Brighton Antifascists (BAF) will give a short talk on mass community action against fascism, which will be followed by a 15 minute film (this is Not England, this is Brighton), and discussion. BAF believe that they have an answer as to what to do in the current climate, and want to bring their ideas to the table.
Mass fascist demonstrations are back. Over the past year we’ve seen the rebirth of a far-right street movement, with marches and rallies sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands. Tommy Robinson’s return to street politics began in June last year in
the wake of the Manchester bombing, and saw 3000 people take to the
streets. This marked a sea change from previous far-right demonstrations
over the last couple of years, which rarely brought out more than a
hundred or so people.
Mass demonstrations, whether marches or statics, have historically
been important to fascist movements in much the same way as they are
useful to the Left. They provide a sense of solidarity and a feeling of a
job well done, meaning that participants go home feeling part of a
broader movement and willing to put that bit more effort into day to day
The disruption of their demonstrations is of paramount importance to
stop fascist organisations from marching and building. The very presence
of any opposition at all totally changes the nature of a fascist event.
When there are opposing crowds, the police treat the event differently –
the fascists will be much more constrained, possibly kettled, possibly
evacuated out of town by the police. They are more likely to have a
boring shit day and less likely to come back again. Without opposition
they are free to pretend to be normal, mingle with the public, put
across their views, go drinking in local pubs etc. Therefore they have a
better day and are more likely to come back again in bigger numbers.
Brighton Antifascists will discuss why its important on mobilising
the whole community against fascism, and why it’s important to do so,
drawing on the their experience of opposing the March for England in
Brighton on four different occasions.
Mass mobilisation is far from the only trick in the anti-fascist
book. This isn’t an argument against squaddism, local electoral
politics, media exposés or anything else in the anti-fascist toolbox.
However, it is an important tactic, and it’s important to get it right.