About Us
Back Issues
The free weekly direct action newsheet published in Brighton since 1994 - Copyleft - Information for Action

EDL: Merge from far right

Until now the English Defence League (EDL) has been very much a one trick pony, with set piece marches in areas with underlying problems in an attempt to stir up racist tensions. For the first year or so this went very well; the far right have not had much of a street presence since Nick Griffin et al withdrew due to fear of the militant left, but many of the EDL yoof are too young to remember the kickings their ideological forebears received. Initial successes up north brought some of the old guard out of the closet, buoyed by a lack of physical opposition they dusted off their steelcapped boots and bolstered the EDL's ranks.

Things were never going to last though. Numbers began to drop for a variety of reasons, some of the flag waving nationalists were put off by the more extreme racism of their colleagues, others left for the opposite reason – frustrated by a lack of overt racism (at least officially) they either formed a splinter group or retreated to their bunker. The police, who had initially been fairly hands-off, began to become a more oppressive influence on demos – kettling, pre-emptive arrests and restrictive bail conditions became the norm (welcome to world of protesting guys). Even those that stayed loyal had begun to question the wisdom of increasingly ineffective mass action and a lack of political depth.

So, where next? Smaller scale violence against anything left-wing has been the first resort of many. So far this has seen attacks on Occupy camps – though this is only because they are the most visible and vulnerable form of organising, it could be your picket, social centre or info-stall next. While this might keep the rank-n-file content for a while it doesn't add any political clout to what is still just a bunch of drunk racists looking for a fight. EDL leader and former BNP activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon's ill conceived solution has been to announce he is joining the British Freedom Party (think BNP with less members) and encourage others to do the same.

The BFP have welcomed this with open arms – even with the BNP haemorrhaging support and money the BFP have struggled to make an impact since forming last year. Apparently “this is an opportunity for EDL members to move over to BF and for the first time provide input and promote the views of the British working class within a British political party. The EDL will utilise their divisional structure to support British Freedom.” In other words: 'EDL give us working class foot soldiers, we provide middle class leaders to tell them what to do'.

Whether this unholy alliance will make the EDL/BFP a greater threat or merely hasten their demise as they become embroiled in a war with the BNP remains to be seen. Whatever happens though, antifascists need to continue organising to counter what can still be a real threat to both minorities and activists.

Stories about similar subjects...

Local anti-fascists were out and about around the South Coast this week as the BNP tried to rear their ugly mugs once again.

On Saturday 29th October 2011 the English Defence League (EDL) paid their third visit to Birmingham. Previous excursions ended in running battles through the streets. The march was the EDL' second big mobilisation this year, although not hyped as much as their September outing in Tower Hamlets...

Last Thursday (20th) after a month long struggle of battles and barricades, the Dale Farm residents and Camp Constant supporters walked off the site, leaving their homes to the bailiffs' tools of destruction.

The EDL are taking their roadshow back to Brum this week. SchNEWS assumes they'll be hoping to avoid a re-run of their last two visits to the UK's second largest city, which saw them chased round the town centre by Asian youth and anti-fascists.

The English Defence League (EDL) 'Angels' handed in their petition to Downing Street last Saturday

On Monday all nine defendants in the second Welling Blood&Honour case were found not guilty of conspiracy to violent disorder. The first trial saw seven guilty verdicts and six defendants sent down.

Frustrated by their piss-poor showing in Tower Hamlets, the EDL are sending in their women to see if they can do a better job.

Twitter: @SchNEWS