Socialist Worker

Far right and fascists back Tommy Robinson as appeal judgement looms

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2614

Nazis and racists at a Defend Tommy Robinson protest in London earlier this month

Nazis and racists at a Defend Tommy Robinson protest in London earlier this month (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Jailed Nazi Tommy Robinson appealed against his conviction on Wednesday of last week.

He was sent down after admitting contempt of court for filming on the steps of courts in Leeds and Canterbury. The judgement on his appeal was reserved and will probably be delivered before the end of July, Court of Appeal judges said.

Robinson is currently serving a 13-month sentence. That means he could be released before Christmas if he is released on licence.

If his appeal is successful, it will be much sooner. Fascists and racists will take to the streets to celebrate.

Robinson has been bankrolled by US far right “think tanks,” it emerged recently. The Middle East Forum (MEF) said it had given Robinson a five-figure sum to cover his legal costs.

“We are aware of three to four other groups and there is also a Tommy Robinson Defence Fund,” said Gregg Roman from the organisation.

The MEF also admitted to funding the costs of two recent “Free Tommy” demonstrations in London.

Raheem Kassam, a British member of the organisation, said the costs came to “£10,000 to £15,000 per event”. Kassam floated the idea of starting “a new political party”.

Vote

A poll conducted by The Sunday Times newspaper found 24 percent of people in Britain would vote for “a party of the political far right, committed to opposing Islamism and immigration and supporting Brexit”.

Ukip leader Gerard Batten has opened his arms to far right recruits and Ukip’s youth membership has increased by half. Racist Paul Watson of the far right Info Wars conspiracy theory website joined to launch a “soft coup”.

Other far right figures have joined as well.

The far right in Britain is in a state of flux. Clarity over the shifts taking place is important. But the fascists and racists must be met on the streets and stopped.

Examples of that strategy came on Saturday in Worcester, Cambridge and Glasgow.

The Nazi English Defence League (EDL) was outnumbered by up to 500 counter-protesters in Worcester. Only 20 EDL members turned up.

Worcester trades union council and anti-racist groups assembled where the EDL was due to rally.

Young Muslims, activists and onlookers confronted them. EDL supporters ended up being led away with a police escort.

When Robinson is released the thousands of fascists and racists that have mobilised to demand his freedom will come out once more.

Anti-fascists have shown they can mobilise—and they will need to do so again.

Thanks to Geoff Dexter


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