Anti-fascism

Britain's Nazi's in a state of flux

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The fascist British National Party is nearing collapse, while the racist English Defence League has been contained by successful anti-fascist mobilisations - but the climate in society means they are very likely to regroup. Tash Shifrin looks at shifting alliances among Britain's far right.

In the first week of May the two wings of fascism - the suit-wearing electoral wing and the boot boys on the streets - will both face a test. The British National Party (BNP) and other fascist organisations will field candidates in the 3 May local elections with the vote for Greater London Assembly members set to be the key battleground.

Fighting Fascism: From Cable Street 1936 to Tower Hamlets 2011

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The English Defence League's plan to march through Tower Hamlets was defeated by an anti-fascist mobilisation. Martin Smith looks at the lessons for the fight against the EDL, while Dave Renton explores the history of Cable Street, where Oswald Mosley's fascists were stopped 75 years ago

Some 75 years have passed since the historic victory at Cable Street. But before the anniversary celebrations could begin, anti-fascists and local people were once again called on to defend the east London borough of Tower Hamlets from the racists. On 3 September 2011 the English Defence League (EDL) said it was going to march through the borough.

The big one

Death of an internationalist

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Jean-René Chauvin was a French Trotskyist who lived through, and participated in, some of the 20th century's most dramatic events. Ian Birchall looks at his life


On 17 February death finally claimed Jean-René Chauvin. It seems almost miraculous that he has died now, aged 92, and not much earlier. His memoirs contain an unbelievable sentence where he states that, after his incarceration in the Mauthausen and Auschwitz concentration camps, he found the atmosphere in Buchenwald "much more relaxed".

Fighting racism on two fronts

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When the racist English Defence League (EDL) announced it was going to hold a demonstration in Luton on 5 February everyone knew that it was going to be a big test for both the anti-fascist movement and the racists.

In the run-up to the demonstration the EDL boasted that it was going to put 8,000 people on the streets. But on the day it claimed 2,500 turned up.

However, anti-fascist protesters outnumbered the EDL two to one. Around 2,000 activists gathered at the official Unite Against Fascism (UAF) rally in the town centre and up to 3,000 people joined the joint UAF/community protest in Bury Park, the predominantly Asian part of the town.

Growing up with racism in Britain

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The threat posed by racists on the streets and fascists at the ballot box shows that racism has not gone away. Zita Holbourne, Weyman Bennett, Hesketh Benoit, Marcia Rigg and Assed Baig discuss their experience of racism and how to fight back.

"Let's tackle the roots of racism" - Zita Holbourne

Growing up in 1970s London, I was viewed as a strange phenomenon by many. Frequently my mother was told to "go back home" and called a "wog". People tried to apply labels to me and called me "half caste", "half breed", "half pint". Some didn't know what my race was but knew they disliked me because of the way I looked and called me "Paki", "Greek girl" and "Chinese girl".

Fash mob

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The racist English Defence League (EDL) seem to be developing a new strategy for continuing their campaign of hatred against the Muslim community following their failure to pull off "the big one" in Bradford last month.


Photo: Valerios Theofanidis

Their self-imposed leader, Tommy Robinson, wrote to supporters saying, "The mood of members has been somewhat low since the Dudley demo... Yes, we had one bad demo... We need to forget the past and look forward to the future."

EDL - racist leagues on the defensive

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After taking a short break to allow their friends in the Nazi British National Party (BNP) to have a free hand in the general election, the racist English Defence League (EDL) are once again back on the streets.

But one thing has become very clear: things are not going as planned for the EDL.

The first protest they called after the recent general election was in Newcastle on Saturday 29 May. The EDL organisers of the protest told the police they expected 5,000 people to attend. On the day they could barely claim a tenth of that number. Greeting them was a thousand-strong Unite Against Fascism (UAF) counter-demonstration, supported by a large number of trade unionists and local Muslim people. The day ended with Newcastle and Sunderland EDL supporters fighting each other.

EDL divisions develop

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Two important protests, in Bolton and Dudley, have taken place since Socialist Review published the article "English Defence League Uncovered" in March.

Bolton was the most serious. Up to 3,500 anti-fascists confronted around 800 English Defence League (EDL) supporters. What marked Bolton out from the 13 other counter-EDL protests of the last eight months was the ferocity of the police. For hours they attacked Unite Against Fascism (UAF) supporters, using police dogs and horses (see Frontlines last month).

The police - whose side are they on?

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The brutality with which Greater Manchester Police (GMP) attacked anti-fascists in Bolton last month shocked many.



In the run-up to the 20 March Unite Against Fascism (UAF) counter-protest it could have been anticipated that the English Defence League (EDL) boot-boys would use intimidation and threats. But it wasn't just the fascists who were out to crush their opponents.

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