Feb 21 2014

EDL remnants to protest in Grantham

On Saturday the EDL (or whatever remains of it) will be holding a demonstration in Grantham, in protest against the construction of an Islamic community centre.

Locals, organised as the Grantham Solidarity Network, are planning a peaceful counter-demo. They have also received support from Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism.

Various far-right groups have been active in Lincolnshire in recent years. There have been protests in Skegness against a halal slaughterhouse (in which the EDL, BNP and NF have all pretended to be animal rights activists), in Lincoln against the construction of a mosque and in Boston against migrant workers. This is mirrored by the rise of UKIP in the county.

This is a worrying trend, particularly given how hopelessly ineffective the far-right have been elsewhere in the East Midlands recently. Hopefully with the EDL in something of a rut at the moment, Saturday’s protest will not be one of their better day trips.

 


Jan 18 2014

2013 Fascist Roundup

The fascists are starting 2014 in a grim place. Tommy Robinson’s desertion of the EDL has left the organisation in a shambles which barely managed to get 200 members to the organisation’s latest national demo in Exeter. EDL members are now outnumbered many times over by antifascists at their demos. As if this woeful state of affairs wasn’t enough, 32 EDL activists were recently jailed for a total of more than 55 years for their involvement in violent disorder at the EDL’s Walsall demonstration. Among those sentenced were Kirk Jones (33 months), Mick Thomas (28 months) and Christopher Boyall (24 months) from Leicestershire and Kirk Reeves from Derbyshire (18 months). They will join the vast majority of the North West Infidels who are already serving time for violent disorder and former EDL leader, Guramit Singh, who will be serving 6 1/2 years for the attempted robbery of a Hucknall garden centre.

Kirk Jones of Hinkley EDL: three years inside

Kirk Jones of Hinkley EDL: three years inside

The BNP has lost almost all of its seats and looks likely to lose the rest this year. Amusingly, Nick Griffin was declared (financially) bankrupt this month and has resorted to filming a white supremacist version of Ready, Steady, Cook! to make ends meet. He is not predicted to hold onto his MEP seat in the North West. The BNP has lost out badly to UKIP’s somewhat less amateurish political campaigning on issues such as immigration.

Various half-witted attempts to Unite the (extreme) Right have been made and all of them have failed badly. Derbyshire ex-EDL has-been, Tony “Tone the Moan” Curtis, joined up with the EVF, South East something-or-other, Casuals Divided and some other even less significant names in the English National Resistance but it all fell apart after only a matter of months when it became clear that there were only 12 of them. Curtis masterminded a demonstration at the University of Nottingham but the 6 men and a dog didn’t even make it onto the campus before surrendering and going to the pub instead.

Meanwhile, Derby BNP organiser Paul Hilliard’s attempts at unity descended into farce when all the different Nazi sects fell out with one another and he gave up in despair. Hilliard, once a BNP superactivist, may now have left the party.

Some important victories were made by anti-fascists on the streets. When the combined shambles of Casuals United, the EVF and other far right hangers-on returned to Brighton for their “March for England” they were literally kicked out of town by a large and militant anti-fascist mobilisation. Likewise, the fading EDL were massively outnumbered by anti-fascists when they returned to Tower Hamlets in September. Militant anti-fascists led a breakaway march which got to the EDL’s route before being kettled by hundreds of police. These mobilisations were the results of considerable hard work by local anti-fascist groups and the Anti-Fascist Network.

It wasn’t all good news though. The murder of serving soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamists in the summer led to an irruption of support for the EDL who exploited the event mercilessly. Large “memorial” events were held by Leicester and Nottingham EDL which were not countered effectively by anti-fascists who had been caught off-guard. Then came the Strong movement, giving racist extremists a soft patriotic veneer to cloak their organising. Mansfield Strong, for example, turned out to be run by long-time EDL activist, Stan Green. Racist abuse against people perceived to be Muslims soared in the aftermath of the Rigby murder, which showed what a reserve of reactionary and racist sentiment exists throughout the country. It is only thanks to the utter incompetence of fascist organisations in the UK that not more damage has been done.

The anti-Islam backlash that the Rigby murder generated culminated in the actions of Pavlo Lapshyn, a racist terrorist who carried out a number of unsuccessful bomb attacks on mosques in the West Midlands as well as murdering an elderly Muslim man. His campaign highlighted once again the growing rise of far-right terrorism in the UK, a phenomenon which is very real, even if reporting on it does not sell papers. In illustration, the year also saw the trial of a “neo-Nazi” Loughborough teenager who plotted massacres and stockpiled home made explosives and weapons.

Another parallel manifestation of the growing reactionary sentiment in the UK was the rise in popularity of UKIP. The party, which panders to racism and xenophobia, did extremely well in local elections winning 16 seats on Lincolnshire County Council alone. Many of these new councillors turned out, unsurprisingly, to have far right views on race and immigration as well as former membership of the BNP and EDL. At present, UKIP poses a much greater threat to values of tolerance and working class solidarity than any of the insignificant openly far right organisations, and is much harder to mobilise against due to the party’s “cleaner” image, supported by extremists and soft patriots alike.

So whilst the “traditional” franchises of far right and fascist politics are in terminal decline, reactionary sentiment, cooked up by a political and media establishment to divide and rule the working class, is alive and well. A growing number of racists are acting alone, to plot bombings and murders at one end of the spectrum, or to perpetrate racially and religiously abusive online attacks at the other. Meanwhile, UKIP provides the possibility of political respectability and a chance of power for people who hate foreignness. The fascists haven’t gone away – they’ve just changed their clothing.

In response anti-fascists need to reassess their strategies. Simply continuing to follow the increasingly demoralised EDL and BNP around the country might make us feel good, but it is not going to stop fascism. The anti-fascist movement is going to have to look for new tactics and new arenas of activity if it wants to remain relevant and effective.


Oct 14 2013

New leader of EDL from Lincolnshire?

Elliott Fountain, former English Democrat councillor, one-time Police and Crime Commissioner candidate and admirer of Enoch Powell has claimed that he is the new leader of the EDL.

Fountain tweeted, “Proud to be the new leader of the EDL, on national news tomo to make announcement.”

Elliott Fountain on Twitter

Elliott Fountain makes his “announcement” on Twitter

It isn’t yet clear if Fountain’s claim is credible, or if it is simply a drug-fuelled fantasy. It has been reported in the Boston Standard, but as so often in local media, there is nothing to suggest they’ve done anything to fact check his claims. A number of journalists seem to have contacted Fountain via Twitter, but the story has yet to appear anywhere else.

The appointment(?) of Fountain as leader would be particularly surprising following the announcement of Tim Ablitt as chairman of the EDL after a meeting of the “regional organisers” last week.

Fountain certainly isn’t an obvious choice for leader given his predilection for making an arse of himself of Facebook and drug-addled rants against opponents. He lost his seat on Boston Borough Council earlier this year because he didn’t bother to turn up for six months. If this is for real then the EDL are clearly desperate.

An alternative possibility is that this is one of the first signs of a power struggle within the EDL, now that Tommy Robinson/Stephen Lennon has given his erstwhile comrades the heave-ho.


Oct 14 2013

Teenager convicted for EDL graffiti in Leicestershire

A 17-year-old from Oadby in Leicestershire has pleaded guilty to two charges of racially-aggravated criminal damage for leaving graffiti outside a Oadby Central Mosque.

The teenager scrawled “EDL” on a charity bin outside the mosque and on the building’s windows on two separate occasions.

The graffiti appeared in the aftermath of the murder of Lee Rigby in London and at the hieght of fears about a racist backlash. In a statement read out in court, Muhammed Katib, chairman of the mosque, which is also a community centre, told how Muslims were in fear of being attacked.

According to the Leicester Mercury,

[Katib] said: “This really rang alarm bells.”

After the killing of Mr Rigby, mosques had been set on fire.

“We were on red alert and very concerned about what had happened,” said Mr Katib.

“We were fearful that the mosque would be damaged or set on fire or people would be attacked.”

Mr Katib told how the mosque was watched 24 hours a day for a while, and worshippers stayed away for fear of being targeted.

The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age (although we’ll keep an eye on teh interwebs in case he’s stupid enough to identify himself on Facebook) clearly isn’t very bright and was arrested after police identified his tag on the graffiti. When police raided his home, they found pens which matched the colour of the graffiti on the bin.

When arrested, the teenager said that he had heard about the Rigby murder and did not like it.

Now (unsurprisingly) he has expressed regret for his actions, saying “I am sorry if I caused any grief or fear or anything.”

He was given a 12-month rehabilitation order with supervision. He will be electronically tagged for two months and must observe a curfew between 9pm and 7am every day.


Oct 4 2013

Leicester EDL member faces terrorism charges

A teenager from Loughborough who was associated with the EDL’s Leicester division and claims to have been in contact with Tommy Robinson is currently on trial at the Old Bailey for “plotting a terrorist attack, having a terrorist manual, and possessing parts for an improvised explosive”. He kept a notebook of potential targets which included Loughborough mosque and had a Nazi flag above his bed.

Repost from the Loughborough Echo:

A 16-YEAR-OLD neo-Nazi from Loughborough plotted a Columbine-inspired school massacre using pipe bombs, knives, and a crossbow, the Old Bailey heard this week.

The English Defence League supporter stockpiled home-made bombs, terrorist manuals, and an array of weapons as he planned attacks on his former school and the college where he was studying for his A-Levels, the court was told on Wednesday.

He kept a notebook of potential targets, including Loughborough Mosque, REEL cinema, Loughborough University and council offices, and dubbed plans for an armed assault on his former school as ‘the new Columbine’, it is said.

Inspired by the violent Nick Cave film Outlaw and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Batman nemesis the Joker in the Dark Knight, the teen allegedly drew up a list of teachers and pupils he wanted to murder.

He scrawled the mantra ‘When order fails, violence prevails’ in his notebook, which had Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara on the front alongside slogans including ‘EDL: No Surrender’, ‘British and Proud’, and Nazi Swastika drawings.

The teenager, who is now 17 and cannot be named because of his age, had a Nazi flag above his bed and wrote essays on his hatred of Muslims.

“You will be considering whether he is just a misfit, or whether he is something altogether more sinister and serious,” said prosecutor Max Hill QC.

“In light of the items he assembled, bombs etc, in light of what he wrote in this notebook, you need to consider whether he was in fact arrested in February this year before he could pursue any further a plan for, or intention, either to terrorise pupils and staff at his college against whom he bore a grudge, or whether he wanted to target other locations.”

The teenager, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is accused of plotting a terrorist attack, having a terrorist manual, and possessing parts for an improvised explosive.

He and two other 17-year-old boys have already admitted possessing petrol bombs and pipe bombs.

Mr Hill said the ‘sheer weight’ of weapons the defendant is accused of possessing at his home in Loughborough set him apart from the other two boys.

“For any average young man, that list is startling,” he said.

“The eye stops at references to partially assembled petrol bombs, it stops upon the reference to pipe bombs, and upon the stab proof vest, on firearms and rifle pistols and the crossbow.”

The jury were shown extracts from the teenager’s notebook, allegedly outlining his attack plans.

He wrote: ‘Before we go into school gates, enter block and chain both exits shut.

‘Enter each classroom taking out the teachers.

‘Use explosives to eliminate most of the students.’

Mr Hill said: “What does he mean by plans and tactics for operation the new Columbine?

“Columbine is a high school in Colorado, USA, which was the scene of an infamous mass shooting in 1999.

“Two students of the college entered and killed more than a dozen of their fellow students and ultimately committed suicide on their own school premises.”

The defendant had drawn in his notebook stick figures with arrows showing where knives, a machete, a sawn-off air rifle, ammunition, and pipe bombs would be concealed inside a trench coat, the court heard.

Mr Hill said other parts of the book contain rantings against Muslims, calling for mass deportation to ‘stop the spread of Sharia law’.

“He is talking about British and European people rising up and fighting Islamic fascism that is sweeping the world,” said Mr Hill.

“He is a member of the EDL Leicester division and a supporter of the Knights Templar, which we suggest are far right wing British National movements.”

In among plans to make bombs out of jerry cans, which could be detonated by mobile phone, the teenager wrote about planning to bomb Loughborough Mosque, the court heard.

He wrote: ‘There’s too many Muslims in the UK and Europe, so we must stop them coming over here and send the ones already over here back home before they take over European governments and put Sharia Law in place.’

The teenager, who is supported in the dock by an intermediary because of his Asperger’s, denies possessing an article for a purpose connected with terrorism, possessing a document likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, and possessing an article for a purpose connected with terrorism.

He has pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon.

The would-be terrorist and his two pals dubbed themselves the United Revolutionary Army as they experimented with making and detonating home-made bombs, the court heard.

The 16-year-old and his two co-defendant donned balaclavas for a series of videos of them preparing Molotov cocktails out of wine bottles and white spirit.

In the first video, shot on February 16 last year, the defendant tells the camera: “This is the URA’s second attempt at a petrol bomb.”

His friend, also covering his face with a balaclava, then prepares the home-made bomb before throwing it at a wall where it explodes into flames.

Jurors heard the bomb tests were filmed at the back of a leisure centre in Loughborough, which is also home to a creche, between February and April last year.

“This is part of the evidence which shows possession of, and through the films, use of explosives,” said Mr Hill.

“These items are clearly dangerous, they clearly explode, causing fire and damage.

“You will have to consider making the allowances for a young defendant, but you have to also consider was this merely play on the part of the defendant and his friends or was it actually preparation for something more, bearing in mind what we know about him.”

Mr Hill said the URA graffiti has been seen sprayed on walls around Loughborough, and is believed to have been created by the defendant.

“They identify themselves as the Urban Revolutionary Army,” he said.

“It appears to be the name the defendant created for themselves.

“Sometime the R stands for ‘rebel’ rather than ‘revolutionary’.”

Mr Hill conceded that the videos are at times ‘funny’ and the attempts to make home-made bombs ‘haphazard’.

But he added: “Is this done for laughs, all self-amusement and clowning around, or does this support the conclusion it was for something more?”

The defendant even jokes to his pals on one of the videos: “If I die during this, split my guns between you.”

The jury were shown more of the teenager’s Che Guevara notebook, in which he is allegedly justifying his potential terrorist targets.

He said his second target after Loughborough Mosque is his community college, the court heard.

“He describes the reasons as personal rather than political, the choice was due to bad experiences he says he has had there,” said Mr Hill.

The teenager is then alleged to outline reasons for targeting Loughborough University, where he had been on work experience.

“It is a reference which may be informative and may in fact be rather chilling,” said Mr Hill.

Mr Hill said the teenager claimed he still had a university uniform which could potentially help gain access to certain areas which most people would not be allowed into.

The boy wanted to target the Reel Cinema in Castle Market, Loughborough, because of ‘the attitude of the staff and the prices of items’, the court heard.

He selected his sixth form college as a possible target if they did not accept him on his GCSE results.

In text messages to one of his co-defendants, the teen is said to further outline his racist ideology.

‘What black friends? I have hardly any friends and they don’t belong here,’ he says.

‘It’s called nationalism mate,’ he continues.

‘Don’t believe the propaganda on the news and on the street. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your race and being willing to fight for it.’

He also writes in his notebook: ‘I don’t hate all Muslims, just the extremists, and the ones who think they can come to our country and do what they like.’

The trial continues.


Sep 29 2013

Guramit Singh on the run

Guramit Singh (full name Guramit Singh Kalirai) was at one point a leading, indeed founding member, of the EDL. A spokesman for the group he spoke their demos and gave interviews to the media. He is now on the run after being convicted for a violent raid on a gardening shop in Hucknall, Nottingham.

Nottingham Post screenshotBBC Screenshot

According to the Nottingham Post:

Andrew Wheelhouse, 31, David Mura, 26, and Guramit Singh Kalirai, 31, went into gardening shop Simply Hydro, in Wigwam Lane, Hucknall, at about 12.30pm on Thursday, May 2, with the intention of raiding it.

They attacked a shop assistant, pinned him to the ground and threatened to slash his throat if he did not give them money.

All three were tried at Nottingham Crown Court and convicted  of attempted robbery. On Tuesday (24th September) all three were sent to prison, however Kalirai did a runner before the trial and was sentenced to six-and-a-half-years in prison in his absence. A warrant is out for his arrest.

Kalirai made much of his Sikh heritage, often carrying a Sikh flag on demos. This generated some consternation within the Sikh community. Following his conviction, Sikhs Against the EDL have publicly called for the Sikh community to help police capture the fugitive.

EDL bigwig Tommy Robinson told the BBC that Kalarai was no longer involved with the EDL, but had still found time to contact him:

Mr Robinson said Kalirai had been in touch with him while on the run to say he had not done anything wrong.

“He said he is working with his legal team to fight the conviction,” Mr Robinson said.

“It doesn’t seem like something he would have done.”

So that’s alright then.


Sep 15 2013

Stop the EDL in Sheffield

Some comrades from Sheffield have contacted us as part of their mobilisation against the EDL next weekend:

The English Defence League are planning on marching through Sheffield on 21st September. We want to make sure that the EDL don’t get to intimidate people and parade their hatred through the streets unopposed.

The EDL are planning on protesting in Sheffield Lane Top against an imaginary mosque (more details).

We’re hosting a public meeting on Monday 16th September at Sheffield Hallam Hubs on Paternoster Row, to plan the opposition to the EDL’s demo. All anti-fascists are invited!

On the day we plan to be mobile so we can effectively defend our communities. Follow us on facebook and twitter to keep up to date with our plans!

Stop the EDL in Sheffield

You know what to do!


Sep 8 2013

Heavy manners in Tower Hamlets

The EDL are being very quiet about their latest failure this morning. Yesterday a pitiful 600 of their foot soldiers turned up for their latest “big one”, a demonstration that never had a chance of getting to Tower Hamlets. “Top boy” Tiny Tommy was arrested (to be debriefed by his handlers no doubt) at the end of the demo and several of the cannon fodder were nicked for carrying offensive weapons and fighting the police. Over a thousand people attended an anti-fascist rally at Altab Ali park and several hundred marched off in defiance of police restrictions. A group of over 100 actually made it to the EDL’s route before being kettled. Despite all of their macho bravado, the EDL were easily contained by the police but anti-fascists were much more effective.

AFN

The EDL is obsessed with the London borough, home to the East London Mosque and a large Muslim population. The last time they tried to go to Tower Hamlets, in 2011, they had 1,500 marchers on their side. Locals and anti-fascists made sure that they did not pass. This time the police drafted in a massive 3,000 officers to make sure that everything was locked down and resorted to the extremist tactic of arresting all 240 anti-fascists who were kettled near Tower Bridge and on Commercial Road. The charge? Disobeying the police!

Meanwhile, some fascist Leicester Casuals were also getting nicked. They’d decided to venture into the belly of the beast, the “no go area for whites” they’re always fantasising about and trying to control their terror as they passed the East London Mosque. Apparently, all the Muslim youth did was “chomped at us in some far away bongo bongo language” which they reckoned was a massive show of cowardice. Clearly disappointed that no one gave a fuck about them they were relieved to be bundled to safety by the police.

It was also a bad day for Craig Elliot, leader of the Leicester EDL who provides the sound system for EDL demos. He was arrested and held till midnight although he was cautious about saying what for. That will be one to look out for in the coming months.

In summary then, it was a very bad day for the EDL. The “Rigby bounce” has already been squandered, probably because more ordinary people who were duped into coming to their events have worked out what a bunch of racist losers they are and moved on. The turnout was very poor for a much-hyped national demo. They failed to go to Tower Hamlets for a second time. A much bigger and better organised anti-fascist movement turned out to oppose them and did a better job of challenging the police lockdown. The leadership were put under more police pressure with strategic arrests and late night chats in the cells. The EDL ship has no direction and is floundering.

Well done to the Anti-Fascist Network, South London Anti-Fascists and London Anti-Fascists for their great work in mobilising for the day! Solidarity with all anti-fascists arrested under police state laws! And great work by the Green & Black Cross who did some late night legal support for the arrested comrades.


Jul 29 2013

Now EDL jump on Skegness bandwagon

Following in the footsteps of the National Front and the BNP, the EDL went to Skegness to demonstrate against the halal slaughterhouse on Saturday. About 40 members of the far right group turned up carrying English and British flags and pictures of cows on sticks. They’re obviously not that clued up on how halal slaughter works.

Louth EDL and a muppet: Which is which?

Louth EDL and a muppet: Which is which?

According to their spokesman, the demonstration was not about race or religion, just about cruelty. Someone should’ve told the people who turned up with an English flag emblazoned with “No more mosques”. Someone should probably have reminded them that the English Defence League is not an animal welfare organisation! We have never seen these people oppose veal, foie gras or fur. The EDL claims to be concerned with what it paranoidly calls “creeping Sharia”, something which is all about religion (and many would say is a coded reference to race as well). The organisation’s mission statement says that “No one should be made to consume halal produce unwittingly”, suggesting that halal food should always be labelled and that people should have a choice whether to eat it or not. In reality, the EDL’s actions suggest that they are opposed to halal and the freedom of choice to consume it or not.

Flag with No More Mosques logo and slogan

Flag with No More Mosques logo and slogan

Perhaps even more so than the openly racist National Front and BNP, the EDL are hypocritical when they oppose halal slaughter without saying anything about kosher slaughter. The EDL spokesman in Skegness complained about pre-stunning. In fact, figures produced for the Food Standards Agency in 2011 showed that that 84% of cattle, 81% of sheep and 88% of chickens slaughtered in the UK for halal meat were stunned prior to their deaths. Kosher slaughter prohibits pre-stunning, so by the EDL’s own criterion, kosher is worse. But the EDL has a long history of pandering to Jewish islamophobes such as Roberta Moore, former head of the Jewish Defence League, and Rabbi Nachum Shifren, and the organisation has held a solidarity demonstration with Israel. The EDL leadership don’t want to upset the small number of Jewish islamophobes it has brought into the fold. The organisation knows that it can make more political capital out of hatred against Muslims.


Jul 22 2013

Tits & Tatts Against Global Jihad

Saturday saw the EDL Travelling Circus (freak show?) return to Birmingham.

Although the EDL managed to turn out around 1,000 racists to spend three hours getting pissed before a two hour static rally, this was less than the leadership had hoped for.

It is unclear whether the stated intention of Nottingham EDLer Joanne Dickens to turn up and get her “tits & tatts” out to “insult” the “muzzies” had any impact on turnout.

Joanne Dickens Facebook post

Joanne Dickens to get her “tits & tatts out” at EDL demo in Birmingham

Dickens’ previous contribution to the fight against the Global Jihad involved her getting pissed and falling out of a coach in Tower Hamlets only to be rescued by an Asian man.