The far right mobilised in various locations in recent days. Some of their action was once again against refugees housed by the Home Office in hotels. However, anti-fascists had also organised counter-demos in response. Amid the protests, though, one group made an important point about so-called ‘solidarity’.
Refugees welcome… everywhere
In Wallasey, activists came out to show the far right some resistance as the latter were targeting a hotel where refugees were staying. The action was supported by various groups, including trade unions, the Green Party and Care4Calais:
— UNISON Merseytravel & LCR CA Branch (@UnisonMtBranch) March 24, 2023
Then, on Saturday 25 March, fascists had organised at least three protests across the UK – but again, they were met with resistance each time.
In Manchester, far-right group Students Against Tyranny was protesting at the University of Manchester. This was apparently over Cultural Marxism (an antisemitic conspiracy theory). Manchester Antifascist Collective described the group as “anti-vaccine, Islamophobic and anti-queer”. It said Students Against Tyranny’s leader aligns with “neo-Nazi Patriotic Alternative“.
Unfortunately for this ramshackle far-right group, hardly anyone turned up – except anti-fascists:
Literally cannot see the fash through the crowd. Bit embarrassing lads. pic.twitter.com/vjq1ITQzzU
— Manchester IWW (@IWWManchester) March 25, 2023
Then, also on 25 March, Patriotic Alternative came out in Llantwit Major, mobilising over refugees living in the area. Much like in Manchester, though, the anti-fascists outnumbered the fascists – and Patriotic Alternative limped away with its tail between its legs:
💥Explosive moment in Llantwit Major today, as anti-fascists cheer as a tiny crowd of Patriotic Alternative supporters walk away having been massively outnumbered.
— voice.wales (@voice_wales) March 25, 2023
It was a similar story in Wakefield. A far-right Danish hatemonger was due to visit the town to stoke Islamophobia. Specifically, the guy was going to publicly burn a copy of the Quran after the far right had misrepresented a situation in a local school. However, the government barred him entry to the country – and so on 25 March, hardly any fascists turned up:
🚩 ANTIFASCISTS IN WAKEFIELD yesterday were able to see off a handful of disorganised racists, who were outnumbered 4:1. When the racists began to call us pedos, one comrade read out a list of far right sex offenders. This shut them up and made their streamers stop recording 🤫🤭 pic.twitter.com/LTV49Thixf
— Communist Party – Yorkshire District (@cpbyorkshire) March 26, 2023
On Sunday 26 March, Patriotic Alternative had organised a second demo in Erskine. Predictably, it didn’t go according to plan:
Patriotic Alternative fascists in #Erskine today playing @proclaimers “Letter from America”. 😂 A song about Scots leaving behind economic depression to start a new life in America. A really well thought out strategy from #PatrioticAlternative 😂. @SUTRScotland @AntiRacismDay pic.twitter.com/40Ov4fkPP7
— Zamard Zahid 🧡 (@zamardzahid) March 26, 2023
Anti-fascists were out to oppose the far right once more:
Erskine residents & anti-racists send support & strength to refugees housed in Muthu Hotel 🏴 #Erskine today. Our message to #PatrioticAlternative attempting to spread hate & divide our communities. Say it LOUD. Say it CLEAR. #Refugeeswelcomehere @SUTRScotland @AntiRacismDay pic.twitter.com/bpYNZbFTIA
— Zamard Zahid 🧡 (@zamardzahid) March 26, 2023
But perhaps the biggest flashpoint of the weekend was in Newquay.
Newquay: resisting the far right and the cops
The far right had organised a second demo at the Beresford Hotel where refugees are staying. As the Canary previously reported, racists had only organised this demo because of police negligence.
Police had issued a statement earlier in March saying an alleged rapist was living on the same road as where the Beresford Hotel is located. Fascists latched onto this, making the racist assumption that the suspect was staying at the hotel. He wasn’t – and wasn’t a refugee either – but it was too late for the far right to back down. So they continued with the demo anyway. Fortunately, grassroots coalition Cornwall Resists came out in force to resist the far right:
The fascists were again outnumbered:
However, the police presence was heavy:
Cornwall Resists told the Canary that the cops did the usual – target the anti-fascists while not bothering with the far right:
The day was marred by police and far-right violence. Police reacted violently, pushing protesters and throwing several to the floor. As the day was drawing to a close, fascists tried storming into the bloc. However instead of arresting the aggressors, the police arrested an antifascist. Another anti fascist was also later arrested. However both were released with no further action taken against them.
Predictably, the corporate media latched onto the cops and far-right violence and painted it as “clashes”. ITV News went as far as mentioning the arrests in its headline, implying the anti-fascists were the violent ones. Yet it failed to mention that the police didn’t charge anyone.
Overall, Cornwall Resists said:
On Sunday, we had a powerful antifascist presence in Newquay. Local people came together and gave a clear message to the far-right that their presence will not be tolerated on our streets.
A strong bloc held our ground against racists until they were forced to retreat. Contrary to far-right messaging, our bloc was made up of predominately local people with many parents, survivors, women, queer and trans people all standing on the front line to say no to hate.
The only violence on the streets of Newquay was from the police and the far-right. But despite this violence, Cornish people stood our ground and made it clear that Cornwall is anti fascist.
But while people across the UK continue to resist the far right, a group in Wales made some important points about ways of showing solidarity.
What is solidarity?
Welsh Underground Network had helped organise the far right counter-demo in Llantwit Major. Overall, while the group noted the turnout for the protest was good, it seemed other groups had sent “token” representatives to it:
However, we feel this could have been more. Many organisations sent a token couple of members to say that they were there. More needs to be done to make this coalition into an real force confronting fascism in Wales. Todays victory lies with the community, not the activists. https://t.co/wofQHwFnY0
— Welsh Underground Network (@WelshUGN) March 25, 2023
This is a problem across the left wing. Groups bussing a few members in for a demo and then walking away again isn’t solidarity. Using a demo as a PR exercise for a particular organisation, while showing no interest in the local community, isn’t solidarity either. Dismissing local people’s genuine concerns about their lives while you shout “solidarity” is no solidarity at all.
With the far right mobilising regularly, anti-fascists’ priorities should include working with local communities, not amplifying their own organisations or pet causes. Anything less isn’t solidarity – it’s just performative, self-serving posturing.
Featured image and additional images via Cornwall Resists
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