Saturday, 23 April 2011

Wedding crashers

The English Defence League are mobilising members for the upcoming royal wedding. They "will form a ring of steel around that wedding" to protect it from disruption. This only underlines the role of fascism as a defender of the dominant social order.

Ostensibly, the EDL's mobilisation is to counter a planned protest by the Islamist group Muslims Against Crusades. This group of lunatics are planning to "burn the Union Flag, images of the Crown, and effigies of the bridal couple." In response, the EDL say "there’s going to be chaos." They plan "be at each train station [in London] to make sure they don’t come." They claim they are "going in to prevent a crime because the police won’t stop it."

The problem with the whole thing, of course, is that it is entirely overblown. Like the poppy burning episode, this won't be a clash of civilisations but a spat between two small gangs of idiots. But the EDL can't be entirely blamed for the hype. The Daily Mail, reporting MAC's plans to protest, tells us that "thousands of protesters" would be turning up to set various things alight. But I'd be genuinely surprised if the group could muster 25 people, let alone thousands.

As for violent clashes, I refer to the record of MAC's predecessor - Islam4UK - for running away from a fight [1, 2, 3]. Not to mention the huge police operation that makes street battles between Islamists and fascists extremely unlikely, to say the least.

Either way, the EDL - whose past activities include issuing terror threats to Asian taxi drivers - have given assurances that "ordinary Muslims ... would have nothing to fear." Their website even goes so far as to urge that "all moderate Muslims who reject the extremists" should "join with us instead - to help safeguard the celebrations, and to make it clear that these people do not speak for you."

But why should they? Why should not supporting the wingnuts of Muslims Against Crusades equate to getting behind a hooligan organisation like the EDL? The answer is that it shouldn't, except for the organisation promoting that key tenent of fascist ideology - loyalism. That is why "the celebrations" go unquestioned, and the only logical alternative to a hardcore Islamist doctrine is "a love of this country." The clear implication being that you must support the social relations built around state power in order to be one of the good guys.

The only problem with this is that there will be plenty of other anti-monarchist events taking place around the country on this day. The vast majority will be by ordinary people who, for a number of reasons, oppose the existence of this last relic of feudalism. They are not religious hardliners, nor supporters of terror. But because they don't fit with the EDL's black and white viewpoint, they needn't be considered.

Given the EDL's form in attempting to intimidate socialists, invade left-wing meetings, or generally disrupt those it doesn't consider to have the appropriate "love of this country," this is a cause for concern. EDL members are known to turn on each other when lacking any other targets for a fight. Whose to say that, in the very likely event of MAC chickening out, all those reds, lefties, and unpatriotic people not paying slavish homage to the marriage of complete strangers won't become a convenient target?

This, coupled with a growing establishment tolerance for the EDL, is a very worrying prospect. We should never forget that fascism is a weapon, waiting to be picked up by those in power and used against the working class. As the fightback grows, we should expect that weapon to be used more often.