What do they know of England who only England know?
In the English city of Birmingham over the weekend, several hundred members of the League of Gentlemen kept busy defending England from Muslim hordes (Birmingham Santiago Melbourne, September 6, 2009). In the aftermath:
“BUSINESS AS USUAL”, The Stirrer, September 6, 2009: More than 30  arrests, countless innocent citizens terrorised, dozens of traders facing drastically reduced takings. The grim statistics of another visit to Birmingham by the English Defence League on a day the police promised would be “business as usual”.
Upcoming fixtures on the EDL calendar include a protest outside Harrow mosque on September 11, a(nother) march in Luton on September 19, and a visit to Madchester on October 10. Well, were to include: seig heiling in front of the Harrow mosque has been /\CANCELLED/\ according to the EDL website:
As for the EDL, you can Meet the English Defence League Leadership on Richard Bartholomew’s blog; while photographer Jess Hurd documents the “true face” of the EDL here:
On the other hand:
See also : English Defence League Hooligans Unmasked, Searchlight, September 2009.
Anti-Islamic activism in Australia has taken a more laid-back form to date, at least insofar as organised, public demonstrations are concerned (that is, leaving aside state and corporate propaganda, numerous but generally isolated incidents of abuse and harassment of presumed Muslims on the streets, and so on). In fact, one of the more comical events was the attempt by some locals in Melbourne to organise chicks in bikinis to march on a mosque in Brunswick — it was fail, but provides an amusing contrast to imgs of pale young Englishmen in polo shirts. Otherwise, while groups like the Australian Protectionist Party have been doing their best to capitalise on anti-Islamic feeling, they have not been able to generate much steam. This is also the case with the Melbourne-based fascist groupuscule ‘Nationalist Alternative’, which joined with Barbara Johnstone and other locals involved in the ‘Newport West Action Group’ (NWAG) to oppose the construction of a mosque in Newport.
For moar news on
terrorists Orstralian Muslims, see :
Austrolabe : a news and analysis website serving Australia’s Muslim community. The site is maintained by a group of volunteer editors and authors.
Planet Irf : a ‘journalist’ with a shocking confession to make: ‘My name is Irfan Yusuf, so anything I do will, naturally, be … some kind of deception or cover. I am part of some giant conspiracy to destroy the West, one of Osama bin Ladin’ s henchmen. I am part of the Muslim Question’ (Once Were Radicals: My years as a teenage Islamo-fascist, Allen & Unwin, 2009).
Starting point for a Muslim conversation, Shakira Hussein, The Australian, September 1, 2007 (Review of People Like Us, Waleed Aly, Picador, 2007):
…Aly’s conclusion is titled “Seeking the human”, but the human is oddly absent from this book, which instead inhabits a world of media, survey results and texts. There is undoubtedly value in taking some of the international analysis and framing it in an Australian context. But it is important to do this in such a way as to make it sound fresh and vigorous. There is no freshness in Aly observing that the ambition of radical Islamists to “remake the human condition” is shared with “Lenin, Bakunin, Marx, Mao and Fukuyama”, not when John Gray (listed in the notes on sources but not cited in the text) has written about those who believe that they can remake the human condition: “the new world envisaged by al-Qa’ida is no different from the fantasies projected by Marx and Bakunin, by Lenin and Mao, and by the neo-liberal evangelists who so recently announced the end of history” (a reference to Fukuyama). It is depressing to read Aly talk about the parallels between the planned attack on the Greenwich observatory in Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and al-Qa’ida’s attack on the World Trade Centre when this, too, is a parallel that Gray has already made…
“Depressing”, that is, if it weren’t absolutely fucking uniform for the (mis-)educated middle class. See also : The State, the Spectacle and September 11, RETORT, New Left Review 27, May-June 2004: “The current global conjuncture as a collision between brute imperial interests and blunders in hegemonic control of the image-world. State power and spectacular warfare after September 11, in the view of the Bay Area’s Situationist collective.” | All Quiet on the Eastern Front, RETORT, New Left Review 41, September-October 2006: “A new broadside from Retort, the oppositionist Bay Area collective, written as Western and Arab governments gave the greenlight to Israel’s—botched—attempt to obliterate Lebanese resistance.”
Salam Cafe: Uncle Sam : Uncle Sam Campaigning for the Mayor of Camden from Salam Cafe. Salam Cafe: Uncle Sam 2 : Uncle Sam shares his thoughts on what’s happening in Camden.
Extra Added Bonus!
go ahead and stand in line
at the concession stand
no you can’t see the game
from the concession stand
i promise you
like you promised me
’til death do us part
with your credit cards
no you can’t see the game
from the concession stand
i missed a home run!
i missed a base hit!
you missed 2000 people
in bhopal being
snuffed out of it!
at the concession stand
you can’t see the game
An account of the EDL Birmingham demo…
Before heading up to Birmingham I was a bit nervous because there had been no signs of any national call outs from any organisations in regards to this event, so I didn’t really know what to expect. But me and some others had decided we’d go have a pop at the EDL so we went anyway.
We got up to Birmingham around the time the EDL were supposed to be meeting. In the Broad Street area of the city all of the pubs had a few of them in it, as well as groups of them hanging out on the streets. At this point there was no sign of any anti-fascist demonstrators. We looked around the area a bit and got our bearings before deciding to walk along the route of their supposed march to see if there were any pickets or stalls from any demonstrators along the way.
Having walked the whole route through Birmingham without seeing anything we decided to walk back up to where we had started, ie where the EDL were meeting. We got back up just in time to see them ‘marching’ (swaggering in typical macho style like they’d shat themselves, by the looks of them they probably were the sorts). One of my comrades pointed out a small group of demonstrators identified as such by their SWP flags, chants and the fact there were a lot of Asian demonstrators in the group so we rushed over to join them.
I don’t know how familiar anyone is with the geography of Birmingham (I certainly wasn’t) but the anti-fascists were positioned in a small square on the side of the route of the EDL and they were marching past. There was no police cordon or anything, the EDL were just walking freely through the town. As we stood there chanting and generally trying to wind them up and giving it large back (imagine the scenes of football hooligan films, everyone’s hands in the air and a lot of ‘Come on then!’ etc) I realised that we (the anti-fascists) were probably out numbered about 4 to 1. I think we had 20 people at the best and the EDL had around 80, all male, almost entirely white save one black man I saw with them (a tokenistic ploy they use to deny they are racist, do not fall for it, as I’ll elaborate on later). We were out numbered and there was basically nothing stopping fights so this is what happened. A few of the more tanked up and up for it EDL types went for members of our crowd and there was a bit of a melee for a while. No one really knew what was going on, especially the police who were probably the least organised force I have ever encountered.
This part of the demonstration was pretty hectic and I would certainly say it’s been the most dangerous moment of demonstrating I’ve been on save some close run ins with police batons around the G20 and Palestine demonstrations. It was literally a free for all between anti-fascists and the EDL. I had one fat EDL bloke storm into me, but he didn’t really do much damage (he might have thought that, as a white male, I was one of his lot, or maybe he was more in the mood for a go at one of the Asians, I don’t know). As always in these situations it doesn’t last long and you don’t really have time to think. Somehow the EDL proceeded off slightly but there was still a lot of shouting, etc. Still there was only about 20 of us and 80 of them. It was quite surprising that they didn’t all just rush us, they were certainly up for it and to be honest they would have overwhelmed us. I think a main rule for these demonstrations is never run away. That was certainly a rule AFA abided by, and I can honestly say no one ran away at this point which is a big credit seeing as it did look like we were about to get our heads kicked in and our crowd was made up of all sorts of people, hardly street brawling types (although that doesn’t mean people didn’t get involved in a bit of street fighting later).
The EDL re-grouped following the violent clashes further down the road. At this point they formed a homogeneous bloc with a few stragglers and we were right behind them, and despite our small group I could honestly say our chants were louder than theirs. We followed them up the road (a high street in Birmingham, New Street). They went around a corner and we followed. This point was also quite dodgy, as we were still about 20-30 people at the bottom of this road on a hill whilst they were all at the top. Again they could have quite easily rushed us and we wouldn’t have stood a chance but they didn’t, and again full [credit] to everyone who stood their ground at this point (everyone) because the public were keeping well away and the police were pretty much non-existent.
It’s significant to note at this point that 20 of us had already succeeded in preventing the EDL from marching easily to their destination. We effectively forced them off the road and into a police cordon down a side street, whereas we actually occupied the main street and square, so we were in direct contact with the public. At this point a group of about 20 young Asians came running round the corner and joined the back of our demonstration. I introduced myself to them and gave them the low down and they joined our group as we planned what to do next. It was quite easy to work as one group unlike on bigger demonstrations because there were only 30 or so of us now.
We proceeded back to the high street, and some of the EDL were on a plateau road to the right of us, looking down. We effectively occupied the square/end of the street where the first skirmishes happened at this point, as our small group moved around. Again there was a lot of challenges and calls for fights. It was at this point that I noticed a lot of EDL types were actually in our [part] of the crowd, ones who had got separated from their main group. Contrary to the media and far right claims, those ‘innocent lone white people’ who were ‘victims of racist attacks’ were nothing of the sort – usually they were EDL types who decided to give it large and were met with the appropriate response from anti-fascists of all colours, although they tended to taunt the Asian (mainly Muslim, forgive me if I use the two synonymously at any point but as far as I was aware most of the young Asians who joined us were Muslims from their clothes and what they said) people more than others. They got [what] was coming to them – some of them ran to police lines and were escorted off, others fared less well.
We moved back to the square which we occupied. At this point one EDL member was set upon by the crowd because he decided it would be appropriate to Sieg Heil at us. Every one of them who did this ended up seeking police protection from people who challenged them to back up their hand gestures with different kinds of hand movements. None of them obliged, being escorted out by the police to chants of ‘Cheerio’, a personal favourite.
From this point on our section of the crowd was mainly involved in actions with the police, as we were kettled in as we tried to reach another group of (mainly local Asian) demonstrators further down the high street who were engaged in clashes with the EDL. It is important to note that by this time the whole of the high street was occupied by anti-fascists, and the EDL had only managed about 100m of their march (their rally never even happened) through Brum before being forced by the police into a pub. Further down the road (behind the police cordon me and my comrades were stuck in) some members of the EDL who had escaped their pub prison were attempting to rush the Asian youth in the high street, and we were eager to go help our comrades. However reports by phone from comrades down that end of the road told me that the Asian youths and other assorted demonstrators actually managed to chase the EDL members back into the police guarded pub.
The next few hours were mainly used for discussion and waiting behind police lines. There were some interesting moments though. Someone outed a BNP councillor watching the protest. He was a typical Tory-fascist type – in a tweed suit, old, grey hair and a bushy moustache. It was almost funny to see such a stereotype, you know, a Monday Club, Empire Loyalist sort of fascist who somehow got into politics in the area. He was an odd looking figure, trying to look calm and disinterested as we protested. When he was outed a crowd formed around him and challenged him. In some sort of pathetic attempt at appearing ‘dignified’ he just stood there, until a fantastically aimed egg managed to hit him full on in the face in what is quickly becoming something of an anti-fascist tradition, to chants of ‘how do you like your eggs in the morning…’ et al (I’ll leave the egg puns to the readers as we pretty much exhausted them all). He quickly left after this.
Another interesting point was when the police offered to let members of the crowd go – as long as they were white! The officer in charge actually said that he would let ‘elderly white’ people out of the cordon in small groups as long as the ‘Asian youth’ remained! Of course we totally rejected this offer. There were attempts to break out of the cordon that resulted in some comrades being attacked by officers, who amongst other things, referred to them as ‘cunts’ and punched them whilst they couldn’t fight back. An violent and institutionally racist police force? Who would have thought it!
Following this moment nothing of much interest happened in our cordon until we were let go. Even the skirmishing further down the street had ended as the EDL were securely hiding behind police lines (much needed) in a pub. We eventually were let out in four multi-racial groups (ie we demanded we only be let out if everyone of all ages and colours could get out together, and the police conceded). A lot of comrades were eager to escape as we heard news of the EDL targetting lone Asians on buses and streets in the city and many of the young people especially were eager to go help their friends. Walking back from the demonstration we saw large gangs of local youth walking around looking for any action, and we witnessed one drunken EDL thug come out much the worse in a fight. It was cute to see how willing his band of hard nut mates were too jump to his aid against the ‘Moslem hordes’. Bravery all around from the guardians of the Fatherland (if shouting abuse from a safe distance qualifies as bravery).
There were skirmishes into the evening especially following the England match I heard and I believe a large bulk of the arrests were made in the evening. Although this isn’t confirmed I heard that by about 6pm there were 20 arrests and by the end of the day there were 90.
I was pleased that we had what was certainly one of the clearest victories I have had the pleasure to experience on any kind of demonstration. We completely stopped the fascist’s demonstration and had humiliated them once again, in another act of defiance, community unity and anti-fascist resilience against this gang of thugs and fascists.
I have some issues with the demonstration that I am not sure I would like discussed just yet in the open that I will be bringing back to anti-fascist comrades in a personal capacity when I report on the events to them. Primarily I think there are lessons to be learnt from this demonstration and that it gave a very clear education in what anti-fascist action means – ie that it is impossible to get involved without being ready and willing to defend yourself and others and to get involved in physical conflict. This is quite simply true of the EDL. We were involved in physical combat and to engage in this you need to be ready. By this I of course don’t mean only confident fighters can be involved in anti-fascism, but I do mean be careful, be alert, be ready and be with friends. As I said at the start we were totally out numbered (but certainly not out classed, anti-fascists always are the braver of the two sides), and if it wasn’t for a lot of personal bravery and determination from such a small group of people we wouldn’t have had the time to collect more support from the local area in the form of local residents and a lot of Asian youths. The EDL like all fascists are not infallible, they are not, contrary to what they claim, ubermensch, or all hardened fighters. They were cowards but in groups they will get physically aggressive and we do need to be ready for this whenever we fight fascism. This was just the continuation of a long line of fascist violence that some people choose to either exaggerate or play down. One is as dangerous as the other.
I hope that my reports to comrades in the anti-fascist and radical left (for me especially the anarchist movement) at large will give rise to debates and action regarding this group and discussion on the things I don’t wish to discuss over the internet will arise naturally, but after it’s been talked about with the right people I hope to engage more broadly on the nature of our opposition to this group and fascism in the UK generally, especially the physical side which is what I think is just as important as the political.
In conclusion though despite early fears this was an obvious victory for anti-fascists, the local community and all those opposed across the nation to the existence, rhetoric and actions of the English Defence League, rest assured the EDL have nothing but bitter memories of humiliation about their outings in Birmingham.
i tell u what mate il come down there and ave u a 1-1,all that is shit what you said,we was well outnumbered you dumb prick give me your number and arrange a meet u little faggot
I suggest you have a nice cup of tea preston boy.
@ndy, your account is so full of bullsh!t you’d win the award for the best fictional short story award of 2009!
Now feck off ya little toe rag, you wer[e]n’t there cause you were getting your bum spanked by your mother!
You make a solid and convincing case.
As an Englishman so recently returned to Australia from the old country after a period of 30 years, [I] was saddened and shocked to see how far we[‘]ve sunk.
All the sacrifices made by the indiginouse [sic] Anglo saxon [sic] people of these islands are for nought [sic].
The sadest [sic] part is it[‘]s been done to us by our leaders, did anyone ask the average Mr and Mrs Smith did we want these soulless, barbaric, goat shaggers in our country, [G]od no, so is it any wonder that the discerning ones perceive them as a threat to our very way of life, and rightly so. Under their law, Sharia law, if a woman is raped it[‘]s her fault as she must have led him on, however she has some redress profided [sic] she can get 4 or 5 witneses [sic] to testify on her behalf. If not she[‘]s stoned to death as an adultera [sic], no charge is laid against the man. If you steal then your hand will be cut of [sic] in the market place, your right hand.
But that[‘]s not the punishment, in a land were there is no water, you eat with your right hand and wipe your ass with your left, now your [sic] doing both with the one hand that[‘]s the punishment. The pleasur [sic] of sex is the man[‘]s exclusive domain, to this end, the lips of the woman[‘]s vagina are abraded [sic] so that the [sic] heal and stick together, leaving only a small hole for urinating, and in some radical country[‘]s circumsision [sic] is practiced, the governments of Christian countrys [sic] are aware of all this and still they allow them to enter and settle amongst us, knowing full well that it will be 2 to 3 generations before this culture will be bred out of them if it ever will.
So all you detracters [sic] and misinformation merchants against the EDL I urge you to use your brain, your eyes and your ears, do not follow blindly the propaganda pushed out by the variouse [sic] news papers, don[‘]t forget, the Establishment own the media, and so they can and do influence the way you think.
I notice scrolling thru the variouse [sic] EDL websites they have been very effectivly [sic] highjacked [sic] by the media, namely the Gaurdian [sic], and Independant [sic], to name a few, then you have so called emails purportedly from Mr [A]verage condemning the EDL, they are very eloquent, and worldly wise, has the penny dropped, they are the government.
One of the reasons I left was your media is the most heavily censored and sanitized in the world, and I can hear the cry now, “But we live in a democracy” no you don[‘]t and you never did. For this reason, the House of Lords is totaly [sic] unelected, and therefore is reperesentative [sic] of noone, no one in the vast working class that is.
Untill [sic] recently, the House of Lords was predominantly made up of the decendants [sic] of the Norman [c]onquerers, neat trick ha, nothing has changed, untill [sic] you have an Australian model of an upper and lower house voted in by the people you don[‘]t and never had a democracy.
I’m a little confused by some of what you wrote. For example:
Who are the indigenous Anglo-Saxon peoples and which islands do they (or did they) inhabit? Do you mean the country of England or Australia?
Who are the soulless, barbaric, goat-shaggers? Do they live in Australia or England?
Is it not the case that Sharia law, like other forms of jurisprudence, is subject to interpretation? Meaning, that different people understand its application differently, and that according to some Islamic authorities, rape is a serious crime for which the perpetrator is held responsible?
Further, if you find sexual violence against women in countries such as Saudi Arabia to be objectionable, would it not make sense to campaign in support of those women who seek asylum in Australia and England on this basis, or indeed to support feminist and other groups within Saudi Arabia which campaign against patriarchal violence?
Finally, are you aware that, despite rape being a crime in Australia and England, it and other forms of male violence towards women and children already affect the lives of millions and that this abuse is perpetuated even in the absence of Sharia law?
Regarding female genital mutilation (FGM), this is a practice which, according to the WHO, exists in 28 countries, between “100 and 140 million girls and women in the world are estimated to have undergone such procedures, and 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk of undergoing the procedures every year”. It is most commonly practiced in Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and northern Sudan.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic country, banned FGM several years ago, although it continues to be widespread.
The WHO ‘Eliminating female genital mutilation’ report (2008) describes four basic categories of mutilation (or cutting):
Type I: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (clitoridectomy).
Type II: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision).
Type III: Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation).
Type IV: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.
What you describe — “the lips of the woman[‘]s vagina are abraded [sic] so that the [sic] heal and stick together, leaving only a small hole for urinating” — is Type III.
Like rape, FGM’s status as an acceptable practice within Islam is controversial, and many Islamic authorities condemn it. Further, in areas of the world where FGM is practiced, it is by people of various faiths. Thus: “Even though the practice can be found among Christians, Jews and Muslims, none of the holy texts of any of these religions prescribes female genital mutilation and the practice pre-dates both Christianity and Islam”.
In which context, what do you think of male circumcision? Do you blame Muslim immigrants for its practice too?
In conclusion: it’s precisely because 1) I have a brain and 2) I use it that 3) I recognise the EDL and its equivalents elsewhere as being a) full of shit b) full of bullshit artists and c) worthy of ridicule.