Why we need to shut down the London Forum

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The London Forum was started by Jeremy Bedford-Turner and Larry Nunn as a response to the collapse of the BNP and the EDL as a pole of attraction for hardline fascists to meet and listen to renowned international speakers.

The London Forum aims to be the ideological backbone of the contemporary fascist movement in the UK, distancing itself from rowdy alcohol fuelled demonstrations of the EDL but attempting to provide an attraction to the the most serious of former street movements. It has hosted holocaust deniers to anti-Semites, who cynically use the pro-Palestine movement to further their racism, at expensive West London hotel. Creating a fascist platform that seeks to unite all reactionaries that share a hatred for Jews and progressives under one campaign, even hosting the cockroach James Thring who has spoken at pro-Palestine meetings with Corbyn in the past.

Although we have seen much bigger far-right movements before, the London Forum is a fascist form to be concerned about. It began small but has grown to about one hundred people attending their extremely closed and secretive meetings. In addition to this they have expanded their meetings to the south west, Yorkshire, Scotland and Wales with plans to expand further. The fascists organising this are some of the original founders of the National Front in the 1970’s and it is clear that they are attempting to found a similar movement with the London Forum. In the 1960’s the National Front was established as a coalition of small groups on the far-right including the League of Empire Loyalists, the BNP, and the Greater Britain Movement. Although this coalition proved to be volatile and problematic the National Front went on to become the largest fascist threat that the UK had faced since the British Union of Fascists in the 1940’s.

It is clear that the intent of these secret discussion groups is to relaunch the fascist movement in the UK and it is essential for the anti-fascist movement to root its opposition to fascism in opposition to these meetings. These are well funded and attended events that have links right across the spectrum of reaction in the UK and must be stopped if we are to oppose the rise of fascism in the future.

(Details of the London Forum have been withheld for operational reasons, however it should be noted that these details add to the evidence of the dangerous and insidious nature of the London Forum).  

If you’d like more information, the Independent produced a good report on the London Forum and the anti-fascist protest that opposed it in February.

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Statement on the Attack in Manchester

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Last night at 10.30 PM at a pop concert in Manchester Arena, an explosion killed at least 22 including children and injured at least 59. Reports have been coming in during the early hours of the morning confirming the suspect to have been killed in the blast. This has been described as one of the deadliest attacks in the UK of the last decade.

There is still speculation as to the motives of the killer and an ongoing investigation to uncover whether they acted alone or part of a wider group.

What we do know is the misery following this horrific attack will be hijacked by the grief vultures of the far right. Already high profile racist Katie Hopkins is calling for a “final solution” on Twitter, while other fascist media personalities are scrambling for any information they can twist in order to fuel their anti-migrant, anti-Muslim agendas, and continue attacking the Left who dare challenge their blatant racism. There are two fascist demonstrations planned for Liverpool and Manchester in the coming weeks that will, no doubt, use last night’s tragedy in order to attract bigger numbers and use the deaths of dozens of ordinary people in order to grow their organisational capacity. They must be opposed.

What we also know is that black, Asian and Muslim communities in the UK will bear the brunt of the inevitable racist fall-out from this attack. The media will allude to the killer acting in the name of Islam, and people will be out for revenge fuelled by the hate-mongering far right. Of course, the irony being the ideology that incites such hatred and bloody violence, which is shared by extremists from ISIS to National Action, is fascism. Vilifying Muslims in the name of freedom only plays into the hands of the same forces of reaction that breeds terrorist organisations. The most under threat of terrorists in the Middle East are Muslims, Kurds, and other ethnic and religious minorities. This is not a race war and blind nationalism is not the answer.

This is the people’s war. Anti-fascist comrades from Manchester and London are fighting together on the frontlines in Rojava, in the name of class struggle, liberty, and international solidarity. This is the time to resist the far right’s cynical attempts to capitalise off of a grief stricken community once again. This is the time to come together and fight and not allow the bourgeois class to continue to sow division and suspicion amongst ordinary working people. This is the time to recognise that our liberation is tied up in the liberation of our working class siblings who struggle all around the world.

Our thoughts are with all of the victims, their friends and families in Manchester throughout this difficult time, and our Manchester comrades. Your struggle is our struggle.

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/