November 20, 2011

EDL splinter groups may target public sector strikers, unions warn

An EDL rally in London in August. Photograph: Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Corbis
EDL groups are broadening out their attacks to focus on leftwing organisations

Britain's biggest unions are warning of a threat of violence by far-right groups during national strike action this month, amid concern that fascist elements are increasingly intent on targeting striking public sector workers.

Unite, Unison and the TUC said they were taking the prospect of disruption by far-right supporters seriously, and had begun to liaise with police to assess any risk to pickets or those on protest marches. The development follows signs that splinter groups from the English Defence League are broadening their campaign from targeting Muslims to trade unionists and socialist organisations. Members of the EDL have recently been involved in attacks on anti-racist and anti-cuts protesters, as well as attempting to target the Occupy movement which has camped outside St Paul's Cathedral.

More than two million workers are expected to walk out on 30 November during a day of protest against public sector pension changes.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, the country's main public sector trade union, said: "We take any threat to our members' health and safety very seriously. As a matter of course, ahead of a major day of action, we work with the police to assess risks, and our many stewards work hard to keep people safe. The far right's latest attempt to stir up hate and fear is a disgrace."

Rob Johnston, the Midlands regional secretary for the TUC, said: "There is a concern, a general wariness, that the EDL are very active. There have been attacks on trade unionists. We need to put our heads together and think about how we deal with it."

Nine days ago an EDL faction attempted to attack the north-west headquarters of Unite, the UK's biggest trade union. Online messages from the EDL in Merseyside stated they were "patrolling for leftys [sic]". Those they finally identified turned out to be former council workers protesting after they lost their jobs when a contractor went bust. A march of female asylum seekers has also been recently targeted by EDL supporters in the city.

One EDL splinter group, the Infidels, has stated that it considers any leftwing or anti-cuts activists fair game. A north-east wing of the Infidels was recently blamed for attacking an Occupy Newcastle camp in which one protester was taken to hospital and others injured. A statement from the leader of the Infidels faction, John "Snowy" Shaw, states: "We have decided to put all our efforts into opposing everything you do regardless of the issue at hand, it's your organisations we oppose." He adds: "Every event you hold will be a potential target along with your meetings, fund raisers and social events."

On the same day as the Liverpool attack, police arrested 179 EDL members after intelligence they were planning to attack Occupy protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral. A Facebook page carried comments discussing attacking "lefties" at St Paul's and included death threats from one supporter.

Dr Matthew Goodwin, extremism expert and political lecturer at the University of Nottingham, said the far right in the UK was becoming increasingly confrontational. "Historically, trade unionists and the far right have been fiercely opposed to one another," he said. "Trade unionists view the modern far right as a continuation of interwar fascism, and so support anti-fascist campaigns and groups. Meanwhile, far-right extremists tend to view trade unionists as promoting multiculturalism and political correctness. While these disputes are ideological, they have often become incredibly personal.

"Over the past three years, the far right in Britain has become increasingly confrontational and provocative."

Bill Adams, TUC regional secretary of Yorkshire, said he was aware of a new far-right presence in his region – 300 members of the North East Infidels recently protested in Leeds city centre – and had been advised by police to avoid antagonising the far right. "They have said to watch what I say about the EDL, they have some info that they have my details." Last year prominent TUC member Alec McFadden was placed under police protection after threats from the Merseyside branch of the EDL who doctored a placard he was carrying criticising coalition cuts to make it read as if it were protesting against homecoming British troops.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the union movement would not be cowed by a group whose only concern was "spreading fear" instead of advancing the rights of working people. "Trade unionists stand against everything the EDL stands for," he said. "Trade unionists have fought long and hard for a fairer society, one with respect at its core. Ultra-rightwing groups care about nothing other than stoking hatred, which is why they have no place in our communities."

Other incidents this year that suggest that the EDL and its spin-offs are adopting an increasingly anti-leftwing agenda include attacks at anti-racist meetings in Brighton and Leeds and during a Labour party event held in Barking, east London, in May.



Anonymous said...

"Every event you hold will be a potential target along with your meetings, fund raisers and social events."

Why can't the coppers turn up at Snowy's house and arrest the fucking cocky twat?????

NewsHound said...



Anonymous said...

I think the Unions should organise a purely defensive Stewards Group to counter any EDL aggression.

Bloo said...

This has been posted by a reliable source on the Edinburgh Anti-Fascist Alliance fb page:

The SDL physically attacked the Palestine stall (GPHRC - Glasgow
Palestine Human Rights Campaign) on Buchanan St today at approx 4:45.

30 - 40 of them, masked up. They attempted to take apart the gazebo,
knocked over things and punched and kicked several of the folks on the stall.

They then went off shouting "whose streets? our streets" towards GOMA. The police were called and the police state that they picked up several of them.

Nobody from GPHRC was seriously injured, but then they are very brave individuals many of whom have suffered far worse at the hands of the Israeli army so they have a high threshold. Those punched include those who are middle aged and older.

At 12 noon today SDL held some sort of demo in George Sq. Others will have heard more - please can we compile it together? There was a
rangers home game today but it was just against St Johnstone (Perth) -
is there some connection?
So next week, Sat 26th, lets make sure there's plenty of us around the stall.

The gphrc stall is from 12 noon to 5pm and its outside where
borders used to be, where All Saints is now, opposite Lush. We could all have our respective stalls and have a bit of a radical fair going on as well as standing side by side with the gphrc folks.

I don't think its likely that the SDL will turn up 2 weeks in a row but its important for their confidence and to show solidarity with those who were attacked today.

We also need to know in future when they are likely to be in town and have a good alert mechanism.

At the moment too often text messages are getting sent around that do not have a date and time on them, so people are responding to old/false alerts and get jaded.
Together we can stop the SDL claiming the streets for their hate.

But we need to make sure that they cannot charge around our cities having "good days out" that make them want to come back for more!

Anonymous said...

The EDL attacked Occupy Bristol, supporting bankers bonuses in classic fascist stylie!

Anonymous said...

anyway, as for the EDL - which is what this thread is actually about! - tommy leaving will no doubt have to do with facing another spell in prison and pressure from his 'long-suffering' wife. there is also the feeling that he has done a griffin and bled the members dry and after tower hamlets bollocks, birmingham fiasco and the mass arrest of a radically diminished EDL he has lost a massive amount of credibility. this leaves kev carroll at the helm. hel gower was the PA but she has had a bust up with her division - and everyone hates her anyway - so that's yet another schism. it will be interesting to see if alan lake (the EDLs Jim Dowson) can redirect his 'influence' to the fluffies or whoever tommy joins up with. meeting today will no doubt result in even more fallouts and violence. hilariously inept.

Anonymous said...

B31 Antifascist said...

So we've learned two things this week. The EDL/BFP cannot hide their fascism, and now they wish to destroy the working classes, finishing the work Thatcher started in the 1980s.

They will happily parade by with their England flags when a family (English or otherwise) falls victim to hard times because there aren't any jobs, benefits have been cut and expenses are soaring. Or when an elderly war veteran has to choose between eating and heating and dies of hypothermia, then along comes the fascists, they get out their cocks and piss upon his grave. Or when bankers get bonuses, but job creation schemes get kicked in the teeth.

The EDL want to make Britain much more of a godawful place than it is now. Patriotism?????

As for 'political correctness' even we use it - when we call the BNP nazis, we're being un-PC! Free speech is un-PC, but when non-PC free speech is used against the far right, watch them squirm because they've dug their own hole and they know it!

Anonymous said...

The SDL were at it yesterday:!/AsaWinstanley/status/137993893634510848

Glasgow-Palestine Human Rights Campaign's stall attacked by masked "Scottish Defence League" thugs in Buchanan st today, activists tell me!/AsaWinstanley/status/137994801940398080

Seems SDL attack unsucessful though: GPHRC stall was soon back up I'm told. Disturbing sign of EDL moving more to straight up st. violence

sallym said...

According to Stormfront, the BFF as well as the EDL are both being FUNDED by Alan "Final Solution" Lake......

Is there any TRUTH that the alleged inspiration behind Brevik who wants to murder David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, socialists, environmentalists, democrats and Muslims, is pumping his money into the BFF?

If so, the BFF will be easy to shoot down!!! Just keep reminding potential voters of Lake's toxic views, and how he LUSTS for another Holocaust!

Has Caxley-Lemon been TOLD by millionaire Lake to up sticks and become a fascist politician

jennie said...

Yes, if Alan lake, author of the chilling British Final Solution is behind the BFF, we must remind everybody how dangerous this lunamatik's ideas are.

Is there a way of discovering whether Lake donates money to the BFF, as they are registered with the Electoral Commision as a political party, and must by law (a law which applies to everybody including BNP offshoots), declare all doners!

Maybe Lake is only his pseudonym, in which case, Searchlight spies will hopefully shed light on Lake's actual name.

Anonymous said...

Fascist neo-nazi wankers are in league with the bosses, just like Hitler and IBM, Siemens, etc!

AF90 said...

Why the merry fuck does anybody call the British Freedom Party "BFP" (not BFF as someone else actually called them), fluffy?


According to the BFF's constitution (if anyone has read this), they are going to scrap all equality laws, including those which protect disabled people, and introduce kangaroo courts which will "repatriate" black and Asian people and foreigners willy nilly.

"To end all immigration and economic migration and reverse the colonisation of Britain under multiculturalism and political correctness by deporting all those given naturalised citizenship status who have not fully integrated into British society. Such a decision will be made by a Citizenship Court".

Has anybody else actually read this crap?

They will close down mosques, ban multiculturalism, and can imprison who they like, when they come to power just like Adolf Hitler did. Anybody interested in anti-racism and anti-fascism should take 1 minutes to read their long and winded constitution to realise they are in no way less dangerous than the BNP.

Plus more more democratic.

The BFP have dropped racism, my arse!

A Concerned Anti-Fascist said...

Please republish, Ketlan!

Outspoken anti-semite (Jewish but with white supremacist friends) Gilad Atzmon is booked to perform at Raise Your Banners festival in Bradford on the 25th of November. Hope Not Hate and the TUC want him to be removed from the bill.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Lake is only his pseudonym, in which case, Searchlight spies will hopefully shed light on Lake's actual name.

No need for Searchlight spies, Paul Ray, (AKA Lionheart), has already exposed "Alan Lake" as "Alan Ayling", so it shouldn't be too hard to check whether he is funding the BFF or not. You can see Ray's video here where he exposes Lake here:

Anonymous said...

Some people really are thick. Take the person on here talking about Jim Dowson's EDL.

Are we supposed to take this idiot seriously?

John P said...

Anonymous said...

Some people really are thick. Take the person on here talking about Jim Dowson's EDL.

Are we supposed to take this idiot seriously?

12:32 PM, November 20, 2011

I understand the reference to Dowson.
It's easy to get confused with all the various three letter acronyms but the BFF are the British Freedom Fighters and totally unconnected with the British Freedom Party.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Eddy Stampton starts to turn up at London EDL gatherings, then a split occurs? He is an obvious beer money snitch like owens always said