Sunday, 7 February 2016

Pegida group demonstrate at Birmingham business park

From Birmingham Mail:

One counter-demonstrator arrested for public order offence say police

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson addresses a rally in Walsall in September 2012.

Up to 200 supporters of the controversial Pegida organisation joined a march to a remote Birmingham business park today.

The far-right anti-Islamic group, which has been condemned by Birmingham’s community leaders, held their protest near to Birmingham International Rail Station.

Police were out in force for the event, as well as a counter demonstration by the Unite Against Fascism group.

A police spokesman tweeted: “Around 150 Pegida protesters mustered at Birmingham International train station ahead of rally. Police managing crowd of 60 counter protesters.”

There were no reports of serious disorder or injuries. A 39-year-old man from East London was arrested at the counter demonstation for a public order related matter.

Another protest against the group under the Birmingham Unites banner was held in Victoria Square in Birmingham city centre.

Previous demonstrations, by Pegida’s predecessor group the English Defence League, have resulted in violent clashes in Birmingham City Centre.

Solihull Police Commander, Chief Supt Alex Murray, said: 
We’ve been planning the operation for months; the collective efforts of our officers, Solihull Council, partner agencies, protest organisers and community groups helped ensure the event passed off without any serious disorder.

We had a large police presence on the ground, including protest liaison officers, in order to deal effectively with any issues. But we were confident the rally would be peaceful: our negotiations with Pegida representatives were positive and they stressed their intentions to express their views lawfully.

Disruption was kept to a minimum – Bickenhill Lane was closed temporarily to allow for protestors to walk from Birmingham International to the demo point but hopefully it didn’t hugely inconvenience motorists or local businesses.
West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, added: 
I would like to thank the police for their thorough, sensible planning which has helped ensure the event remained peaceful.

Protests like this have a knock-on effect on the force's ability to deliver non-emergency policing. I sincerely hope this is the last protest of its sort that we see here for a good long while. The West Midlands is a place where people live side by side happily…it is sad when people from outside the region try to undermine that.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

We can’t afford to laugh and dismiss anti-Islamic group Pegida

From The Journal by Julien Mercille:

Two protests are taking place this Saturday – there is bound to be a clash of ideas - 

PEGIDA IS A European anti-Islamic group that originated in Germany in October 2014 and that now has branches in 14 European countries. This Saturday, Ireland will become the 15th such country—an honour we should seek to reverse.

The establishment of the Irish branch will coincide with anti-Islam demonstrations in all of Pegida’s European branches, including at 3pm in front of the GPO on O’Connell Street.

However, there will be a counter-demonstration at 1.30pm at the same place, organised by the Anti-Racism Network Ireland and migrant support groups.

Protests on Saturday

There will certainly be a clash of ideas there.

Pegida stands for “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident”.

Initially a small amorphous right-wing populist movement, it has grown to 30,000 members. It is on the rise, manipulating fears associated with the daily influx of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries.

Last year, it made its first electoral gains by capturing nearly 10% of the vote in mayoral elections in Dresden, Germany.

Pegida’s founder, Lutz Bachmann, provoked a scandal when photos of him allegedly impersonating Hitler were circulated on social media. He has also reportedly described foreign immigrants and asylum seekers as “cattle”, “riff raff” and “a pack of dirt”.

Source: Lutz Bachmann/Twitter

His latest stunt was to pose with a t-shirt saying “Rapefugees Not Welcome”, the slogan of an anti-immigrant march organised in Cologne, Germany in the wake of the sexual assaults against women in the city on New Year’s Eve.

A few days ago, representatives from ten European countries hammered out a manifesto called the “Prague Declaration”.

It states that “the thousand-year history of western civilisation could soon come to an end through the Islamic conquest of Europe”. And it pledges to “not surrender Europe to our enemies. We are prepared to stand and oppose political Islam, extreme Islamic regimes and their European collaborators”.

Source: Markus Schreiber

Disconnect from reality

The group’s strong racist and Islamophobic tendencies are thus easy to see. Its total disconnect from reality is also laughable, given that Muslims remain a clear minority in Europe. Its claims of the impending end of western civilization is so ridiculous that one wonders whether some of its leaders, reportedly linked to neo-Nazi ideology, might not be using such fears to mobilise people for more sinister objectives.

Right-wing group Identity Ireland, which launched last July, is led by Peter O’Loughlin. He spoke at a press conference where he introduced Pegida UK co-ordinator and former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson.

Identity Ireland favours EU withdrawal, ditching the euro and stopping mass immigration. O’Loughlin will run in Cork North Central in the upcoming general election.

Last year, he won 930 votes for Identity Ireland in the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election.

All this being said, one important point should be noted. For all its erroneous statements and despicable attitude toward ethnic or religious difference, it may not serve progressives well to simply make fun of Pegida or dismiss it as a gathering of idiots.

Police officers observe a demonstration of Leipzig's Europeans against the Islamization of the West (LEGIDA), a group linked with the PEGIDA movement, in eastern Germany
Source: Markus Schreiber

Rise in far-right movements

Rather, it would be more productive to understand why such far-right movements have emerged in many locations in the wake of the economic crisis.

Think Donald Trump in the US, the Front National in France, Golden Dawn in Greece, among others.

Their common denominator is the rise in deprivation and unemployment over the last few years caused primarily by austerity and the accompanying cuts in public services. When things go that bad, it’s easy for opportunist political figures and the media to blame foreigners, immigrants and minorities for the country’s every ill.

For example, Pegida’s Prague Declaration mentions that “the regulations of the global elites have brought us poverty, unemployment, corruption, chaos and moral collapse. It is time this came to an end”.

It’s easy to see why this line is appealing to a certain segment of the population.

Therefore, progressives have much educational work to conduct to present the real causes and solutions to the economic and social problems we face. Those who follow Pegida are clearly angry at something, but have got their causes and solutions wrong.

Don’t laugh and dismiss, but reach out and organise.

Julien Mercille is a lecturer at University College Dublin. Twitter: @JulienMercille.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Rebels wanted!

The Common Lot are looking for actors, builders, singers, makers, costumers, ushers and other things to tell the tale of Ketts' Rebellion in 1549 - one of the most significant events in Norfolks' history. Written by Simon Floyd with Karl Minns of the Nimmo Twins it will tell the human story of the rebellion, using lots of chorus work, comedy, song and audience participation. 10 performances are scheduled, in and around the city's outdoor spaces this summer and it will form an important part of the Lord Mayor's celebration weekend. 

email:, take a look at the website and register your interest, or just turn up at the audition on March 6th at the Arts Centre, 1pm.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Celebrating Louise!

From Norfolk Humanists:

I rediscovered this photo taken on Thorpe Road December 2015. There I met Louise who whilst waiting for the bus helped clean up the half-eaten takeaways, beer cans and other rubbish at the Cremorne Road bus shelter. Such simple acts of kindness for the community are to be celebrated - well done Louise!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Racist Law Enforcement in England

From Dissident Voice by Linn Washington, Jr.:

LONDON, UK — Police and prosecutors scheme to secure convictions of persons who did not participate in any crime. Racial minorities disproportionately bear the brunt of this improper practice.

Sounds like too many cities across the United States.

However, this practice of racist law enforcement is also rampant in three of the largest cities in England, including the capital city of London, according to a report released recently by the Centre For Crime and Justice Studies of Manchester Metropolitan University.
The key findings [indicate] the criminal justice system is more flawed than we might imagine,” states the conclusion of the report entitled “Dangerous associations: joint enterprise, gangs and racism.”
The study documents that despite claims by police in Britain that young blacks dominate gang membership and thus are demonstrably violent, black youth were not those who committed the most serious youth violence. In London for example, police list blacks as 72 percent of that city’s gang members. But official data collected for the report stated non-blacks committed 73 percent of the serious youth violence in London.

The report found that prosecutors during trials of youthful suspects seize upon on the gang label levied by police to create the perception of criminality and boost their chances of obtaining convictions. Prosecutors often push non-crime related ‘evidence’ such as listening to rap music and texting friends, particularly in cases where the defendant was not at the scene of the crime…or even where the defentant may not have known a crime would ever occur.

“The language of gangs is conflated with serious violence,” report co-author Becky Clarke said when presenting findings of the report during a presentation at Parliament attended by members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Clarke is a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Clarke’s co-author colleague, Patrick Williams, noted during an earlier presentation that “just because someone is from the same area and is a certain color does not make them a gang member.” Williams is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The report leveled particular criticism at Britain’s infamous Joint Enterprise Law, an enforcement mechanism that is literally ‘guilt by association.’ Under this law imprisonment can occur for a crime that the person did not commit or even know about. While the report found disproportionate use of Joint Enterprise against blacks, JE is class-based and is being applied also against working-class and poor whites.

Center researchers Clarke and Williams called JE part of a “process of criminalization” that they said is rooted in race and class.

One often cited outrage under Joint Enterprise was the conviction of a blind teen whom friends took for a walk during which one person in the group scuffled with an older man, resulting the death of the drunken adult who, according to the evidence, had instigated the confrontation. Police and prosecutors asserted the blind teen, who is white, should have fled the scene by himself when he heard the fatal encounter escalating, despite his inability to see.

Patricia Brown knows the pain of flawed JE policing/prosecution. Her eldest son Tirrell Davis is serving a life sentence for a murder that occurred in March 2007 when he was at home. Davis saw a fight while walking home from high school but left the scene. A fatal stabbing later that day, which occurred during a continuation of that fight, led to Davis’ arrest and JE conviction despite his complete non-involvement in that stabbing.  
Brown said:
The head of the jury at my son’s trial was a police sergeant! How does that happen? 
Brown a member of Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association. JENGbA, which is an activist organization pushing for the repeal of JE.

During the presentation of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies report inside a meeting room in the Parliament building, both liberal and conservative members of Parliament criticized the law.

Robert Neill, a Tory Party member of Parliament’s House of Commons, said JE “does not operate justly.”

Stephen Pound, a Liberal Party MP, said, “
We haven’t said enough about the suffering of people swept up with this absurd law. [JE] is wrong at every level. This is injustice writ large.
Liberal Party member Andrew Slaughter stressed that even families of murder victims are critical of JE. 
Victims want to see people punished but they want the right people punished, not just convictions of anyone and everyone.
Over 3,000 persons are serving JE sentences, a spokesman for the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies stated. JE sentences range from a low of three years to life in prison. Surveys returned by 241 inmates during the Centre’s study found 21 persons under the 17-years-old age of majority who are serving JE sentences.

Investigative committees of Parliament have twice issued reports critical of JE. During that presentation of the Centre’s report, Lord Beith, who served on one investigative committee, said evidence indicates that JE reforms promised by the Crown Prosecution Service have been inadequate.  
House of Lords member Beith said:
Police officers are telling the public that you can be convicted whether you know of a planned crime or not. That contradicts claims by prosecutors and the government that [JE] needs knowing foresight. Joint Enterprise has inherent and dangerous weaknesses.
Centre researchers Clarke and Williams presented findings of their report at a community meeting in the Tottenham section of North London the night before their presentation in Parliament. Tottenham is where an August 2011 fatal police shooting of a black man sparked rioting that spread from London to cities around England.

Stafford Scott, the veteran rights activist in Tottenham who hosted the community meeting, said reading the report gave him the sensation of having seen such findings too many times before.  
Scott said.
Blacks and minorities are disproportionately effected by the way the state uses its power sources.  The young are given sentences longer than they have been on earth for crimes they didn’t commit. We need to get this Joint Enterprise law removed from the books.
Linn Washington, Jr. is a veteran Philadelphia journalist. His articles regularly appear at This Can't Be Happening! Read other articles by Linn.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Far right abuse of the concept of "peaceful protest"

From Exposing Britain First:

EDL/NWI Doing what they do best

Here at EBF we abhor violence. So do most of our supporters. We always advocate peaceful protest as part of normal, representative democracy. But don’t be fooled. The fact that we understand common decencies like non-violence and freedom of conscience doesn’t mean that the opposition do. On the contrary – the far right’s violent approach to disagreement is one of the main reasons why we need to oppose them.

It can be hard to explain just how violent these people can be and how undemocratic they are in their outlook. So we thought we’d let them speak for themselves.

This is a video shot from inside the ranks of the EDL contingent at yesterday’s demo in Dover. Despite accusations that peaceful fascists were attacked by vicious counter-protestors we can see that these drunken members of the imbibing brotherhood were far from peaceful (or sober). If this is what they think of as ‘Defence’ then we’d hate to see them attack.

It does seem to be true that a small contingent of anti-fascists also went looking for trouble and that’s not something that we at EBF can support. We understand it but we can’t condone it. The neo-nazis want to start a war. Violent reactions from Antifa, however well meaning, serve only to help them move in that direction.

But the counter-protestors in this video were most certainly not offering violence. They were protesting peacefully as is their right in a free society. Not that the English Defence League care about anything as trivial as other peoples’ rights. Theirs is a fascist ideology that cares only about power and the destruction of all opposition.

This is what happens when a group of pissed up neo-nazis come together. This is why we oppose them. They are not fit to call themselves British. They oppose all that is best about our democratic society. Far from ‘defending’ this realm they undermine it with violence and with brutish stupidity.

Please watch this video and the next time some far right apologist talks about how peaceful they are send them the link. Share this far and wide. Let people know just what is happening in our country. 

These people are far more dangerous for UK society than the 3 million Muslims who live, work and worship peacefully within these shores.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Pathetic far-right turnout yesterday still caused trouble

From Exposing Britain First:

The award for the least popular fash group goes to…

Today (Saturday 30th) saw fash from all over UK travelling to support their favourite thugs in Dewsbury and Dover. Folding Golding has spent the last month or so crowing about how popular his bunch of vagabond Biffers has become. He claimed that the newly created dance of division – ‘The Dewsbury shuffle’ would take the UK by storm, attracting hundreds if not ‘faasands’ (sic) of neo-nazis to hassle the good people of West Yorkshire.

Unluckily for him, Britain First wasn’t the only nasty bunch of neo-nazis out annoying people today. The National Front had organised their own antisocial soiree in Dover. Such is the skilful co-ordination of British fascism – they can’t even refrain from competing with each other. Or maybe that’s the point. Maybe today’s events were part of some perverse popularity contest to see which group holds the most sway over our nation’s far-right fringe.

So let’s have a look at what happened. Where did the rest of Britain’s bored bovver-boys choose to spend their time. They could join Britain First in Dewsbury which is actually relatively central (especially given how many of the far-right seem to congregate around Manchester, Newcastle and south Yorkshire) or they could travel to the South coast (a much longer journey for most) to meet up with the National Front. Which journey would you choose?

It seems that several of these disaffected drunken drones chose to go out of their way to join the NF in Dover. Many, such as these members of the imbibing brotherhood had to drive right past Dewsbury on their way South. That’s an extra few hundred miles in a minibus just so they could snub Grassing Golding and his combined force of a few dozen cockwombles.

The actual numbers (according to our spotters’ best estimates) were…

Dover 60

Dewsbury 119

The results are in. And it’s a landslide! The award for the least popular fash group goes to…

The National Front!

Grassing Golding hasn’t got too much gloating room though. Any genuinely popular ‘registered political party’ with 1,300,000 Facebook likes holding a rally in the middle of Britain should get way more than that. The Biffers have been advertising this for months now, urging people to join them and doing everything in their power to encourage a high turnout. Even with ALL their officers and officials in attendance they only just scraped into triple figures. Without all the plastic paramilitary ‘ranking officers’, division leaders, unlicensed bouncers, paramilitary style standard bearers and attention-seeking speakers they would have mustered far fewer.

That’s the real lesson from today’s fascist fiasco. Even combined the two groups (and all the assorted fascist groups who chose between them) couldn’t make it to 200 attendees. With massive advertising from both sides, an entire country to draw people from and enough geographical variation to make at least one of these events accessible for just about everyone they still got an embarrassingly low turnout.

Face it fascists – you’re finished here in UK. Less than 200 people between you. And as for Grassing Golding’s lot. That’s just ridiculous.


Violence flares in Dover

From Hope not Hate by Sarah Archibald:

Royston: Left his black girlfriend at home

Fascists and antifascists have fought each other in Dover as the far-right National Front and their supporters forced a small march through the town.

The far-right promised violence and they delivered it with rocks, bottles and other objects aimed at the police and members of the public.

Before people had even arrived in Dover, a coach from a London University was ambushed and attacked at a service station, injuring the coach driver.

Shortly after one o'clock, antiracist and antifascist protestors blocked the march route and sung the antifascist anthem '¡No pasarĂ¡n!' which translates as "they shall not pass."

The far-right responded with violence, attacking the police and trying to force their way through police lines to attack people.

Within fifteen minutes the police had lost control as hundreds of protestors traded blows. Antifascists forced the fascists to retreat. The police then used police vans to try and force antifascists away from the fascist march, but large groups broke away to continue confronting each other.

The police did not seem to be prepared for the intensity of the pre-planned violence, despite the far-right going out of their way to promise and boast of the violence they planned to use.

Fascists attack police

One of the consequences of the violence was a number of far-right activists being hit by missiles thrown by their own side. Countless far-right activists were covered in blood as they ran into their own side’s attempts to harm both police and counter protestors.

After an hour long stand off and running battles, police managed to restore some control and marched a small number of fascists to their rally point.

As well as being unprepared for pre-planned violence, one must also ask Kent Police what it is they plan to do about the speeches made at the rally afterwards. As well as congratulating themselves on their violence, a speech by Sunderland fascist Billy Charlton- quite clearly so drunk that he could barely stand- was little more than a bitter, vicious and foul mouthed rant against black people, in particular one black Labour MP that should be actionable by the authorities

One of many threats

Britain First fomenting trouble in Luton

From Patheos by Michael Stone:

Tensions run high as a “Christian Patrol” armed with wooden crosses marches through the streets of a predominantly Muslim area in the U.K.

In a viral video members of the right-wing party Britain First are seen carrying crosses, handing out newspapers, and confronting local Muslims at Bury Park in Luton.

The video description provided by Britain First reads:

Bury Park in Luton is an area notorious for Islamic extremists, ISIS fanatics, hate preachers and terrorists.

It is perhaps the worst hotspot in the whole country for Islamists.

In response to the recent imprisonment of an ISIS supporter (who is from Bury Park) Britain First carried out a “Christian Patrol” along the High Street and encountered ferocious hostility from local Muslims.

What followed was a shocking look into the Islamisation of our beloved country.

Our activists were attacked and pelted with eggs. Verbal abuse was rife. Muslims claimed they have “taken over” Luton and the UK. This is the future of Britain.

Huffington Post reports the tense viral video showing Muslims and Christians clashing has been viewed over 15 million times on the Britain First Facebook page.

At one point in the video the Britain First marchers yell:

Reject the false Prophet Muhammad and follow the true savior of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord!
Other Christians in the area spoke out against the Britain First protest, offering flowers to local Muslims in a show of solidarity.

This is not the first time the far-right group has targeted the Bury Park area. In June 2014 Britain First leader Paul Golding and other members were filmed storming into Luton Central Mosque and Bury Park Mosque to hand out leaflets and bibles, according to Luton Today.

IBT reports Britain First is notorious for aggressively confronting Muslims, patrolling London’s Brick Lane, entering mosques, and even tracking down controversial Muslim preacher Anjem Choudhary to his east London home before confronting him on his doorstep.

Watch the video in previous post -
(Image via Screen Grab)