Far-right group Patriotic Alternative was out on Saturday 25 February in Newquay and Skegness, stoking racist and fascist sentiment under the guise of ‘protesting’ against refugees. Fortunately, anti-fascists were also out to counter the group.
Newquay: no room for fascists
First, in Newquay far-right mob Patriotic Alternative had organised a protest over refugees staying at a local hotel. However, grassroots coalition Cornwall Resists organised itself to come and show solidarity with the refugees:
Fantastic counter demo in Newquay today.. This is Solidarity at its best.. Well done all who attended.. proud to be stood with you all… Refugees welcome here ✊.. Bfawu forever ✊✊✊💯 pic.twitter.com/Z6UyqvMuXI
— Bfawu Kernow (@Bfawukernow) February 25, 2023
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The predictable corporate media appeasement of the far-right ensued. ITV News reported the situation as “rival groups” protesting. It failed to mention that Patriotic Alternative had organised the racist protest. Cornwall Live did the same, saying:
The original protest was organised because some residents of Newquay claim they feel unsafe with some 200 asylum seekers staying in one of the town’s hotels.
Again, this is literally not true, as Cornwall Resists has evidence that the far-right group organised the protest. However, the far-right failed to achieve anything with the ‘protest’, and eventually left:
The fash have left! MASSIVE well done to everyone who came out today. Together we protected refugees in the hotel from the far right. They were totally humiliated and outnumbered
This is what solidarity looks like!
Onan hag oll, Cornwall is antifascist ✊✊✊ pic.twitter.com/kVoR8ArodQ
— Cornwall Resists (@resistg7) February 25, 2023
This was effective grassroots resistance and was an amazing and emotional display of solidarity and strength…
Protesters passed flowers to the residents through the doors, and a very emotional moment was shared with the people in the hotel, with lots of smiles and tears!
Once the fash had gone, a spokesperson came out of the hotel to speak to us. They said that the residents had been advised not to leave the hotel for their safety, but that they wanted to come and give us all a hug. They said emotions had been high in the hotel, and there was a feeling of joy and solidarity on the day.
Patriotic Alternative: mainstreamed by the Guardian
Meanwhile, Patriotic Alternative had also mobilised in Skegness on 25 February – but so did the anti-fascists:
— UAF (@uaf) February 25, 2023
However, the Guardian managed to legitimise Patriotic Alternative by quoting one of its supporters.
Of course, the outlet has form on mainstreaming the far right. A research paper looked at a Guardian series on “populism” in politics. Researchers Katy Brown and Aurelien Mondon concluded that, among other things, the Guardian “trivilaised” and “amplified” the far right – exactly what it did with its article about the Skegness protest.
With Patriotic Alternative, the Guardian is also literally amplifying Nazi sympathisers. As even Kent Live managed to report, the founder of Patriotic Alternative Mark Collett has described:
himself as a “Nazi sympathiser”. In his book The Fall of Western Man, Collet wrote that he would have been proud to have been part of Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies.
He was captured on camera saying how thinks 1930s Germany would be better to grow up in than modern day Britain…
He appeared in a 2002 documentary called ‘Young Nazi and Proud’…
Yet still, the Guardian thought it was okay to platform the group’s views.
Oppose at all costs
While the anti-fascists dampened the far-right in Newquay and Skegness, this isn’t the end of Patriotic Alternative’s actions. There’s one in Dover on 4 March and another one Llantwit on 25 March. However, so far the corporate media has done little to call the group out for what it is: a far-right group led by a literal Nazi. As Brown and Mondon summed up in their research paper:
As the coverage of far-right politics has been both euphemised and amplified through its coverage as populist, and its origins deflected onto the people qua working class, we have witnessed a move towards accepting the diagnosis offered by the far right not only as inevitable but in fact democratic.
That is, corporate media outlets like the Guardian are legitimising the far-right and strengthening it by giving it column inches. All the more reason for everyone who opposes fascism to get out in communities and show people that there is another way.
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