SEA Shut Down in Croydon

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To say that fascists descended on Croydon on Saturday May 6th would be both an exaggerated lie and hyperbole. Whilst the London Evening Standard likes to believe that the South East Alliance (a coalition of fascists formed out of the dying embers of the National Front, the BNP, English Volunteer Force and British Movement) pulled out 40 members, their actual numbers were closer to, but not quite, 15.

Yesterday was an important moment in recent street anti-fascism, no less because of the way it was coordinated. London Antifascists want to first extend a congratulations to the group who organised yesterday’s counter-demo, Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary. From early in the day, MfJ established a strong presence at East Croydon Station, ready to meet the fascists as they arrived. Attracting locals to join members, a crowd of nearly 200 people soon amassed and stayed, joining in chants of ‘When the community is under attack, we fight back!’ and ‘We will win’. And we did.

There were moments of confusion, especially at the beginning. Members of the crowd, and it should be said members dressed in black bloc not affiliated to the AFN, made an uncoordinated push to meet fascists at the pub they were found to be drinking in. Leaving behind comrades from the larger crowd, they immediately came into contact with police who created a tight barrier across the main road forcing the march to halt almost as soon as it began. Despite this setback, the lack of a police kettle and the layout of Croydon meant that groups from the march soon started to form elsewhere and think tactically. This isn’t by any means a desire to attack comrades in black bloc, but it is necessary to recognise the weaknesses in mobilisation and formation and remember what the purpose of the bloc is. The black bloc should be a collective action, placing themselves as the first wave between police and fascists and the rest of the demonstration in a way that aptly counters the forces they face. It should not be lacking form, direction, or coordination. Otherwise, it only seeks to endanger everybody present. This point is underlined by the fact that one activist now faces a Section 5 Public Order charge which could have been avoided.

As small groups found ways out of the police cordon, siphoning off in order to once again attempt to confront the fascists, police began the arduous, embarrassing march accompanying the SEA through the streets of Croydon. Whether by chance or design, antifascists were able to surround the small collection of drunk, weathered louts, furiously out-of-shape for an apparent “master race”, surrounded by tight formation of police at a ratio of at least 10:1.

For all the tactical shortcomings of the beginning, protesters and activists soon shut down the main road and for some time held the SEA in stasis. A rallying moment came when, arms linked, drowning out the weak chants of the failing far-right, Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ came pouring over the crowds, releasing cheers and a new motivation to push harder against the now encroaching police lines. This is what we need – the sound of working class London artists (and self-proclaimed activists) shutting down racist outsiders looking to capitalise on an ideology of fear and division.

Police managed to push back protesters to the meeting point of Lunar House, where the penned-in UAF counter demo, which was, in a sad twist of irony, made up mostly by the UK Border Agency Union, had been all day. Whilst they will inevitably aim to take credit for the work of Movement for Justice activists, anti-fascists and the local community, their lack of solidarity in recent years is thematic as they cling on tightly to their delusions of grandeur.

For nearly 2 hours, police protected the SEA in the car park of Lunar House, while activists drowned them out with grime music, chants and laughter. What had been a planned launch of the SEA in London, proved to be an empowering moment in anti-fascism. Their PA speakers mumbled as they tried to make speeches, and it was easy to tell that most of them were pining to be back in the pub.

When the fascists were finally done with their unsuccessful launch party, the police attempted to take them back to the station and ferry them onto the trains home, back outside of the city that won’t ever want them. They were continuously out-maneuvered at this point too, with the people of Croydon not happy until every last one of them was gone. The only way police could keep the fascists safe was by closing off all exits to East Croydon Station and chauffeuring them away.

Yesterday showed that what we need more than ever is an organised and united coalition amongst different anti-racist and anti-fascist groups to always outnumber the far-right. As UKIP rapidly collapses, and out of that collapse, new and more motivated anti-immigrant nationalist movements will grow with more power than they’ve ever had, we need to begin the process of developing a movement that is ready for them.

Solidarity to the people of Croydon, Movement for Justice and anti-fascists everywhere!

NB: On Saturday 13th May, Movement for Justice have organised a demonstration outside of Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre in support of the migrant and asylum seeking women trapped inside – click on the event here to attend: https://www.facebook.com/events/1397760473581688/

A COMMUNIQUE FROM ANGRY CROYDONIANS

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Below is a statement by members of the local community on the recent attack in Croydon. Comrades have asked for the circulation of this statement, and we do so extending our solidarity and strength to Reker Ahmed, the victim of the attack, and to the community shaken, but not defeated, by these events.

“On 31st March, a young boy, Reker Ahmed, was brutally beaten by a gang in the area of Croydon whilst waiting for a bus. The gang (of almost 25) approached the boy and after asking where he was from, chased him and attacked him, leaving him with life-threatening injuries. He was only 17 years old and currently applying for asylum in the UK. This attack occurred on the Shrublands Estate, in Shirley, a diverse working-class area and its significance was felt by the local community.

In response to this racist and xenophobic violence, we chose to decorate the neighbourhood with our outrage. In offering a message of solidarity here, we demonstrate our solidarity everywhere; from the U.S to Greece, from Belarus to the Middle East; for all victims of the State, of the border regime and for all victims of hate crime.

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We carried out this action as a clear message from the community, but also as a message to the perpetrators. At the time, we were still unsure as to whether this was an attack carried out by people from within the estate, as it would be unlikely and unheard of in such a diverse, close community. However, sadly, the gang consisted of people from many backgrounds. It is true that nationalism blurs the reality of the oppressive class and racial hierarchies, and has us identify with our own oppression. However, the response to our action has revealed exactly what we also suspected; that this was an attack endorsed by self-identifying FASCISTS from likely within the area.

The media coverage of this event described the incident as an ‘alleged hate crime’ and has thus far refrained from describing the incident as explicitly fascist. However, Nazi graffiti was painted and we see this as clear evidence that the attack was not a random case of mob violence; but a held a targeted and politically understood motive of hatred towards migrants. (We have since covered and subverted this fascist graffiti: seen below.)

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LET US BE CLEAR:

– We will not stand by as migrants are scapegoated and brutalised, encouraged by the rhetoric of governments and their right-wing media vanguard.

-We will not allow immigration enforcement to abduct people from our communities and sentence them to deportation and death.

– We will certainly not be intimidated in the face of Brexit Britain and the toxic resurgence of far-right politics.

– We shall respond duly to all of these threats and the violence they inflict on our communities.

WHY?

It is perhaps no coincidence that the attack took place the night before Britain First hosted a pathetic, tiny far-right rally in the heart of Central London. Most anti-fascists and other discerning political types understand that the far-right in the UK is currently fractured and disorganised, but Brexit is a historical force that carries the possibility of an emboldened fascist presence on our streets.

It is thus an urgent necessity that we EDUCATE ourselves, PREPARE ourselves and begin ORGANISING within our communities and workplaces using dialogue and action. We must empower ourselves to challenge and disrupt the logic of oppression wherever it rears its many heads; from the hydra of the State to the long neck of fascism, we are not afraid and we will continue fighting.

Croydon is vibrant, Croydon is migrant, Croydon is strong.

To the fascists in Shrubland: YOU ARE IN THE WRONG NEIGHBOURHOOD. KEEP HIDING.

To everyone else: THEY ARE AFRAID. LET’S KEEP IT THAT WAY.

JUSTICE FOR REKER AHMED.

SOLIDARITY WITH THE INTERNATIONAL STRUGGLE AGAINST FASCISM!!

NO PASARAN!!”

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LAF Statement on London Attack

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On March 22 there was an attack outside Parliament that has killed four and injured many. No sooner had this happened when Tommy Robinson, former leader of the EDL appeared at the scene of the attack to rave about a clash of civilisations and a war with all Muslims. This was swiftly followed up with an announcement of a march planned by Britain First in London.

The truth of the matter is this. These so called patriots are delighted that this has happened. This one fanatic has given them the opportunity they desired to try and start a conflict in society drawn down racial lines. They would seek to rebuild their failing movements off the blood and tears shed by ordinary people, they would use this attack to justify their own brand of jackbooted terror against the Muslim population of this country.

But we will not let them.

Our group and the national network know the reactionary ideology at the heart of the attack in the capital. Today the howls from the right are directed at us, to claim that we caused this attack through our tolerance of ‘Islamic extremism’ or our work to support the rights of refugees. These claims are built on the assumption that there is a clash of civilisations in this country. That ‘English culture’ and ‘Muslim culture’ cannot co-exist and a war is inevitable.

These are lies.

Our comrades from the Anti-Fascist movement and even from our own group are currently fighting on the front lines near Raqqa, the capital of ISIS. They are their fighting with an international brigade formed of all nationalities, religions and genders. They fight alongside their Muslim comrades in the YPG in the spirit of working class internationalism, and it is that spirit we need today. Their struggle is a struggle against the same forces of reaction that would seek to divide our communities down ethnic lines, it’s a struggle against those who would eradicate the Yazidi minority in Iraq just as much as it’s a struggle against those who would burn down our neighbour’s mosque because they are Muslim.

Right now the Fascists will present ordinary people an outstretched hand of welcome, raised straight up and palm open. It’s an outstretched hand that casts a shadow over modern history and grows out of the gas chambers of Auschwitz. We must reject this offering with the utmost ferocity and anger and in its place we must cement the ideals of working class internationalism. Without facing down the fascists on the streets and offering the working class an alternative to race war we will lose and the shadows of the past will consume our streets.

We encourage all our supporters to take up the slogan “They shall not pass!” and crush Britain First’s attempt to cynically grow off the death of Londoners. We stand with any and all anti-fascists who want to see fascism defeated by any means necessary. Block the station, they will not pass.

All anti-fascists and comrades are welcome to join us on April 1st to oppose Britain First and EDL

Anti-fascism is working-class self-defence: Britain First Humiliated

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On the day of the UN anti-racism demonstration, we organised an action aimed at two groups of fascists that have repeatedly tried to attack the left and working-class organisations – Britain First and a fascist squad made up of various far-right grouplets.

The UN anti-racism demo is an annual event set up by the SWP-affiliated Stand Up To Racism, which attracts thousands of unaffiliated trade unionists every year. It also attracts violent fascist groups looking to attack and oppose the left, and have a platform for their racist propaganda and scapegoating of migrants. We decided to call an action, not to defend the SWP’s front group, but in the knowledge that fascists attack in order to grow in confidence and grow their numbers. An attack on a group of trade unionists for being ‘lefties’ and anti-racists is an attack on everyone in the movement. These threats must be faced down and crushed before they can take hold and grow.

Britain First turns up to counter demonstrate the demonstration every year, taking much pride in ‘facing down’ thousands of protesters from behind the safety of ranks of police lines. This has resulted in sporadic clashes in the past, but mostly they take the opportunity to publicise their racist trash-talk. Last year, on top of this ritual, a group of fascists affiliated with the National Rebirth of Poland, National Action, Pie and Mash Squad and South East Alliance attacked trade unionists having a drink in Embankment after the demonstration.

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They stole NUT and UCU banners after beating up the trade unionists holding them. This is the same group that attacked the Belgravia squat earlier this year and attacked left-wingers in Parliament Square, hospitalising a young woman by pushing her down some stairs.

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On the day of this years’s demo, AFN groups gathered nearby, planning on taking the plinth that Britain First usually try to use as their soapbox. We were beaten to it by some early-bird, unaffiliated anti-fascists, who were already in full black bloc and surrounded by police. We decided to wait until Britain First arrived before we moved off in order to ensure that we could let them know what we thought of them without a police line in the way. After walking through some backstreets, we saw Britain First making a show of trying to move anti-fascists off the plinth. This bravado quickly melted away as we moved in behind them. Fascists were relieved of their flags without a fight as they were pushed back by AFN anti-fascists to the tube station entrance. All that was offered as resistance was the shrinking figure of Paul Golding, shouting “come on then!” while quickly backing away. It was a pathetic sight to see the uniformed Fuhrer turn tail at the slightest hint of a raised voice.

The action in Piccadilly was brought to swift end, as always, by the intervention of the police. They threw a cordon up between anti-fascists and Britain First and began preparing to arrest those gathered on a Public Order offence. A quick decision was made to leave the area and regroup, we still had business elsewhere looking for the fascist squad that had turned up last year. AFN members finished the day on a high, with Britain First humiliated and the fascist squad nowhere to be seen. We proved once again why London is the city fascists dare not march in.

It is essential for the left to take these groups and these actions seriously. It is in the shadows that fascist weeds grow best. Unless a light is shone on them and they are destroyed root and stem, they will grow to threaten to divide our movement and our class. This is something we will never allow. Our anti-fascism is anti-racist working-class unity. It is first and foremost in defence of working-class interests – migrants, people of colour, black and white – and it is for the realisation of working-class power. In contrast, fascist groups are nothing but a razorblade in the hands of the bosses.

What the fuck is a “rapefugee”? On sexism, sexual violence and the alt-right

jack-buckby-channel-4-newsThis week, Channel Four News chose to give a platform to former BNP member Jack Buckby in a debate about the ‘alt-right’, alongside Barbara Ntumy, an activist with NUS Black Students. In a video clip that’s now been widely shared, Buckby suggests that Ntumy should take in a Syrian refugee herself, then adds “I hope you don’t get raped”.

Many viewers have been shocked by this. But we shouldn’t be shocked that alt-right activists try this manoeuvre to scaremonger about refugees. Fascists and the far-right have been trying to forge an imaginary connection between migrants and sexual violence for years now. Last year, Pegida and other smaller fascist groups called protests against what they crudely termed “rapefugees” after a spate of sex attacks in Cologne, which were dubiously linked to Syrian refugees in a series of unsubstantiated reports. Far-right activists attempt to create this link in people’s minds to present outsiders –‘foreigners’ – as a danger to ‘pure’ white European culture. Fascists scapegoat Muslims and migrants for everyday evils that are in fact already deeply embedded in our own society, then cherry-pick their examples of migrant violence in a dishonest and disingenuous way to exaggerate the threat of migrant newcomers. For example, fascists made much of the fact that the Rochdale paedophile ring contained Muslims,while deliberately overlooking the large numbers of white paedophiles and sex offenders, including powerful repeat offenders in the Church and the BBC, and the dozens of white people who helped cover up their crimes. According to the 2013 Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales, 80.9% of sentenced sexual offenders in the UK in 2011 were white – and this is without taking into account the ethnic variations in sentencing across almost all crimes in Britain, which leads to disproportionately lower conviction rates for white attackers.

Let’s get this one point clear: there is no link between being a refugee and perpetrating sexual violence. The only really significant correlation between any demographic and sexual violence is that most perpetrators are men and most victims are women (and/or children). Sexism has no respect for borders; it spans continents regardless of nationality or race. White British fascists and alt-righters – the kind that use the word “rapefugee” and claim to be the defenders of women and children – are, by definition, incredibly sexist. They are sexist both in their behaviour – in their comments online and their sexual objectification of women – and in their ideology, which argues for extreme, traditional gender roles in which women’s choices are limited and recent advances in women’s rights are reversed. At a demonstration of the Racial Volunteer Force at Royal Holloway University late last year, far-right ideologue Jez Turner shouted “get back in the kitchen!” at female students on an anti-fascist counter-protest. Fascists are no friends to women.

The myth of the sexually-violent refugee draws on racist stereotypes which depict BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) men as sexually aggressive and threatening. These stereotypes go back to Britain’s colonial days and arise from a profound racist fear of black and Asian masculinity, which has often been perceived as a threat to white male domination. In the minds of far-right and alt-right men, women are the prizes for powerful ‘alpha’ males, and strong BME men represent a danger because they ‘compete’ for the same pool of women that white men are aiming to possess. Hence the popularity of the idea that migrants might “come over here and take our women” as well as jobs and resources: for these men, women are resources. Hard-right sexists don’t afford women the basic respect of recognising their agency in choosing partners. It’s no surprise,then, that the alt-right recruit through online spaces where ‘red pill’ misogyny is common: they link together feminism and multiculturalism as joint evils in a world where they feel that white men are losing out. Using this myth allows white racist men to present themselves as the unthanked saviours and protectors of women and children who are supposedly in danger from migrants, while simultaneously often blaming women and their choices (e.g. how they dress) for their experiences with sexual violence. As a woman who has repeatedly faced sexual violence from white British men, I can confirm: the idea that white men are less sexist than BME men is utter bullshit.

Here’s a message to all you alt-right pricks and fascist scumbags out there: I don’t want your “protection”. I know you’re sexist hypocrites and that you only care about my safety when it can be used to attack migrants.

We must destroy sexual violence across borders, and we must stand in solidarity with people in different communities fighting sexism and racism from the grassroots.

Oh, and for fuck’s sake Channel Four:

NO PLATFORM FOR FASCISTS.

by Kalliara

Brexit protest disaster for SEA

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Fascists trying to speed up Britain’s departure from the European Union held a disastrous protest in central London on a Friday night at the end of July. There was a shockingly low turnout of around 30 and several attendees required hospital visits afterwards.

During the protest clashes with a Black Lives Matter (BLM) march occurred which saw two of the fascists get arrested. The fascists responded to the passing anti-racist march by shouting ‘white lives matter’ which they continued to chant well after it had passed.

The far-right protest was organised by the South East Alliance (SEA) which bills itself as an ‘angry white and proud’ street movement. This was the latest in a string of poorly attended events organised by the group and at times resembled a pub crawl more than a protest.

Starting in the early evening at a pub on the top of Whitehall, the far-right group were escorted down to Downing Street by a phalanx of police officers. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) held a counter-protest which provided some vocal opposition to the fascists.

While the far-right protest was supposed to be demanding the government immediately invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, attendees shouted anti-refugee slogans and spent most of their time on the streets expressing their hostility to BLM protestors.

Once the fascist’s protest was over they were escorted back up Whitehall to the pub. Thinking they had done their bit, the assorted oddballs began sinking pints and taking selfies outside the pub, glorying in what they had done.

But their gloating was both unfounded and premature.

Once darkness had fallen, several drunk fascists looking to make their way home from the pub discovered militant anti-fascists from across London had mobilised for the occasion. Full and frank discussions left several fascists requiring medical attention.

One of these fascists was Mark Johnson from Huddersfield who has been involved in several attacks on anti-fascists in the past. Johnson is mixed race and regularly uses his identity to claim his obviously racist far-right associates aren’t racist.

Anti-fascists were shocked to see Johnson drinking with two self-declared members of neo-Nazi youth group National Action. Adding to the confusion, when the far-right trio discovered anti-fascists were in the area they tried to hide in a gay club.

After being denied entry to the club there was short and sharp exchange of opinions. While this was happening Johnson’s associates made Nazi salutes while shouting ‘National Action’. Once anti-fascists had made their views known the two young fascists ran away, leaving Johnson to make his own way to hospital.

Two other fascists spent the night after the protest in hospital – Terry Jenkins and Catta Haynes, who are both close to the leadership of the SEA. Haynes told Facebook friends afterwards he had ‘lost [a] lot [of] blood’ after being ‘whacked from behind’.

Other fascists were lucky to leave London without having any such encounters, particularly a certain crew from Essex.

SEA are a group of neo-Nazi pensioners, former BNP activists and self-described patriots which split from the EDL. Led by Cypriot immigrant Paul Prodromou, the group has been attempting to launch a far-right street movement to the right of the EDL since 2013.

The SEA is based in Essex but has members and supporters in parts of London and Kent. Their activity was initially directed against Muslims but as the counter-jihad street movement has dissipated, they’ve taken to the streets to oppose refugees and Irish republicans.

Holding a protest demanding Article 50 be invoked immediately was an attempt by the group to tap into frustration felt by Leave voters. It was also an attempt to establish themselves as a leading group on the British far-right.

The EU referendum has been a focus for far-right activity for months. Fascists across the UK supported the Leave campaign vigorously, distributing leaflets and holding street stalls. Well before the wave of racist violence was unleashed across the country.

Building unity between the disparate groups on the far-right has been Prodromou’s top priority but attempts to achieve this have largely ended in failure. The only exception being the 30 January anti-immigration protest in Dover which saw neo-Nazis and fascists from across the UK uniting behind the SEA.

But the Dover protest descended into five hours of street fighting between anti-fascists and the far-right and many fascists have been jailed for their role in the violence. Pressure from anti-fascists has been one of the key factors in the inability of the SEA to actually build a street movement.

In the past few years they have suffered repeated defeats by anti-fascists in Brighton, Cricklewood and Dover. On one occasion Prodromou had the literal shit kicked out of him after a botched attack on left-wing football fans by the SEA in Southend.

Prodromou was absent from the Brexit protest due to bail conditions so the majority of the organising was done by Prodromou’s wife and Marcus & Vicky Barke from a small Walthamstow based far-right group called ‘AIF English Lions’ which works with the SEA.

London Anti-fascists believes fascist groups such as these are best opposed with a diversity of tactics, picked to suit the specific situation.

We are all traitors, and we Strike back.

The murder of Joe Cox, a pro migrant MP has shocked the country and left commentators struggling to explain it. Clearly something has changed in the far right since the days of BNP electoralism, a shift that has oriented them back to street based violence. But this still doesnt answer the question, why target Joe Cox?

Joe Cox was an MP of the Labour party but wasn’t in anyway ideologically committed to socialism or communism, she never described herself as an antifascist or at least not prominently and she was not visibly BME. In a country that has begun to see fascist violence as something that is just directed at those visibly different to being white British and performed by people who perform these acts on the way home from the pub. This is very different.

The attacker in this instance is not a drunken loner but an ideologically committed fascist who has chosen this target for specific political reasons.

Cultural Marxism was once assigned to the fringes of the far right, it is the delusional belief that communists and jews plot to bring down the white race through social movements like gay rights, anti racism and anti fascism. They believe that MPs like Joe Cox are part of an international Jewish conspiracy to flood the UK with Muslim migrants and therefore a traitor. Again this was a fringe theory until recently and more and more hard right publications and blogs have been picking this theory up, legitimising it. Breitbart Media even has a dedicated tag on its articles relating to ‘Cultural Marxism’.

Its this theory that is beginning to join traditional conservatives with the far right in their view of the world’s problems and it’s this theory that ultimately drove a man to assassinate a Labour MP. With this shift in far right ideology comes a shift in targets, people who originally felt ‘safe’ from far right attack should be under no illusion that if you are political enemy of fascism you are a viable target. Our response to this should be to counter this threat by any means necessary.

The question people will inevitable ask is who’s to blame for this? The mainstream media will offer it’s usual plethora of reasons: mental illness, the polarization of the EU referendum debate etc. But the problem is far more uncomfortable than we would like to believe. The far-right has been building, changing and growing in the past years, shifting their strategy back to the days of Lone Wolf attacks, straight of out of David Lane’s Turner Diaries. This is not only a UK or even European phenomena, but global. Dylan Roof, the Charleston shooter in North Carolina, was part of the same movement, read the same blogs and sported the same badges as Mair. Fascists are becoming bolder and bolder, and it is because of the space afforded to them by societal complacency which has allowed them to become more brazen.

London Anti-Fascist and the Anti-Fascist Network refuse to allow that space to exist. This is we we urge all anti-fascists, leftists and revolutionaries, to take the far-right seriously. They are only basement dwelling pre-teens spewing racial slurs on forums, they’re on the streets and they are arming themselves. Every platform they take, every single word they are able to speak, only further allows them to build strength. And so, we must respond in kind.

These far right assassins, like Thomas Mair or Zack Davies, were members of far right groups. That lived in our communities, that shopped in our shops, all the while plotting their attacks. Our response as antifascists must be to not allow them the anonymity in their communities. Strip off the veneer of ordinary and show the world who they really are. For too long, the far right have been able to march through diverse areas, invade mosques and attack left wing activists only to retreat back home, into neighborhoods that will never know their actions or their motives. This must end, the bastards must be exposed.