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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 March 2010

EDL attend anti-racist meeting

A public meeting called by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) in Bristol was attended by local trade unionists and anti-racist activists.

However, a Bristol trade unionist has reported that up to 15 supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) also attended. They attempted to film, photograph and disrupt the meeting.

When the man who appeared to be the leading EDL member spoke, he argued that they were not racists or fascists but were 'anti-Islamic extremists'. The meeting then deteriorated. Insults were flying around and people were going chest to chest. The police were eventually called.

Complicated

While waiting for the police a trade unionist spoke to one of the EDL members and found they had no political argument to back up their attacks on Muslims. He couldn't explain what the EDL meant by Islamic fundamentalism.

They took offence at being called racists or fascists. One was a plumber who had been out of work since last May. It appeared to the trade unionist that they were being manipulated by racists for their own political aims and objectives.

This shows the complicated and confused nature of those attracted to the EDL. It is crucial that genuine and democratic discussion and debate takes place on how to challenge racism and the far-right.

This event shows that increasingly there is a need to properly steward such meetings.

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In The Socialist 24 March 2010:

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Related links:

UAF:

triangleFar-right given short shrift in Darlington

triangleSwansea: National Front thwarted!

triangleFighting Racism and Fascism & Student Work

triangleStopping the far-right - The need for democratic debate

triangleBristol protests counter racist EDL

Racist:

triangleThe 45th anniversary of the strike

triangleThem & Us

triangleRacist jobs discrimination same for 50 years - unions must fight for jobs for all

triangleTommy Robinson's rich backers

EDL:

triangleTommy Robinson BBC demo: socialist fightback needed to undermine far right

triangleStand up against abuse - justice not racism

triangleHuddersfield Socialist Party opposes racist EDL

Islamic:

triangleCondemnation of racist destruction of Muswell Hill Islamic centre in London

triangleLondon demo: Stop the BNP! - updated

Fascists:

triangleMemorial to working-class fighters who fought fascism

Bristol:

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: Is the state neutral in society?

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