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.
The next dates for your diary are:
- Berkshire Anti-Fascists call-out against the Infidels in Slough on September 5th
- An AFN mobilisation against an anti-immigrant NF and South East Alliance demo in Dover on September 12th
- Essex Anti-Fascists mobilisation against the EDL in Colchester on September 26th
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.
Scousers united will never be defeated!