Yesterday brought yet another demonstration from the not-far-right-honestly Democratic Football Lads Alliance, which in reality is a thinly-veiled excuse for the Wall Of Gammon™ to get tanked up and kick off. The difference this time was that, unlike previous manifestations of the phenomenon, the DFLA was outnumbered by counter protesters.
As the Guardian has reported, “The DFLA, a group formed of mainly middle-aged, white male football fans, had planned a mass march from Park Lane to Whitehall. The organisers had said on Facebook that they were protesting against ‘returning jihadists’, ‘thousands of Awol migrants’, ‘rape gangs and groomers’ and ‘veterans treated like traitors’”. This was cover for hatred against the usual target - Scary Muslims™.
But the usual progress of the DFLA, which in the past has involved it and its predecessor group the FLA, opposed by only a few anti-racists and anti-fascists, who then become the target of abuse and threats, was rudely interrupted as they walked along Pall Mall. Their opponents were blocking the way, and were not in the mood to yield.
The result was that the Metropolitan Police was forced to post its officers to separate the two sides. This appeared to disorientate the DFLA. Then paranoia overtook the Gammon, who decided that the Police were agin them. This led to ceremonial fighting. A death threat was made against the Police The Met deployed officers on horseback. The DFLA began to splinter. And all the time, the anti-fascist protesters chanted “Nazi scum off our streets”.
Anti-Fascist Network was in no doubt of the significance of what had happened. “Today's anti-fascist unity demo, led by a militant feminist bloc, outnumbered and blocked the DFLA march, forcing the police to delay, kettle and reroute them. This was a massive turning of the tide against the far-right. Thank you everyone! ¡No Pasaran!”
Jack Shenker agreed. “¡No pasarán! DFLA blocked off by counter-protest at corner of Pall Mall and Haymarket - far right march turned around and forced back, fascists off our streets”. And the disgust at the DFLA’s behaviour was clear.
One commenter asked “Can anyone explain why British neo-Fascists obsess about WW2 & how proud they are of having defeated the Nazis (although they weren't even born then) - but also make Nazi salutes on their marches?” while another responded “My father was awarded medals in WWII for helping to cleanse the world of Nazi scum. Alongside Soviets, Europeans, Africans, Asians, Indians, British, US troops. and various other nationalities. Fascism is back and in power. Civilised people must eradicate these barbarians”.
The problem is, as Owen Jones pointed out, “these are fascists, they are on the rise, and they are being emboldened by Britain’s media and political establishment”. Matt Zarb-Cousin put it more specifically: “Prime time broadcast interviews, Sunday Times puff pieces on ‘hipster fascists’, mainstream media Islamophobia.... all of these factors have enabled resurgent Nazism, while liberal commentators continue to believe it’s instead caused by a reluctance to debate the fascists”. All that and more.
Perhaps the penny will now drop with those in our media establishment. Meanwhile, 82 years after that event, ordinary people had their Cable Street moment. They did not pass.
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