Liverpool EDL March

The far-right was once again completed humiliated in Liverpool on Saturday 3rd June 2017 following the English Defence League’s attempt to march through the city. Attempting to whip up hatred in the aftermath of recent terrorist atrocities, no real reason was given for the march except taking on what the EDL called ‘leftie antifa land’, hoping that the third time would be different than the last two attempts in recent years.

That backfired, as a national mobilisation could only gather 30-40 hardened EDL racists, countered by over 1000 anti-racist protesters, made up of ordinary working class people, young and old, bolstered throughout the day by passers-by who wanted to play a part in stopping the EDL.

Confusion caused by the police, who initially tried to kettle the counter-protest, allowed the EDL to leave the pub where they had assembled and begin their march (albeit down a back street) – they could have been prevented from even doing this – but nonetheless they did not march more than 200 yards before they were stopped dead in their tracks.

The police massively outnumbered the EDL, by as many as ten to one, and were determined to allow them to march their planned route, a ridiculous mile long route directly through the city centre.  The police seek to facilitate EDL marches to intimidate and criminalise those who wish to protest and demonstrate generally. The size and determination of the counter-protest, including groups of protesters lying down in front of police horses, made sure the EDL were instead taken back to the train station and bundled out of the city, completely humiliated and embarrassed yet again. 

Their small numbers show how fractured and insignificant the EDL has become, and how little echo their ideas have in society. However, that is due to the continued resistance they have faced whenever they try to organise, despite the fact that the main culprit for whipping up racism and division is from pro-capitalist politicians and the right-wing press. The report in the Sun newspaper, rightly outlawed on Liverpool, was widely shared by the EDL for presenting an alternative reality version of the day – slandering protesters as violent and sailing close to open endorsement of the EDL themselves.

Disgracefully, the Liverpool Echo has reported (in an article still online - that the EDL were only stopped after completing their planned city centre march. To those reading this who were not present, this completely distorts the reality that the EDL were stopped and turned back by ordinary working class people. It also praises the role of Mayor Joe Anderson in standing up to the far right – none of the 20 Socialist Party members present saw Joe on the day – despite being responsible for the cuts to services that create the conditions of the far right to thrive.

Working class people have the power to stop racism and the far right, and if organised, could build a mass campaign to take on the causes of racism and division. There was large and visible support for Jeremey Corbyn on the demonstration, including chants of his name – which shows that there is a mood to go beyond protest and build a movement to defend the NHS, defend education and give a real alternative to austerity, terrorism and racism.
The demonstration could have been much larger if organised by the trade unions, who need to play a role in stewarding and protecting such protests, and looking at the needs of local communities to organise a defence against the violence and danger posed by groups like the EDL.

Good work for a mere three hours, and a complete defeat for the EDL.


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