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Bradford must organise against the EDL
The racist English Defence League (EDL) plans to march through Bradford on Saturday 28 August. In a deeply provocative move the EDL has specifically targeted Bradford because of its large Asian and Muslim population. They are hyping their demo up as "The Big One".
Ian Pattison, Leeds Socialist Party
Earlier this summer the EDL attempted to march through Tower Hamlets. But the working class of the East End refused to accept this. 5,000 black, white, and Asian people turned out and the EDL didn't dare show their faces.
Large sections of young people in Bradford won't accept the EDL coming. The EDL cannot be allowed to have an uncontested demonstration in the city centre which would be intimidatory and threatening to Asians and others alike. That is why groups like Bradford United Against Racism (BUAR), Leeds Anti-Fascist Network (LAFN) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) will be organising a counter-demonstration.
Unfortunately the tactics of groups like Hope Not Hate (HNH) weaken attempts to mobilise the local community and anti-fascists.
HNH are opposing a counterdemonstration to the EDL, and are concentrating on getting the EDL march banned.
The Socialist Party campaigns against fascist and racist protests, but we believe that calling for state bans, that can be used against all protest or directly against the left, is a mistake. HNH is calling on home secretary Teresa May to ban the EDL demo. Whilst such a ban is unlikely, it would also apply to anti-racist protests on the day.
What is needed is a massive counter-demo involving the trade union movement alongside the local community. Such a demo should have well organised and coordinated stewarding. According to HNH's logic an anti-racist counter-demo would 'provoke disorder', just as a violent racist anti-Muslim riot would.
In Bradford and Yorkshire some trade union leaders and the Labour Party are actively campaigning against people going to Bradford on the day or even getting involved with anti-racist groups. What these 'responsible dignitaries' forget is that the National Front march was banned in Bradford in 2001 but that didn't stop fascists attacking Asians, which sparked the riots that followed.
The far right must be opposed everywhere it rears its ugly head. The working class faces unprecedented attacks from the Con-Dem government. The EDL blame Muslims for the problems caused by the profit system, and only serve to divide the working class along ethnic and religious lines.
On 28 August in Bradford we need a united, well-stewarded counter-demo in the city centre against the EDL under the slogan of: "Jobs, Homes, and Services, Not Racism" to show strong opposition to the far-right and undercut their racist lies.
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