Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 June 2010

Tower Hamlets: Jobs, homes and services - not the racist EDL!

Youth Fight for Jobs, photo Sarah Mayo

Youth Fight for Jobs, photo Sarah Mayo   (Click to enlarge)

A victory has been scored in East London as the racist and hooligan English Defence League (EDL) has called off its plan to "hit" Tower Hamlets on Sunday 20 June.

Paula Mitchell and Naomi Byron

The EDL had planned to 'protest' against a meeting of the right-wing UK Islamic Conference. This event has now been cancelled. But there is more to it than this. The EDL has organised marches in towns and cities over the last year against 'militant Islam'.

While claiming to be 'non-racist', many EDL protests have descended into violent racist and Islamaphobic abuse and attacks. According to an investigation by the Guardian newspaper, the EDL is now targeting Muslim communities deliberately.

The threat to 'invade' Tower Hamlets was a huge provocation. Had they marched, the EDL would have faced a big counter-demonstration of the local community. Young people in particular were preparing to make it clear that the EDL is not welcome. This has contributed to the EDL backing out. A community demonstration will go ahead on 20 June nonetheless, to send a clear message: racists and the far-right should not dare to step foot in Tower Hamlets.

Fighting the far-right in Tower Hamlets

This is the first time for 17 years that any racist or far-right organisation has attempted to hold a public event in Tower Hamlets. In the early 1990s a series of united demonstrations of the local community and trade unions sent the far-right, racist British National Party (BNP) packing, including occupying the site of their 'paper sale' in Brick Lane.

The Socialist Party, then known as Militant Labour, initiated Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) which led the campaign in 1993 alongside the local community in Tower Hamlets. A local gang truce and the formation of Youth Connection united rival youth gangs against the BNP.

The Socialist Party and YRE also led a fantastic youth demonstration through Tower Hamlets after a far-right extremist nail-bomb attack in 1999. Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) led a youth demo against unemployment through the borough in 2009, which involved big groups of local school and college students.

How we can defeat the EDL today?

The Socialist Party is participating in United East End, a broad local campaign set up to organise opposition to the EDL's plans. We have argued for a united, well-stewarded demonstration which can keep protesters safe and prevent police harassing and arresting local young people. This should be led by local trade union and community bodies, to show how outnumbered and marginalised the EDL are, and to keep them out of the borough.

Many EDL organisers are not just racists but Nazis, who are against rights for women, LGBT people, trade unionists etc. But EDL events attract a small layer of people who are desperately angry at the attacks on their living conditions and frustrated that no political party listens to them or offers any answers to their problems. The EDL and BNP opportunistically attempt to use this to mobilise support for their divisive ideas.

Britain has been hit by the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Even Tower Hamlets council admits that overcrowding in the borough has gone back to 1930s levels. Now the new Con-Dem government plans the most savage cuts in our public services ever - this means many more job losses, and a huge hit on education, training schemes, pay, youth services, housing and much more.

The people of Tower Hamlets - overwhelmingly working class and young - will need a united campaign, led by the trade unions and community organisations, to fight these cuts. The EDL and the BNP on the other hand will divide opposition to cuts on the basis of race or religious identity. In order to mobilise the biggest and most effective opposition to the EDL we must also fight the cuts that face the vast majority of people in this borough.

The demo in Tower Hamlets should now be around slogans such as 'jobs, homes and services - not racism' to cut across any support the EDL may get locally. Especially now that the EDL have called off their protest, this is a brilliant opportunity to turn it into a united working class march through the borough, against public service cuts and for jobs.

Tower Hamlets Socialist Party believes that it was a mistake for the campaign - under the influence of Unite Against Fascism - to invite the leader of the Tory party in Tower Hamlets to speak at the campaign rally on 13 June. This can alienate big numbers of workers and youth who suffer as a result of the policies of all the main parties, and completely fails to address why some people are mistakenly drawn to the EDL.

The best way to fight racism and fascism is to get rid of the problems that breed them - unemployment, low pay, housing shortages, public service cuts. We can have no faith in any of the main political parties to do this. Instead, young people and workers need to join together to fight for our future!

Join with the Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs/YRE on the United East End demonstration.

Sunday 20 June 12.30 Stepney Green Park, nearest tube Stepney Green.

Contact 020 8558 7947 for details or leaflets to distribute in your area to advertise the demo.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 16 June 2010:

Millionaire ministers savage public services

'Bloodbath budget' day protests and meetings


Comprehensive education under attack

Opposing 'Dickensian' academy schools in Waltham Forest

National Shop Stewards Network

Come to the NSSN conference

Unison local government conference: Delegates face huge struggles

Northern Rock throws workers on the dole

Wales Unison: Socialist Party member elected

NHS Scotland - ConDemned to terminal decay

Southampton library staff strike to save jobs

Save the Big House

Socialist Party editorial

Labour leadership contest dominated by right wing

Socialist Party news and analysis

TUSC plans for future elections

BP's value plunges as oil spill worsens

Willetts approves tuition fees hike

Bloody Sunday report appears 38 years late

IDS's 'anti-poverty drive' attacks the poorest!

High speed trains and high priced fares

Why we don't back the Queen's pay claim

Fast news

Diary dates


Tower Hamlets: Jobs, homes and services - not the racist EDL!

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: A test bed for 'austerity' and resistance

Spain: Millions of public sector workers strike over brutal cuts

Portugal: Mobilisation against austerity reaches new level

Socialist Party Scotland launched at packed and inspiring meeting


Home   |   The Socialist 16 June 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


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

triangleStand up against abuse - justice not racism

triangleHuddersfield Socialist Party opposes racist EDL

triangleEDL outnumbered and confronted in Worcester

triangleHuddersfield Socialist Party organise counter-protest against EDL

Tower Hamlets:

triangleSupport the Tower Hamlets council workers, vote for Hugo Pierre!

triangleHugely significant council workers' strike continues

triangleCouncil workers strike back

triangleTower Hamlets council workers strike against wholesale attack on terms and conditions


triangleEngland football team

triangleUSA: cop killings and the anti-racist movement

triangleSwansea BLM protest against racist police brutality


triangleYouth Fight for Jobs is back

trianglePost-pandemic railway battles loom


triangleSpycops inquiry finally opens

Youth Fight for Jobs:

triangleYFFJ: more urgent than ever

Socialist Party:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How can a mass movement to challenge sexism and violence against women be organised?


triangleSocialist Party national youth meeting


triangleNottingham: oppose the far right and attempts to divide us


triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Trotsky and the fight against the rise of German fascism

English Defence League:

triangleFar right pose increasing terrorism threat

Youth Against Racism in Europe:

triangleSocialists defend Lush ad campaign against spy cops

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



New left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now



Public sector pay - NHS, teachers - Prepare for action!



Government departments move to impose pay cuts: Fightback needed



Football: Smash racism


Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party



Build a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism


Bin workers

Workplace round-up



St Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike



Telecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT



GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure



We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July



Stop Pimlico gentrification


Socialist Party

Everyone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke


Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign


Youth Fight for Jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs is back

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021