Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) have called a counter-mobilisation.
Robinson announced the far right rally will take place outside the BBC Media City in Salford, Greater Manchester, in a video to supporters on Friday night. He raved that it was to stop “one final attempt by the establishment to destroy me in the nation’s eyes” in a BBC Panorama programme due to air later this month.
His announcement comes off the back of far right “Yellow Vest” protests in the city since the beginning of the year.
Supporters of SUTR joined a counter-mobilisation against a “Yellow Vest” protest on Saturday.
Martin, a Socialist Worker supporter and Manchester SUTR activist, told Socialist Worker, “We had over 100 people across the day with a good mix of Labour Party members, trade unionists and campaigners.
“They had around 20 on their protest, we surrounded them and chanted at them until they left with their tails between their legs.”
The “Yellow Vests” harassed an RMT rail workers’ union picket last month. And they have tried to disrupt and intimidate SUTR and Socialist Worker campaigning stalls in the city centre over recent weekends.
The protests have been organised by James Goddard in London, Manchester and other towns across Britain. He is famous for attacking Remain-supporting Tory Anna Soubry and Labour-supporting columnist Owen Jones outside parliament.
Robinson has suffered setbacks in recent months—and sees it as an opportunity to regroup his forces.
The British far right were on an upward trajectory last year. A series of thousands-strong rallies on Whitehall brought together forces from across the far right from open Nazis and the alt right to Ukip.
A 10,000-strong anti-fascist demonstration outnumbered a march called by Tommy Robinson and Ukip in London last December. And recently Robinson’s plans to cash-in by touring the US and Australia have fallen apart after he was denied entry into the countries.
Robinson remained quiet after last December. Various factions on the far right, such as Goddard, have been jockeying for position in his absence. Robinson now sees the Manchester rally opportunity to get back on the front foot.
Goddard’s protests have been relatively small, but they show that fascists still feels confident on the streets. And, while Robinson and the far right have suffered some setbacks, the threat has not gone away.
Robinson’s rally in Manchester could act as a focus for the different groups across the far right. And the Tories’ racist attacks on Muslims, migrants and refugees provide fertile ground for normalising their ideas and helping them grow.
Anti-fascists must take to the streets to oppose Robinson and his far right thugs. And protests in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on 16 March are a key opportunity to push back the far right.