It was third time unlucky for the EDL in Wales on June 5 as they followed up a weak showing in Swansea and a total no-show in Newport with a poorly attended demo in Cardiff, hidden away down a side street and massively outnumbered by the anti-racist counter demo.
EDL racists need to be advised of certain realities. A match day in Cardiff is not the best time to go around brandishing St George crosses, even if you have found a few Welsh friends willing to stand next to you with a Welsh flag. Nor is Wales’s capital city fertile ground for Islamophobia. Cardiff was built on immigration and has some of the oldest and most settled multicultural communities in the UK. The Cardiff City fans who caused the EDL/WDL such consternation by attacking their woeful gathering are evidence of this.
The huge contradictions within the EDL/WDL were evident from their own accounts of the event: if you try to rouse people on the basis of the most basic tribalism, it is hardly surprising when regional, local and national conflicts spring up within your ranks. The EDL is a movement devoid of a programme, attempting to fuse firms with a long history of mutual hatred, seig-heiling fascists and pro-Zionists, out-and-out racists with confused people who believe it is ok to solely hate Muslims. For all the EDL’s talk of non-violence, all that unites this movement is the desire to bully a minority, and every demo declines into racist abuse and attacks, Saturday’s being no exception. Had the small ranks of the EDL/WDL broken through the massive police guard and attempted to rampage into Riverside, Grangetown or Butetown, however, they would have found local inhabitants more than willing to defend themselves.
The EDL’s failure in Cardiff is no room for complacency however. Their numbers have grown markedly in other areas because their gatherings have been largely unchallenged by the counter demos. Anti-racists could do worse than study Leon Trotsky’s Fascism: what is is and how to fight it. Just as in the 30s, we need a militant movement rooted in the working class, uninhibited by the desire to keep vicars and reformist MPs on board.
Happily, the EDL/WDL had an uncomfortable day in Cardiff, but we need to plan much worse days for them to ensure they fade into the obscurity they deserve.