Socialist Worker

Far right threat as Football Lads Alliance plans to march in Birmingham

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2596

FLA supporters in London last year

FLA supporters in London last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Anti-racists will take to the streets to oppose a planned march by the racist Football Lads Alliance (FLA) in Birmingham on Saturday.

The FLA was founded under the banner “united against extremism”, but its leadership around John Meighan wants to build a racist movement on the streets.

Since its march in London last October the FLA has been on a right wing racist trajectory.

It is increasingly targeting Muslims—and boosting fascist figures such as former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson. And the main speaker on Saturday is the Islamophobe Anne Marie Waters.

As a Ukip parliamentary candidate she called on people to “insult Islam”.

The FLA’s internal Facebook group, which Socialist Worker exclusively revealed in September 2017, illustrates the organisation’s rightward trajectory.

A post from Meighan on Sunday said, “The momentum is building—Tommy is making the trip up to report next week.”

This marks a clear shift from the FLA’s initial attempts to distance themselves from fascists and the far right.

Incident

And this is further confirmed by reactions to an incident at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park last Sunday.

The racist gathering with Tommy Robinson was organised by Nazis and attended by FLA supporters.

Meighan posted a separate video on Monday afternoon of a “white atheist” shouting abuse at Muslims at the event in the FLA’s internal group.

He said, “This man is a national hero—and no for once it isn’t Tommy.”

Anti-fascists have reduced the Nazis to rump organisations. Ukip has collapsed. And the Tories are teetering from crisis to crisis.

This means the right could regroup around a new formation—such as the FLA.

The whole of the left must take the threat of the FLA seriously and mobilise against it and the wider state-sponsored Islamophobia that feeds it.

Don’t let the racists divide us, Saturday 24 March, 12 noon, Waterstones, 24-26 High Street, Birmingham B4 7SL. 

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