Report: October 13th – We Go Where We Want

There’s no doubt about it, #stopdfla was a good day out for
anti-fascists, and an absolutely terrible showing for the Democratic
Football Lads’ Alliance. Over 1000 militant antifascists from a broad
coalition of groups mobilised for a vibrant, proudly anti-fascist unity
demonstration which didn’t allow the police or the fascists to set its
agenda. It went, for the most part, where it wanted. The addition of
another 500-800 participants on a Stand Up To Racism rally in Old Palace
Yard meant that, for the first time in London in 2018, anti-fascists
outmatched what the far right were able to pull onto the street.

The Unity demo’s call out was for Portland Place at 12pm, and ten
minutes after noon the numbers of anti-fascist protesters, ranging
from seasoned to newly recruited activists, was quickly growing. Soon
afterwards, a large and dynamic contingent of women and non-binary
anti-fascists approached the meet up point to join the Anti-fascist
Network grouping, and our numbers swelled. Anticipation among the crowds
grew, and despite intel suggesting a potential risk of the demo being
attacked by fascist hoolies at the meet up point, everyone assembled safely. We’re confident if they did happen to be in the area they’d have
taken one look at our numbers, how organised our blocs were, and thought
better of it.

At 12.45pm we began to prepare to march towards our destination to
intercept, disrupt, and block the DFLA. The streets of central
London were filled with the noise of the sound system blaring out female
grime artists, while red and purple smoke filled the air and flags were
waved proudly as we marched to face down the fascists. Banners
from a broad coalition of organisations were sported, and hundreds of us
clapped in unison to the chant “siamo tutti antifascisti!”/ “we are all
anti-fascists!”. The mobilisation maintained discipline and militancy,
and we were proud to be marching alongside so many new comrades
determined in our aims to deny the far-right a platform and show the
DFLA they are not welcome in our city. We received word that the DFLA
had begun their route, and by 2pm we had moved up to a thousand militant
anti-fascists to meet them at Pall Mall, holding the space long enough
to force the cops to halt the fascists’ pathetic march.

Some London Anti-fascist members joined the Football Lads and Lasses Against Fascism contigent, a new organisation of football casuals who stand against the fascist and racist elements in football clubs. They turned out a large number of lads and lasses and were extremely effective on the day. We’re excited about the new group and look forward to working with them in the future.

nazi dfla

The DFLA had a terrible day. At its start their march pulled around
2000, their worst showing in London, but those numbers quickly dropped
and by the time the march reached Trafalgar Square they had around half
that. Worse for them, it was clear they hadn’t been able to attract any
new members or appeal to groups outside of their core supporters. Their
demonstration was old, white and predominantly male – drawn from the
usual groups of racist, anti-left hooligans, Islamophobic political
parties and outright neo-Nazis. Despite the DFLA leadership announcing
ahead of time that their march would be silent to commemorate the
victims of grooming gangs, there was little sign of the campaign on the
day. Participants couldn’t stick to the silence for long, catcalling and
harassing two women in a convertible on St. James’s Street and breaking
out into renditions of God Save the Queen and Rule Britannia when their
march was blocked on Pall Mall. In Trafalgar Square, when confronted by
the Unity demonstration, their frustration boiled over and several DFLA
members performed Nazi salutes and threw cans at anti-fascists. With
their folk hero Tommy Robinson turning his back on them it seems likely
the group is entering a period of slow decline, barring any significant
external event.

dfla fb thread
If the DFLA could give themselves a Yelp review they’d get one star

This victory doesn’t mean anti-fascists should get complacent. Our
efforts need to focus on a continuing process of movement building to
make sure that when the far-right mobilise next we have an even bigger
response. This doesn’t just mean convincing more people to join actions,
but also to get involved in long term organising to build a strong
anti-fascist movement. For us, the key dividing line is the one that
divides the vast majority of us — black, white, female, male,
non-binary, British-born, and migrant — from the bosses and their state:
class. Distinctions of “race”, ethnicity, gender, religion or
immigration status are exploited by both the far-right and the ruling
class to keep us divided. We will deal with the far-right by confronting
them wherever they organise, and by helping develop working-class
alternatives in our workplaces and communities that can cut the roots of
racism. A class-based anti-fascist movement must build the kind
of infrastructure that will sustain our movement for years to come.