The EDL claim they are not a racists but just a "grassroots mobilisation against political Islamism". Some of their members possibly even believe this is true. However their actions in Luton, Stoke and elsewhere show when allowed the opportunity they attack and intimidate people from Muslim backgrounds irrespective of these peoples political views. They have singled out Bradford simply because it has a large Asian population. The ranks of the EDL include open fascists and their chants are often straightforwardly racist. By demonstrating in Bradford they want to drive a wedge between working class people from Muslim backgrounds and the rest of the working class.
The EDL and other racists and fascists (like the BNP and National Front) do not exist in a vacuum. We are living through the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s. Working class people of all racial and religious backgrounds are being made to pay for an economic crisis created by the rich and their friends in government. We are suffering from job losses, massive cuts in public services and a long standing lack of decent housing. The EDL and other racists are feeding on the despair this causes and they grow by scapegoating other working class people
who happen to be Muslim or from a Muslim background.
So far the "mainstream" anti-fascists and anti-racist groups have had little to say about the causes of the growth of racism and fascism. Groups like Unite Against Fascism and Hope Not Hate actually link up with the politicians and millionaires who helped create the poverty and despair the EDL feed off. They work with the state whose racist immigration laws, control orders and stop and search policies have openly discriminated against people from Muslim backgrounds. They also have often courted self appointed "community Leaders" who claim to speak for all Muslims but who in fact only speak in their own self interest. At times they have downplayed the fight for sexual equality and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights so as not to offend bigoted religious "leaders". These politics and tactics are not only wrong they have failed to halt the growth of the EDL. This is why we are organizing independently of these two groups.
Hope Not Hate are circulating a petition to ban the EDL's rally in Bradford. Whilst we agree with the motivation behind this we cannot rely on the state to ban the rally. Firstly because these laws will be used against the workers movement and the anti-racists ourselves, secondly because we cannot sow illusions in the idea the police will always protect people against the EDL. The only way we can be sure the EDL pose no threat is a mass mobilizations of working class people against them. It is down to us to oppose the EDL on the day and send them home to think again.
That's why we're organising a mobilisation against the EDL in Bradford. This is based on independent working class self organisation. We will oppose the racism of the EDL, but we are also against assaults on all working class people by the boss class. We are mobilizing against racism and religious discrimination but also against sexism, homophobia and all other forms of bigotry. We seek to unite people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds under the banner of working class unity, working class politics and secularism. Bradford needs to be the place where the rise of the EDL is stopped once and for all by a mass united working class opposition.
We will be assembling in inner-city Bradford from 11AM on Saturday the 28th of August. Details TBC