The following communique is a statement from Edinburgh Antifascists. It represents a formal declaration of intent and also an invitation to all like-minded individuals and groups concerned about the rise of fascism both at home and abroad.
After a period of inactivity, we have resurrected Edinburgh Antifascist Alliance and represent the latest iteration of a coordinated Antifascist group in the Edinburgh and Borders region.
We aim to provide a broad front for all autonomous leftists and
anti-authoritarians determined to fight fascism in all its forms, from
the bigotry of the national front to the hatred and terror of Nazis like
National Action/National Socialist Network, the nationalist thuggery of the pathetic Scottish Defence League, and the menace of the so called “alt-right” and their lackluster memes.
We stand against oppression in all of its forms, including (but not
limited to) racism, sexism, ableism & homophobia. We see the fight
against all these forms of intersecting oppression as vital elements in
the struggle to crush the resurgent far right, who pray on the most
vulnerable and marginalized in our society. We stand with the oppressed as partners and allies in the defence of our communities against those that would seek to divide us along racial and gendered lines. We decisively reject the tired and failed liberal and moderate anti-fascism of opportunist groups like Unite against Fascism (UaF), Stand up to Racism (SutR) and the authoritarian entryism of failed left alternatives such as the Socialist Worker’s Party and their cronies. We believe that to defeat the far right we must oppose them at all levels of our society, from the communities, schools and neighbourhoods we live, study and work in, to the streets the fascist menace dares to step foot within. As such, we represent an intersectional, militant & autonomous grassroots alternative that respects a diversity of tactics and approaches to defeating fascism in all it’s forms.
Fascism is an ideology of power. As such we believe it is not to be
debated, but to be smashed. In order to truly represent the spirit of
antifascist struggle, we must organise ourselves autonomously and
democratically, free from the influence and control of self-interested
political parties and dithering external interests. We stand firmly for
these principles, and we will not retreat or back down. We invite all
like minded groups and individuals to join us in working towards these goals in the spirit of cooperation and solidarity.
We meet fortnightly and welcome your participation and comradeship in any and every capacity. We are organizing both offline and on and we can’t wait to meet you.
See you in the streets!
In Love, Solidarity & Rage,
Report on the “White Pride” demonstration in Edinburgh, 25/3/2017.
On the 25th of March 2017, the National Front, a far-right political party in the UK, held a “Static-Demonstration” in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Their demonstration was supposedly to promote and celebrate “White pride” and was supported by a few other far-right groups in the UK including the SDL and the recently outlawed, National Action, who’s constant threats to politicians and the general public earned them an honored place on the UK’s list of many terror organisations, which include Daesh (ISIS) and the Tali Ban.
Despite a large amount of protest from the public and threats from the council, the demo was allowed and went ahead on the Royal Mile, in central Edinburgh. The original plan for the demonstration was to march from Waverly station to the Grass Market, where a speech would be made, however, this became impossible due to fierce opposition from both anti-fascists and the general public, alike.
Before reaching their designated location, a group of Antifa members attacked the fascists on the platforms of Waverly station, turning 30 nazis into 20. Upon reaching demonstration both the far right and the opposition were penned in behind barriers and police. Not a word could be heard from the far right, either due to their lack of confidence or due of the yells and screams from Antifa. Most likely both. Within 15 minutes of the official demo and counter demo starting, a small contingent of Antifa, from various different groups, escaped the police kettle and circled round through side streets, managing to prevent any other fascists joining the main body of their demonstration. The police were in constant pursuit, continuously trying to cut off and kettle Antifa but their efforts proved fruitless.
The anti-fascists managed to move around the fascist demo and surrounded them on two fronts, where an Antifa banner was presented reading “Jewish Antifa”, wich certainly infuriated a few of the Nazi’s. Some passed at this point as the anti-fascists were blocked by the police, who the fascists were hiding behind for most of the day. False accusations were made by the police and an Antifa member was arrested and placed in the back of one of their many police vans. This, of course, heightened tensions causing a hurl of abuse to be thrown at the Fascists from both sides.
Shortly after, sensing things were escalating, removed the barricades and forced the fascist demonstration to end. They were moved and escorted towards Waverly train station again. Antifa circled back round again to greet the fascists before they could reach the steps down. Various missiles were thrown at the fascists while a few Antifa’s threw themselves into the group and attacked some of the Nazis, resulting in themselves being arrested. The fascists, being as they are, remained behind the police, using them as protection from plenty of protestors.
The police managed to get the main body of the fascists down the steps and onto Market Street where the second group of anti-fascists were waiting from them. Once again, various missiles were thrown at the nazis, including free-range eggs, followed by an array of insults and chants. The Nazi’s were taken away again and hidden until all the protestors and anti-fascists were allowed to leave. A snatch squad of police entered the mass of Antifa and dragged away a young boy of 16, however, he was later released having committed no official crime. The group of anti-fascists were held back and kettled by the police for a good 20 minutes before people were let out, three at a time until the group had thinned out.
It’s safe to say that the fascists were dealt with, despite the protection of police and barriers. They were contained and surrounded on both sides by anti-fascists and their planned march was prevented entirely. They were attacked numerous times both from close-quarters and from long range.
We hope that any Fascists, Nazi’s and any members of the far right will take this as a warning: You are not wanted in Edinburgh, nor are you wanted in Scotland, no matter how many times you come, we will find you and you will be stopped.
Edinburgh is ours, No Pasaran!
(Known Anti-Fascist groups present were: Edinburgh Antifa, Glasgow Anti-Fascist Action, Red Front Republic and a few individuals from the North East and Dundee, as well as numerous others group which included the Anarchist Federation and Edinburgh University Anarchist Society.)
Edin Antifa Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdinAntifa/
Edin Antifa Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdinAntifa
Glasgow AFA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GlasgowAntiFascistAction/?fref=ts
Glasgow AFA Twitter: https://twitter.com/GSW161
Red Front Republic Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScotlandRFR/?fref=ts
Red Front Republic Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScotlandRFR
The name “Antifa” has a lot of stigmas that surround it. For many people, or at least the people who don’t support it, it conjures the thought of masked thugs violently attacking anyone they view as an “enemy” or target. People associate many negative things with Antifa and Antifa groups, some of the general public and most of the far right even view Anti-Fascists as terrorists, likened to that of Daiesh (So called Islamic state) and the Taliban.
However, this is only the face of Anti-Fascism, one that most people don’t even promote themselves but one that many inexperienced Antifa’s or people new to the scene seem to romanticise and unfortunately, their voices are the loudest. While violent acts do play a major role in Anti-Fascism it is not the only tool that we, as a movement, have and nor is it the only one that we should use.
Around a month ago (February 2017) An article began recircling again, originally from around late 2016, about an African-American male who joined the Ku Klux Klan chapter in his state. Instead of violently attacking the members or reporting them to other violent Anti-Fascists groups – He spoke to them. He befriended them, he listened to them and even visited some of their houses for dinner, becoming very close to a lot of their families. In doing so he managed to reach out to over 200 members of the KKK chapter and convince them to hang up their white robes and hoods.
This article, while incredibly positive and damaging to the far-right, was used against the cause of Anti-Fascism as a way to condemn our violent acts and was also rejected by members of the Antifa community as being too soft of Nazism and Fascism. This is not something that we should reject or belittle or allow to be used against us but something that we should utilise. Of course, there is a time and a place for acts of physical force, especially when defending minority groups, as many Antifa groups pride themselves on, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt to implement some form of diplomacy into our tactics.
Something a lot of Antifa’s seem to forget is that people of the far right are actually people. While to us, their views are disgusting, hateful and twisted, they are still human beings and helping them change their minds should always be the first course of action, if possible. It’s better to have a former fascist fighting for the far-left than an unconscious fascist, lying in the hospital bed with a few broken ribs and a refuelled hatred for Antifa and all this it stands for. As well as this, engaging with the general public will always help the cause – As previously stated, there is a lot of stigmas that surround Antifa and a lot of the public who know of the community view it as hateful and violent – while at times this can be the case, for us that are apart of it, we know it’s not the truth and by talking to people, we can help show them the true meaning of our cause and help them learn to support it.
Even if we couldn’t change the mind of a Nazi or help recruit a member of the public, we could at least take away some of the negative connotations that come with the Antifa name and put the movement as a whole, in a better light, which will definitely benefit us all.
– But remember – “If you cannot convince a fascist, acquaint his head with the pavement” – Leon Trotsky
In a joint Glasgow and Edinburgh Anti-Fascists meeting on Saturday 13th, it was decided to form a national network to counter far-right organisations across Scotland. This network is called Scottish Anti-Fascist Alliance.
The main decisions of the meeting:
* Scottish Anti-Fascist Alliance:
A statement of founding principles is being worked out, and will be ratified in a national meeting in Glasgow, date to be confirmed.
The meeting invited anti-fascists Scotland wide to join in this national network, and to set up local organising groups.
A website and national organising email list to be created, and will be published soon.
* Bolton Mobilisation:
The meeting resolved to go to Bolton via public transport the day before the demonstration (19th March), and to subsidise its members transport costs, however any members wanting to go on the 20th March should do so. It was decided to meet up with Manchester anti-fascists, and join with their Bolton mobilisation.
* Community Organising
To continue to support anti-racist community organising as a strategy to counter the far right, along-side street mobilisations
The racist thugs of the “Scottish” Defence League were prevented from having any demonstration at all on Saturday, because of the successful counter demonstration of the Edinburgh Anti-Fascist Alliance. Hundreds of us turned out on the day in a vibrant and exciting protest, to show the racist thugs that their bigotry and divisive hatred is not welcome in Edinburgh.
After congregating at the Princes Mall, we marched to the bottom of the mound. Once our scouts gave us reliable information about where the main meeting point for the SDL was, we marched toward that location. We went down the royal mile, dodging police kettles, and avoiding the attempts by the UAF to take us to the Scotland United Demonstration. We rallied at the Jenny Ha pub which was the main meet up point for the SDL, and the police quickly surrounded the pub as we arrived.
Our presence there ensured that they were not able to leave the pub to have their planned demonstration at the Scottish Parliament. Our actions made sure they were not even able to have a rally, as they were allowed to do in Glasgow.
The police were forced to put around 80 EDL/SDL trapped in the pub on buses, and they were sent out of town, many of them back to Glasgow, most of them back to England.
In other areas of town, seventy EDL at Waverly Station, who had travelled up from England were kettled in the train station by police. And anti-fascists chased a group of EDL who were attempting to get to the Jenny Or back to the train station, only to join their friends in a police kettle. After a few hours standing on a cold platform in a police kettle the EDL were all sent back to England.
Their efforts to have a racist protest in Edinburgh were completely disrupted, and we have left them demoralised. It is unlikely that there will be another SDL demonstration in Scotland, after our success in Edinburgh yesterday, and the success of the Glasgow Anti-Fascist Alliance in November.
Well done to everyone who turned out on the day, it is a great success that we should all be proud of!