Aug 11 2012

Griffin parachutes into Thurnby Lodge

The protests against a Muslim community centre on the Thurnby Lodge estate in Leicester have now attracted the attentions of the leader of the BNP. Nick Griffin parachuted in last night to quickly give a speech which he reckoned was “very well received”. He also claimed that 250 people had turned out to the most recently nightly protest against the As Salaam charity, which wants to convert a disused Scout hut into a community centre.

Porcine blockhead Nick Griffin swans in to hijack the protest

As we described yesterday, the protests are becoming a magnet for far right parasites, desperate to be involved in a popular campaign for a change. Also in attendance were members of Leicester EDL, Casuals United, and islamophobic group 212 Poison. Dave Hightower of the 212 has threatened to get rid of the hut on Facebook, posting “Would they use it if it wasnt there anymore?”.

The casuals report is well worth a read:

You have got to ask yourselfes here why the Leicester EDL have gone down to 12 people. Well chanting “f*cking scum” in the middle of women and kids trying to save their estate aint helping no one. Your a f*cking disgrace and thats why the EDL on the whole have diminished in numbers. You lot might turn up for a piss-up but if it kicked off you would get f*cking slaughtered. FACT !

Although the infighting within the local fascist groups is heartening to see, anti-fascists need to make sure that far right groups do not get a boost as a result of these protests. Residents of Thurnby Lodge have a right to shared community resources and a say in how their community is run rather than being dictated to by Leicester City Council. Any attempts by the far right to turn this into a racial or religious matter need to be firmly resisted. We need to get an anti-fascist presence in the estate, to talk to people about what the fascists are up to and show that we genuinely support the right to community self-organisation but not the division of communities along cultural and religious lines.

Aug 10 2012

BNP stirs up resentment over Leicester Muslim centre

When community tensions are high, the far right are never far away, rushing in to try and exploit them for their own political purposes. Hence when an Islamic group recently tried to set up a community centre in the Thurnby Lodge area of Leicester and some residents from the local estate objected, the BNP and other far right groups rushed to get involved in stirring up the resentment.

The Leicester Mercury reports that police have been stationed in the area over the past week after demonstrations of as many as 150 people against the As-Salaam Trust’s plans to convert a disused Scout hut into a community centre for local Muslims.

Some demonstrators say they want the Scout hut turned into a resource for the whole community and others have voiced support for a local boxing club to take on the lease instead. However, Leicester City Council has said that when the Scouts gave up their lease of the hut last year, 100 community groups looking for premises were contacted of which As-Salaam was the only one that could meet the criteria agreed with the Scout Association.

The demonstrations, which Leicestershire BNP involved themselves in, have focused on the Muslim group’s meetings at the existing community centre. The BNP said that “When the Muslims finally left the Centre they were met with jeers and told that they were not welcome.” Of course, the BNP have written this up in a way that supports their own agenda of promoting a clash between white and other communities. However, it would be very worrying if the protests are taking on a communal and islamophobic nature.

It seems that the tragedy here is that, thanks to the capitalist system of landlordism and rent extraction combined with the patronage politics of local authorities, suitable venues for community activities are unavailable to the working class people in the area. Only groups with the funds and organisation to jump through the council’s hoops end up getting a look in. We need communities where everyone can share resources and find a place, not ones where the poor are locked out and some ethnic and religious minorities are blamed for the scarcity that is an inevitable result of capitalist economics.

“Local BNP members offered their support and advice to the organisers,” according to the BNP’s blog, “but agreed to keep the group non-political.” It sounds like their red, white and blue rosettes aren’t as popular as they’d like them to be.

Aug 7 2012

Fascists must split to achieve further failure

Derbyshire BNP organiser Paul “Blackshirt” Hilliard has set up a Facebook group rather pompously named “Nationalists must unite as one to achieve victory” in an attempt to unify fascism’s warring tribes. “This page is NOT A PLATFORM FOR ATTACKING OTHER NATIONALISTS” it warns but “what matters”, rather ominously, is “that we could all join forces on the streets when the time comes.”

It doesn’t seem that many people are listening to Paul’s pleas for unity and most are using the group as an opportunity to air their grievances about other fascists’ failings and argue for their own highly specific brand of far right politics. Many posts moan about needing a “lull between arguing” and how “virtually every comment follows by an argument” and Hilliard himself has started deleting members who are “attacking our nationalist leaders”. Pointing out the obvious he whinged about how “You cannot unite whilst attacking one another” and, hilariously, “swearing at one another shows a lack of interlect and does not look good at all.”

It probably doesn’t help that the most outspoken members of the group are outright nazis such as John Hickling: “National socialist me and not ashamed to admit it”, Jason Withey: “do as i do declare yourself a nazi and be done with it” and steroid freak and ZOG enthusiast, Nick Thorrington: “if we ignore the Jewish threat we are destroyed forever. 14w”. Another frequent poster is Daz Marxisthunter, an admirer of Anders Breivik whose profile is a photoshopped picture of the mass murderer giving a Nazi salute.

Along with all of the infighting there are frequent admissions of defeat such as this from Fess Traynor:

i hate the way the far left have basically downed tools, they dont need to oppose us anymore .. the varios splinter groups of nationalism (to which we seem to have hundreds of) all bicker and call each other names and while we all infight… were slowly losing our once beloved country

half the BNP dont like the other half the EDL are split between north and south it just goes on and on and on…. the ED splitting up when butler joined it

Daz MarxistHunter: This is what nationalist unity looks like

It’s quite ironic that Hilliard is the person trying to initiate fascist unity seeing as he himself has taken sides in the split in Derbyshire BNP between supporters of Lewis Allsebrook and Cliff Roper, which has left a lingering bitterness. It’s always the trouble in fascist politics – everyone wants to be the Führer. His party leader isn’t helping – Nick Griffin has restoked hostility with the EDL in the past week by releasing a YouTube video, aimed at EDL footsoldiers, in which he rants about the Zionist sympathies of the EDL leadership, how Tommy Robinson is a shape-shifting lizard, etc.

Hilliard has said that “Once [the group hits] 5000 members we will be looking to hold a private nationalist party… to set in stone our unification.” We won’t be holding our breaths!

Aug 3 2012

English Democrats fail in Lincoln East

The English Democrats candidate and leader of the party in Lincolnshire, Elliott Fountain, has failed dismally in the Lincoln East by election. Fountain, who is already a councillor for the Fenside ward of Boston Borough Council, only got a paltry 24 votes (2.1%) despite the extremely low turnout, something that normally favours small parties.

Fountain has said that at least half of the jobs available in Lincolnshire should be guaranteed to go to “English workers”, a call which was criticised by local farmers who said it would lead to a labour shortage. A speech of his is quoted on the now defunct Boston Casuals website in which he blames the “east euros” for everything from both school closures and local children not being able to go to their selected school, Boston Borough Council’s benefits bill and  drink driving. “1000 east euros get deported on euro warrants each year from UK for being criminals,” he rants, “people dont know if there living next door to rapists, murderers and paedophiles”. Unsurprisingly, he failed to mention that the vast majority of rapists, murderers and paedophiles in this country are British. He is trying to promote the same politics of fear and loathing of anything foreign that is shared by the rest of the far right. Thankfully only 24 people in Lincoln East have fallen for it.

Fountain has said that he will stand for the Lincolnshire Police Commissioner post in the Autumn. His credentials appear to be that “I am Lincolnshire born and raised – my family have been here for hundreds of years” and that he is “more in touch with the youth of today”. He campaigned to be elected as mayor of Boston last year, but had to pay people to support his bid.

If Fountain’s anti-immigrant politics of fear sounds rather familiar it might be because his stablemate, fellow English Democrats councillor for Fenside, David Owens, was a BNP member up until the 2011 local elections when he defected to the English Democrats. The English Democrats appear to be seen as a more “credible” nationalist party to join when jumping the “toxic” BNP ship but anti-fascists are not falling for it. It’s the same old xenophobic nonsense with a new label.

Aug 1 2012

Tony Curtis is making it up

Because Nottingham’s Tony Curtis has recently risen to become an unofficial third in command of the EDL after Tommy & Kev, we thought we’d better take a bit more notice of him. Seeing as these days Tommy seems to prefer appearing as British Freedom Party deputy, Steven  Lennon, to bothering to turn up to EDL demos, and Kev Carroll is standing for police commissioner in Bedfordshire, Curtis might get a promotion any day now.

So you don’t have to, I’ve sat through Tony’s speech from the EDL’s latest demo in Bristol to see what he’s all about.

What struck me immediately was how Curtis’ speeches make all kind of vague emotional claims, designed to whip up anger, but are totally free of any factual information. He makes all kinds of outrageous statements without once backing them up with any concrete examples because he doesn’t need to. The crowd he is playing for has already made up its mind. It blindly follows the men on the platform because questioning is not encouraged. A lot of the anger and hatred that EDL demos thrive on is manufactured by its leadership who willfully overlook the wider context and fall back on prejudice and bigotry. Curtis’ speeches are just a tick list of EDL clichés for the crowd to reaffirm with a drunken burst of singing at the appropriate moment.

Curtis’ Bristol speech starts with a rant about other EDL members who have accused him of being “Old Bill”. “When you’ve got evidence”, he challenged, “come and see me”. We could say the same about pretty much every single thing he said in his speech.

He went on to make the following statement about Islam:

This is the same religion of peace that shot a woman dead last week for adultery. They shot a woman dead. She was on her knees. We have a right to say we’re not having this in our country. We have a right to say no without being opposed by individuals that can’t be bothered to have a wash.

We are left completely in the dark about who he’s talking about, where in the world this incident happened, and why “the religion of peace” rather than the individual who shot the woman is to blame. But we know she was on her knees – we are painted an emotional picture to make us angry about the supposed perpetrator, Islam itself. Then we are supposed to ignore the fact that murder is already prohibited by the law and custom in the UK and think that it is only the EDL who are preventing this situation from happening here. Anyone who opposes the EDL is to be derided with the tired old fascist cliché of being a soap dodging dole scrounger (“unwashed students who can’t be bothered to get a job”).

This kind of gibberish only makes sense if you’ve been following the EDL’s mythical narrative, that Islam is the cause of all evil in the world and only the crusading knight of the EDL can stop it. Anyone who tries to stop them is siding with evil (and probably smells as well).

This massively heightened sense of their own importance, and a growing sense of insecurity, leads to Curtis making preposterous statements like this: “Remember, what you’re doing today you’re doing nothing wrong. History will be written on events like today.” This was said about a 10 minute march by 300 people around an area totally barricaded off by the police from the general public. It was hardly the Battle of Britain, however addled by booze and coke you were.

Now Curtis switches to a new line of attack:

In every city in this country there are Muslim only areas. The frightening thing is the local government are letting them get away with it. They’re saying ‘We can’t go down there because it’s a Muslim only area.’ Bollocks! I’m an Englishmen, I can walk down any street I like. I’m an Englishman and I’m a taxpayer and I can walk down any street I like.

This is a popular EDL myth, the idea that there are Muslim only areas where presumably any non-believer is descended on by a pack of zombie Muslims and has their brains eaten on sight. It’s total bollocks of course. I mean, if these areas exist, I challenge Mr Curtis and his comrades to tell me where these areas are in Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln and Northampton? I’ve been able to travel freely around the city I’ve lived in all my life without ever being hit by a muslamic raygun. I think you’re making shit up to scare people.

I also want to know the source for the ridiculous claim that “local government” are refusing to go to certain areas because they’re Muslim only. It sounds pretty unbelievable that local authorities the length and breadth of the UK are leaving entire neighbourhoods of their cities without services because the “Islamics” have taken over. I suspect there is no source. It’s just another myth to scare the easily-led.

But there’s more rather unlikely and unsubstantiated rumour-mongering to come:

How can they cut police numbers when the crime rate is so high? Especially in Muslim areas. How can they do that?

“Especially in Muslim areas”? Do you have any statistics for that Mr Curtis? I think you’re making it up.

But here’s the truly breathtaking one:

Three years ago Islamics weren’t being arrested for child grooming, nobody was interested. We even had senior police officers telling their constables ‘Don’t stop Muslims in cars because we’ll get called a racist’, and all the time these Muslims are cruising for young girls to abuse and rape. But now it’s no longer happening because the English Defence League has said that if it continues we will organise demonstrations in those areas. It’s not happening any more, and you are part of that. You can go home today and say all those scumbags that are in prison for abusing young girls, I was partly responsible for putting them there. Because 20 years ago they weren’t interested and now they are and the only reason they’re interested is because of the millions it would cost them if we went to that city.

Here Curtis is claiming that the successful prosecution of the Rochdale grooming gang was down to the EDL, a truly mind-bending claim. The far right, including EDL members, almost caused the trial of the men to collapse by holding demonstrations outside the court in Liverpool at which barristers were attacked. A far more convincing case could be made about the role of the incoming Muslim chief prosecutor for the region, Nazir Afsal, who overturned the previous decision not to prosecute the gang.

The claim that senior police officers told their forces not to stop Muslims seems to be an embellished version of a quote from the mother of a child abused by paedophiles in Rochdale. In a Telegraph article on the case, Miss F said “A police officer did tell me, and a social worker has told me since, that they’re frightened to do anything with the Asians because they might be accused of being racist against them” (not that they were ordered not to do anything). But, interestingly, the first reason Miss F gave for why the police didn’t investigate was that “They knew all about my daughters from late 2002, but they just put it down by my girls being really bad kids.”

If we actually look at the facts of the case, it seems that gender and class rather than race were where the problems lay. The police were reluctant to protect “bad kids” and the CPS originally decided not to prosecute because the girls were not considered to be credible witnesses. Credibility in the eyes of middle class lawyers often involves a judgement based on the social standing of the witness. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that young, working class girls don’t figure very highly on their scale. In rape cases, it is also very difficult for women to be believed, as evidenced by the extremely poor conviction rates, a result of the patriarchal structure of society. Indeed, many commentators with experience working with victims of sexual abuse blamed misogynist and patriarchal attitudes for the rapes.

And before we consider the EDL to be crusaders against paedophilia, let’s remember all of the cases of rape of young girls by members of the EDL.

The idea that the only reason that police forces are acting on cases of paedophilia by Muslims (it seems the EDL aren’t interested in white paedophiles) is because otherwise the EDL will do a demo in their city, only makes sense to a believer in the cult of EDL, especially now that their demos are so small and easy for the police to contain. But these are the myths that need to be told so that the faithful will keep returning.

In between the bombast, there was a lot of tacit admission of their defeat in Curtis’ message. “Let’s get these defence leagues restarted” he pleaded and “Let’s see you all in Walthamstow because this has got to get bigger.” “The English Defence League is here to stay,” he said “even if I have to go into every city on my own.” “We are coming down the road in every city in this country until somebody listens to what we have to say.” Still no new ideas then.

Curtis’ conclusion is that “We are the only organisation to stand in defiance of the Islamics. We are the only ones and no one else.” I’m sure the BNP, Infidels, National Front, British People’s Party, English Democrats and UKIP say that too! It’s another example of how blind he is to everything outside of the EDL bubble.

Tony, when you have got some evidence for your bullshit claims, come and see us.

Aug 1 2012

Another BNP organiser defects

East Northants BNP organiser and author of the Northants Patriot blog, Rob Walker, has announced his defection to the English Democrats in a bid to gain credibility. Describing being in the BNP as like “flog[ging] ourselves to death for nothing” he said “I have no faith in the leadership of the BNP and the name is toxic with the electorate.” He was damning about those remaining in the party saying “I cannot name one person now with the party that has the drive and desire and capability of leading it, and that includes Griffin.”

Walker joins the North West Leicestershire branch of the BNP who jumped ship in April and Boston councillor, David Owens, who defected before last year’s elections. As many as 43% of the English Democrat candidates in May’s local elections were former BNP members, hoping that they can avoid the “toxic” fascist label by donning a different coloured rosette.