Socialist Worker

Nazi Tommy Robinson released from prison—get ready to build the fightback

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2616

On on the 9 June Free Tommy demo

On the 9 June "Free Tommy rally" (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Anti-fascists face a major challenge after Nazi Tommy Robinson was freed on bail after winning his appeal on Wednesday.

Every fascist and racist in Britain and across the world is cock-a-hoop. As the Lord Chief Justice Burnett delivered the result, supporters of Tommy Robinson burst into applause in the gallery at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Robinson was arrested for filming outside Leeds Court in May and handed a 10-month jail sentence for contempt of court in addition to a 3-month suspended sentence.

There will now be a retrial of the Leeds case at a future date.

Robinson is the figurehead of the resurgent forces of the British far right. The Nazis and racists sense an opportunity to rebuild a movement on the streets capable of perpetrating racist terror.

He is backed by big money from the US—and is capable of mobilising racist thugs onto the streets.

His supporters organised a 15,000-strong “Free Tommy” rally on Whitehall in central London on 9 June. It was the biggest outdoor mobilisation organised by fascists in British history—and a warning to the whole left.

Important

Anti-fascists made an important step forward last month. Around 3,000 people joined the Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism protest against the following “Free Tommy” rally on 14 July.

The fascists brought 6,000 onto the streets—less than half their previous numbers. But Robinson and his supporters will now seek to mobilise—and their numbers could be swelled.

The far right has been growing across much of Europe for the last year.  

In Britain it began with a 15-20,000-strong “united against extremism” march organised by the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) in London last October. At the beginning the leadership of the FLA tried to distance itself from Robinson and banned British flags from its marches.

But the FLA—and their bigger breakaway the Democratic FLA—had shifted further to the right by the time of their next mobilisation in Birmingham in March. They increasingly aligned themselves with Robinson and other hardcore fascists.

The FLA has now been sidelined within the leadership of the British far right. Robinson is now the main focus for the movement—and open Islamophobia is the glue that binds the different forces together.

Alarmingly, the different factions of the British far right are regrouping. The “Free Tommy” movement has brought together the fascists and racist populists of Ukip for the first time. And mainly young supporters of Donald Trump and the US alt right have been new and significant presence on the rallies.

They will all seek to use Robinson’s release to grow, to terrorise Muslims, migrants and minorities.

Anti-fascists must be on the alert to mobilise big numbers when Robinson and his supporters announce their next march.


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