Socialist Worker

'We won’t let the EDL divide us in Dudley'

Anti-fascists in Dudley are organising a counter protest against the racist English Defence League next month, writes Annette Mackin

Issue No. 2437

Racists in Dudley in 2010

Racists in Dudley in 2010 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The English Defence League (EDL) is using the backlash against Muslims to mobilise for its demonstration in Dudley on Saturday 7 February.

It says it is objecting to plans for a mosque in the area. But since the Paris killings the protest has become a key event for any racists wanting to march against Muslims. 

Local activists are organising a counter demonstration against the EDL. The demonstration is called by Unite Against Fascism (UAF), and supported by Dudley trades council. 

Jerry Langford of Black Country UAF said, “The EDL is coming to Dudley to ferment hatred, division and stir up racism.

“We are Dudley, united against racism, and we will not give the EDL the freedom of our town.”

Martin Lynch, joint secretary of Dudley National Union of Teachers, also spoke out. He said, “It is hugely important in the current climate that we all, people of different faiths and none, stand together against hate and division.”

In 2010 the EDL rampaged through Dudley. They attacked shops and houses and smashed the windows of a Hindu temple. Several Asian people were assaulted.

A statement has been widely supported in the local area. It says, “We are deeply concerned that the racist EDL have announced their intention to hold another demonstration in Dudley.  

“As people who live and work in the Borough of Dudley, we celebrate the peaceful and harmonious relations we enjoy with fellow residents and neighbours from many races and faiths.

“We continue to affirm that we will not let anyone divide us one from another. We will not let verbal and physical threats from the BNP or EDL prevent us from standing together. 

“Therefore we call upon the EDL to keep their racist violence out of Dudley.”

The EDL has been pushed back considerably since 2010. But it still has the potential to build on the widespread Islamophobia if it is allowed to go unchallenged.

There needs to be the biggest possible mobilisation against the EDL. Leader of the fascist Front National Marine Le Pen has been invited to speak at the Oxford Union two days before the Dudley protest.

It will boost racists and fascists everywhere if the EDL mobilises without a serious counter protest in Dudley, and Le Pen does not face protests in Oxford.

But serious anti-racist and anti-fascist responses can help keep the Nazis and their allies in the gutter. 

Join the UAF protest in Dudley, Saturday 7 February, 11am, Stone Street, Dudley. For details of the protest and of the UAF conference on 21 February go to uaf.org.uk

Build anti-racist protests in March

Join thousands of people protesting against racism in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday 21 March. Unions and local anti-racist groups are building the protests. 

The campaign for the general election is already becoming the most racist in recent memory. 

The demonstrations will take place just weeks before people vote. Racists are trying to take advantage of the anger at the Charlie Hebdo killings in France. The Stand Up to Racism protest is a chance to counter them.

In London the East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets and the Finsbury Park Mosque have received death threats. 

Fifteen emails were sent to Finsbury Park, many showing the Prophet Muhammad worshipping the devil.

Mohammad Kozbar is chair of Finsbury Park Mosque and vice president of the Muslim Association of Britain. 

He told Socialist Worker, “Members of all faith communities and people of no faith have stood together with us to tackle Islamophobia and all sorts of racism. 

“This is why we should all demonstrate on 21 March.”

We can make this a day of rage against racism. 


Farage launches campaign

Ukip leader Nigel Farage launched his election campaign in South Thanet, Kent, last weekend. But Ukip members are already panicking about his prospects.

A recent opinion poll by Lord Ashcroft put Farage five points behind the Tories in the constituency.

A number of racist scandals have sparked internal rows in the party. But each time the main parties attack migrants it gives Ukip a boost.

Anti-racists will need to mobilise against the racist party in the run-up to the general election. 

One key date is 28 February, when Stand up to Ukip activists will protest at Ukip’s spring conference in Margate.

Assemble 12 noon, Margate train station, Saturday 28 February. For more details go to standuptoukip.org

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