Saturday, 30 October 2010

A simple point, well made

Today, the English Defence League travelled to Amsterdam to demonstrate in support of Dutch Freeom Party MP Geert Wilders. The day was, by all accounts, an abject failure for the group and a decisive victory for antifascists. The reasons why are very telling.

There wasn't a single green ribbon tied to a lamppost in sight. There had been no "peace vigil" the night before. Antifascists hadn't joined with politicians to urge people to concede the streets to the far-right.

What there was, however, was a huge crew of Antifa - particularly from Ajax football club. Not only did they outnumber the fascists, they confronted them head-on and refused to even let them reach their meeting point. The EDL were thus told to leave for their own safety by police.
The far-right weren't driven off the streets. They didn't even get to take them over in the first place. And there were no scenes of rampaging hooliganism that neccesitated communities to defend themselves in Bradford, Leicester, and elsewhere whilst antifascists smugly looked on and condemned that which they'd done sweet fuck all to stop.

In case you missed it, here's the point: the EDL failed because they were met with direct, physical, and militant resistance. The antifascists won because they took part in the struggle rather than detatching themselves from it and claiming intellectual or moral victories whilst real people suffered violence.

It's a lesson we would do well to remember. Especially those who look on with disgust or discomfort at militant antifascism.