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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 March 2011

EDL thugs threaten socialists

Elaine Brunskill

Our Socialist Party campaigning activity at Newcastle's Monument was going well on Saturday 19 March. One of us was dressed up as a 'banker in need', thanking people for the billions handed over in bonuses. We had loads of people coming up to our stall, signing our petition, buying our paper. Then suddenly we were surrounded by around 60 English Defence League (EDL) thugs. It seemed as if they had a regional mobilisation.

Initially, they tried to put their racist material on our stall, we threw it off. We asked them why they were targeting our stall, we were fighting the cuts and opposing the massive bonuses being given to the bankers. One of them shouted they didn't mind bankers getting bonuses, as long as they were English!

We were joined by another left group, and a passer-by who stood in front of our stall to help us defend it. We decided to continue campaigning and not leave the EDL unopposed to peddle their reactionary filth to the people of Newcastle.

During a period of a couple of hours we were verbally abused. One of our young female members was completely surrounded by them.

I was told that I was a coward. I replied that maybe it wasn't so very brave of him to be shouting at a 50+ year old woman. I was also covered in EDL stickers and told they were going to 'smash socialists'.

A young person passing by carrying a pro-uprising Libyan flag was met by shouts of "scum, scum, scum". While this was going on people were still approaching our stall, telling us they thought the EDL were a disgrace.

One of the police who was present posed smiling with the EDL. When I criticised her for doing this she told me she often had her photograph taken with tourists and young people at the Monument and could see nothing wrong with what she had done!

The EDL at the Monument seemed intent on having a celebration of ignorance. They were anti-trade unionist, anti-student and anti-working class.

For decades the Monument in Newcastle has been where trade unionists, community activists and socialists have had Saturday stalls. The EDL will face a mobilisation of local trade union members and other lefts if they try to bring their bully tactics back again.

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In The Socialist 23 March 2011:

PDF of issue

PDF of The Socialist issue 663, 24-30 March 2011

TUC demo

Fight all cuts: for a 24-hour public sector general strike

We can stop the cuts!

No education cuts: We can win the battle!

Want to fight the cuts? Join the socialists!

War and occupation

Libya: no to western military intervention

Socialist Party youth and students

March For Jobs 2011

Young people and staff protest against Connexions closure

Join Youth Fight for Jobs!

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Government health 'reforms': The Con-Dems' future doesn't work

EDL thugs threaten socialists

Pickles wages war on services

Little to laugh about in 'Carry On Cuts' budget

Fast News

Socialist Party workplace news

Rail unions win over anti-strike laws

400 construction workers fight lock-out at BP Saltend, Hull

Stopping the cuts with the NSSN

Wales university lecturers' strike just the beginning

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

What has socialism got to do with fighting the cuts?

International socialist news and analysis

Organise the fightback - from Tahrir Square to Wisconsin

Nuclear power, no way!

Socialist history

Liverpool city council's historic victory over the Thatcher government

Mass non-payment - how the poll tax was beaten

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Elect working class fighters!

We're backing TUSC


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