The English Defence League (EDL) hoped that last Saturday in Bolton they could repeat their racist rampage in Stoke and the strutting arrogance of their march to parliament.
They failed because thousands of anti-fascists stood firm against them and attacks from the police.
The most inspiring moment came when young Asian people forced their way into Bolton’s Victoria Square to join the main protest and infuriate the EDL.
But the EDL remains a potent threat. Its supporters will try to intimidate individuals, disrupt anti-racist meetings and to bring violence and terror to more towns and cities.
They have to be weakened further. Stopping them decisively requires a larger mobilisation than the one in Bolton last week.
Everyone who hates what the EDL stands for should try to involve the broadest layers of people in future counter-protests, such as the one in Dudley on Saturday 3 April. We need large numbers of trade unionists, campaigners, anti-racists, Labour Party members, pensioners, students and others.
We know what the EDL stand for. On the night of the Bolton protest a man was attacked by three other men wearing EDL “No Surrender” T-Shirts.
One EDL supporter stabbed him in the shoulder.
Confronting the EDL in the streets is crucial. But it is not our only anti-fascist and anti-racist strategy.
It is also necessary to mobilise tens of thousands to argue against the Nazis in workplaces and communities, to get hundreds of thousands to carnivals, meetings and discussions, and to put out millions of leaflets and stickers and emails.
Such activity is needed wherever the EDL organise and wherever the BNP are standing a candidate.
It is particularly crucial in areas where the BNP is making a targeted effort, such as Stoke and Barking & Dagenham.
We also need a positive alternative to the Islamophobia and anti-immigrant racism whipped up by the press and the main parties.
The Nazis hope to gain from anger at the demands of the rich that the rest of society pays for the capitalist crisis, and the fury at the cash-soaked corruption of so many mainstream politicians.
Socialists must continue to take up such issues and to organise militant action over the cuts, the attacks on workers, the war spending, the lack of decent housing and many other issues.
Successful workers’ struggle can offer hope and a united way forward instead of the toxic division that comes from the Nazis – which aids the bosses.
In the course of such struggles it is possible to argue for a vote for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition at the election and a socialist solution to the crisis.
Days of action in Stoke and Barking & Dagenham: This Sunday 28 March (meet 11am Barking station), and Saturday 10 April, Sunday 11 April and Sunday 25 April.
Love Music Hate Racism Festival Weekend: Northern Carnival, Saturday 1 May, Barnsley with UB40, Chipmunk, Reverend and the Makers and Mumsi Stranger Devlin plus much more. Southern Carnival, Sunday 2 May, London. Tickets £8. Go to www.lovemusichateracism.com