The English defence league have been around for a few years now and are the most well known and easily recognised fascist group in the UK today, they are also by a distance the largest and most active. Areas like Rotherham have seen marches as frequently as every 6 weeks, some with over 1000 in attendance. They are an extremely violent group who focus mainly on attacking and intimidating the Muslim community in Britain, although if there are no immigrants around they will happily fight with anti-fascist groups, the police and if all else fails, each other. They have caused 10’s of thousands of pounds worth of damage to businesses in areas they have visited and the total bill to the taxpayer for policing their demonstrations is 10’s of millions.
As I have already mentioned the EDL are the largest fascist group in the UK today. This is in part because unlike others they are able to mobilise great numbers to national demonstrations, mainly because they are able to draw in young disillusioned white working class males whom it may not be accurate to describe as fully fledged fascists. Many are simply uneducated working class youths seeking acceptance and a day of drinking and violence to distract them from their miserable lives. I start by addressing this group within the EDL because I feel they need to be dealt with in a different way to the more seasoned hardcore Nazi’s within the group. These youths often know very little about what the EDL really are and are merely taken in by their propaganda and visible presence, they are angry at their lot in life and the obvious corruption within society today and go to the EDL marches as they see them as the only people taking visible action. The type of action, however abhorrent, does not concern them they just feel the need to display their anger at society in any way possible. I would dare to say that 90% of these youths will not harbour their current views by the time they are 30 and on that basis I feel that if possible the best course of action to take with them is education. Leaflet colleges, sixth forms and town centres with anti-fascist literature, the schools won’t educate the youth so we must do it ourselves. Once they come to understand that the EDL is little more than a reincarnation of the German Nazi’s they will quickly distance themselves from the movement.
On The Streets
As Trotsky said “The first course of action to take with any fascist should be to try and educate him, however when education fails it is time to introduce his face to the pavement!” And that put simply is how we should deal with the majority of the EDL, the question is how to do so when the police presence at their marches is often greater than that of the EDL and anti-fascist groups combined? That is a tricky question, but there are a few answers. First and foremost, MOBILISE! When the EDL gather we need all anti-fascists of all creeds to take to the streets and work together, trade unionists and anarchists need to be on the same team on this issue. At present most counter demonstrations are organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) who are an organisation backed by the unions, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the Socialist Party and even Labour, the problem with this is that they are an extremely moderate group who will not (for the most part) support direct action for the sake of being inclusive. However this stops the anarchist groups like the Anti-fascist network (AFN) and anti-fascist action from confronting the EDL head on due to the new protest control powers granted to police allowing them to keep all protesters to designated areas and march routes. The solution is simple, don’t co-operate with the police! The orders they use to threaten protesters with arrest have no power if the police have not been forewarned that a protest will take place. Organise a demonstration on the EDL march route and simply take control of the situation. Block their march, occupy the area the want for their demo or if possible kettle the fascists. These are all peaceful and legal protest tactics that are 100x more effective than the UAF’s ‘multi-cultural demonstrations’ and ‘unity vigils’ that do nothing to actually stop the fascists. Any one of these approaches would not merely defeat the fascists on the day, it would send them into a violent rage giving the anarchist groups and the more radical minded in general the opportunity to give the Nazi scum the kicking they deserve while the moderates can fall back to a peaceful solidarity demonstration. The only solution to the violence of the EDL is to beat them at their own game, we will achieve nothing by waving banners at them through the barriers and police cordons. It hasn’t worked so far and it never will, it’s time for direct action, it’s time the UAF realised this and either changed their approach or left it to those who are actually willing to do what is required to organise the fightback.
Another course of action is to take the fight to them online, as the anonymous opKKK showed, this can be very effective. This can be done in a number of ways. Firstly for the more technologically minded antifa’s there is the anonymous favourite of denial of service attacks aimed at their websites and message boards. The benefits of this are obvious, it takes them out of the public sphere for a short time and generates publicity for anti-fascism that benefits us all. The second option is much more simple, get their membership list and post it online! This can be done in 2 ways, by simply taking it from their facebook groups, or by hacking their sites. In either scenario once you have a list of EDL supporters and members just post it far and wide online. Add as much info about each individual as possible, home town, place of work, anything that you can find. Most of this info is on facebook, if your willing to spend some time on a project like this you could create a comprehensive portfolio of UK fascists that is publicly available. Finally the most simple thing anyone can do, oppose the EDL and support antifa’s. Go on the EDL web pages and tell them what they are, constantly! Make it so that no teenager who wanders there will do so without seeing 10 people calling them Nazi’s, the discouraging effect of this is obvious. Along with this help raise awareness, ‘like’, ‘follow’ or join anti-fascist pages and publicise their demonstrations, press releases and events. The more people do this the more people will see it, and more people will take to the streets to oppose the EDL when they take their hatred to towns and cities across Britain.
The EDL are a group in decline, their leader has walked away and the group has become fractured and disorganised. Where they used to mobilise 1000+ at national marches they now struggle to pull a few hundred. In their home town of Luton in Nov 2014 they managed just 300 odd people from their national call out. Their are cracking, due mainly to the tireless work of antifa’s around the country. We have them on the ropes, now its time to finish them off! Once and for all…