Socialist Worker

2,500 racists march through London in a display of far right unity

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2610

The march brought together different elements of the racist right

The march brought together different elements of the racist right (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Around 2,500 racists marched through central London on Saturday in another sign of the growing confidence of the British far right on the streets.

The crowd chanted, "Whose streets, our streets" as they marched from Victoria Station to Parliament. And a big focus on the march was jailed Nazi Tommy Robinson—whose supporters organised a 15,000-strong rally on Whitehall on 9 June. 

Marches broke into spontaneous chants of "Oh, Tommy, Tommy" and "We want our country back". It was a popular chant on mobilisations of the English Defence League (EDL), a group previously led by Tommy Robinson. 

The march was organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA), Veterans Against Terrorism and a host of other racist groups.

The DFLA is acting as a bridge between the fascists and the racist Ukip party. Flags from Ukip were one of the most visible elements on the demonstration—much more than on previous mobilisations in recent months. 

It confirmed that the party leadership is orientating on the far right in the hope of rebuilding after its wipeout in the local elections last month. 

At the rally Ukip leader Gerrard Batten urged marchers to join the party. "If you want to change things you have to organise politically," he said. "The MPs in the House of Commons don't mind how many join a march. 

"You have to join a political party, help fight elections and win power." 

A Ukip advert denounces mass migration and in the small print highlights George Soros - a favourite target of the antisemitic right

A Ukip advert denounces 'mass migration' and in the small print highlights George Soros - a favourite target of the antisemitic right (Pic: Guy Smallman)

While Batten's aim is to rebuild Ukip as an electoral force, alt right figures with a broader agenda are joining. 

The DFLA march had less hardcore Nazis on it than the "Free Tommy" rally on 9 June, but they were visible and were given a welcome on the march. 

There was a sizeable contingent of Generation Identity—a young group that looks to the US alt right.

Is everything going to be alt right for racist Ukip?
Is everything going to be alt right for racist Ukip?
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At the rally one of the most hardcore speeches came from Janice Atkinson, a former Ukip MEP who is positioning herself as a link with the European far right  within the "Free Tommy" movement. 

She said played to antisemitic conspiracy theories about US-based banker George Soros. "We might might have got rid of Soviet Communism, but Eurocommunist is alive and well," she said. 

And she praised Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini for threatening to deport half a million migrants and the Austrian Tory/Nazi coalition government for shutting down seven mosques and deporting 42 imams. 

The focus for the fascists and racists is building for another "Free Tommy" rally in central London on Saturday 14 July. It comes the day after US bigot-in-chief Donald Trump visits Britain. 

Building opposition to Trump and the Nazis in Britain who love him was a major theme of a 100-strong Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) meeting in central London on Saturday.

Kevin Courtney, NEU education union joint general secretary, called on people to mobilise against the far right. "On that demonstration on 9 June it wasn’t just the DFLA, there were fascists and Ukip," he said. "That sort of street army is a real threat to our society. 

"We have to mobilise in the biggest possible way." 

SUTR has launched an open letter calling on people to march against Trump on 13 July and the fascists on 14 July. It has been signed by Labour shadow ministers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell and the leaders of all the major trade unions. 

Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott slammed the Tories' "hostile environment" towards migrants at the SUTR meeting. "It is the nature of our immigration system for this to happen to all kinds of migrants" she said.

The Tories racism has fueled the rise of fascists and racists. Weyman Bennett from SUTR said, "When Trump comes everyone has to be out. He is a sexist bigot, has called African countries shit hole counties as he is a racist.”

He added, "We have to come out on 13 and 14 July. When fascists march on the streets, you have to act."


Support grows for Stand Up To Racism's open letter 

Stand Up To Racism groups are gathering support around an open letter that calls for mobilisations on those days.

It was launched with Labour shadow ministers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, and the leaders of all the major unions last week.

Activists joined a meeting at the East London Muslim Centre in Tower Hamlets on Monday night to discuss building opposition to the far right.

Some 17 local Labour councillors, including mayor John Biggs and deputy mayor Asma Begum, signed the statement last week.

West London MPs Rupa Huq, Steve Pound and Virendra Sharma, and Ealing council leader Julian Bell have all put their names to it.

Labour councillors and trade unionists in Islington and Haringey, north London, are also signing the statement.

And over 300 delegates at the Unison union national conference last week backed it.


Big anti-racist meeting in Manchester 

Around 130 people attended an SUTR North West England Summit in Manchester.

Labour MP Kate Green spoke about how activists had organised opposition to Nazi Tommy Robinson in Manchester in the past. She thanked “our trade union sisters and brothers” and others “who came out to join us when Tommy Robinson tried to launch his book in my constituency”.

“We said we don’t want your Islamophobic, far right hatred here and we drove him out of town,” she said.

Green spoke out against those who argue that the threat of the far right will simply disappear. “I don’t agree with that view,” she said.

“I agree with it less than ever today as I watch the terrifying rise of the far right—not just in this country but on our European doorstep.”


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