Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/656/11084
No to the racist EDL! Unite to fight the cuts
A GROUP of people sit chatting and eating in a fast food restaurant; men, women, children. Out of the blue, bricks start hitting the windows, hundreds of thugs come running past, directing their racist chanting at the diners. Children start crying. Suddenly the thugs burst in the door to attack whoever they meet first...
Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party
This is not 1930s Nazi Germany, this is Leicester 2010 and this kind of racist incident has been repeated at marches of the English Defence League (EDL) up and down the country over the last couple of years.
On their website the EDL have a "mission statement" claiming they are not racist, that they are only opposed to "Muslim extremism". But on the street demonstrations they have held up and down the country, the truth is revealed.
They do not wait to discuss religious beliefs before they attack anyone they see as not 'English'. They chant deliberately provocative slogans like "Muslims off our streets". Their leaders make statements on demos like "Muslims - burn in hell!"
They aim to blame all Muslims for terrorism, and all the other problems working class people face. Their anti-Muslim rhetoric is just the thin end of the wedge for a wider racism that divides working class people.
At a time when working class people of all religious backgrounds and none, and all ethnic makeup are under attack, when all of our public services are being devastated, when jobs are being decimated and living standards slashed, we need a mass united movement to fight back. Whose interests are served by those who attempt to divide us?
It wasn't Muslims who caused the banking collapse that sparked the recession; it isn't Muslims who are attacking jobs and services to pay off the super-rich. It can only serve the interests of the ruling class to have attention diverted away from the real causes of our problems.
But it isn't only Muslims the EDL have attacked. They heckled Swansea Trades Council's May Day march and criticised students protesting against cuts and fees.
The EDL must be opposed. Local communities have a right to defend themselves from racist thugs. Trade unions and anti-racist campaigners have to support them. We cannot let the EDL go unchallenged.
There is a danger that some people, whose lives have been worsened by three decades of cuts and privatisation by the Tories, Liberals and New Labour, may believe the EDL's scapegoating. That is why, when opposing the EDL, we need to put forward an argument for jobs, homes and services, not racism.
A socialist alternative can provide an answer on those issues. The EDL claim to defend the 'English' working class, but they actually hide the real causes of our problems. We need a real mass workers' party that can unite all working class people to defend ourselves and our living standards.
In The Socialist 2 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis