Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/628/9781
EDL thugs sent packing from Cardiff
THE RACIST and hooligan English Defence League's (EDL) "Double Demo" turned out to be a double failure last Saturday, 5 June. Its boast of having enough support in Wales to hold two demonstrations, in both Cardiff and Swansea, dissolved into two small protests of just a handful in Swansea and around 200 in Cardiff - only a tenth of what they were threatening to bring.
The anti-racist campaign easily outnumbered the EDL with around 1,000 people on the demonstration from Cardiff Bay and more waiting outside Cardiff City Hall - a short distance away from the EDL protest, where 'Welsh' Defence League supporters waved St George flags and chanted "E-E-EDL".
Police led the anti-EDL march into a street blocked by a high steel fence and initially prevented anyone from leaving. But, despite mobilising across seven forces, police had to abandon its 'soft kettle' of protesters in order to redirect resources when Cardiff City football fans clashed with EDL supporters as they emerged from coaches.
The anti-racist movement had gathered enough forces on the day to have been able to cut off the city centre from the EDL but unfortunately this force was not organised as effectively as it could have been and the day was marred by reports of groups of EDL supporters chanting in the centre of town going unchallenged.
Nonetheless, it was obvious that EDL members were sweating as they were escorted to their coaches by hundreds of police, pursued by hundreds of local people, Cardiff City fans and Asian youth. Shoppers shouted opposition as the EDL went past and some followed them to the station.
£250,000 was spent by the police on guaranteeing the racists' right to hurl abuse, while local Cardiff residents were cleared off the streets.
Cardiff Communities Against Racism (CCAR) was set up as an ad-hoc attempt to co-ordinate the different anti-racist organisations planning to oppose the EDL protest. It organised open and democratic meetings every week, bringing around 170 different people into discussions about how to develop an effective strategy for defeating racism and the far right.
Activists are aware that although the EDL was defeated in Wales again, its scapegoating of minorities for the social problems caused by capitalism and capitalist politicians ie rising unemployment, lack of affordable social housing, cuts in public services, etc, will continue.
Supporters of CCAR are planning to discuss how best to develop their campaign in the period ahead, when the far-right, racist British National Party are threatening to stand in the Wales Assembly elections.
Socialist Party reporters
Unfortunately, CCAR had to waste time on the eve of the protest defending itself against smear attacks from another anti-racist organisation. An email circulated by the local leaders of UAF (who split the protest against the EDL in Newport last year, see The Socialist - issue 601) falsely accused CCAR of attempting to split this year's Cardiff demonstration. CCAR responded by demanding that UAF send out an apology and a correction to prevent potentially dangerous confusion amongst activists on the day but this was ignored.
In The Socialist 9 June 2010:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party feature
Environment and socialism
News and comment