£100,000. 18 fascists. 6 police forces. 1 ring of steel. 1 arrest.
The only thing more embarrassing today than the pitiful fascist turnout, was the pathetic smash happy cops. Happy to force a march through of the dregs of the EDL, the die-hard zeig-heilers that are left behind couldn’t even agree on a chant in their little picnic of rollies and booze on College Green. A strong turnout for the Refugees Welcome rally, anti-fascists but more hilariously the Naked Bike ride highlighted the lack of willing ants of the Bristol United Patriots, or was it the Bristol Defence League, or the South West Infidels. It’s hard to keep up with such a piss poor shit show.
Meanwhile a ‘Refugees Welcome’ rally and Bristol Antifascists rally and mobilisation attracted hundreds between them, with a strong determination and continuous effort to block the fascists, who only succeeded in their short walk thanks to the sheer numbers of police protecting them.
Full report soon. In the meantime, point and laugh…
Over the last couple of days we’ve seen reports of how antifascists successfully repelled a small group of far right thugs (which was the South West Infidels according to their own page) from gatecrashing an anti-racist event. Obviously it had to take them a while to write up another bullshit tale of how they were somehow victorious ignoring the fact that the good folk of The Bristol Cable have a far more detailed report of what actually happened.
Despite South West Infidels’ delusional report and chest beating imaginings (one too many knocks to the head perhaps?), they were absolutely, decisively dealt with and seen off. Not a good night for fascist attempts to take the streets of St. Paul’s and intimidate anti racists. Further evidence of the fascists’ need for good running shoes was had as they were forced to flee in the face of a very concerted defence of the meeting. What a top show…
A fight kicked off last night outside City Road Baptist Church in Stokes Croft where a Stand Up to Racism meeting was taking place. The clashes began as a group of between 7-10 men began to unfurl flags including the St George’s Cross and the fascist cross, the latter widely used by neo-Nazi groups and violence prone fascist organisations. Within seconds they were on the back foot as anti-fascist activists appeared to confront them and defend the meeting. A series of quick clashes ensued, with the fascists clearly coming worse off and rapidly retreating down Stokes Croft, with some clearly showing signs of injury. Anti-fascist activists continued to keep watch outside the church until the meeting was over 2 hours later.
It is unknown what organisation, if any, was behind the attempted disruption of the anti-racism meeting. However groups such as the South West Infidels and the New British Union of Fascists are known to have activity in Bristol. The fascist action in a known multi-cultural and anti-fascist area may suggest an escalation in tactics by the extreme right in Bristol.
The Stand Up to Racism meeting, attended by around 100 people, continued with several speakers. They were mayoral candidates Marvin Rees (Labour Party) and Tony Dyer (Green Party) as well as Joanne Kaye, South West Regional Secretary for Unison. A representative from the Jamia Mosque in Totterdown, which was subject to a racist action in January, was also present.
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!
Over the weekend we organised a fantastic benefit night in Whitehall to raise funds for the group. An awesome mix of Bristolian DJs, booze and great support from the 100+ folk who attended. Mash-ups not fash! Ravers not racists! Bass not bombs!
*Stop the fascists in Bristol – Saturday 17th October – spread the word and be ready to mobilise!*
On Saturday 17th October Bristol’s resident fascists, the ‘Bristol United Patriots,’ claim to be holding a demo in the city.
Despite their attempts to disgise this as a demo to raise awareness about homelessness, Ed Dowden along with other organisers of Bristol United Patriots have already made their intentions clear as to why they are protesting. Their real intentions are to inflame anti immigrant anger, promote extreme right wing views and to attack ‘the lefties’.
We cannot let them take the streets and allow them the opportunity to attack and divide our communities. Bristol Antifascists along with other local groups and antifascist organisations will be mobilising in order to stop the fascists in their tracks.
Our rally point will be at Dame Emily Park in Bedminster and we will be there from 12pm. At 1pm Bristol Anti-BNP will be holding their homes for all demo in East Street, which is very close to our rally point and other groups will also be supporting this. We will be marching from Dean Lane to East Street at 1pm to show support for their demo. Please check back on this page and the ‘Homes for All : Stop the fascists in Bristol’ event page (link below) for any updates as specifics are likely to change. In the meantime; continue to spread the word and we hope you can join us in the mobilisation to confront the fascists on our streets.
GUIDELINES FOR THOSE ATTENDING
– Call the Bristol Anti-BNP mobile phone number for the latest information on the day.
– Check the Bristol Antifascists facebook page for any updates or changes
– Try to stay in groups when entering or leaving the area and throughout the day.
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.
Big thanks to Bristol Anarhcist Black Cross and everybody who came down to the night of solidarity with anti-fascist prisoners at Kebele on Sunday night. The night was a big success, with letter writing to comrades inside, ‘bash the fash’ piñata, a raffle and meal. Around £150 was raised for anti-fascists in need of support. Below is a summary of the other solidarity events held around the world…
The July 25 International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners was a resounding success! In addition to comrades in Britain, the United States, Finland, Australia, Germany, Sweden, and Bulgaria taking part, the call to action was translated into five different languages and shared thousands of times on social media. The Day of Solidarity brought awareness to antifas that have been imprisoned in the struggle against fascism, and we have shown them that they have support all over the world!
Many cities took part in the United States, as well. In New York City, the NYC Anarchist Black Cross hosted a night of videos of the fash getting what they deserve, while supporters ate vegan empanadas and listened to presentations on the prisoners, as well as a speaker from One People’s Project. Portland, Oregon’s Rose City Antifa called for a week of sending postcards to prisoners, asking that they be posted online with the hashtag#PostcardsToPrisoners. In La Puente, California, the Bunny Alliance and Bridgetown DIY hosted a night of music and talks about contemporary fascism, militant anti-fascist resistance, the social revolution in Rojava, and “dealing with fascists and white nationalists within animal liberation and earth liberation movements.” Philly Antifa,Southside Chicago ARA, and Columbus, Ohio’s Sporeprint Infoshop held letter-writings, while the Denver Anarchist Black Cross screened the film 161>88. And RASH USA issued a statement demanding the release of all antifa prisoners without reprisal.unk festival in Finland.
In Finland, the Varis antifascist network distributed literature at the Puntala punk festival in Lempäälä. In Helsinki, they held a small demonstration in support of Russian antifascist prisoners Alexey Sutuga and Aleksandr Kolchenko and painted solidarity graffiti; and in Tampere they also passed out flyers in support of the prisoners.
In Sweden, the Föreningen Fånggruppen, in conjunction with seven antifa prisoners,issued a statement about the importance of prison solidarity.
In Australia, AFA Sydney hung banners for Jock Palfreeman, an Australian man imprisoned in Sofia, Bulgaria for defending two Romani men who were attacked by fascist football hooligans. (The July 25 Day of Solidarity originated in 2014 as a Day of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman.) And in Bulgaria, antifascists also held an event for Jock.
Last, in Berlin, Germany, Minor Treat held a joint benefit dinner for refugees in Germany, and also wrote letters to the antifascist prisoners.
We are excited by the support this event attracted, and hope it expands to even more countries next year—because until fascism is buried in its grave, our comrades will be imprisoned for helping to bury it. NYC Antifa will keep updating the list of anti-fascist prisoners, in order to facilitate solidarity with antifa prisoners year round. We thank everyone who participated in the July 25th Day of Solidarity, and urge all people to not only write these prisoners, but to also continue their work.
Below is a text recently written by some Bristol anti-fascists in light of the upcoming general & local elections
The General Election show is here and the politicians are doing their best to “perform”, to convince us that their particular brand really is something new and improved. But as the wheels of democracy put their spin on, look closely and you’ll see that all the supposedly different colours merge into one. Because when it comes to it, they all stand for just one thing: Capitalism.
Elections only serve to strengthen the system by presenting a carefully constructed illusion of influence, choice and change. In reality, voting changes nothing. Politicians always disappoint us with election promises quickly broken, serving not the people that elected them, but themselves alongside the rich and powerful interests they truly represent. Whoever you vote for, the rule of private property and profit remains unchanged. Whoever is at the controls, the state carries on it’s job, as always, as the instrument of class domination. A change of government will not change the attacks on us all: “austerity”, low pay and poverty, evictions and homelessness, police brutality and repression, surveillance, prisons, borders and nationalism, wars and racism… the list goes on and on. It’s not the players at the head of the state that we need to change, but the game itself. Shuffling the cards is futile when the deck remains the same.
Voting is an expression not of power, but of powerlessness. The clue, perhaps, is on the ballot paper itself. In school, a cross means “wrong” or “not the right answer”. We should apply the same thinking to all of the prospective candidates, their parties and the system they stand for. A cross in the box every four years means giving up our power to government and rulers who wield and abuse it while we have to patiently wait for the next elections for that all elusive chance for change. You will hear many people complaining how politicians have failed the working class. In truth, they can’t really be said to have failed if they never intended to help us out in the first place. Surely we’ve seen enough of the mismatch between what the greedy, lying, corrupt politicians say and what they do over the years to realise that real change is down to us rejecting their “proper channels” and false hopes for a better world. It’s time to abandon the sinking ship of parliamentary politics and instead vote with our feet and organise for ourselves.
What has all this got to do with antifascism?
Well, everything! Election time is one big celebration of their democracy. It’s not important who you vote for, just that you go along with it all and vote. But it’s no accident that the march of democracy worldwide has coincided with huge increases in inequalities of resources and power. In the so called pillar of democracies right here in U.K. Inc., we are seeing the greatest transfer from “the public purse” to private profit ever seen under the reign of Tories. This daylight robbery is being carried out without much fuss. “Democracy” uses unions, the very organisations supposedly fighting for workers, to disempower and pacify us perhaps even more effectively than the more forceful methods usually associated with dictatorships. But “democratic” states exert control and attack the working class with equal ferocity and ruthlessness as dictatorial regimes. They are simply better at disguising their tendency to totalitarianism, dressing it up with things like “tightening our belts” and making “tough choices”. Meanwhile the resulting conditions are just right for an upsurge in right wing politics, nationalism, immigrant blaming, racism and a divided working class. This is what we face today with the emergence of far right street groups like the EDL and Britain First.
We understand that fascism is inseparable from capitalism and the state. Beating fascism must mean destroying that which creates it: capitalism. We cannot fight one without coming up against the other and we see this most clearly in the police riot shields and batons protecting fascist demonstrations. Fascism, like the police, is a weapon of the rich to wage class war. Our antifascism must be part of a revolutionary class struggle movement and we have no interest in protecting their democracy as a “lesser evil” against fascism. While the routine and futile placing of hopes in boxes is enough for some, our hopes remain with our class and fighting together for a world free from police and politicians as well as fascists and all they stand for.
previous article written after last year’s local elections here