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

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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.