EDL

After Woolwich

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The racist backlash after the murder of a soldier outside Woolwich barracks last month has been on a far greater scale than that following the 7 July 2005 bombings in London.

Even though more than 50 people were killed and over 700 injured in 7/7, there were only sporadic attacks on Muslims and their property. Compare this with the report from the Faith Matters think tank that it had logged 193 anti-Muslim hate incidents in first six days following Lee Rigby's murder, including ten attacks on mosques. This is 15 times higher than the average rate last year of just over 12 anti-Muslim hate incidents per week.

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

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.

Fuelling Islamophobia

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As austerity attacks bite, the threat posed by anti-Muslim racism is likely to grow.

The recent student protests have been an inspiration, but not everyone is happy about them.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as "Tommy Robinson", leader of the racist English Defence League (EDL), made his displeasure known at a demonstration in Peterborough in December. He described students as "dirty, stinking layabouts" and threatened to send EDL thugs to attack future student protests.

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 BNP and EDL

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A new racist political group is organising on the streets. They call themselves the English Defence League, but who are they and what do they represent? Martin Smith investigates

Alan Lake is a middle aged English businessman. Last September he addressed an anti-Islam conference organised by the racist Sweden Democrats in Malmo. This shady figure told delegates that it was necessary to build an anti-Jihad movement that was "ready to go out onto the street". He also claimed that he and his friends had already begun to build alliances with football supporters.

The English Defence League: Not suited but booted

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This summer saw a sinister new development on the far right of British politics.

Groups such as the English Defence League (EDL) have started to take to the streets, organising anti-Muslim "demonstrations" in towns and cities such as Birmingham, Luton and Harrow.

Anti-fascists have responded by mobilising against the EDL, often at very short notice. In Birmingham thousands mobilised on two occasions to chase them out of town. And in Harrow last month some 2,000 people, of all ages and backgrounds, turned out to defend the local mosque from a protest planned by the EDL and an organisation called "Stop the Islamisation of Europe".

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