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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 November 2016

Far-right given short shrift in Darlington

Socialist Party members and other demonstrate against the far right in Darlington, 5.11.16, photo by Elaine Brunskill

Socialist Party members and other demonstrate against the far right in Darlington, 5.11.16, photo by Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Alan Docherty, Teesside Socialist Party

A handful of fascists from nearby Bishop Auckland had invited Nazi groups from across the UK to march in Darlington on 5 November. The result was a march made up of about 20 members of the north-east and north-west Infidels, the Scottish Defence League and 35 from a national mobilisation of the black shirted National Action. They were confronted by 200 local people.

The fascists were escorted from a pub on the outskirts to the town centre where most pubs closed their doors on them. They quickly organised their short march to an almost deserted square to be confronted by the 200 strong anti-fascist rally. The fascists, surrounded by the police, soon melted away and left demoralised.

Prior to the static anti-fascist rally called by Unite Against Fascism (UAF), 20 activists from Darlington Trades Council, supported by Socialist Party members, leafleted the public in the town centre about the far-right and xenophobia.

We engaged with people to counter the myth that immigrants, refugees and Muslims are to blame for society's problems. To counter 'divide and rule', we put the blame with Tory austerity policies and outlined an alternative of fighting for socialist policies of a 10 an hour minimum wage, job creation, council house building and investment in the NHS and public services.

What was a successful day was spoiled to some extent by the sectarianism of some of the UAF who agreed with the police to a static protest well away from main thoroughfares. The UAF did not contact local labour movement organisations because they, in the north east, have a sectarian policy of excluding the Socialist Party. Socialist Party members in Darlington hold leading positions in Darlington TUC.

Maximum unity is required to fight fascism and this behaviour of some UAF members is counterproductive.

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