Archive for the ‘Anti-Fascism’ Category


Nick Griffin has been removed from his position as leader of the British National Party, following the party’s disastrous electoral performance earlier this year. The former leader was ousted at a meeting of the party’s national executive on Saturday, after the party lost all of their MEP’s and all but two of their councillors in this year’s local elections. Griffin’s role as party chairman will now be filled by disgraced teacher Adam Walker.

Walker, who had only recently taken on the position deputy chairman, was given a lifetime ban from teaching following an incident that saw him drive his Land Rover across a village green in pursuit of three boys aged between ten and twelve, before slashing the tyres of their bicycles with a knife.


This wasn’t Walker’s first brush with the authorities; he had previously come to their attention after using a school computer to send hate filled messages describing immigrants as “savage animals”. Astonishingly, the teaching council rapped his knuckles for misuse of equipment – but cleared him of racism. It would seem that such problems run in Walker’s family as his brother Mark is also a BNP activist, as well as a disgraced teacher. Mark was struck off for using school computers – this time to send sleazy emails with lines like “I124Q” to a 16 year old former pupil.

The change in leadership, which sees Griffin now take on the role of party president, was announced in a statement on the BNP website. The statement read: “Recently appointed deputy chairman, Adam Walker, has accepted the role of acting chairman of the British National Party after Nick Griffin stepped aside at a meeting of the BNP national executive… The full national executive are united in their support for Adam in this role.”

Whilst Griffin was at the helm for the BNP’s boost in 2009 (the party took 6% of the vote in the European elections and saw the election of a number of local and county councillors) he was unable to hold the party firm against the rise of UKIP on the anti-European right. In this year’s European elections the BNP managed only 1% of the vote, and lost the majority of its council seats including Griffin’s own in Strasbourg. This led to severe decline for the BNP as internal fights raged around the party’s finances, though Steven Squire – the London organiser of the BNP – said on Monday that although there had been some “bickering” within the party in the past “that is all over now and unlike other political parties, we are not in debt”. In response to the successes of UKIP, Griffin said that BNP supporters who wanted to “send them all home” would end up disappointed if they had voted for UKIP as an alternative.

These clear and openly far right views will remain, if not intensify, with Walker as party leader. In a speech to a party audience last November, Mr Walker claimed that white Britons were facing a process of “ethnic cleansing” and suggested further killings like that of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby were likely. He accused the leaders of the three main political parties of turning Britain into a “multicultural shithole”.

When considering recent leavers of the BNP this shift to a harder far right position can be better understood. Two prominent cases are that of former chair and MEP Andrew Brons and former councillor Paul Golding. Brons parted ways with the BNP in October 2012 and four months later launched the British Democratic Party with former BNP organiser Kevin Scott. The two had previously accused the BNP of ongoing corruption and the watering down of its politics. The BDP is expected to re-focus efforts on promoting scientific racism, calling for the compulsory repatriation of non-whites and heavily pushing the notion that the Holocaust is a hoax – core policies that Nick Griffin tried to either disguise or entirely extinguish after taking over the BNP in 1999.


Golding, formerly a BNP councillor for Sevenoaks and communications officer for the party, now sits as director of Britain First – the nationalist outfit founded by the BNP’s former chief fundraiser Jim Dowson, who sensationally quit the party after being accused of groping a party activist. Golding describes his party as a “street defence organisation” opposed to radical extremists. The group is probably best known for their ‘Christian Patrols’ and mosque invasions. Britain First members have driven around in military jeeps while handing out Christian literature to Muslims around Tower Hamlets and invaded the East London Mosque in Whitechapel to hand out Army issued bibles and Christian leaflets, while asking to speak to the Imam. They have also staged protests by drinking alcohol outside mosques. Despite using Snatch Land Rovers during the patrols and dressing in matching green uniforms, described as ‘activist jackets’ by the party, Britain First deny that they intended to intimidate people with their actions.

The emergence of a number of, whilst smaller, more militant far-right organisations is indicative of a more general rightward shift in British politics, and how Walker adapts with this shift will no doubt be the indicator for his success within the BNP as well as that of the party itself.


Fashion for Fascists

Posted: April 17, 2014 in Anti-Fascism, Fashion, UK

20140423-112401.jpgA controversial clothing brand strongly associated with the extreme right in Europe has opened a high street store in London.

Thor Steinar, the fashion label popular with hardline right wingers in Germany, has opened a shop in north London called the Viking Thor Shop – but locals may be unaware of its right-wing roots. The shop has been operating from Ballards Lane in North Finchley since late last month, bringing clothing heavily associated with European far-right street movements to the UK.

Whilst the stores owner claims not to have any links with the far right the arrival of the shop was welcomed by the white power website Stormfront, where users posted boasting that “London gets its first white nationalist clothing shop”. A number of users also pledged to visit the store.

The Thor Steinar brand has faced bans in the German Bundestag, in several football stadium and members of the far-right German National Democratic Party have been expelled from parliament for wearing the brand. Its clothes were banned outright in Germany in 2004 because of the logo’s similarity to symbols worn by the Nazi SS – but the company has rebranded since then.

In March 2012 the label drew global controversy when the company opened a shop called Brevik in Saxony. It was accused of naming the store after far-right mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. The brand claimed it was named in honour of the Norwegian town of Brevik in Oslo but later changed the name and removed the sign. The Norwegian government also filed a complaint against the retailer over use of it’s national flag in February 2008.


Above the door at the north London Viking store, an ambiguous Wolfsangel-style Nordic rune is proudly displayed.

The company was launched in October 2002 and was initially based in Königs Wusterhausen, German. In 2009 it moved to Dubai – provoking outrage from some of its extreme right customers who threatened a boycott. The clothes regularly feature Vikings and Nordic themes – mythology which plays a central role in the extreme right’s racial purist views.

Thor Steinar shops in Germany have been repeatedly targeted by anti-fascist protests and repeatedly vandalised. Earlier this month in Hanover 350 protesters gathered outside a Thor Steinar store to protest against what they see as a “right wing lifestyle store”.

High street fashion giant Topman is once again making 
headlines for it's callous approach to design. This time 
instead of misogynistic t-shirts the retailer has been 
selling clothing emblazoned with Nazi insignia. 

The jacket in question, the £205 “grunge look” Horace hooded
denim jacket featured an emblem worn by Second World War SS 
The ancient Norse odal rune, a symbol which like the 
swastika, was appropriated Adolf Hitler to symbolise 
his belief in a pure Aryan race. The symbol was worn by 
ethnic Germans of the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division 
in Croatia. It has also been adopted by neo-Nazi skinheads 
and right wing fascist groups. 

The men's clothing retailer, a part of Sir Philip Green's tax-
dodging Arcadia group, apologised for the blunder after it
was pointed out by an online shopper. 

The shopper, from Hove, East Sussex, posted a review pointing out the fashion faux pas on the
Topman website. Talking to The Mirror he said: “A friend of mine who wears punk-style clothing 
shared the link with me on Facebook. When I looked more closely I saw the Nazi insignia.” 

ss collatrAdding: “When I checked to see if Topman had published my review
I noticed they had withdrawn the jacket from sale." 

The jacket, part of the Horace fashion range made by an outside supplier,
was only available online at Topman. A store spokesman said: 
“The jacket was not designed by Topman. We apologise for any offence 



April 5th marked this year’s White Pride Day, an annual event where white separatists, ultranationalists and neo-Nazis come together to drink, shout and promote their racist bigotry. For the past few years the UK location for this event has been the Welsh city of Swansea with this area becoming a stronghold for the re-emerging National Front (NF).

The days leading up to this year’s event, running under the White Pride Worldwide banner, were marred by misinformation. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) an organisation which has been at the centre of broad left anti-fascism for the past ten years, were not only not to be seen on the day, but even cancelled their counter-demonstration under the mistaken belief that since the NF had refused either of the rallying points offered to them by the police, the Nazi demonstration would not go ahead. The cancellation came despite warnings from anti-fascist activists posting on the Swansea UAF Facebook page urging people to still come out as they rightly foresaw that the NF demonstration would still take place. The danger of cancelling the demo and declaring “victory” proved to be real – people who would have been out on the streets of Swansea chose to stay at home believing the demo was off.

Luckily not all had taken the day so lightly. Around 100 anti-fascists from groups ranging from the Socialist Party to Antifa as well as unaffiliated members of the local community came down to Castle Square to make clear that fascists are not welcome in Swansea. This view however was not one shared by the local constabulary, nor by several local watering holes. For the NF and their friends, the day started in Yates’s bar on the corner of Castle Square as they knocked back the lager and jeered at the assembling counter-demo. Before long the excitement got too much for one bonehead, who began proudly waving his white power flag before being told by police to put it away. Once drinks had been downed, the 40-50 fascists out to protest were escorted up to near the old castle for their demonstration, where they listened to a mixture of speeches about how proud they were to be white and how hard it is with all the oppression white people apparently suffer on the basis of their skin colour. The Nazis punctuated the tedium by singing racist songs and hurling abuse at the ‘commie scum’ that made up the counter-protest.


Amongst the crowd were a number of white power flags, a Scottish flag, a Yorkshire flag, the flag of the National Bolshevik Group and a flag bearing the symbol of Greek fascist party Golden Dawn. As the NF began to leave the demo zone a scuffle broke out during which one of the white power flags was liberated from its bonehead owner, an incident that saw its captor spend the next four hours in a cell, but luckily leave with a simple caution. During this incident a second arrest was made after an anti-fascist made contact with one of the bonehead demonstrators only to be told “You can’t hit me, I’m an undercover police officer!” Although one NF member found himself in handcuffs, this was only a temporary measure while they waited for calm (during which time he stood laughing with the police) before being let go. From here the fascists returned to drinking; heading for Ice Bar on Swansea’s main bar crawl, the aptly named Wine Street.

Image  Image Image

Despite refusing to accept either protest location offered by South Wales Police, the NF had full facilitation from the police the entire day. When fascists receive this help from the state it only serves to build their confidence. “I personally witnessed them shouting at a Muslim couple, who had joined the anti-fascist demonstration,” Al Brown of South Wales Anti-Fascist Action (SWAFA) told radical news website SchNEWS, “They called the man a “paki” as police officers looked on. The cops did nothing to try to stop the abuse, and wouldn’t listen to the man’s wife when she tried to complain about it.”

In a similar incident a BME man was subjected to verbal and physical abuse by an NF member outside Ice Bar and was told by police that should calm down. Across the road in the Adelphi I witnessed another NF member give a Nazi salute as he and four other went to join their fellow boneheads. After Ice Bar, the NF were escorted up to another bar – Static on Kingsway, where anti-fascists kept watch behind a police cordon. A phone blockade was organised and the bar’s management in Bristol responded by travelling to Swansea in order to have the racist crowd removed. The NF were then quickly marched by police to the station and made to get on a train.
“South Wales Anti-Fascist Action had a 30-strong bloc and we opposed them every step of the way. It seemed like some kind of pathetic racist pub crawl facilitated by the police, who seemed content to turn a blind eye to all the harassment the NF were causing to Swansea residents. Officers could even be seen exchanging handshakes with NF supporters outside Static. It’s really troubling that they would fraternise in this way with people who were shouting racist insults and threats of violence during the day,” said Al Brown,


“I don’t think Unite Against Fascism can take any credit at all for the counter-demonstration on Saturday. They took the fascists’ bait and called off their demo, then ignored other groups who had assurances it was still happening. But SWAFA, Swansea Trades Council and a lot of interested local residents went ahead without them. We want to thank everyone who took part, whatever their background, because we know that true strength lies in diversity.”

Unite Against Fascism have since put out a statement telling of their disgust at the state facilitating the Nazis’ demo, congratulating those who did turn out to see them off and interestingly, despite not being present, still feeling the need to cook the numbers. The statement also finished by promising that regardless of what is said by police or council next year they shall hold a march through Swansea. Let’s support that call and make sure UAF keeps its promise.

Sunday 4th October 1936 is remembered as the most prominent moment in British anti-fascist history. It was the day when Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists sought to march through the East End of London only to be met by 100,000 anti-fascists, including local Jewish, socialist, anarchist, Irish and communist groups.

nbu1Now just over 86 years later, and 72 years since Mosley’s party dissolved after being proscribed, a new party has emerged taking up their baton.  The New British Union (NBU), lead by former BNP Scotland Organiser Gary Raikes, are an openly fascist party following in the footsteps of Oswald Mosley that describes itself as a political movement for the dispossessed. The NBU has taken on the imagery of Mosley’s party, adopting the paramilitary uniform, red armband and flash insignia. They combine this with a modern edge by also appropriating the popular Stonewall ‘Get over it’ campaign posters.

Echoing the views of Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio, leader Gary Raikes claims “I am a fascist, not a racist.” adding: “National Front types hate me because I was engaged to a black girl. If we find anyone in our movement into the Nazi stuff or racism, they are out.” With this Raikes clearly forgets his idol Mosley’s fervent support for Hitler. Raikes, who originally comes from Bristol, said: “The uniform is to totally separate us from the shirt-and-tie politicians and it also goes with us being run under military lines.” Another separation is their views on democracy, in an interview the 54-year-old dad of one told The Sun: “If democracy means everyone should have a say, then I’m not democratic, no. I think liberalism is a sickness that needs to be exterminated.”

nbu2The NBU have a basic website, which despite simple appearance has attracted over 40,000 hits, it displays the ‘Stonewall’ image, complete with the words “New British Union. 21st Century Blackshirts Marching On For Britain.” Another picture bears the slogan: “One Nation, One People, One Leader”. There has also been a conference organised by Raikes for the party at a secret location in south east England in October. On this meeting the website, which shows Mosley’s fanatical followers performing the stiff-armed fascist salute, boasts: “This will be an historic occasion, the first official Blackshirt meeting to be held since the Second World War, heralding the return of a registered fascist political party in Britain.”

Raikes says he is in touch with some of the original Blackshirts and hopes “one or two” will speak at the gathering. The fascists are invited to wear uniforms — but only in private. Of the Nazi-style salute, he added: “We don’t do it because it’s been demonised by the Press, even though it goes back thousands of years and is a Roman salute.”

Across the UK today there have been demonstrations, protests and vigils held by the English Defence League (EDL), the next step in the far-right street organisation using the death of Drummer Lee Rigby for political gains. Since Rigby was brutally killed on Wednesday 22nd May the EDL have been using the incident to seriously advance their Islamaphobic cause, with an increase of over 100,000 ‘likes’ on their Facebook page and a series of short notice demonstrations around the country. So far the EDL have been trying to present themselves as being respectful in response to Rigby’s death by raising money for Help for Heroes, the charity who’s t-shirt Rigby wore when he was killed, and announcing that their plan for this weekend was to hold wreath laying ceremonies at cenotaphs in a number of cities.


This has not been a method that has fooled everybody though, as attacks on the Muslim community have had a sharp increase and there has been a noticeable link-up between the EDL and other far-right hate groups such as the National Front (NF) and the British National Party (BNP). Charity Help for Heroes has refused to accept donations raised by the EDL leader Tommy Robinson, stating that they will be making sure that anyone else that’s saying they’re EDL will not be allowed to fundraise for them. The family and regiment of Drummer Lee Rigby have also publicly condemned the actions of the EDL.

The Rigby family said: “We would like to emphasise that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others. We would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner.”

A message circulated from Army HQ warned former soldiers that “Far-Right, extremist organisations (English Defence League in particular) will seize any opportunity to align veterans with their cause”. It added: “Veterans should be strongly discouraged from wearing regimental headdress or accoutrements if they are attending events organised or affiliated with extremist organisations.”

The demonstrations this weekend showed the far-right as an uneven force across the UK, but for the majority showed opposition as strong and resolute. In Leicester the EDL were outnumbered 150:80, in Sheffield the defeat was even more evident as anti-fascists outnumbered them 500:50. Bristol was a smaller affair, though the day began with news that the words “RIP Lee” had been painted on the wall of the Jamia mosque in Bedminister only 7 EDL members turned up to show respects and lay a wreath in honour of Rigby. Not wanting to promote confrontation, but make clear that the EDL would not be able to demonstrate unopposed, 40 anti-fascists also came down to the cenotaph to make their own tribute.


The key focus for the day, as ever, was London. Here the BNP planned originally planned to march from Woolwich to Lewisham, a location of historic importance for the anti-fascist movement. In 1977 the National Front attempted to march from New Cross to Lewisham under the banner ‘Stop the Muggers’ after the racist arrests of twenty-one young black people in connection with a series of muggings. They were opposed by over 5000 anti-fascists as part of the All Lewisham Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (ALCARAF) who blocked the streets and stopped them marching. Throughout the day the NF were assisted by the police and conflict broke out between the police and the anti-fascists. What became known as the battle of Lewisham was historic not only it being a turning point in the struggle against fascism, but it was also the first time that British police had been armed with riot shields outside of Northern Ireland.


Much like in 1977 Saturday was a clear victory for the anti-fascists in London. Though the BNP wanted to march from Woolwich to Lewisham their demonstration was moved to Whitehall, most likely to give the police a bit of a home advantage rather than an effort to keep peace in the communities of Woolwich or Lewisham.  The BNP found themselves outnumbered by around 10 to 1, anti-fascists from groups including Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) were joined by activists protesting the governments impending badger cull and some out standing in solidarity with demonstrations in Turkey. As in ’77 there were open clashes between the far right group, anti-fascists and the police, 58 anti-fascist activists were arrested for breach of the Section 14 order which gives police the power to order protesters to confine their protest to a certain place, keep their numbers down and tell them when to stop. Those arrested were loaded onto a red double decker bus which had “Special Service” as its destination as BNP members stood and cheered.

Police brutality and mass arrest did not dampen the spirits of anti-fascists that day, an important stand was still made and it was clear that the politics and members of organisations like the BNP were not welcome on our streets. But complacency must remain avoided, this resurgence of support for the EDL, which until recently looked to be in serious decline, and the speed with which it materialised, shows that the organisation is able to tap into a wider pool of anti-Muslim sentiment. This sentiment must be combated; the lesson from this weekend should be that we are stronger when united.

This was shown on Thursday at two events; first at the Old Bailey where members of the EDL gathered to demonstrate outside the sentencing of six men who planned to attack an EDL march last June and second at a Solidarity vigil for the Bravanese Welfare Centre in Muswell Hill, north London, which had been the victim of a firebomb attack in the early hours of Wednesday morning.


At 10am on Thursday morning a group of around 30 EDL members gathered outside the Central Criminal Court. Loosely held in a pen the EDL members stood chanting before a bank local and national journalists as leader Tommy Robinson gave jovial interviews. Though the police presence was high there was notable lack of opposition from anti-fascist groups. This gave the EDL a free platform to spout their hatred, as their would-be attackers were sentenced to up to 19-and-a-half years in prison each.

image (1)Later that day around 250 activists and members of the local community gathered near the Bravanese Welfare Centre ascommunity leaders, representatives from the centre, local politicians and trade unionists spoke in the wake of the attack on the centre the previous day. The atmosphere at this event was one of solidarity and resilience in the face of rising persecution of the muslim community. Events like this show that when we stand together in unity we are stronger,So whenever we know of fascists being out on our streets, here is where we must stand, united and they shall not pass.

Wednesday afternoon saw the horrific murder of a man in the London. As soon as the news broke speculative information about the incident began firing its way across the Internet. With this a narrative began to form making the whole thing seem like a right wing movie script. A serving soldier is beheaded by Islamic militants in broad daylight, the British Prime Minister diverts his flight from Brussels to Paris to return to the UK, calling for an emergency meeting of ‘COBRA’, the terrorists call for the government to be brought down and justice to be served before they are shot on scene by specialist armed police. But this wasn’t a movie and there would be no Hollywood ending.

Police and ambulance helicopters were sent to the incident.

Police and ambulance helicopters were sent to the incident.

Around 4pm yesterday reports began to emerge telling of a serious incident in the Woolwich area of London. With little concrete information at the time journalists turned to Twitter where claims were being made that a man wearing a Help For Heroes t-shirt had been attacked by two men wielding machetes and a revolver. One witness claimed that the victim, who has now been named as Lee Rigby, had initially been run over by the attackers in their car. Soon Local MP Nick Raynsford spoke to the BBC saying that a soldier serving at a nearby Army barracks had died in the incident and two others had been seriously injured. An hour later and the Prime Minister had rescheduled his work in Paris to return home for a Cabinet Office Briefing Room A (COBRA) meeting convened by the Home Secretary. COBRA meetings are held in the event of a national crisis, or during events abroad with major implications for the UK. It was soon after this that the tone of events began to change.

What had initially been a tragic incident was now a terrorist attack as senior Whitehall sources, not eyewitness observers, told the BBC that the Woolwich attackers are thought to have tried to film their attack whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar” – God is Great. This accusation has yet to be proven, but it’s impact would soon become clear. In the wake on the 7/7 bombings in 2005 Armed officers from the Metropolitan Police were deployed on the Tube and railway and are still a noticeable presence, following Wednesday’s incident Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford declared “There will continue to be an increased police presence in this area, and the surrounding areas this evening. That presence will continue as long as is needed.” The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson described the attackers as being of ‘Muslim appearance’ and as familiar motifs around terrorism and Islam were invoked the gates were opened for the inevitable racist backlash that was to come. The media are well versed in seeking out a Muslim connection with stories such as these, so much so that their coverage of the Utoya massacre posited that Anders Breivik was a Muslim or that there was some Muslim involvement well past the point where we had learned Breivik was a right wing Islamaphobe inspired by the English Defence League (EDL).

With blood soaked hands Adebolajo delivers his message.

With blood soaked hands Adebolajo delivers his message.

During the course of the evening a video surfaced showing one of the attackers, Micheal Adebolajo, hands covered in blood presenting his message to a witness who was filming proceedings on their mobile phone. With this he said, “We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Adding “I apologise that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you.” He said that the beheading of this soldier was a message to David Cameron, who has sent British troops to Arabic lands. His message was a political one, with the only bit of scripture being taken from the Bible, not the Qur’an. After showing this footage ITV news referred to the scene in Woolwich as a day when ‘Baghdad-style violence’ came to south London. A phrasing that could easily refer to the barbaric acts that have been carried out by imperial forces since the advent of the ‘War on Terror’, but is more likely to be a media propagated justification for the continued presence of British troops in the Middle East.

Fears of a prolonged backlash against Muslims intensified after dozens of Islamophobic incidents have been reported since the murder of Lee Rigby. The Tell Mama hotline for recording Islamophobic crimes and incidents recorded 38 incidents over Wednesday night, including attacks on three mosques, with more reported on Thursday. One attack on a mosque in Bletchley involving a molotov cocktail being thrown on the roof is now being treated as arson by the police, not a hate crime and certainly not terrorism. It’s hard to imagine such horrific events having any form of victor, but if anyone has made gains from this brutal murder it is the Islamaphobes and racists and in particular the EDL.

Using their twitter account the EDL entered discussion of the events in Woolwich by claiming:


This was shortly followed by the announcement:

“EDL leader Tommy Robinson on way to Woolwich now, Take to the streets peeps ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”

That evening around 100 EDL members descended upon the streets of Woolwich sporting official balaclavas and armed with bottles. That the EDL were able to mobilise so many so quickly went against what has been seen of them recently, perhaps this was the event they needed. As the racist backlash continued to build online so did support for the EDL, at one point it seemed that there was around a thousand ‘likes’ being acrued each minute. Overall the number of likes on the EDL Facebook page grew by more than 300% in the space of 24 hours.

Tommy Robinson and his band of masked fascists.

Tommy Robinson and his band of masked fascists.

Bolstered by this rush of support the EDL have announced two new events, firstly a march on Downing Street this coming Bank Holiday and secondly a ‘Day of Justice’ on June the 6th in Woolwitch. The latter event was originally to mark the sentencing of six men who were intending to target the EDL demo at Dewsbury in June 2012, but with this weeks events this demonstration will no doubt have added furor. These are the only national call outs in addition to the EDL’s already planned tour of hate, but it is expected that local units will seek to cause disturbance in their areas. It is important that these demonstrations are not left un-opposed. The message should be clear, our streets are not the place for the racist hate that these fascist scumbags wish to bring.