Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 28 October 2012 at 15:39 GMT

Demo against the EDL, Waltham Forest, 27.10.12, photo Sarah Wrack

Demo against the EDL, Waltham Forest, 27.10.12, photo Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

EDL fails in second attempt to rally in Waltham Forest

Walthamstow Socialist Party

Socialist Party members from Waltham Forest and across London joined the hundreds-strong protest against the racist English Defence League (EDL) today, 27 October.

Following the successful humiliation of EDL hooligans in Walthamstow by anti-racist protesters and local young people on 1 September, the racists, in an attempt to save face, had vowed to return today, threatening to 'unite the right'. Read about that here.

The massive local campaign against the EDL led to the police banning them from marching and holding a static protest in the borough.

No doubt residents were relieved that this racist, hooligan organisation was not able to bring people into our area to try to spread its racist lies and create division and tension.

But scandalously, the ban against the EDL was also applied to the thousands of local residents, workers and young people who were preparing to come out and march against the racists.

In fact the ban on all protests has been applied to the whole of Waltham Forest for 30 days and stretches to three neighbouring boroughs, Newham, Islington and Tower Hamlets.

On top of that the council had further attempted to demobilise the anti-racist opposition by issuing a letter which said: "We will not allow any counter demonstrations or protests to take place in this area."

Demo against the EDL, Waltham Forest, 27.10.12, photo by Paul Mattsson

Demo against the EDL, Waltham Forest, 27.10.12, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

In fact the council occupied the area the local anti-racist campaign had planned to use, the town square and another central area, with a funfair policed by council enforcers and security.

Anti-racist protesters setting up stalls in preparation for the protest were harassed and harangued by police and council security.

Scandalously a letter signed by the local Labour MPs, John Cryer and Stella Creasy, who was given an opportunity to speak on the platform of the successful anti-EDL mobilisation on 1 September, jointly with welfare-smashing Tory Iain Duncan, included the line: "We call on everyone who had planned to demonstrate, especially those who have no connection to this borough, to stay away and allow the community to get back to normal", a further attempt to demobilise the opposition to racism among ordinary people.

A huge police presence with hundreds of police and with dogs, horses and dozens of police vans added to the clampdown on the democratic right to protest.

Socialist Party members were angered when the police informed them that they were preparing to allow the EDL to assemble at the town hall if they turned up. Thankfully this did not come to bear.

Labour politicians imposing cuts

The Socialist Party has been part of the local campaign against the EDL's plans to march from the off.

As well as building opposition to the EDL in the trade unions, workplaces, colleges and communities, inside the campaign we have argued against an uncritical platform for Labour politicians who are cutting jobs and services at council level and providing no opposition to austerity at a national level.

Demo against the EDL, Waltham Forest, 27.10.12, photo by Paul Mattsson

Demo against the EDL, Waltham Forest, 27.10.12, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The anger and frustration with the council's actions among local people was reflected by some of the speeches from the stage erected in Hoe Street, where anti-racists were allowed a static protest.

Local Labour councillors, who had previously been given a platform by the campaign, then banned its march. Local vicar Stephen Saxby's condemnation of this drew support from the crowd.

Unbelievably Stella Creasy was allowed to speak from the stage despite her attempts to prevent an anti-racist event taking place.

Steve Hedley, RMT union assistant general secretary, made a powerful speech explaining the link between austerity and the rise of the far right.

Steve appealed for support for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to build a voice for working class people.

Nancy Taaffe, a local library worker sacked through the cuts and TUSC candidate for Walthamstow in the 2010 general election, added to these points.

She also made it clear that "we must have a political challenge to the lies of austerity and of cuts where the three main political parties have betrayed the working class".

Nancy explained TUSC's plans to put up candidates against the council that had carried through Tory cuts and privatisation, calling on parents fighting academies, workers and trade unionists fighting cuts, to build a "working class alternative to the politics of sell-outs".

Oktay from the Day-Mer Kurdish and Turkish youth organisation made a strong speech calling for workers and young people to unite and build the resistance to racism and fascism, and to austerity.

In the end, less than 50 EDLers, outnumbered by police, held a static protest near Parliament, where they were given permission to do so at one day's notice.

Nonetheless this pathetic show earned the hooligans a video on the websites of the Telegraph and the Evening Standard.

Demo against the EDL, Waltham Forest, 27.10.12, photo by Sarah Wrack

Demo against the EDL, Waltham Forest, 27.10.12, photo by Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

Many bigger demonstrations of the labour movement are completely ignored by the right wing press.

The Socialist Party leaflet distributed on the day called for "a massive, united campaign of working class people that has the power not only to marginalise and smash groupings like the EDL, but to hold out hope in a real future to those small layers of people who might be attracted by them".

It also noted that: "The impressive TUC demo last Saturday 20 October, following the big events of last year (the 26 March TUC demo and 30 November public sector strike), all show that the organised working class in the trade unions has the power to mobilise masses of people in decisive action.

"The trade unions should be at the heart of any fight against the EDL, making it clear that they stand firmly in the interests of defending all sections of our communities against austerity attacks".

Socialists will continue to fight for such a campaign to be built.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 28 October 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

Related links:

Waltham Forest:

triangleWaltham Forest: Save Our Square public meeting

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The state - a warning to the labour movement

triangleTUSC plans to stand on Waltham Forest anti-monster block platform

triangleUnion-led campaign beats Blairite attacks on homeless

triangleSave Our Square occupation: "This land is our land!"


triangleDemonstrators see off far-right in Keighley

triangleRacist EDL humiliated for third time

triangleFar right humiliated in London - but trade unions must organise against racism and austerity

triangleYork University: socialists prevent far-right hate speech


triangleLike rats from a sinking Ukip

triangleVictory! Trump's UK visit cancelled by fear of protests

triangleRoyal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system


triangleUndercover policing legal challenge

triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core


triangleLeicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy


triangleRefugee Rights campaigners on the 17.3.18 anti-racism demo - pics

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Refugee Rights campaigners on the 17.3.18 anti-racism demo - pics


Socialist Party

Socialist Party congress 2018



Strike continues: set dates for next national action


Socialist Party

Members dig deep into their pockets to support the party


North West

Campaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened



Swansea Labour council votes for cuts



Derby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter



Seeing-off the bigoted, billionaire toff!



Continuing the fighting tradition of working class women



Workplace news in brief



Leicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy



Leaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise



We feel that we will win - a striker speaks



Woolwich ferry workers win automation campaign



UCU strike: bosses on the run

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018