Sunday, 3 April 2011

Policies of appeasement and the defiance of youth

Tacked onto the end of an article about UK Uncut accusing the Met of political policing, the Guardian offer up some quite intriguing (and worrying) information;
Fresh claims of politically motivated policing also surfaced in a report alleging that officers prevented Muslims from attending counter-demonstrations against an English Defence League rally. Leicestershire Constabulary stopped members of the Muslim community protesting against the EDL during a high-profile march last October, according to the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol). It said that the force attempted to dissuade Muslims, through mosques and schools, from protesting against the EDL demonstration at an authorised protest by Unite Against Fascism on the same day, and issued leaflets advising that young people could be picked up and held in "safe areas".

Val Swain of Netpol said: "This is a strategy that we have seen up and down the country, and it appears to have been sanctioned at the highest levels. It is not for the police to decide which sectors of society are allowed to protest and which are not."

Saqib Deshmukh, a youth worker in the East Midlands, said it appeared that officers were willing to facilitate the EDL's right to protest at the expense of the Muslim community, adding: "Certain groups of people are being denied the right to protest. It seems that the government is far more worried about the mobilisation of Muslim people than they are about the EDL."
This should come as no surprise, really. At a number of recent anti-fascist events, we know that there has been a concerted effort to keep people away and let the fascists have free reign.

The label given, of a "policy of appeasement," is especially apt because it is not just the police. In Bradford, in particular, but also elsewhere, Nick Lowles and Hope not Hate have made concerted efforts to steer people away from the far-right. "Leaders" of the Muslim community have also been complicit in this.

Fortunately, it hasn't worked. In Bradford, Luton, and elsewhere, Asian youth have mobilised to defend their communities from the thugs trying to terrorise them. They have done so not only in defiance of the police, but of their elders, faith leaders, and of mainstream, "respectable" anti-fascism. For this, they are not to be condemned but applauded.

In every arena, it is the youth who are actively defying received wisdom. They are organising and becoming active in new ways, with an anger and a passion that the old vanguards simply don't have. I am very glad to say that, when it comes to anti-fascism, the trend holds.