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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Info on the EDL, From The English Blog Harry's Place

We've been presenting a lot of pro-EDL slants here at IBA. I do this because, while I suspect many in the EDL are racists and troublemakers, at the same time, I can find no evidence of their having started riots or violence at their various demonstrations.

We know the EDL leadership is attempting to forge alliances with the Jewish, Hindu and Sikh communities, and others who have been negatively impacted by Islam.

And, I think their demonstrations are a much-needed pushback against encroaching Islamization. 

For these reasons, I have some hope that the EDL may grow up and become a legitimate force.

On the other hand, at this point, they are a movement which was begun by, and is still largely organized by soccer hooligans, such as the Casuals United. For the life of me, I can not understand the British tradition of mixing sporting events with serious violence, and I certainly can not understand the idea that such is a lifestyle, or that it could be considered fun.

This mindset is far too nuanced for my simple American intellect.

In order to attempt to learn a bit more about the EDL, I thought I'd go to Harry's Place, because they pretty much hate the EDL, and seem to have good reason for it. I will say, here at the outset, that, from what I know, Harry's Place underestimates the violence of the "anti-Fascist" crowd, which is organized and inspired by the United Against Fascism (UAF). As far as I can tell, from having read many stories about the EDL and the UAF, it is the UAF who start the violence. The UAF appear, to my American eyes, to be similar to the far-left organizations who march in the streets at anti-War rallies, purporting to be for "peace" while aligning themselves with the PLO, Hamas, and Communist front groups.

But, what do I know?

Hey, prove me wrong.


The State & The EDL
Many are the claims on the various left and far-right websites that the EDL are ‘state’ designed to draw in and contain violent racists and discredit the far right in general. Wherever the EDL gather they are heavily monitored by the cops, often filmed individually during dispersals, and it is no surprise that the pubs they meet in for their ‘static protest’ are Wetherspoons which are all equipped with CCTV. It is not unlikely that the cops seize any footage taken. It also requires no stretch of the imagination to believe that the state have their informants and infiltrators, as they have had in the BNP for many years, and know what is going on. Bully for the state. There is also the Sheffield question. Although these are only unsubstantiated rumours several commentators are asking what happened in Sheffield between the cops and the EDL? The ‘leadership’ were arrested and taken to Sheffield police station no doubt by Special Branch/MI5 rather than uniform. Was there a deal? We’ll go easy on the ‘moderate’ EDL you if you give us info on the serious hooligans, or even better Nazis who the ‘leadership’ want shut of anyway. Any information gratefully received.

Are the EDL just another violent Nazi outfit like Combat 18? No. Despite the far-right’s usual antipathy to plurality and multi-culturalism, the EDL is quite a mixed bunch and not a unified organisation in the least. The EDL is a broad alliance of football hooligans who cannot fight at matches anymore, fascists and angry but directionless youths. Inter-firm rivalries have so far been contained, as they are at most England games, but whether this will continue we shall see. The presence of the EDL youth leader and the Sikh bloke is not unanimously approved of and not everyone who goes on the demos are ‘members’ but casual racists out simply to get pissed and have a ruck. It is these ‘fringe’ elements that ignore the EDL ‘leaderships’ protestations over non-violence and Plod co-operation: once the lager is in full flow they can’t help throwing out the Nazi salutes, having a confab with the cops and breaking out of the kettles and cordons to put a few windows in. The EDL ‘leadership’, media savvy as they are, get into a flap about this and keep reiterating that they are ‘not racist.’ Which we all believe.

The BNP have proscribed the EDL but there is firm evidence of BNP members attending demos. Combat 18, after the central London fracas are not speaking to the EDL until they say sorry. The microscopic BPP, who are centred round Yorkshire will no doubt be putting their gluebags down and hobbling along to the forthcoming Bradford venture. The Aryan Strike Force is still reeling from the prison sentences handed down to the Newcastle father and son terror-clown act and the likes of Wigan Mike, who has attended many of the EDL demos, is no doubt worried over his oncoming court case in connection with their website.

The EDL & The Nazis
Opinion on the various far right forums is divided. The eager ones, hankering after the ‘glory days’ of the BM and the NF, are up for street level confrontation; the older ones are either jealous of the EDL’s numbers, claim state interference or are horrified by the Israeli flag waving and the even more blatant demo at the Israeli embassy this week. The Israeli flag is used to wind up Muslims but some far-righters claim that there is a larger Zionist conspiracy afoot involving Alan Lake who bankrolls the EDL. But there again, they say that about everyone including Nick Griffin so we shall see.

The Opposition

The counter-demonstrations have met with various success. That there are schisms on the left is no surprise: we have the respectable and controllable UAF, community groups and the more militant anti-fascists amongst others. Due to the EDL’s political naivety they see all opposition groups as ‘commies’ and Muslim community leaders, Weyman Bennett, SWP and anarchists as one and the same. They do not see that there is as broad a spectrum on the left as there is in their own ranks. This often embarrassing naivety of the EDL also construes that those who oppose them are therefore pro-Muslim which is clearly not the case: what many anti-fascists object to are pissed up gangs of racists coming into their communities to cause trouble.

The Future?
The EDL love the ego-boosting publicity (and we are aware that this article will be read by them): many football hooligans keep scrapbooks of ‘victories’ and ‘taking liberties’ and they will no doubt be pleased by the recent BBC3 documentary painting them out to be a significant political force. Although we must not discount the threat, the demos for many are simply the chance to drink, fight and cause a bit of mayhem to enhance their reputations amongst peers. If Bradford goes ahead there will no doubt be serious violence as well as publicity, heavy manners policing and a large bill for the community to cover. Which is exactly what the EDL want. More little pictures for their scrapbooks, more coverage on TV and more war stories to boast about in the pub. Anti-fascists! Organise!

Update: from the Jewish Chronicle:
The EDL mission statement says the new division is for “Jewish supporters of the EDL, and supporters of Jewish people everywhere. We are non-racist/fascist and anyone is welcome if they want to live under English values and fully integrate into our way of life”.
Last September the EDL brandished the Israeli flag at a demonstration and called on supporters to launch a counter-protest against a pro-Hizbollah march in Trafalgar Square.
Mark Gardner, CST communications director, said: “The EDL intimidate entire Muslim communities, causing tension and fear. Jews ought to remember that we have long experience of being on the receiving end of this kind of bigotry.”
Jon Benjamin, Board of Deputies chief executive, said: “The EDL’s supposed ’support’ for Israel is empty and duplicitous. It is built on a foundation of Islamophobia and hatred which we reject entirely.
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Blogger beakerkin said...

Be leery about Harry's Place as it is a mix of good and bad. You should read their take on the Tea Party.

When they discuss America it is almost painful to watch. One nasty sort is Michael Ezra who has an ignorant obsession with Richard Nixon. The man made a few angered remarks in private, but did the right things when the chips were down. I would gladly trade him for Obama in a second.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 11:19:00 pm  

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