Crivvens! Jings! And Help Ma Boab! It’s the end of the year when Nelson Mandela died, Nigella was outed as a coke fiend, and Tommy Robinson abandoned his ailing EDL! And to make matter worse for the far right – ‘neither racist nor violent – but both!’ – a load of EDL got sent down for the Walsall debacle so they will be enjoying an Xmas dinner of Halal turkey twizzlers wondering where it all went wrong. We have had quite a year as well. In February, we went down to Brighton for the launch of ‘Physical Resistance: 100 Years of Antifascism’ (Zero Books), the posthumously released book by Dave Hann, one of the authors of ‘No Retreat’ (Milo Press), which was a roaring success and a great night out for everyone. Both books are recommended reading.
We finished our own book, ‘Militant Anti-Fascism’ which documents anti-fascist struggle in Europe from the 1890s – 1945 and in the UK from 1920s to the present day. This will be out next year published by AK Press. We have also made lots of new friends from around the UK this year and have had some ‘tired and emotional’ outings with them.
The year started off very badly for Tommy Robinson who was sent down for using a false passport to get into the USA. Silly lad Tommy bought it on himself by boasting about it on the internet which many of the EDL tend to do: they have a barney with someone, big themselves up in the digital pub backroom that is Facebook and then get nicked for it. The EDL tried to pass Tommy’s sentence off as ‘political’ but as with his other convictions for assault, hooliganism and breaking bail conditions it was nothing of the sort. Tommy Robinson is a career criminal who has made a fortune ripping of his gullible followers on the far right. And he has made a lot of untaxed money that is yet to be accounted for. The EDL struggled on by assembling an enormous 20 odd at Cambridge which was piss poor and, to make matters worse, they ended up fighting each other which anti-fascists gleefully filmed and posted all over the place.
The EDL then turned up in Manchester where they managed to gather about 400. There was a futile attempt to ‘unite the right’ which started off badly with two factions fighting each other on Victoria Station and ended with the usual drunken threats of retribution and very public fall-outs. We made plenty of new friends and had a hazy night with Hope Not Hate and the EDL News lot which we barely survived.
The March For England – ‘we’re not EDL, honest! Except we are’ – turned up again in ever decreasing numbers in Brighton and they got a slap. This was one of the few times that militants actually came face to face with the fascists and the far right were found severely wanting. Many were caught in the lanes and on the seafront and given a proper kicking from the 100s of black blockers and other militants who turned out. The EDL and all their little grupuscules have never had anything like a result against anti-fascists despite their hollow boasting. Of course in a chastened fit of pique the MFE threatened to return to Brighton later that year but didn’t dare show up.
Biggest disaster for the EDL was in Walsall where plod effectively kettled them in a side street well away from the anti-fascists which the EDL liked not one bit and after some goading by the speakers kicked off with plod which led to many heads being broken and Christmas’s ruined. The EDL decided to try and enter Tower Hamlets again as they had failed to do it last time. This proved to be a further humiliation as plod put them in a mobile kettle from Tower Bridge to Aldgate whilst 100s of anti-fascists of all stripes turned up at Altab Ali park to defend the East End. The EDL did not pass but at least 2 groups of militant anti-fascists were kettled and arrested en masse in one of the only downers for us this year. Support the campaign by our friends at London Anti-Fascists!
The EDL had been fading fast but managed a brief resurrection off the back of the Lee Rigby murder. We went for a look round the Woolwich demo and found the small group of EDL unsurprisingly kettled in a Wetherspoons. The next few demos were better attended but then it all fizzled out again as the other far right grupuscules faced the usual factionalism, fallings out and further division. We saw most of the tiny North West Infidels sent down for assault on a dad and 2 teenagers and a handful of new groups pop up and disappear without trace.
Of course the big story of the year was Robinson very publicly quitting the EDL because of ‘too many nazis’ and getting in with the Quilliam Foundation (who coincidentally had just received a large amount of funding). This was a shock to all and effectively ended the EDL who boldly struggled on in ever decreasing demos that were ignored not only by the media but many anti-fascists who recognise a dead dog when they see one. To end the year we saw 30 EDL getting sent down for over 60 years for the riot at Walsall which they had filmed and then put it on Youtube basically providing plod with even better evidence than their own. E-E-Eejits. Our friends at London Anti-Fascists see this as blatant political policing and we can only agree.
This was heavy manners in the court room and basically a warning to the EDL that it is over and that if they want to kick off again they can expect jail. Of course, this also will be applied to militant anti-fascists as does any hefty legislation but we leave 2013 with the EDL effectively over, Tommy Robinson facing jail again over non-political mortgage fraud charges and many of the Infidels and EDL in jail. Anti-fascists can see this as a very good year with several successful mass mobilisations and a bit of hand-to-hand on the Brighton seafront. So happy holiday to all our friends new and old and see you in the new year!
PS: if you haven’t got this already, stick it on your xmas reading list. Probably the 2nd best book to be written about militant anti-fascism!