The increasingly fascist Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) saw its numbers massively dwindle on Saturday Oct 13th in central London. While also being seriously outnumbered by anti fascists for the first time.
Generous estimates are saying that what is left of the DFLA mobilised between 1,500 & 1,800 mainly white, middle-aged hooligan has-beens. Considerably less than a third of their previous turnouts, which were down from other DFLA & FLA events since their inception after the low-tech London Bridge terror attacks by supporters of ISIL. The expensive wreaths paid for by hooligan firms from every premiership team on previous marches were reduced to just 3 extremely cheap & nasty arrangements from what must have been the florist’s answer to Poundland. The rightwing veterans groups marching in their blazers & with medals on display were nowhere to be seen. The ‘silent march’ was more a shuffle and its participants looking extremely bored throughout.
Eventually after some considerable delays (more about that later) they reached their rally at Whitehall. Much of their funding appears to have gone as the stage, giant screens and PA system that was seen at previous rallies was replaced by a trailer with a speaker system, that failed half way through, to add to their woes. Not that most of them would have noticed as the majority of the racists retired straight to the pubs upon arrival. Leaving just a few hundred to talk over insomnia curing speeches from a far smaller range of groups than before.
Meanwhile in Westminster up to 2,000 Trade Unionists & anti fascists marched from Old Palace Yard to Whitehall in an inclusive protest to hear a range of speakers from a different community groups & unions.
Although not a confrontational mobilization appropriate measures were taken to ensure the safety of participants. Previously DFLA supporters & assorted fascists had showed up for trouble at this location. For this occasion robust stewarding was provided by: UAF, RMT, FBU, other unions and some experienced anti fascists from back in the day. This time attempts at having a go by known racist football lads from Leicester, Tottenham & Millwall were pretty half hearted. Had they actually bothered to push their way through what were flimsy police lines, it would have gone very badly for them.
Fantastic display of resistance today against the racist DFLA along with huge anti-fascists protests in Berlin
NEXT SAT: Conference: How do we defeat the rise of fascism & racism?
Book now – tickets selling fast! https://t.co/VBWsq2UNhphttps://t.co/eHP5uIzmv7
— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) October 13, 2018
Two miles north at Portland place 1,500 militant antifascists were gathering for a unity march supported by the Anti Fascist Network, Plan C and others. There was no prior arrangement with the Police and feminists, organized over many weeks, by Women’s Strike and others, led the march.
The procession, which contained a couple of sound systems, proceeded at exactly the right pace to ensure that it that it blocked the route of the advancing DFLA who were being closely monitored by spotters. Faced with a determined and disciplined group blocking the official route of the fascists journey to Whitehall. The police opted to reroute the racists instead of trying to move the opposition who by now were chanting a deafening chorus of ‘No Pasaran!’ at them.
Unlike the antifascists the DFLA were pretty lightly policed and sizable group managed to break through a weak blue line with pretty much a clear space between them and their enemies. For weeks prior to this event they had been boasting about how ANTIFA were going to be “smashed off the streets”. But after seeing the size of the opposition they seemed to have second thoughts and allowed the cops plenty of time, to push them back, to their new route.
Today's anti-fascist unity demo, led by a militant feminist bloc, outnumbered and blocked the DFLA march, forcing the police to delay, kettle and reroute them.
This was a massive turning of the tide against the far-right.
Thank you everyone!
— Anti-Fascist Network (@AntiFascistNetw) October 13, 2018
The UNITY protest continued to block Haymarket until the DFLA had been chaperoned by their state protectors back into Whitehall. Job done, they proceeded into Trafalgar Square where small groups of outnumbered and humiliated fascists attempted to heckle them with childish abuse and ‘seig heils’ from behind the safety of police lines.
The site of a protest led by young women was clearly too much for some of them whom unsurprisingly started shouting misogynistic abuse including rape threats. This was hardly in keeping with the ‘Justice For Women & Children’ banner that they had been marching behind earlier. But it is not like anyone is convinced by their supposed opposition to grooming gangs. Their rhetoric about cases like Rotherham & Telford is just a cover for their racism. Made all the more obvious by their deafening silence over white rapists & paedophiles including the very well documented cases within their own ranks.
The march eventually headed into the strand and then across Waterloo Bridge to disperse south of the river on their own terms. There were no arrests or injuries to anti fascists recorded. At least one attempt by police at making an arrest was thwarted by the discipline of the marchers.
Another welcome addition to the struggle against the resurgent far right is the recent emergence of Football Lads & Lasses Against Fascism. For the past few months they have steadily built an online forum for football fans who are disgusted by the idea of fascists setting any kind of agenda at clubs. Stickers that have been produced have been well received and snapped up by fans in their thousands, many designing their own incorporating the logos of their individual teams. They leafletted several clubs in the run up to Saturday and on the day they organised around 200 anti fascist casuals who cooperated with the other two protests but organised separately and scored a few hits against the fash (see report number 12 below). Their cat & mouse tactics certainly proved to be a headache for the police. It was an impressive showing for their first organised outing and they have the potential to grow and provide a space for fans to oppose the leeches who try to politicise the game for the benefit of class enemies. More about them here: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
To summarise Saturday was an important step forward for all who oppose the politics of hate and division. The mobilisations in London catered for anti fascists of all tastes and persuasions. The DFLA have been quick to start blaming each other for how badly the day went for them and infighting among a splintering far right is always a welcome sight. However there is little room for complacency. They will shortly be regrouping to support fascist poster boy Tommy Robinson at the Old Bailey on October 23rd. Counter protests are being organised against them. Watch this space.