Following up on last Tuesday’s successful demo against Lega fascists in London, a dozen of the LAFA crew travelled down to Brighton to help shut down the Salvini supporters planned meeting there.
Despite less than a weeks notice, several hundred brighton residents came down to the protest, which started at the crossroads of Gloucester Road and Sydney Street. Speeches began with a people’s history lesson on how Harry Cowley’s gang, the Barrow Boys fought fascists off the same streets in the 30s. This was followed by speeches by Italian antifascists on the attacks by Salvini’s party on refugees, Roma and the entire working class, & on the tactics of the militant antifascist resistance in Italy and the necessity of shutting down the Lega in Brighton.
Taking inspiration from the Sardines, a new mass antifascist movement in Italy against the likes of the Lega, Casa Pound and Forza Nuova, that has seen thousands of Italian antifascists crammed into town squares like sardines, we began singing Bella Ciao. Meanwhile we handed out flyers about the threat posed by the Lega and the dinner that night. This got a lot of engagement from people outside the demo and discussion, was very different to our demo, and something we’ll be doing more often in London.
The meet-up point of the so called master race was found out early on so the crowd started a march around Brighton, ending up at the pub near the station. However on realising that hundreds of us would never allow this event to happen, the Lega decided to cancel. The gaffer had no idea of the planned event and wanted nothing to do with the fascists so people made it clear to the demonstrators that this was “a good local pub & only a redirection point for the fash to meet so everyone should go there this week to support them.” Keen not to disrupt local businesses we quickly moved on.
We then went on a long march / tour of the town looking in almost every open pub and restaurant for the fascists but they were nowhere to be found. We later found out just 6-7 Liga supporters turned up and, given the strength of the antifascist presence, hid all night in the house of a local fascist. Chants of “Siamo Tutti Antifascisti” and “From the downs to the sea, Brighton will be fascist free!” filled the streets. Just as in Liverpool and London before, the actions of militant antifascists had severely disrupted the Lega’s ability to organise.
We ended the night catching up with old friends, reminiscing on past antics and discussing anti fascist strategy moving forwards. Later we took a stroll along the windswept beach, drinking tins and celebrating the days success. Brighton Antifascists strategies of mass militancy, community engagement and diversity of tactics have made sure that after years of participatory organising they can bring out hundreds of antifascists at short notice. LAFA are a new and mostly young group but we’re growing in numbers and militancy and are working towards replicating the successes of the more experienced crews like our Brighton comrades.