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National Front thwarted in Swansea
Nazis off our streets!
Ronnie Job, Swansea Socialist Party
Anti-racist campaigners occupied Castle Square in Swansea on Saturday 5 April to deny the use of the most public open space in Swansea to the racist National Front who had decided to hold a 'white pride' event in the city.
Around 250 people turned up, many of them coming at short notice, as word that the counter-demonstration was on filtered out.
Unfortunately, in the previous couple of days, the leadership of Swansea UAF had decided, without consulting other anti-racist groups, to call off the planned counter demonstration. They claimed victory on the basis that the police and the council had assured them that the National Front would not be allowed to march, would not hold a rally and would be denied access to all council property. If the anti-racist movement had followed their leadership then the NF would have taken over Castle Square.
Swansea Trades Council, the Socialist Party, the Students Union and others, called on supporters to turn out to make sure that the assurances given were kept and to take the opportunity to campaign and leaflet against racism. Luckily many people ignored the UAF's advice to stay away and turned up to Castle Square.
When it was obvious that, despite all assurances, the fascists were there anyway, phone networks and social media were soon bombarded with messages calling for all anti-racists to come down to Castle Square.
The magnificent response to these appeals was the only reason that the NF were confined to a patch of wet grass near the castle ruins rather than rallying in the square itself. They unveiled flags with swastika-based symbols, including one from the Greek Golden Dawn, in an area of Swansea completely flattened by the Nazi war machine during the Swansea Blitz.
In the end they were out-numbered, out-shouted and out-sung by anti-racists, and they looked pathetic. But we could have had an even bigger turnout and prevented them rallying at all if confusion hadn't been caused by the UAF unilaterally announcing on Thursday that the protest was off.
The day proved, what many of us argued, that anti-racists can't rely on assurances from the police or council but only on our own strength. Strategy and tactics on how best to oppose and defeat the racists and fascists need to be democratically debated and decided by anti-racist groups, trade union bodies and all those who want to oppose racist division.
Unity of workers, youth and anti-racists can and will defeat the National Front.
Jobs and services, not racism!
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 5 April 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.