In the evening of November 25th a 300 strong crowd of anti-fascists, anti-racist activists, and feminists, gathered at Portland Place. A newly formed anti-fascist group, Feminist Anti-Fascist Assembly, joined forces with various other women led organisations such as Kurdish Women’s Assembly and Brazilian Women Against Fascism to organise a demonstration whose aims
1. To highlight the need for an anti-fascist movement that recognises the importance of fighting sexism and misogyny that is often present in fascist ideology
2. To offer a militant, radical, and trans and sex-worker inclusive alternative to the annual “Reclaim the Night” marches that call for an end to violence against women
3. To extend solidarity with women around the world who are demonstrating against their fascistic government and male domination.
It was a cold autumn evening, but the atmosphere was joyous. We heard from Kurdish speakers about the ongoing struggles in places like Rojava and the Middle East – where women have taken up arms
to fight their oppressors and bring about an anti capitalist revolution with women’s liberation at the core. We then began our march from
Portland Place down Regents Street, crossing Piccadily Circus and heading down Haymarket to Trafalgar Square. We took up the space with banners, flags, soundsystems and smoke, catching the attention of thousands of London shoppers, many of whom stopped to cheer and support us. A huge banner that read “No rape, no racism. No silence to violence” led the march.
The message was clear: we refuse to let women’s experiences of sexual violence be weaponised by
the far-right, who make overtures to women’s oppression in order to fuel their racist propaganda against the “rapefugee“, the “criminal migrant” and “backwards Muslim”. Of course, we know that the far-right’s cynical use of gendered violence and child abuse is shattered when we see the dozens of fascists who have been prosecuted as sex offenders and domestic violence perpetrators. Moreover, the far-right consistently attack leftists on their supposed collusion with ISIS and Islamist organisations. Yet, it is leftist anti-fascists across the world who join the brave Kurdish women and men in Rojava to fight ISIS and liberate towns and cities that have been captured by Daesh.
Hundreds of us marched in defiance, and it was refreshing to be on an anti-fascist demonstration that was called on our own terms, rather than in opposition to a direct fascist threat. This was an important action
for movement building, and building confidence of new activists, as well as links across the wider movement who will need to take to the streets
in unity if we are to effectively reverse the recent rise of the fascist tide. London Anti-fascists were proud to endorse this demonstration, and welcome many more like it in the future.