John Denham wrote in the Guardian last week about the danger of us returning to the 1930’s Fascist protests carried out by Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. We have all seen the recent anti-muslim protests that have been taking place in Luton, Birmingham and Harrow – organised by the self-styled English Defence League, and their various splinter groups.
At the moment, these protests are small scale, and do not compare with protests such as Cable Street in 1936.
However, this could be the start of a dangerous period of racial unrest; and as such, our response should be measured.
Whilst I can understand the anger of those muslims who took on the protesters in Harrow last week; violent retaliation is not, and will never be the way forward. Violence breeds violence, and as such, has a hugely damaging effect on the wider anti fascist community.
The real way forward has always been through discussion and open debate. By challenging the views of those on the far right, we not only expose their ineptitude, but also highlight their hatred and contempt for a fair and open society. Our muslim friends and neighbours can also play a vital part in this process by being as open as possible and engaging fully in our communities.
Whilst I have no problem with peaceful protest; fighting in the streets of our towns and cities and general civil unrest is not, and will never be the path to take. As a side issue, that includes throwing eggs at Nick Griffin.
The confrontational style of protest by organisations such as Unite against Fascism, has a detrimental effect on our work; and whilst I agree with their ultimate goals and aims, there must be better way of achieving them.
Protests by thugs such as the EDL must be controlled by the police, and if possible, banned by our local authorities. We can all play a part in this by contacting the relevant authorities and requesting immediate action against these protests before they take place. HOPE not hate are once again active in working to keep these fascists off our streets. The next planned protest by the EDL could take place in Leeds on 31/10/09 – to prevent this, and to keep Leeds safe, we can all take place in the latest HOPE not hate campaign.
As a further consequence, any increase in civil and racial unrest plays straight into the hands of the BNP. The EDL has been very vocal in distancing itself from the BNP and their fascist policies. Odd then, that the BNP have been selling EDL merchandise on their website.
Let us be very clear about this – the EDL are connected to the BNP; or rather the hidden face of the BNP that they would rather keep quiet about – to think otherwise is laughable.
So, let’s support peaceful protest, encourage open debate and let Griffin make a fool of himself on the BBC’s ‘Question Time’.
Together we can lead the fight against fascism by using words rather than fists.