“…it must be said no one won . We were both totally shut down by the OB today.”
The words of the Scottish Defence League, a miniscule group of about forty who had English associates bussed up from England and boosted their numbers to around 200. A group that can be easily defeated in an urban environment should the correct tactics be deployed by the quoted figure of 400 that turned up to counter-demonstrate their presence in the city.
Working with Unite Against Fascism has never been good. There was no adrenaline pumping victory this time around despite information from scouts around the city flooding in as we stood on the Mound from around 10 am. Activists wanted to get moving and start their work but speeches began around 10:30 and carried on for another two hours. We proceeded to march on the designated route and came across a designated protest area. Voices of disapproval came from anti-fascist supporters. What lay ahead of us was a designasted protest area with four hours of singalonga UAF action giving people sore throats shouting rather than actually doing some groundwork or re-education. We trust this group because they purport to be comrades and many of their activists are politically sound on a daily basis but it is the structure of the organisation and those who operate it that needs to be questioned directly. People who turn up at demonstrations and feel that the statement “I’m an elected and salaried member of UAF” gives them authority of action is as deluded as those who are willing to be marched into a police cordon, excusing those that do this for fear of their own safety. Such people must be removed from leadership and expelled for collaboration. They are there to do what they are paid to do and nothing more. People who are sucking up time on a podium and are employing delaying tactics when time is of the essence. They have no desire nor will to take on the task in hand.
The main problem we face with the EDL and SDL is that they are in fact a bunch of hooligans who charge about from town to town causing a ruckus. With the arrival of anti-semitism in the form of the Infidels of Britain and their secret nationalist demonstration “In The North” on the 8th of October we have the next generation of the National Front being born as the BNP goes bankrupt. These people need to be faced directly and have their political footing questioned, sternly and not from a distance of 400 yards inside a police pen. Many are young and it is education where any serious anti-fascist has to start thinking about their community,, another thing the UAF will not do to a competent level. Edinburgh and Glasgow are two very different cities when it comes to education. I am a weedjie and Glasgow has a vibrant anti-fascist scene currently with much street art around anti-fascism, regular anti-racist football tournaments, excellent work from community organisations for refugees, a fine campaign against public sector cuts and an on-going celebration of voluntary resistance to fascism in Spain. In fact, on the very day the SDL took to the streets of Edinburgh, people in Glasgow held a commemoration ceremony for those who fought fascism in Spain.
Meanwhile in Edinburgh Hibs CCS casuals were split between the old and the young. Youngsters were largely drawn towards the SDL demonstration whilst older hands decided to stand against fascism. I spoke to a Hibs fan who was a member of the James Connolly Society. He spoke with despair that youngsters were not interested in the Connolly. When this man is a radical who fought for social justice until his murder. A man who should be celebrated and revered by all of Edinburgh as an example of what a man from Leith can achieve if he struggles hard enough. The Wakes, a band from Glasgow, who preserve his name in the song James Connolly’s Ghost. If Hibs fans don’t wake up to the treasure they own their club could end up with the blasphemy of the Celtic Cross being abused as a fascist standard. Meanwhile musically Edinburgh has some good tunes Oi Polloi’s “Bash The Fash” is a great tune that has rung around Edinburgh’s punk scene for a while but the punk scene did not bring as much energy as it has on previous occasions to this demonstration. Numbers were poor and many that turned out bemoaned the plastic punks who are happy to wear ANTIFA symbols at a punk gig but are unwilling to take those same politics to the street.
So with small numbers, bored to the brink of death by self-promoting speeches and aware of the police kettle that awaited them, a break-off group of around 40 took to the streets to attempt to get to the SDL: at the very least to make them aware of our presence. with the streets swamped with police this was like attacking a glass window with a bee-sting. Those inside could see and hear us banging on the pane. They got the message but that was about it as everyone remained under police escort. Let us work towards a time when there is not such apathy and inaction on display in the face of hatred. Together.