Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/605/8584
Battling the far right in Nottingham
English Defence League show themselves up
Hundreds of mainly young, local people turned out in Nottingham city centre on 5 December to oppose the racist 'English Defence League' (EDL). Around 350 EDL supporters, bussed in from all over the country, proved that their claims to be a "peaceful" organisation opposing what they call "Muslim extremism" to be a lie. They unsuccessfully attempted to attack anti-racists, hurling beer glasses and missiles and ended up fighting the police.
Nottingham Socialist Party members
The counter demonstration, called by 'Notts Stop the BNP' (NSBNP) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) mobilised hundreds of people to send the message that the EDL's racism is not wanted. The NSBNP placards calling for "Jobs and Homes not Racism" were highly visible as we marched through the city centre, receiving an excellent response from shoppers, who understood that the EDL's anti-Muslim message was racist and a threat to all working class people. Many people joined in the anti-racist protest as time went on. Our Socialist Party leaflet was well received.
The EDL had chosen this date to coincide with a Nottingham Forest-Leicester City football derby and also a parade of the Mercian Regiment returning from Afghanistan.
The EDL attempted to exploit public feelings around the troops in the hope they could twist them to their Islamophobic racist cause. NSBNP protesters made the point that most of the activists oppose the war in Afghanistan and our protest was not against the troops. We got a good response from soldiers we spoke to on the day.
The police operation cost a reported £1 million. Although we would have like to have stopped the EDL from getting into the city at all, we did show the overwhelming opposition to their vicious racism that exists.
The Labour leader of the council (who watched the events from the castle) had shamefully, urged people not to counter-demonstrate. This approach would have left the streets free for the EDL to intimidate and attack people. At least one anti-racist was attacked that evening.
Socialist Party members, who with others have played a prominent role in NSBNP will continue to organise against racist groups like the EDL and campaign for a positive alternative of jobs, homes and services and also for a new workers' party that can provide a real alternative to the failed policies of capitalism.
BNP have no answers
When we were campaigning to save Corus jobs in Middlesbrough on Saturday 5 December, we were visited by a couple of members of the BNP. They swore at us and threatened us with violence.
The BNP pretend to be 'the new alternative for the working class' - presumably this includes accepting mass redundancies and allowing big business to scrap people's futures without a struggle. They have no solutions to the problems facing working class people. A united trade union and community battle to save jobs on Teesside will push these apologists for the fat cats back into the gutter they came from.
Teesside Socialist Party members
In The Socialist 9 December 2009:
Socialist Party editorial
War and occupation
Socialist Party news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party appeal