Do we ignore the fascist presence of the English Defence League

No matter how hard they might try, the English Defence League cannot shake off the assumption that they are fascists, and worse still a part of the BNP. But many of the criticisms directed at the hooligan group have also been thin where they could have been a little meatier.

For example, it is not as simple to bracket the EDL as fascist or a cell in the BNP, it’s a little more complex than that. The BNP for example have officially said, of the EDL, on the 3rd of September;

The British National Party has declared the “English Defence League” a proscribed organisation and it will be a disciplinary offence for any party member to be involved with that group.

The message was attached on a circular sent out by national organiser Eddy Butler who also said “Time and time again the lying media has linked the BNP with the EDL’s activities.”

But it is very difficult to distinguish the two fronts when there is clear evidence that high-profile EDL activists have real enthusiasm for the BNP. The Stirrer revealed that Chris Renton, a BNP activist who lives in Weston-super-Mare, set up the EDL website. Further, Paul Ray, a spokesperson for the EDL admitted in an interview knowing about Renton’s links, and dismissed it by saying that “people’s political views are their own affair.”

Ray, during the interview conducted by The Stirrer’s editor Adrian Goldberg on Talksport, revealed, however, that it is not just Islamic extremism that he takes a disliking too. The entry explains;

During the course of the interview, it became apparent that Ray’s own view of Islamic extremism isn’t limited to suicide bombers and hook handed preachers of hate.

He argued that the Qu’ran teaches all its advocates to wage jihad or holy war in non-Muslim countries, and acknowledged that on this basis, all devout or practising Muslims in Britain, are – in his words – “at war with our country.”

When pressed, he said:  “They’re ultimately engaged in converting our country to an Islamic state…that is the religious mandate of the Qu’ran that all Muslims must adhere too.”

The organisation, along with another similar Stop the Islamisation of Europe, with divisions all across Europe, has tried its hardest to appear simply against “Islamofascism”, and the apparently slow descent into a totally Islamic state.

EDL, like the BNP, have been vocal on the Sikh support they get in order to try and prove that they are not racist, and the SIOE have campaign material advertised on their website supporting the independence of Serbian Kosovo and Israel to show their enthusiasm for self-governing peoples (in fact an Israeli flag is a feature of any demo organised by these groups, seen here, whether genuine or to provoke the Muslim counter-demonstrators), as well as, strangely enough, the flags of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

However, some clearly dubious elements have found a home amongst the activists of the EDL, as can be seen by this frightening video shot by photojournalist Jason N. Parkinson (pay particular attention to the nazi salutes at 03.58 and 05.09 – since the last salute is made by a guy who appears to be the friend of the other chap who is holding the Trinidad flag, this does suggest a concerted attempt at far-right humour, not to be confused, of course, with humour).

This does put our analysis in a sticky situation. Is it possible that these explicitly fascist elements, such as the far-right web designer, and the sieg heil louts are minority factions inside a group that really wants to target Islamic extremism? But even a spokesperson, who must know the group line like the back of his hand, admitted being aware of far-right links, and even went on to show that it wasn’t just Islamic extremists the group were after, but Islam – the core message of all Islam.

Nick Lowles, who does know a thing or two about how to perceive these things, has said

“I’m not saying that every leader of the EDL is a fascist or hardcore racist but as you have seen with the signs, chanting and actions, it’s anti-Muslim – and that’s incitement.”

Myself, I think it’s pretty fair to say that there’s enough evidence to show that the far-right has a pretty safe camp within the ranks of the EDL, enough so that it hasn’t simply got a minority share. But does this mean that opposing Islamic extremism cannot be done without appealing to the far-right? Of course it doesn’t. It is laughable to suggest that there is anything inherently synonymous between Islamic extremism and the left, though admittedly this is hard to tell with those certain members of the SWP that see the Taliban as a legitimate reaction to imperialism – small in numbers though they are. Certainly with organisations like the Muslim Association of Britian, who the SWP and RESPECT have made previous attempts to cosy up to, do whip up the idea that vocal sections of the left do support unpalatable components, with their explicit homophobic policies. Interesting and irritable it was for me to see, at a recent pro-Palestine event in Hyde Park, a man with a MAB placard and an LGBT pin on his jacket lapel.

The battles that go on in the streets of course hurt the Muslim community the most, at once being the implied target of the EDL, and then to top that off made to appear represented by equally troublesome elements, such as youths proclaiming to be soldiers of Islam, surely this is the most important aspect to bear in mind when analysing the existence of these street fights.

The fascist elements of the EDL are too strong to ignore or write off, they pose a danger and are clearly more than just a front to oppose extremism. Therefore to oppose them is not to tolerate Islamic extremism. But care should be taken by thinking that the counter-demonstrators are natural allies, there are unpalatable elements in there, also, that do just as much harm to the wider, majority, Muslim community. And against the charges made by certain members on EDL forums that “leftist scum” oppose them whilst tolerating extremism, let this be a rubuttal.


4 Responses to Do we ignore the fascist presence of the English Defence League

  1. kenny dee says:

    The EDL are not right wing and are not interested in politics. Maybe you should do better research and not take quotes from the MSM and the searchlies organisation who are full of crooks.

    What about the fascist labour government who have brought about this Orwellian state. Labour are the real nazi’s and fascists.

  2. Pingback: Lawsuits from the ’20s/Jackboots from the ’30s « Left Outside

  3. Pingback: Anti-fascists must fill the political vacuum the EDL aim to exploit « Though Cowards Flinch

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