Anti- Fascist Unity Against Scottish Defence League Attack


On Saturday 19 November, the city centre street stall of the Glasgow Palestinian Human Rights Campaign (GPHRC) was subjected to a planned physical assault by a fascist gang organised by the Scottish Defence League (SDL). A small group of SDL members abusively distracted GPHRC supporters on the stall which was followed up by a rush attack involving 40 masked men and women. They overturned tables and punched and kicked campaign members. The courage of the GPHRC members has to be recognised in their refusal to be intimidated. Having campaigned for years in solidarity with the Palestinian people, the campaign knows what the Palestinians face every hour and day and returned to their traditional pitch on Buchanan Street the following week. FRFI supporters joined the GPHRC in central Glasgow for joint anti- fascist defence of all political stalls. Comrades from the Alliance for Workers Liberty, Coalition of Resistance, Socialist Workers Party, International Socialist Group, Glasgow Anarchists and others, also stood in unity against the fascist threat.

Discussion revealed that the SDL had advertised a 'Meet and Greet Event' in Glasgow on the day of the attack and were also planning to apply for a street stall in the same area at some time in the future. Anti-fascists are at present facing trial accused of disrupting a British National Party gathering in Glasgow. It is vital that the left and the emerging new movement respond a hundred times more determinedly. The call has to go out more clearly, loudly and defiantly for urgent organisation and action. We have to build militant, popular unity in anti- fascist defence.

As capitalism does fracture and break down, reactionary elements and the state will unite to police and destroy any opposition or resistance to the rule of the bankers. British imperialism is involved in bloody wars for profits, power and survival- from Iraq to Libya. The new fascists of the SDL and the English Defence League (EDL) recognise their role as the boot-boys - the street muscle - for British imperialism and British banks. Last Saturday, the SDL chanted 'Muslim bombers out of Glasgow' and their own statements show how they see themselves as the street allies of British soldiers fighting 'terrorists' in Afghanistan. The EDL said that they would 'deal' with the student protests of last year. Recently the EDL/SDL in Newcastle attacked the Occupy camp twice in one day. FRFI comrades played a significant role in the physical defence of the protest.

These reactionary developments have to be carefully managed by the British state. While its own official police force will now increasingly style itself as bravely holding apart contending groups, in actual fact it will be very happy to see anti- capitalist and anti- imperialist opposition off the streets. The experiences of Glasgow and Newcastle over the last year demonstrate that the police will actively undermine political protest. In Glasgow the police turned up at a recent electrician's union meeting on the same day- 19 November- as the later fascist attack, to menacingly warn the workers off any attempt to demonstrate on the road. When the fascists attacked in Newcastle on 30 October, the police could not be contacted while CCTV cameras pointed in other directions.

The authorities in Glasgow are now planning to reinforce demands for protests and street stalls to be permitted and licensed. This was what the police were originally demanding of RCG/ FRFI comrades when they started campaigning against the cuts on the streets of Govanhill, Glasgow. The Glasgow Defence Campaign was formed precisely to counter this openly political policing. Threats are already being made to send down council officers to summarily remove street stalls. The coming battles against, council ‘rules’, political policing and fascist attack will test the organisation of all progressive activists and campaigners. The lessons of history have to be recognised. The Public Order acts of the 1930's in Britain were claimed to be necessary to maintain 'order' when communities politically and physically challenged fascist marches and meetings. We need to prepare solid, united defence of all those fighting for a better present and future.