The Socialist Unity Network

Socialist Unity

wants to hear from you.

Got a comment?

Why not email us with your thoughts?

Master race? You're having a laugh!

Leeds anti-fascist demo report

Ed Rooksby of International Rooksbyism

A picture of the demoThat was one of the cheekier chants thrown at the fash at the UAF demonstration today. Over a thousand anti-fascists - young, old, black, white, Asian - confronted a pathetic 100 - 150 Nazis outside Leeds Crown Court. My God they looked fucking ridiculous. I had a good look at (what passed for) their crowd across the 20 metres gap or so which separated the two groups -they were an extremely unimpressive bunch. The vanguard of the British 'master race' appears to consist of a few thick-necked, shaven-headed men trying to hold in their beer guts and look menacing (think 'Al Murray Pub Landlord'), a few weirdoes in wide brimmed hats (what all the fascist fashionistas are wearing this autumn), a few white haired old men in blazers and ties, a bloke in a multi-coloured wig (how humorous)*, a couple of disturbed looking young men with Waffen SS haircuts and a small number of pursed-lipped women (one of whom stood for the entire time at the front of the fash lines proudly holding up the front page of a copy of the 'Daily Mail' - much to our amusement).

The thing which really made us laugh, however, was the presence - amongst the Union Flags, St George's Crosses, devotional pictures of the Fuhrer, placards screaming something about 'Treason', and scowling fascist faces - of a large banner with a George Orwell quotation plastered across it. It was this one:

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act"

The fucking cheek! Clearly, the fash thought they were being rather clever. They couldn't be allowed to get away with this. After initial incomprehension at the sight of a Nazi banner quoting Orwell, the UAF crowd responded by loudly reminding the fash that 'Orwell killed fascists' - not sure if this is exactly true, but of course he certainly shot at several Spanish fascists with the intention of killing them.**

The BBC report 'clashes' at the demonstration. There were no significant (physical) clashes, as far as I saw. When Griffin made a run for it into the Court entrance (heavily flanked by police, completely covered by a jacket or blanket or something) an open plastic bottle of water, an egg and perhaps a bag of flour was tossed from the crowd - that was it. Not exactly a 'clash'. At one stage there was some very minor pushing and shoving between the police and the front rank of the UAF crowd - which lasted for no longer than 30 seconds. As far as I could make out there were four or five isolated idiots at the front of the crowd who wanted a bit of a shoving match with the police more than they wanted to demonstrate their opposition to the Nazis (although, to be fair the police did seem to be pushing us back rather aggressively). They were quickly reprimanded by the majority of the UAF crowd.

After the demonstration there was a rally outside the Art Gallery. All the speakers were good, but the last (impromptu) speech by a union rep from Newcastle was absolutely electrifying. One of the Nazis was brave enough to come over and throw insults, but was quickly seen off by the crowd before being led away by two coppers.

All in all a very pleasant day. The key thing I will remember about the day was the contrast between the fash and antifascist demonstrators. The small number of Nazis looked like a miserable, pathetic, isolated, and cretinous bunch of racist obsessives - the 'worst dregs of society' as speaker after speaker pointed out - while the antifascist demonstration was large, colourful, high-spirited, confident and ethnically and socially diverse. All of those many passers by who stopped to look at what was happening must have been impressed by this obvious contrast.

* Many of the late-coming Nazis had to walk past the UAF demonstrators in order to reach their own people, including multi-coloured wig man. Most of these arseholes were informed, in no uncertain terms, that they were 'Nazi scum' as they passed us by - but multi-coloured wig man, the BNP jester, only warranted the cry of 'You wanker'.

** As I remember, Orwell writes in A Homage to Catalonia that he's not sure if he actually hit anyone with any of the shots he fired at fascist lines.



November 2005

Socialist worker report
BBC report

For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism