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Stevenage: EDL not welcome here
Stevenage Socialist Party member
The far-right and divisive English Defence League (EDL) came to Stevenage on 7 June. But a counter-march organised by Stevenage and District Trades Council (SDTC) sent a clear message that the EDL's divisive methods will not go unopposed.
Over 200 people including trade unionists, members of the Socialist Party and local youth marched together, determined to voice their opposition to any attempts to divide the working class.
The EDL say they targeted Stevenage because of an upcoming court case involving the grooming of underage girls. The EDL's hate campaign was focused on the local Muslim population, seeking division despite the fact that the vast majority of Muslims and of the Pakistani community are horrified by this crime.
But SDTC responded, leafleting workplaces, shops, the town centre and a local mosque to explain the need for a counter-demonstration.
The leaflets said that "such hatred cannot go unchallenged and the division created between working people must not be allowed to grow."
SDTC received a good response together with messages of support and solidarity.
When EDL members arrived in Stevenage they found they were not welcome with most pubs closing their doors to them. A pub outside Stevenage had to be found for their customary pre-march assembly.
The counter-demo ended with a rally including speeches from PCS, Unite, Unite Against Fascism and Socialist Party members.
The speakers said that targeting the Muslim population will only lead to divisions within the working class. The only people who benefit will be the bosses if our ability to resist is weakened.
The lack of housing and suitable jobs in Stevenage does breed discontent but only a united working class is capable of defending the interests of the overwhelming majority of people.
- Stevenage Socialist Party has organised a public meeting on Monday 16 June, 8pm, Bedwell Community Centre, Stevenage
In The Socialist 11 June 2014:
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