Sunday, 11 October 2009

No racism on our streets

Forty people were arrested in clashes between the English Defence League (EDL) and anti-fascist protesters in Manchester yesterday. Despite claiming they are not racist, and despite the BNP leadership seeking to distance themselves from the group, they are racist, and they are linked to the BNP.

A Welsh version of the EDL have called two demonstrations - one in Swansea next Saturday and one in Newport the following week. A new mosque is the reason they plan to demonstrate on Newport.

The EDL have held demonstrations in cities in England throughout the summer. Despite claiming they are not racist, this Searchlight article outlines the danger:

"It is the incendiary concoction of racism, alienation and suspicion that is so dangerous. The EDL is not a fascist organisation but there are fascists in key organisational positions and it is fuelled by Islamophobia and racism. That it is not an open fascist organisation and can mutate and manifest itself in different forms and in different places actually makes it more dangerous."

This shows the EDL links to the BNP.

I am of the view that the EDL/WDL will stir up tensions in Swansea and Newport that hardly exist. Their deliberate provokation means that there is a risk that those tensions will turn nasty, and could leave a lasting impact on those two cities.

I have tried to press the police to ban the marches, after a successful ban in Luton. If the police do not ban the march, I will be in Swansea and Newport, in solidarity with the Muslim community in both those cities, and for a Wales without racism.

As Searchlight says

"Opposing the EDL cannot and should not be left to the Muslim population. They might be the targets of the current wave of racism but if it were not them it would be another minority group, like so many times before. This might involve taking to the streets if the authorities do not or cannot act, but we will do so as a mass movement – a cross section of society – positively saying no to racism and fascism.
In 1946 Pastor Martin Niemöller made a series of speeches, later reproduced as a poem, in which he said that it was failure of people to stand together that allowed the Nazis to win. The context might be different but the sentiments are the same. The EDL and BNP attacks on Muslims are attacks on all of us and we must defend them together in a positive and constructive way."

First they came for the communists,
and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists,
and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

1 comment:

No Borders South Wales said...

In Newport on Saturday 24th October from 11am. "Newport Communities Against Racism" - An independent coalition of local groups have called a counter demonstration in John Frost Square

Before that in Swansea on Saturday 17th October from 3pm there will be a counter demo outside the YMCA on St Helen's Road.