Socialist Worker

The EDL's record of racism and intimidation

Issue No. 2301

Supporters of the English Defence League have attacked Occupy camps  (Pic: Smallman )

Supporters of the English Defence League have attacked Occupy camps (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The mainstream media often gets confused about the true nature of the EDL.

Too many journalists take EDL claims to be “peacefully protesting against militant Islam” at face value.

Occasionally the media will describe the EDL as “far right” or “extremist”. But they are still unwilling to call the EDL racists or fascists.

It’s worth pointing out some facts about the organisation.

EDL leader Tommy Robinson is a former BNP activist. One survey last year found that 34 percent of EDL supporters said they voted BNP.

EDL supporters have carried out a string of racist attacks against Muslims.

To take just one incident, a group of thugs chanting “EDL” stormed into a mosque in Redbridge, east London, in March last year.

They beat up the imam and attacked worshippers with bricks. The judge who jailed them said it was “difficult to imagine a case of violent disorder more serious than this one”.

Of late the EDL has become more brazen about hating all Muslims, not just those they label “extremist”.

It now openly says it wants to stop the building of mosques and ban halal meat.

But EDL activities are not limited to sickening racist attacks.

The EDL directs violence and intimidation against anyone on the left and anyone who opposes it.

EDL thugs have attacked or attempted to attack Unite Against Fascism events, trade union buildings, Occupy protest camps, May Day marches and Socialist Workers Party meetings.

They have threatened Labour councillors and student protesters.

These are not isolated incidents. The EDL’s leaders are following the classic Nazi strategy of “march and grow”.

They hope to build a fascist movement by gathering hooligans around a core of committed Nazis.

They want a street presence that pulls the whole political climate to the right.

Our job is use our unity to stop them in their tracks.

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