Nothing Flash: The EDL’s New Strategy

Flash Demos?

Reading English Defence League’s forum may give one the impression the EDL is taking over the WORLD but in fact they are in a wee bit of trouble. Jings! Over the weekend they attempted various mobilisations and publicity stunts that tended to either backfire, or like Bradford, disappoint. In London 100 turned up at the US embassy and then were escorted under heavy police escort to the Saudi embassy where they stood and shouted for a bit. Rumours that the Saudi’s immediately renounced Allah are yet to be confirmed.

In Nuneaton about 50 EDL caused a bit of consternation after waving at the homecoming troops parade. They were shepherded to a boozer by plod and were subsequently surrounded by 200 people from the local community. If the EDL really want to ‘fight militant Islam’ why don’t they all go down the Army recruiting office and sign up for Afghanistan? Or are their criminal records and membership of far right groups going to be a problem?

In Oldham about 120 EDL, casuals and BNP members assembled for a ‘flash demo’ and according to the EDL forum the local cops were anamused and responded in force. There were several arrests.

Of course, the news media picked up on all 7 EDL members in New York. ‘Tommy Robinson’ AKA Steven Yaxley-Lennon was turned back by customs and claims that the motives were political but ‘Tommy’ was jailed for assaulting a policeman and this is the real reason for his expulsion. Embarrassing. The EDL are also claiming their hotel rooms were turned over when they were out. This confirms how ‘dangerous’ they are. Which is the point. Without the attendant publicity the EDL cease to exist. Politically they have achieved nothing. They have caused several very negative media splashes at their demos but apart from filling their scrapbooks their gains have been exactly nowt. They need the press and opposition to make themselves feel important but apart from allowing them to let off steam gets them nowhere. All they get is bad press. Some may say ‘all publicity is good publicity’ but not if your Gary Glitter.

Plod Bother

The EDL’s new strategy of flash demos is not going to please Old Bill in the least. They are illegal and plod will respond with force. As shown in Oldham. Some are saying that they should just turn up in Leicester rather than liaising with the authorities because they are sick of hanging around at the RV point for hours then being marched to a site to be  kettled in for hours with scant facilities. Which has caused problems in the past. At Bradford, ‘chav scrotes’ attacked stewards and fighting broke out with the police. Liaising with plod has caused dissent with many as has the leadership deciding everything (but that’s what leaders do lads!). Many EDL would rather have a straight fight with the cops and anyone else who opposes them and whilst the flash demos will certainly provide an opportunity to do this, it also means heavier policing, more arrests and diminishing numbers at each demo. As Bradford showed they are contracting in size.  The confrontational approach will attract more Nazis, hooligans and ‘chav scrotes’ but how this will be politically expedient is unclear.  

Dutch Courage?

The EDL will be hoping to get to Leicester on October 9th but there are moves to ban the demo. However, the government banned marches in Bradford but it still kicked off on their static demo. They are also hoping to mobilise at Nuneaton again soon. They intend to go to Amsterdam on 30th October to support right winger Geert Wilders. A further concern is the influence of the EDL on hooligans across Europe who will copy their tactics and appreciate the opportunity for a scrap and to voice overt racist sentiments with little state repercussion. Many in the UK see the demos as a good day out on the beer and this will be attractive to Euro-hooligans as well.

Conclusion

The EDL have proven, time and time again, that they are politically naïve in the extreme. They are genuinely perplexed when the police attack them for illegally assembling. They still pretend they are ‘not racists’ despite the continued and increasingly noticeable presence of known fascists on their demos. On the EDL forum, others complain about the Nazis and racist chanting and there have been several notable resignations by prominent members. They pile into potentially volatile areas – Bradford, Bolton – and then wonder why there are hundreds of people there to oppose them. their understanding of the opposition demonstrates their naivety the most: their logic goes ‘we oppose militant Islam so anyone who opposes us therefore supports militant Islam.’ Wrong. That the Muslim communities despise the EDL’s provocation tactics is well documented but there are a great many others who counter-demonstrate because they dislike pissed up racists marching through their towns claiming to represent the majority of British people. The EDL define themselves by what they oppose, not what they stand for. They sing ‘English till I die’ but their idea of England does not reflect the reality. The majority of British people dislike drunken racist hooligans causing violent disturbances and would rather live peacefully.

‘Malatesta’

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About malatesta32

Malatesta, undercover anti-fascist blogger, has analyzed the changing fortunes of the British far right since 2009. He has written for the anarchist magazine Freedom and the book, Militant Anti-Fascism: 100 Years Of Resistance (AK Press 2015). http://www.akuk.com/index.php?_a=product&product_id=7285
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