The English Defence League1 were formed under a year ago in Luton as a reaction to protests from a fringe Muslim group Ahle Sunnah al Jamah. According to the press they were a splinter of the previously banned al-Muhajiroun, in reality it is more likely they are exactly the same people using a different name2. Ahle Sunnah al Jamah were protesting at the return of British soldiers from war, a smart move on their part as it, understandably, provoked a rather violent reaction from the crowd and propelled them onto the 6 ‘clock news. It also led to a counter demonstration in Luton soon afterwards that saw gangs of young men roaming the town attacking Asian owned businesses and generally trying to have their own krystallnacht, whoops there goes Godwin!
The stated aims of the EDL are that they oppose ‘extremist’ or ‘militant’ Islam. Fair do’s there I suppose. The extremist forms of all religions are the ones that stick closest to the primitive teachings of their magic books. Reading over their self description on their website however we see that it is not just the fundamentalist manifestations of Islam they are opposed to, the sort of barbarous pituitary cretins that shoot people over films and set fire to cartoonists houses, but to all forms of Islam.
They say on their website:
As a movement we don’t hate all Muslims, we respect their right to practice their religion peacefully as long as it does not infringe on our culture, our way of life, our rule of law and our customs. If any non-Muslim was to visit a Muslim country then that person would be expected to respect their rule of law, their culture and their way of life. Who could disagree with that? What we don’t agree with are Muslims trying to import a doctrine of hate, intolerance and murder into this country, and trying to promote it and institutionalise it through unregulated Mosques, funded by Wahhabist petro dollars.3
However they go on to say:
We oppose the building of any more Mosques until the problem of Islamism is dealt with. Mosques must be regulated properly, imams vetted for their suitability, and mosque attendees monitored for any radical inclination. The change has to start within the Muslim community, but that is proving very hard when Saudi petro dollars are funding a “fundamental” interpretation of Islam within the United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We want our country back!!!
So Muslims are allowed to practice their own religion but to not build anywhere to do so? They also state that Shariah law, a primitive and barbarous medieval theocratic legal system, is being somehow “snuck” into the British legal system. Something for which there is patently no evidence. It is true there are Shariah courts but they deal with civil matters and only when there is consent from both parties that the court is used. They also have no powers to implement anything outwith the jurisdiction of British law. It’s not just Muslims that have these courts however. There are Catholic courts and jewish courts, so why are the EDL not getting so het up about them?4
They also seem to have a certain kind of paranoia about the imminent fall of “the Kingdom” to Moorish invaders. Sorry for the mind bending style of the authors pen, I had to read it twice to make sure I had it right…
Over the last twenty years, but especially in the last thirteen of New Labour ‘rule’, we have been ‘governed’, but some would say terrorised, by a cabal or political class; an entire political class that seems to have declared war on its own Electorate, not only in threatening the very existence of the aforesaid Kingdom, but in handing us over wholesale to a Marxist power without reference to the Sovereign People itself to whom it is supposed to answer. Furthermore, in pursuance of the same end, the indigenous, highly individualistic Anglican See has been attacked and undermined, often from within, but has also been made greatly subservient, along with its potential 60,000,000 worshippers, to a ‘faith’ called Islam.5
Aside from the amusing conflation of the Labour party with Marxism and the amusing idea that if it weren’t for Islam everyone would be Anglican this is a fine example of the fear and paranoia that drives the ideology of the English Defence League. That ideology is a very British manifestation of Fascism and nationalism, Patriotism. Patriotism reifies the state and manifests an idolatrous view of tokens of the state, with the flag and figurehead having an almost deified position.
This paranoia of the loss of a way of life enjoyed now and the harking back to a supposed golden age is a common factor in most, if not all, extreme right wing ideologies.6 The fear of this loss of a way of life is something however that is not seen if we actually look at the historic record. The golden age often harked back to is always one that had much worse living conditions than we enjoy today. In point of fact our entire history is one of people fighting to improve their conditions, what on earth would they make of their lives being seen as easier or in some way better than ours?
Where does this paranoia and fear of change come from? What is there that is making people so afraid they will turn on their neighbours?
Well its something we are told every day in the mainstream press from the BBC to the Daily Mail and the Sun. Of course the Daily Mail are the worst culprits which is no surprise as they inspired the title of this post with their “Hooray for the Blackshirts” headline praising the fascist street thugs of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists.
A fine example of this paranoid ideology can be seen in the writings of the Daily Mail columnist Peter Hitchens.
Could Islam one day become the established church of Britain? Might English women adopt the headscarves and enveloping robes of their Asian sisters, as the call to prayer rises and falls across the slate roofs of rainswept industrial cities?
The idea is not as impossible, as bizarre or distant as you might think. An astonishing Channel 4 programme last week – The Last White Kids — showed two English children who live in an entirely Muslim district becoming enthusiastic attenders at the local mosque, wrapping themselves in Islamic draperies and learning the Koran.7
The title of this piece is “Will Britain Convert to Islam?”, something Hitchens seems to think possible. He reminds us of the encroach of the encroach of Muslim armies into Europe in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. He obviously knows his history, not so good at the Maths though as Muslims make up less than 2% of the British population, a figure that is fairly stable. If however you don’t have the time or the inclination to fact check every story you read in the paper then that would be a rather worrying thought. A theocracy based on any Religion would be something all right headed people would want to resist.
It doesn’t however seem to be the case that there is even the slightest chance of this happening. So why are we being told it is seemingly imminent? The Daily Mail published the same article by Hitchens a year later under the title “When will Britain convert to Islam?”, we wonder if the Daily Fail payed Mr Hitchens twice for that article?
So it seems that the Islamic threat grows ever more imminent.
The louder the Blairites talk about the ‘threat to our way of life’ from Muslim extremists, the more they themselves increase that threat.
Well aside from those Muslims that get arrested, and sometimes deported, for stirring up hatred that is. :rolls eyes:
Other Mail columnists are just as eager to tell us that we are “sleepwalking into cultural suicide”9 and that the banning of Geert Wilders was an “affront to freedom”.10 The same party that, I’m sure – I can’t be arsed to read more of their bile for fear this will happen to me(LINK).
The point I am trying to make is that the EDL are a manifestation of the fear that is forced down our throats by the media, and all the major outlets are culpable even the liberal ones, coupled with the promotion of patriotism as an ideology. Over the coming months we will see this promotion of patriotism go into overdrive as the world cup publicity machine swings into action, something that will add fuel to the EDL.
It is beyond doubt that these two factors are the driving force behind the EDL rather than, as the scab fraternising UAF would imply, European manifestations of the far right such as Fascism or National Socialism. It is true that there are going to be members of neo-nazi groups on EDL marches but they are more hoping to sponge members from the crowd as they have been in serious decline since the Conservative party took the wind from their political sails in the 1980′s and militant anti-fascists kicked them bloody all over the streets of Britain between the 1970′s and 1990′s.11 The EDL are a different animal and one many will feel less comfortable dealing with. They are born 100% of British culture and as such cannot be dismissed as being “nazis” without implying that millions of ordinary British people are “nazis”.
The majority of people in this country don’t walk around with Union flag t-shirts or even stand up for the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day, they do however experience a kinship with the place they were born and the community they live in. This isn’t to defend nationalism or patriotism, merely to recognise that it is something that we are indoctrinated with from the moment we are sent to school. It’s so much a part of us many don’t even realise it’s there until it appears to be under attack.
And under attack it appears to be. The media are full of stories showing the incursion of foreign elements into British culture eroding ‘British values’. The EDL then seem to be an understandable reaction, even if most people abhor their violence and hooligan elements. They also appear to be the only people who are ‘saying something’ aside form the BNP, and everyone knows they are cunts, and UKIP who no one really knows anything about aside from Kilroy used to be in them.
What are the left12 doing when our culture is under attack? Are they engaging with the class? Educating people on the realities of the situation? Are they trying to build awareness of the class and its place in the economic structure of capitalism? Or are they jumping into bed with the the British Musilm Council and calling the EDL nazis and, in the most cringe inducing thing I’ve seen in a long time, hurling abuse at a family day out on St Georges day in Brighton.13
With a left as represented by wanks like this and the full force of both the state and corporate media propagandising for patriotism and fear for our way of life it’s no wonder the EDL are growing force. How then will they be stopped?
Well it won’t be by waving purple placards and chanting “nazi scum off our streets” that’s for sure. Nor will it be done by simply chasing them around the various city and town centres of England in the hope of giving them a kicking. The physical confrontation is but one part of the task at hand and the smaller part at that.
The battle against the EDL will, in reality, be won where we live and work. The same as any battle in the class war. Education will have to play a part but more importantly than that will be the fight against poverty, the fight to defend our public services and the fight to build consciousness, competence and confidence in our class. When the working class is strong the right are denied their greatest ally, fear. This is however not as glamorous as a dust up in a city centre of a Saturday afternoon.
It is however where will win.
1There are also Welsh and Scottish Defence Leagues but their numbers and organisational capacity are extremely retarded by the difference in nature of Scottish and Welsh nationalism from English patriotism.
2There aren’t that many people that ascribe to the fundamental form of Islam in the UK, most Muslims in my experience tend towards an almost ‘Church of England’ Islam. Cheese eating, tea drinking and mosque on Friday but back to reality by Saturday.
11For a history of this see http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/afa-book/