red, White and Blues have drastically affected Nick Griffin and there is much disharmony in the party. Griffin is clearly worried about a coup and in-between expelling former golden boy Mark Collett and being shafted by Simon Bennett over the website, he has been busy expelling members in the West Country and seeking out other victims. Eddie Butler is attempting a leadership challenge with some support from the disparate Nazis posting on the forums and the pro-Griffin smear machine is in full swing against him. All of which, combined with the dismal showing at the hustings, is benefitting the EDL.
The ‘non-racist, non-violent’ EDL are much more attractive to the casual and not-so-casual racist in that they offer the potential of a scrap, a barrel of lager and a much needed ego-boost. This week has been eventful on a small level for the EDL. At the weekend a few EDL ‘supporters’ confronted a pro-Palestinian demo in Birmingham and after a bit of fruitless argy-bargy attempted to go and watch the England game but found themselves barred from the boozers and filmed by the cops. They then went home to watch the telly. On Tuesday, a handful of EDL went to Whitechapel in East London and after being kettled into a boozer for a bit were then escorted out of the area by the cops for their own safety, pursued by a large and angry crowd of locals. We can presume that the EDL are not likely to set up a local chapter there. Further out in Barking on the same day the EDL/BNP were attending the Royal Anglian homecoming parade as were ‘Muslims Against Crusades.’ This new grupuscule is very similar in tactics and ideology to Anselm Choudary’s Islam4UK and after making a bit of noise they were abused by the EDL/BNP contingent and then escorted away by the police. These ‘militant Islamic’ groups are as suspect as the EDL in that they gather in extremists who are then more easily monitored by the state. With their usual naivety the EDL assume that all anti-fascists, UAF, SWP etc., support these bozos and are therefore claiming a great victory against anti-fascism. So this week’s activities by the EDL have amounted to little more than a humiliation in Whitechapel, several photos to put in their hooligan scrapbooks and a few crowing posts on Indymedia. The SDL have also planned a demo in Kilmarnock this weekend but if their previous excursions north are anything to go by this may be dismal.
The EDL claim that they are standing up for English values yet are vague about what these actually are. Most people would say ‘English values’ are tolerance, plurality, peace, a long heritage of mixed ethnicities dating back to Roman times and a simple desire to get on with life. The EDL’s values tend to revolve around drunken violence. The way that the EDL website perceives themselves and the reality differ enormously: they describe EDL demos like Sunday picnics, all lads together being hassled by the cops and the beastly UAF.
The EDL say they are a peaceful protest group who merely oppose militant Islam but their visits to places like Whitechapel and the planned one in Bradford are guaranteed to cause trouble. The EDL inflate the threat of ‘militant Islam’ and use the term loosely to legitimise their racism. Why do they choose Bolton or Bradford? Is it because they know for a fact there are ‘preachers of hate’ there or is it simply to have a go at Muslims? Where is the evidence that Bolton or Bradford are full of ‘Islamic extremists’ as opposed to just Muslim communities? The racist/pro-BNP chants on the demos do little to disguise their bigotry. On the various forums the EDL criticise the burkah and halal as if they are pro-feminist vegetarians which again serve as an excuse to have a go at Muslims. The EDL provoke communities with a strong Muslim presence and then pretend surprise when they are opposed by people who take umbrage at a bunch of outsiders disrupting their town. And the potential for violence is precisely the attraction of the EDL: they attract fascists who can no longer hold marches as they are outnumbered by the opposition, and football hooligans who can no longer fight at football matches due to heavy surveillance.
How many more photos and quotes do the EDL need before they admit they are riddled with BNP members, drunks, hooligans, racists and fascists. No one is saying that all EDL are like this for there is clearly a moderate wing but to deny this is beginning to sound a bit delusional. If the EDL really had it in them, they would forcibly exclude the vocally racist, provocative behaviour and Nazi following. But they do not. The fascist websites frequently include comments from those who have been on the demos. One reason the EDL are less keen on a productive exclusion policy is that like most far-right groups they really on quantity not quality. This has led any number of fascist grupuscules imploding in acrimony, accusations and violence. They will take anyone regardless of ideological purity. These ‘internal contradictions’ will cause the EDL problems in the future.
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