D.Dave | 06.07.2010 18:34 | Sheffield
The Leeds branch of the Anarchist Federation have little or no history of antifascist activity. Yet their ambitions to form a new ‘militant antifascist alliance’ to take on the EDL led them to publically announce such a meeting.
Not that they put much effort into advertizing the meeting, and they certainly didn’t invite any of the existing antifascist groups operating in West Yorkshire.
Bearing in mind the nature of the meeting, and the recent record of the EDL in turning up uninvited to anti-EDL meetings, one might have expected a certain amount of security.
As it was, when the meeting was held, on Saturday July 3rd, and despite the AF being tipped off about EDL plans to attend, there was NO SECURITY WHATSOEVER.
This appalling negligence allowed a small group of EDL activists to simply walk into the meeting, from which the Anarchist Federation showed no stomach to evict them. The EDL have not stopped crowing since. In one stupid blunderous move Leeds Anarchist Federation have not only handed the EDL an easy victory, they have undermined the hard work put in by real militant antifascists in Leeds over the past two decades.
You have to hand it to the EDL that they are daring in their tactics in a way that anarchist/leftist groups are not. We could learn from them. At the weekend five EDLers strolled into an Afed organised ‘Stop the EDL’ meeting in Leeds and asked how they were to be stopped. The EDLers didnt know in advance how many anti-fascists would be there or how combative they would be. They’ve done the same to a UAF meeting in Bristol and a George Galloway meeting in Birmingham. As a result wild rumours circulate about the EDL -’fifty EDLers attacked the SWP’s Marxism event at the weekend’ another writes that ‘they were faced down’. Where’s the evidence for this happening outside of some paranoid minds? Where will they appear next?
Their whole marching strategy has some dynamism and coherence to it and they generally pull it off. They post regularly on left/anarchist forums (including here) and allow opponents to post on their own so they are certainly not afraid to debate. On their forum about Leeds they even salute the bravery of ‘ the bloke in the black shirt who had some bottle’. I’m sure if you’re in the EDL it’s exciting not only to march but to catch up on what your new best mates Marshy, Tommo, Snowy and Joel are up to – i’m getting keen myself! Compare good ‘ol Snowy’s occupation of the Dudley Mosque site – which made sense in the EDL strategy- with most of the things anarchists occupy which are nonsense. Before there is an avalanche of posts accusing this of being a closet Nazi – we are talking daring and tactics here.
Stick your head in the sand or wise up comrades. More of the same just aint working.