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Saturday, 15 May 2010

The Bolton Anti-English Defence League Revolt

[Left: the chap in the glasses
is Martin 'Quasimodo' Smith,
official arsehole of UAF. The
guy being manhandled is a
"violent Fascist Bigot" out

Early this morning (May the 15th), UAF campaigners held what they called a ‘vigil’ outside Bolton police station to support a 'colleague' who was arrested during the EDL demo there in March. This colleague was arrested for assaulting a police officer during the UAF counter-demo. He was an ‘outsider’ from Newcasctle. UAF outsiders are acceptable outsiders… to UAF outsiders.

It's no surprise, then, that UAF was very upset by this little example of capitalist tyranny. But there are problems with the UAF position on all matters to do with the police.

It must be very hard to criticise the police for specific wrongs (such as this) when all the while you think that the police as a whole is nothing more than "a tool of the capitalist state". So when Dr Rhetta Moran, the joint secretary of Greater Manchester Unite Against Fascism and general busy-body (Google her, she’s well-known to the people who know her well), says that on the day of the Bolton demo she witnessed "extraordinary policing", you don’t know how to take her. (With one or two pinches of salt?)

On that day in March, 55 members of UAF were arrested, compared with nine EDL demonstrators. Dr Rhetta Moran clearly thinks that it should have been the other way around. (That’s a surprise.) But if the police are really ‘tools of the state’, or ‘the upholders of the capitalist system’, then she can hardly be surprised when they arrest active revolutionaries from UAF. So either her shock at the arrests and the police behaviour was faked or it was simply cynical. You can't slag off the police (in that blanket Trot manner) and then also pretend to expect better from them. That's if you think (as Moran probably does and other UAF members certainly do) that being biased towards EDL demonstrators is just one example of the police being ‘a tool of the state’. Biased towards the EDL? Pull the other one! Ask Snowy and Leon of the EDL what they think of that. Is this yet another Trotskyist pill that's very hard to swallow? But, then again, it’s theory that matters to socialist revolutionaries, not reality.

Of course someone may now say, in Moran’s defence, that:

Dr Rhetta Moran is joint secretary of Greater Manchester Unite Against Fascism, not Greater Manchester Socialist Workers Party.
Is there a difference? Not really. The SWP formed UAF and still more or less runs it. It also provides most of the propaganda, banners, etc. Still,

UAF has many non-leftist members.
Really? Don’t you mean signatories, such as David Cameron and Teddy Taylor?

So you think that Teddy Taylor and David Cameron are Trotskyists too?
What is a UAF signatory? It's often a person who spends precisely ten seconds signing a UAF form given to him or her by a civil servant of some kind. Then the rest of all UAF business is left to the SWP and other hard-core Trots. So no; I don’t think that Cameron and Teddy Taylor are Trotskyists, closet or otherwise. Their problem was that they wanted to be seen as anti-racist and anti-fascist hipsters by the yoof. Don’t we all? The trouble is, people like Cameron and Teddy Taylor should spend a little more time reading the small print of the documents they sign and do some more research into the groups they support. In any case, I reckon that David Cameron, for example, hasn’t spent an extra second thinking about the virtues of UAF after his initial ten-second signature. However, I have a feeling that he may now have thought a little more about the many vices of UAF. Indeed is he still a signatory at all? Does his being a signatory actually make much of a difference to anything other than to UAF’s self-publicity and propaganda?

One of the banners which the UAF held up during its vigil outside Bolton’s Scholey Street police station said: "Opposing Nazis is no crime." Nice. You can already hear this becoming another UAF cliché. They're fond of clichés. You’ll recognise these: ‘Fascist bigots.’ And the variant: ‘Racist bigots.’ As well as the classics: ‘Community cohesion’ and ‘Embrace diversity’. And now we have: "Opposing Nazis is no crime."

Opposing Nazis may not be a crime. Opposing people who aren’t Nazis in the first place (that is, the EDL), and doing so with fists and rampages through the street, is usually deemed a crime. UAF should know at least that much about "capitalist law". And it's strange. The SWP-UAF also upholds the hypocritical position of seeing the police as "protectors of commodity capitalism" (or some other Marxist cliché) at the same time as expecting - and even demanding - that this very same police force should come down with all its might against the EDL and other such ‘Nazis’. So is the police "a tool of the capitalist state" or isn’t it? I suppose it depends on which ideological point UAF wants to get across at a specific time. In any case, "truth is also a tool of the imperialist hegemony"... blah de blah de blah, qua qua qua.

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