The AFN conference this year took place on 1st December in Oxford. It was very impressivley organised and well attended. The amount of footwork that had been put into the event was clear and really paid off to make it a hugely successful event. There was a really good range of both informative and practically useful sessions on offer, from antifascist history to legal info for demos and from an introduction to the AFN and militant antifascism to a talk on how to get info on our far right enemies. Another session made clear the links and shared politics between transphobia and fascism. A very accessible and motivational self defence session got a lot of uptake and the community centre was filled with the sounds of hitting pads.
A network can’t march on theory and practice alone so an impressive dinner was served up by a hard working local community kitchen crew who were really pleased to support the conference by doing what they do best. Likewise, raised fists to the awesome folk duo who played and sang some very powerful old antifascist and rebel songs in the pub afterwards as conference participants relaxed and socialised together.
Everyone has something to offer to the antifascist struggle. The day was a powerful reflection of what we have and what we can achieve as a network when we put our knowledge, experience, skills and efforts together. Full respect to the organisers from Oxford Antifascists and to everyone involved who helped create such an impressive space to discuss, learn, inform, practice and socialise together. Events like this strengthen antifascist solidarity and keep us and our movement energised and motivated to carry on the fight.
Another brilliant and strong example of grassroots community antifascism was on show in Southampton yesterday. It was met by a total no show by the neo nazis and racists who had planned to march in the town. The so called Pie and Mash squad, recently renamed Cry and Dash by militant antifascists who have met them, must have had a quick look at the hundreds of antifascists occupying their intended rally point and thought better of it. We got reports from spotters that they were lurking in a pub but had strangely disappeared by the time a large group of antifascists arrived to have a word about their misguided politics. We’ve noticed these fascists always have good running shoes. When word got out that they were at the train station police lines could not stop a mob determined to get there to see them off. They must have been right on their toes and only just managed to escape with help from the police who put them on a train home for their own safety. 5 words: “Get on the train, quick!” So while the fascist losers (all 16 of them!) were having their customary and laughable “victory” photo on the getaway train, we celebrated with several hundred antifascists on the real victory march through town to the Guildhall. The mix of people and sense of solidarity was an impressive reminder of our strength and shared contempt for right wing politics in the face of the fallout from Brexit. We heard a lot of people asking how they could get involved with the local group and we’re sure this will be a big boost to antifascist organising in the town. Winning grows confidence, which grows movements! We were very proud to help keep the streets of Southampton tidy and to stand alongside such a top bunch of comrades. Respect and solidarity to all Southampton antifascists!
Today, anti-fascists from across the country stood in solidarity with locals from around Dover to oppose neo-nazis and assorted far-right rejects who decended on the town, once more openly flying fascist flags and seig heiling.
All in all, around 350 antifascists gathered around a KARN aid convoy to Calais, which, after being filled with donations from locals, was to be sent to the port.
Several vehicles had been provided, and the plan was for them to be escorted into the port, right under the noses of the fascists. Whilst the far-right bimble around burning EU flags and throwing bacon at mosques, we offer practical solidarity with those fleeing both ISIS and the Western bombing.
After some short speeches, nearly 400 antifascists moved off towards the port, the aid convoy in our midst. Despite the enormous police presence, we stuck together and made it down to the seafront, where the convoy was cheered onto a Calais-bound ferry. The nationalists were powerless to stop us, after all their online bluster about “smashing the reds” and “doing antifa”. Only around 100 to 120 of them actually bothered to come, and they were clearly not interested in making good on their online threats.
After the convoy was seen off, antifascists quickly moved to block the road and stop the fascists marching. The far-right march route was blocked, and the fascists ended up being stuck in an immobile kettle for nearly two hours, bored out of their skulls waiting for the police to move us out of their way.
Eventually, inevitably, the police moved in. Kent’s finest seemed determined to facilitate open neo-nazis marching through Dover, despite local opposition. They kettled us and aggressively arrested several antifascists, eventually forcing us back onto one side of the road so they could move the fascists through.
Then the fascists were finaly marched into view, and what a sorry lot they were. Barely half the numbers of last time, marching slowing in silence, surrounded by a mobile kettle of police for their own protection. They couldn’t even muster a good chant as they went past us, most prefering to keep their heads down and stay silent. Even those few who did make any noise confined themselves to shouting “come on then!” at antifascists from behind 4 lines of police, horses and vans. How brave, lads. They marched past us (with a couple of lacklustre seig-heils), held a few speeches at the docks (in which cypriot immigrant Paul Prodromou burned an EU flag and shouted about “imigants” for a while) then marched back past us (again in silence) and were escorted under extremely heavy manners back to the station and promtly sent packing.
All in all, not exactly a good day for Paul and his fascist mates. They had very low numbers, and it took the combined protection of about 5 different police forces for them to march 500m through town, and even then we held them up for nearly 2 hours! All this plus the fact that we proudly marched an aid convoy to Calais through the centre of town right under their noses, and they couldn’t do jack about it.
We’ll leave you with this utterly hilarous photo of some of the neo-nazis who were in town today. Is it just us or does this remind anyone of kiddies dressing up as power rangers?
Great day out in London today, it was fantastic to be a part of the Stop War on Kurds Demo to highlight the brutal attack on Kurdistan by Erdoğan and his Turkish state thugs. A great chance for the Anti-Fascist Network to show their support for the Rojava Revolution. Many thanks to the organisers who helped made this rally possible!
JOIN US – Midlands Antifascist Network, the Anti-Fascist Network and the people of Birmingham to block the racist PEGIDA march at Birmingham International railway station.
====== “WHAT’S GOING ON?” ======
Tommy Robinson, ex-EDL leader, is now setting up EDL version 2.0 in the UK, called “PEGIDA UK”. It aims to provide a ‘safe’ environment for people to march against Muslims, migrants and refugees, to attract more middle-class and ‘better behaved’ racists than the EDL. Now the Tories have tried to make islamophobia ‘acceptable’ in government and education, PEGIDA aim to make islamophobia ‘acceptable’ on the streets.
====== RACIST VIOLENCE ======
PEGIDA has originated in Germany, and as the racist, Islamophobic messages have been said more openly and presented as ‘reasonable’, racist violence has greatly increased. This has repeatedly been shown to happen when racists and fascists are allowed to march, in the history of far-right movements both in the UK and across Europe. Attacks on people of colour, Muslims, migrants and refugees in the street, at home or associated shops have been attacked. Birmingham has seen a taste of this violence, particularly after Charlie Hebdo and the latest Paris attacks, but in Germany, things have become far worse.
In January, the single most destructive racist attack was carried out by over 200 neo-nazi’s rampaging through Leipzig, smashing and burning property connected with connections to perceived ‘foreigners’ and left-wing organisations. The attack was staged at the same time as a PEGIDA demonstration, and more directly violent racists have been given courage by the widespread racist marches. Tommy Robinson now wants to bring this movement here, to engage in activity which is proven to further provoke racist violence. We cannot and will not allow this!
====== BLAMING MIGRATION FOR SEXISM ======
When it comes to sexual assaults, rape and other sexist acts, PATRIARCHY IS THE PROBLEM. But since the widespread public harrassment of women in Cologne and other cities on New Year’s Eve, racists everywhere have jumped on this and claimed to be the world’s best feminists. They aren’t. They have denied that harrasment, sexual assault and rape has always been widespread and committed primarily by white men, stating that “Rape Culture Is Imported”. Denying the existence of white patriarchy is not only deeply racist but incredibly sexist. The crimes of men don’t just belong to black and asian migrants.
====== “WHY BLOCK PEGIDA?” ======
PEGIDA does not want to be opposed and in Germany they have developed tactics to limit counter-demonstrators where they need to build strength. To them, this first march in the UK is important. It is staged entirely for the cameras! Alcohol has been banned, and stewards will enforce ‘silent walking’. They have chosen the NEC to reduce opposition to the march (instead of marching in a busy city-centre), to almost ‘edit out’ counter-demonstrators from the media images. These images will then be used to promote the next marches and attract a larger, wider audience – people that usually wouldn’t go near the EDL. We need PEGIDA to remain reliant on the EDL drunks for numbers.
We must oppose racists where they march, and not just leaflet some shoppers, miles away. To avoid PEGIDA building a popular, middle-class, extra-parliamentary racist movement, we need to seize the limelight from PEGIDA’s dreary, racist march. By blocking PEGIDA, we can show that racism is never ‘reasonable’ or ‘acceptable’. We can show that TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER!
By now, there have already been numerous reports and articles on what happened in Dover on Saturday. A stinking cocktail of failing and ever-shrinking groupsicles from Britain’s far-right decided to return to Dover for another attempt to ‘send the refugees and migrants back’ and to show their ‘support’ for truckers. Kent Anti-Racist Network, along with support from the national Anti-Fascist Network, organised a mobilisation of our own to send a direct message to these fascist leftovers that their bigotry, single-minded hate and oppressive politics have no place anywhere.
BRISTOL ANTIFASCISTS answered the call-out to resist the fascists at the White Cliffs and organised our largest group of militant antifascists to date. Together we joined the AFN and resisted the fascists alongside comrades from all parts of the country. Despite their best efforts, and a constant barrage of posturing propaganda, their numbers have shrunk since the last mobilisation and there was a striking lack of unity between different far-right groups. The infighting observed on Saturday goes to show they haven’t learned how to play nicely together.
It was evident to us that the police had no interest whatsoever in dealing with the vile boneheads or their openly racist chanting and Nazi saluting. We saw many of them complaining bitterly and whinging to the cops, demanding shamelessly that they take action against us. Fascists have a long history of grassing, and this is just another example of how they are enemies of our class.
Despite their chest-beating and delusions of grandeur, it was clear to everyone that the fascists got the worst of Saturday’s confrontations. And it would have been a lot worse for them, too, if the numerous coaches of antifascists stopped by cops had made it to the demo. The fascist scum nursing sore heads, injuries and broken teeth this week should think seriously about not coming next time. The bravery, solidarity and effective direct action of the antifascists in Dover was impressive and we are very proud to be a part of it.
Everything we saw in Dover strengthens our resolve and determination to fight fascism with everything we have, and to each time smash them harder. We cannot allow sieg heiling Nazi scum any space, and we will not sit and watch their racist, hateful attacks on refugees and migrants. Now is the time to get involved, get active and get organised to beat them off the streets.
Meanwhile, back in the West Country… The far-right’s own fancy dress outfit the NEWBRITISHUNION decided to arrange a “mass” gathering of their own in Bristol. Presumably they were hoping Saturday would be a good opportunity to meet in an unguarded city. Unluckily for all forty five… wait, sorry, I actually meant to say five, of these reenactment enthusiasts, antifascists and groups including comrades from the BRISTOLANARCHISTFEDERATION and CLASSWAR chose to explain a few matters to them about what happens when the far-right choose to mobilise in Bristol. When approached, the NBU tried unsuccessfully to Jedi mind trick their way out of confrontation of any kind by stating timidly that they were not the fascists that everyone was looking for, even after our comrades pulled out pictures of these joker’s faces from the NBU’s own photo shoots. They sought refuge in the Cathedral before being asked to leave there too, doh!
After making quick their escape from this apparent case of mistaken identity, the vast and enormous numbers of the NBU managed to get a triumphant picture of themselves with their vintage flag outside the Will’s memorial building at the University of Bristol before getting the hell out. They say there will be a video and more photos soon, we’re looking forward to seeing that! Master race? You’re ’avin a laugh! Jokers!
On Saturday 30 January neo-Nazis and violent racists from across the UK will head to the coastal town of Dover for an anti-refugee protest. Far-right groups are trying to exploit the “migrant crisis” to whip up racial hatred and bring about ever-harsher controls on those coming to the UK.
Across Europe the far-right have been organising against refugees and encouraging governments to increase their hostility to migrants. While governments close borders with fences and batons to keep those in need out, fascists fire bomb refugee housing. In the UK fascists have tried to organise their own patrols of trucks entering the country, looking for migrants.
This will be the fourth far-right protest to take place in Dover in the last two years. In September an anti-refugee protest in Dover saw more than 200 neo-Nazis rampage through the town calling for the border to be closed. They tried to attack anti-fascists, throwing bricks into crowds including pregnant women and elderly people. Anti-fascists were more than capable of defending ourselves, but the demo served as a reminder to take seriously the threat of fascist violence.
During this time, immediately across the channel, migrants living miserably in ‘the Jungle’ have to endure sadistic attacks from fascist and the police on a regular basis. As usual, the nationalist far-right took advantage of a series of extremely saddening events to spread its xenophobic venom among people and to scare an economically shaken French working class, viciously achieving historic gains in December’s regional elections.
We are calling on anti-fascists from across Europe to join us in organising mass opposition to the anti-refugee protest on Saturday 30 January, to show solidarity with migrants and prevent an escalation of racist violence.
This mobilisation is part of the global struggle between those who wish to see the murderous divisions of nations, borders, and class further entrenched and fortified with razor wire and racist rhetoric – and those who fight for freedom of movement and solidarity among the exploited, oppressed and excluded of the world.
We will be standing with Kent Anti-Racist Network and a growing list of trade union and community organisations to show working class resistance to the neo-Nazis. A victory in Dover on Saturday 30 January will be a victory for the range of movements involved in this fight back.
Organise, make plans, spread the word and see you on the streets!
Yesterday’s mobilisation against the neo-Nazi ‘White Man March’ in Liverpool was an outstanding victory for militant anti-fascism and an utter humiliation and total rout for National Action.
The neo-Nazis didn’t have a march, they didn’t have a rally, they didn’t even leave the train station.
They were lucky to escape without more injuries than they did and it was only by huddling behind a thin line of Liverpool cops that they were able to be finally evacuated and bundled into police vans and rushed out of the city.
They were forced to hide in a left luggage shop for their own protection as a huge crowd of anti-fascists jeered and heckled them and pelted them with water bottles, eggs, bananas, milk, orange juice and sundry other grocery products.
Far from the 150 they had been expecting, the ‘White Man March’ only drew about 25 or 30 Nazis, although perhaps there were others who decided discretion was the better part of valour and never showed their faces.
Hundreds of local Liverpudlians joined the AFN to entirely block, disrupt and shut down the ‘White Man March’ which was cancelled due to the massive and vociferous counter-protests. The people of Liverpool were not having it and were not giving the Nazis an inch.
Blow by blow
The day started as AFN members from around the country met at St Luke’s Church Gardens. This publicly advertised meet-up point had been threatened by the white supremacist North West Infidels, who said anti-fascists were going to “meet their nemesis”.
However, the fascists bottled it and were a total no-show. Luckily for them possibly, as we arrived en masse with about 100 anti-fascists from around the country. Very quickly lots of local people joined us until we were about 300 strong before we took to the streets and marched on the Wetherspoons in Lime Street Station which intelligence had indicated the Nazis were using as a gathering point. As we passed we got some cheers from locals waving an Irish tricolour outside McHale’s Irish American bar on Lime Street.
The growing crowd chanted and shouted as we surrounded the Wetherspoons where worried-looking Nazis could be seen huddled inside. Having blocked off the front entrance of the pub, the crowd went around the back and eventually inside Lime Street Station where we found about 20 Nazis out the back of the Wetherspoons surrounded by a small line of cops. This group included leader of the North West Infidels Shane “Diddyman” Calvert, National Action leaders Wayne Jarvie and Alex Davies, ex-BNP youth leader Jack Renshaw and Kevin Watmough, founder of Redwatch.
This tiny group were pushed back by the surging crowd of anti-fascists into the station left luggage shop where they were pelted with eggs and other food items. To general hilarity, the beleaguered guy running the shop eventually closed the metal shutters on the shop, trapping the Nazis inside and wandered off. However after a few minutes the cops obviously decided that leaving the Nazis in left luggage for the rest of the day was not a sustainable solution. They re-opened the shutters and against substantial resistance from the anti-fascist crowd, managed to eventually herd the tiny group of fascists round the corner and out of the station. But not before a few of the fascists has received some blows from the crowd.
At this point the police tried to persuade the anti-fascist crowd that although the Nazi march would not now be happening, they would have a static demo outside the station. They were swiftly disabused of this notion. The crowd were very obviously having none of it. It became obvious that it was going to be as much as the cops could do just to get the Nazis out of Liverpool in one piece.
Meanwhile an unsuspecting group of 4 or 5 aging NF skinheads had just popped up out of the underground into the middle of Lime Street Station. They were swiftly engaged by the crowd and one of them, Ade Brooks, was relieved of his ‘White Power’ flag, which was later burnt. This group were also swiftly hustled out of the station by the cops, but not before receiving a few more blows for good measure.
Eventually the Nazis were hustled out of the train station into waiting police vans and rushed out of the area.
With the Nazis gone, victorious anti-fascists marched the route National Action were to have taken through the centre of town to the Pier Head. The march was noisy, colourful and celebratory and by this point several hundred, possibly even 1000 strong. At the Pier Head where the Nazis were to have held their hate-filled rally, we held an impromptu celebration in glorious sunshine with some photo-calls, smoke flares, chanting and singing. Anti-fascists gradually dispersed, walking back through a Nazi-free city to a warm welcome in McHale’s bar.
The police reported 6 arrests on the day, but they make no distinction between fascists and anti-fascists, so it is not known at present how many of these are from our side. We know of no injuries on our side.
Of course this account only reflects what was seen by a few people over the course of Saturday. There will be many more stories from the day and we are happy to hear them. Please get in touch with your own experiences and best moments.
Why Liverpool was important
It is important to appreciate the significance of what we all achieved on Saturday and why we chose to mobilise against the ‘White Man March’ in the first place. Since the emergence of the EDL in 2009, this country has seen an upsurge in far-right street-level activity even as the far-right electorally has declined. The EDL started off claiming it wasn’t racist and only opposed ‘Islamic extremism’. However anti-fascists were well aware what would be the result of opening the Pandora’s Box of nationalism and bigotry. And now in 2015, we can see where this has led – it has led to the previously unthinkable – that actual out-and-out Nazis would feel confident enough to try and march through a major multi-ethnic city centre on a Saturday lunchtime.
We can see the truth of this in ‘real-time’, as it were, with the North West Infidels – originally a split from the EDL, they have moved so far to the right into ‘white nationalist’ territory that they are now happy attending demonstrations organised by people who celebrate the Holocaust.
National Action as a group has only existed for 2 years, starting out as purely an internet phenomenon. However, they have been ambitious and aided by a slick and professional image they quickly gained notoriety and publicity through a series of controversial stunts. In the splintering world of far-right street movements they have drawn people to their cause by appearing to be disciplined with a coherent image and message as opposed to the drunken shambles that a lot of the rest of the far-right consists of. They have also stood out due to their youth and their focus on creating a white nationalist youth movement. They have consciously tried to emulate the ‘autonomous nationalist’ movements of the continent, which attempt to copy the tactics and appearance of anarchists and create a militant subculture of white supremacists.
National Action are never going to be a huge organisation, and that is not their strategy. They aim to be as extreme as possible, to openly say things the rest of the far-right thinks but won’t say. Their primary danger, as we saw with National Action supporter Zack Davies who viciously attacked and tried to behead an Asian man in a supermarket, is that they will breed and incubate terrorists.
National Action cannot be allowed to succeed in creating in Britain what exists in many other countries in Europe – a disciplined, extreme, militant neo-Nazi youth subculture.
So Saturday was not only an outstanding local victory in keeping Liverpool Nazi free, but an important blow against the most worrying new development on the far-right for some time. Hopefully the contrast of National Action’s perpetually bombastic rhetoric with the miserable reality of their utter humiliation at the hands of anti-fascists will somewhat dent their kudos amongst the other members of the far-right that they need to make up numbers on their demos. I can’t see members of the NF, the British Movement, the Infidels or the National Rebirth of Poland jumping at the chance of attending National Action’s next outing.
This is of course not the end of National Action and certainly not the end of the struggle against fascism. National Action are a small group and cannot muster the numbers that the EDL can. However in Liverpool we have shown what can be achieved with some organisational effort and hopefully this will serve as inspiration to anti-fascists around the country and lead to more victories over the far-right.
If you are interested in getting involved with our work against the far-right either get in touch with your nearest AFN group or contact us centrally. Everyone can play a part, from spreading the word online, to giving out leaflets, raising money, putting on public meetings and going on demonstrations – there’s plenty to get stuck into.
Finally and most importantly, the AFN would like to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone who turned out on Saturday and supported our call to stop the White Man March. We were more successful than we could have hoped for and that level of success is due to everyone who attended, but especially to the people of Liverpool who came on to the streets in their hundreds to tell Nazis that they would never be tolerated in their city.
On Saturday 15th August, neo-Nazis will attempt to march through Liverpool. The so-called “White Man March” – this time on its second outing – is organised primarily by members of neo-Nazi youth group National Action. It is supported by neo-Nazi groups from across Europe.
In March this year, the first “White Man March” took place in Newcastle. Around 100 neo-Nazis marched through the city before burning gay, communist and Israeli flags, screaming “Hitler was right” and sieg-heiling at counter-protestors. Although small compared to other far right protests, this was the largest and most explicit neo-Nazi march to take place in the UK since the eighties.
These events have been organised by people from an alliance of neo-Nazi groups. In Newcastle National Action were joined on the streets by the British Movement, Creativity Alliance, Misanthropic Division and National Rebirth of Poland. We expect the EDL splinter group North West Infidels to join this march. They have been responsible for attacks on picket lines, anti-fascists and Irish republican marches in Liverpool.
National Action members openly praise Hitler, trade anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and talk about their genocidal fantasies. Liverpool resident and National Action member Garron Helm was jailed for sending anti-Semitic abuse to MP Luciana Berger.
While some far-right groups have tried to moderate their public face, National Action revel in their blatant Nazism. These groups are growing as other parts of the far right collapse. Although they are nearly all tiny by themselves, the numbers they can bring out for the “White Man March” are worrying.
Liverpool, as a city with a proud left-wing tradition, has been chosen to demonstrate the “strength” of the neo-Nazi movement. We expect to see more than the 100 they brought to Newcastle and if we want to stop their growth they must be opposed. In 2013 we saw 5000 people march against fascist Nick Griffin and we need to draw on the city’s anti-fascist roots when the “White Man March” comes to town.
History has shown that Nazis need to be confronted head on, so they don’t have the space to spread their racist bile and grow in size and confidence. Given the chance, they will attack workers’ organisations, ethnic minorities, LGBT people and anyone else they perceive as their enemy. We are calling on anti-fascists across the North West to stand with the people of Liverpool in opposing these Nazi thugs.