Anti-fascists attended a demonstration in Central London on the 14th of October organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The demo was a huge working-class multi-racial event, with powerful, youthful energy.
The UK, by spreading pro-Israel propaganda, providing military support and collaborating in the arms trade to the IDF is supporting the genocide being committed by the Israeli government. Utilising the memory of the holocaust to commit a genocide is the fascist tactic employed by the Israeli government and the West. Support for Israel and abusing the memory of the Holocaust is used by European governments to whitewash their image when they do nothing or openly collaborate with antisemitic fascists in their own countries. Palestinian liberation is intersectional and includes the liberation of Jewish, Muslim, Arab, women and queer people in the region. For this reason we thought it important to share our insights from the demo specifically with the perspectives of Muslim and Jewish antifascists.
We want to shout out the Palestinian Youth Movement for organising a fantastic, energetic bloc, and resisting police repression which took place from the very first moment of the gathering. Also shout out to Central London Antifascists for their support in the build- up to the march and on the day.
Unsurprisingly the Met used the march as an opportunity to carry out aggressive, racist policing and try and make as many arrests as they could, using repressive sections and huge numbers of TSG throughout the day. This is all backed up by almost every mainstream newspaper and loudly supported by the government, specifically the home secretary, who seems out for blood, visciously trying to target Muslims and the Pro-Palestine movement which is one of the biggest political movements that isn’t dominated by the white left.
Knowing there were fascists in Parliament Square for a poorly attended anti-refugee protest, anti-fascists saw that a fascist crew were preparing for something else and kept a close eye on them. Police laughed and chatted with them, seeming very friendly with the fascists an hour before they tried to attack a demonstration. This is behaviour we have seen happening increasingly over the last few months. You might remember the photos of Nick Tenconi and a police officer in a cafe at Honor Oak chatting over tea after he led an attack on a queer pub.
Fascists approached the demo holding up three flags and shouting about England. The flags, which they lost within 3 minutes of getting them out, were two St. George’s flags and one St. George’s flag depicting a guy getting arrested with the words “Fuck Antifa” written on his forehead and “no surrender” on the flag. Anti-fascists and demo attendees quickly formed a line confronting the English fascists. In the process the fascists did surrender their three flags. They were shouting physical threats of “bashing [peoples’] heads in”, and one took his belt off trying to use it as a weapon. The fascist Sam Westlake (regular Honor Oak attendee), who used his belt as a weapon, got arrested and taken to hospital for a head injury he received during the fight — a pathetic attempt from fascists in London.
As the genocide and colonial occupation of the people in Palestine is utilised by many right-wingers to spread either their anti-Arab, antisemitic, and Islamophobic racism, it is important that we call out all forms of bigotry. At the demo this included the actions of some stewards who discouraged attendees and anti-fascists from defending themselves against the fascists that turned up to attack the march. Their protection of the English fascists was thankfully pushed past and the fascists were made to fuck off. Nonetheless, this discouragement by stewards to oppose fascists wherever and whenever they appear, illustrates the importance of highlighting that fascism is globally connected, they bolster and support each other. The fascists that turned up to the demo on the 14th of October are the people committing Islamophobic attacks and antisemitic attacks and organising against refugees finding safety here. It was an infuriating show by the PSC stewards who physically intervened to stop anti-fascists from removing the fascists from the area. A second similar interference by stewards took place a while later, where they discouraged anti-fascists and demo attendees from confronting the leader of the National Front, Tony Martin who was hanging around in a pub in Whitehall. The stewards even went as far as chatting to the fascists and telling demo attendees “they haven’t said anything bad”.
Disappointingly some groups were unable to seperate fighting Israel’s fascism and antisemitism. The Communist Party of Great Britain were handing out zines equating the star of David to the swastika. For those that don’t know the star of David is not only a symbol of Israel, but is a symbol of Judaism. Using it in this way wrongly conflates the state of Israel with Judaism. This is unacceptable, it damages our own pro-Palestinian movement by excluding Jewish comrades. It also spreads antisemitism by equating Judaism to Nazism, making Jewish people out to be a “bad” people as a whole. It further does a disservice to Palestinians as their oppression should not need to be equated to Nazism to be taken seriously. This imagery and rhetoric is cruel to Jewish people, many of which have trauma attached to this symbol historically and today. As Jewish and Muslim anti-fascists we directly depend on our movements being free of oppressive rhetorics and imagery. We understand that an attack on one is an attack on all. And liberation must mean liberation for us all.
Summarising, it was a strong, energetic demo, despite the organisers. Demo attendees and London anti-fascists showed fascists that this is our city. There is no space for antisemitism and Islamophobia.
London is Anti-
fascist, Anti-racist, Anti-zionist!