25 April 2011

Police Force Fascist March Through Brighton

From Egypt to Libya to Britain - the Police are the Enemies of Freedom and the Friends of Fascism

The fascists assembled at the Railway Tavern, a pub opposite Brighton station. There were police from Hampshire, Surrey and the Met., in addition to those from Sussex. We estimate that at least 1,000 police were deployed to ensure that less than 100 fascists were able to march through Brighton.

It was billed as a ‘family day out’ but there weren’t many families present. Mainly overweight pot-bellied men, with a few women for the sake of appearances. It was to celebrate St. George’s Day though they didn’t manage that either.

What was most noticeable, even to the most innocent and na├»ve, was the blatant police bias. Forget New Labour and its police protecting communities nonsense, here we saw the state in all its glory. Police turned a blind eye to racist and provocative chanting from the fascists, including anti-gay insults (despite the presence of a few token rainbow coloured banners – yes gays can also be fascists) but arrested mainly anti-fascists for the usual breaches of public order and what were deemed ‘offensive’ remarks directed towards the said fascists.

Indeed the police were remarkable in their consistent hostility to the anti-fascists who they regularly tried to kettle and confine. At one point the police were told to ‘face the enemy’ and immediately turned to look at us. When we pointed out that this confirmed everything we had been saying they excused themselves by saying it was merely an operational command – but it accurately reflected what happened on the day.

The only thing missing was the Zionist flag of Israel. Unsurprisingly there were no Zionist Jews amongst the counterdemonstrators, given the close working links between the Zionist Federation and the fascists nationally. There was however a good turnout from local Palestine solidarity activists, thus giving the lie to the accusation that anti-Semitism = anti-Zionism.

Anti-fascists must however draw some political conclusions from what happened. The first is that the SWP front, United Against Fascism, is incapable of leading or organising any serious anti-fascist response. Despite calling an open meeting a week ago, they ignored the agreement for a stewards group. Many anarchists confined themselves to ensuring the security of the local Cowley club, though to be fair there were many anarchists amongst the counter-demonstrators.
Marching through Brighton must have been a humiliating experience, even for the thickest bone-head. There was next to no support for the fascists and lots of abuse directed at them by people on the street, with special mention to customers who came out to shout from the local Burger King.

The main chant from the fascists was ‘It’s Our England’ which would be amusing but for its crass stupidity. None of these no hopers owns more than a tiny fragment, if that, of ‘our England’. The wealth of Britain is owned by a network of interconnected families and Directors, many of whom aren’t even domiciled in Britain. Instead the EDL are imbeciles for the ruling class and capitalists who do actually own England, the proto-SA of the future.

At a time of mass unemployment and recession the fascists chanted 'get a job' and 'we pay your benefits'. Presumably they were unaware of small things like NHS cuts and bankers' bonuses.

At the moment the EDL has next to no presence in Brighton and Hove. Most of their supporters were shipped in from places like Southampton with a banner from the Essex Infidels. Brighton, with its tolerant multi-cultural atmosphere and its large and openly gay community is not fertile ground for fascism.

However next year serious though needs to be given as to how to stop the march in its tracks. UAF are not interested in anything but token opposition and played a large part in boosting a home grown initiative last year. Serious anti-fascism is no longer the preserve of the SWP and what is needed is a united anti-fascist group comprising all political groups on the left, anarchists and independents, whose aim is to ensure that fascism does not have a free pass in Brighton.

Tony Greenstein

Postcript - Today's Argus reports that 350 Police were mobilised. We should take this with a pinch of salt. The Police demonstrate their bias when they claim there were 100 demonstrators and 200 fascists. I went to the start of the fascist march and there were under 100 people whereas we had people out throughout the town and there were, at a minimum 300 anti-fascists. Who says the Police are unbiased?


  1. I agree that there was certainly less than 100 facists, who were vastly outnumbered and humiliated by the opposition.

    Plod were out to stop any form of protest. I was stopped several times whilst trying to avoid the kettle, my crime? carrying a CWU flag. I was told to return to the "designated protest area" when i replied that I was on my way to a trade union party on the beach, the brainless plod let me pass. Not for long though, the group i was with were constantly obstructed by plod, threatened with arrest for forming a counter march along north street. i was told that my counter chants were offensive to the marchers, one of whom offered to "see me afterwards". I asked a couple of plod trying to hold us back, is it not the case that it is an offence to incite racial hatred? yes came the reply, so why are you defending this crime? Plod just shrugged their shoulders! nuff said

  2. Tony, A great account as ever but I think you're being a bit unfair portraying anarchists as just being worried about the protection of the Cowley Club. Several individuals have been arrested on sight at these demos and they probably decided they'd be more use in the Cowley Club than a police cell. To me (and hopefully you) that makes perfectly good sense. And as you rightly point out there were loads of Anarchists on the streets too.

  3. Thanks. Glad u liked the reports. Didn't mean to say anarchists were only concerned about the Cowley Club. Agreed there are some people who get nicked on sight who would, as you say, be more useful defending the Cowley Club.

    What I do think is that next time heads need to be put together to see how we can seriously disrupt it given that the police are willing to spend a small fortune protecting the rights of the fascists.

    The report of the CWU person is pretty spot on. The Police were attacking us for giving offence to the fascists. Unbelievable but the Police share the same attitudes and beliefs of the fascists. They derive from the same sewer. YOu can have all the Racism Awareness Training and Equal Opportunities nonsense you like, but Racist Pigs will always return to the same pig swill, however much you try to make it smell sweet.

  4. Tony,
    Re getting heads togethor to see how we can disrupt the march next time.

    In my view protestors need to ignore any "designated protest area", to do so just co-operates with voluntary self kettling and is self defeating.

    I think a better strategy would be to be less organised and splinter accross the route of the march. The Plod would have greater difficulty "controlling" the counter protest. Groups spread out accross the route, anonymously mingling with day trippers and the general public. Groups can easily co-ordinate with each other on mobile phone. These groups can then strike out at the marchers as they progress along the route, thus ensuring a continual barrage of protest and humiliation to the facists. More effective in my view than a large kettled group controled by Plod.

    This certainly worries Plod, one one of the occasions when i was asked to go to the "designated protest area", after giving a number of evasive answers, plod replied that he only wanted to know, as it made it helpful for them to "control" the counter protest. next time lets not help them.

  5. The first thing we need to do is to mobilise greater numbers. 2-300 is not enough. We always had at least 5-600 and up to 1,000 in the early 1980's.

    Agreed that we should absolutely not go to any 'designated protest areas'. We are doing the police's work for them. I agree about groups spreading out but I'm in favour of concerted attacks on the march at certain points which will need more than a handful of people and also, without giving anything away, using more sophisticated tactics.

    The problem was not we were too organised but that we weren't organised enough!

  6. I meant less organised in the sense that it would prevent Plod from controlling and suppressing counter demonstration. All those pointlessly kettled would have been more effective in groups spread along key points of the route. Such groups would be useful in agitating the public, many of whom appeared unaware, this would also increase protestor numbers on the day.

  7. Yes it's absolutely crucial that people don't allow themselves to be kettled. The UAF seem determined at times to kettle themselves!

    But there is a need for greater organisation and if, as happened on Sunday, the police force the march through the centre of town, then we have to ensure that we can maximise protest there not least to immunise people from these scum


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