Swansea demo report

This report comes from our comrades in South Wales:

“On Saturday the 27th of April, antifascists from across South Wales joined Swansea Antifa to oppose the far-right. UKIP-rejects “For Britain” had called for a march in Swansea, while fascist wannabe-hooligans boasted of coaches to join them from London. The coaches never showed-up, and their “march” amounted to 30-odd For Britain and DFLA types huddled around a crap PA. Under the protection of the police they remained in a corner of the old Norman castle – an appropriate spot for right-wing British nationalists.

Though billed as a plain “Brexit” demo, For Britain’s anti-Muslim and anti-migrant agenda was as obvious as ever. Typical of the far-right, the party scapegoats and attacks already persecuted groups. Their policies push for further state violence against refugees and more welfare cuts against those trying to survive on benefits. Their racism is blatant. The last time For Britain leader Anne Marie Waters spoke in Swansea (to a hidden mass meeting of ten) she talked of the supposed threats faced by the white “racial group”. Her previous transphobic remarks were also repeated by a fellow-speaker on Saturday.

As antifascists, we spent most of the day keeping an eye on smaller groups of fascists strutting around. Later we joined other protesters, including those from Women’s Strike Cymru and the Socialist Party, who confronted the rally from across the street. With more of a whimper than a bang, For Britain eventually packed their bags and left – and after some macho-posturing and mouthing off from afar, their nastier friends went without a goodbye.

Stand up to Racism had organised their own rally nearby. Typically, they tried to pull protesters away from any real confrontation with the far-right and keep everyone well-behaved in front of their official stage. It was encouraging to see that most people would rather shout at fascists than stand there listening to the Swansea council leader. The Socialist Workers Party, which form Stand up to Racism, have a history of covering-up rape inside their party and are happy working with the police and state-institutions. We maintain that antifascism must be feminist and cannot co-operate with the racist state. Only direct action and community organising can beat back the far-right.

The day showed that it is always worth while for antifascists to mobilise. Left unopposed, the far-right is given free-rein to attack who they like – as those stray groups of fascists might have. Far-right mobilsations may remain small in South Wales, but the racist vandalism of a home in Swansea that same morning shows that there’s little to celebrate. Bashing Muslims and immigrants has been normalised by the politicians already in power. Meanwhile, austerity keeps grinding down the working class. Neither Corbyn or a “People’s Vote” will save us – we need a real, fighting movement, on the streets, in our communities and in the work-place. No pasaran!”

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