How will this help?

Apparent arson attack on London Mosque (signed in graffiti: ‘EDL’). http://t.co/sD1IiokKjX And a ‘prominent’ EDL leader refused to condemn it. That’s pretty instructive, isn’t it? What a pack of thugs!

Watch out EDL – there’s a badger about

This is priceless. Not only were the EDL outnumbered by morris dancers in Newcastle and faced turnouts of only 1 in Cardiff & none at all in Exeter but also… In London they (& the BNP) were chased off by a group of young women dressed as badgers! Oh I wish I’d seen that.

White, working class & British 3: Similarities, not the differences

Masked EDL demonstrators

Masked EDL demonstrators

What the hell do you EDL supporters want to achieve? I mean really – think about it – what are you aiming for?

There is no way that any Abrahamic religion (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) can possibly be banned in any European state. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) prevents it. Even if the UK backed out of the Convention (an unlikely scenario in spite of Cameron’s rhetoric) you still wouldn’t be able to make it work.

The very thing that sets UK apart from theocracies (religiously run states) like Iran is our tolerance. Without that we’d be just as likely to end up as a Christian theocracy which, by the way, could be just as barbaric. Have you read the bible lately? It’s every bit as brutal as the Koran, which is hardly surprising since it’s based upon the same God of War.

Of course, many EDL supporters might complain that it’s different in Christianity – modern Christians are usually pretty moderate. And they’d be right – many Christians are moderate, but so are many Muslims. Have you ever wondered why so many Muslims choose to live in less radical countries like UK instead of Islamic strongholds? Have you ever taken the trouble to talk to a few Muslims and ask them? I have. Many Muslims are moderate – that’s why they’re here.

Of course there are some Muslim extremists in UK – but there are at least as many extremist Christians. I know – I used to be one.

wpid-1342295979.jpgHere’s a challenge for you. Go to your local Pentecostal, fundamentalist Christian church and ask the local congregation what they think about male dominance, about the wife being subservient to the man in all things. Ask them what they think about women speaking in church or about the rights of homosexuals. Ask them if the rules in Leviticus are to be obeyed (that’s a real eye opener) and then disregard their bigotry.

The fact is that there are bigoted Christians just as there are bigoted Muslims. But the Muslims that don’t like those rules – those awful prejudices – are the ones most likely to come to countries like UK where they can be free. These people are much more like you than you might imagine.

Just as you reject the more ridiculous rules of both Islam AND Christianity (you know – the bits about keeping slaves and stoning raped women to death), so do they. That’s why they moved.

And these Muslims have something that can be a great asset to UK society – they understand what religious oppression is all about. They understand it and they want no part of it.

Of course there will be exceptions. But then there are exceptions among the Christian community too. There are Catholics who oppose contraception and Christian fundamentalists who oppose sex education. There are Christian creationists who want our children taught only creation instead of evolution and there are Christian bigots who oppose equal marriage as though what other people do in their own bedrooms is any of their business.

There are also people who believe the world is flat because the bible tells them so but they’re hardly mainstream. So it is with Muslims.

And there are other things that we know about Muslims too.

• We know that many Muslims are hardworking and peaceful.
• We know that many Muslims are devoted to their families.
• We know that many Muslims hate terrorists and report extremism to the UK intelligence services when they turn up in their Mosques.
• We know that many Muslims are just like the rest of us.

So here’s a challenge – ask yourself just what it is that you hope to achieve by standing around in car parks and police kettles shouting obscenities about someone else’s God. And when you ask yourself – answer honestly.

• Is it about the people in your local Mosque or is it about your need to blame someone, anyone for the fact that you’ve been knocked back by an oppressive society?
• Are you really sure that you’re attacking the right target?
• Are you really sure that your methods are the right ones?

White, Working class and British 2: A little history

EDL skull masksIn one sense the current trend toward nationalism (toward fascism, to give it its true name) can be thought of as just ‘more of the same’. I was a teenager in the late 1970s and I vividly remember the abuses of the National Front (NF) with their violent rampages and attacks on black and other ethnic minorities. By the mid 1980s these racist thugs had morphed into the British National Party (BNP) in an attempt to develop a veneer of respectability to cover their abuses. It is out of the ranks of the BNP that the current threat, the EDL has arisen.

The English Defence League (EDL) claims to represent the traditional values of the working class. However even the briefest glance at the history of working people in the United Kingdom shows this not to be the case. My people, the working class majority, have always opposed fascism. Ours is a socialist tradition where all people are judged upon merit, not colour or religion, where a fair day’s work is rewarded with a fair day’s pay and where the vulnerable are protected by the people around them.

It was the white working class people of Britain who opposed Moseley and his fascist Black Shirts at the battle of Cable Street. It was the white, working class people of Britain who stood shoulder to shoulder with their Black and Aisan neighbours to beat back the National Front during the Battle of Brick Lane and it is working class whites who today stand in solidarity with their Muslim neighbours against the English Defence League and the British National Party.

The modern nationalist movement can be traced right back to the brown-shirted thugs of Baronet Oswald Moseley – a group of Nazi sympathisers who wanted the UK to join Germany and Adolf Hitler in his bid to subjugate Europe under the fascist jackboot. Working backwards from the EDL and UKIP we can move effortlessly back to the BNP and the NF, from the NF to Enoch Powell with his ‘rivers of blood’ rhetoric until ultimately we land on the doorstep of Moseley himself. This is far from a working class movement.

Baronet Ernold Oswald Moseley was a British aristocrat who thought no more of the working classes than did any other aristocrat, then or now. He saw working people as resources to be exploited, much as (arguably) the wealthy, aristocratic conservative party does today. And Moseley knew, as Hitler did, that the best way to exploit the masses is to pretend that you are on their side. This means finding a scapegoat to hide behind. People who are downtrodden will always need someone to blame for their misfortune. It’s better for the fascist to keep the poor blaming each other than to let them know that the real enemy is their ultra right wing ‘friend’.

That’s why the naive prejudices of football hooligan turned EDL leader Tommy Robinson (real name Steven Yaxley Lennon) was such a gift to the fascists. It created a vehicle to distract the dispossessed and prevent them from asking the really important question:

Why are we so downtrodden?

There have always been exploiters and those exploiters have always sought to scapegoat others as a distraction to hide behind. Let’s face it – even when Europe was essentially white there were poor people struggling to survive. The workhouses and mills of Victorian England weren’t run by Muslims – they were run by Christians who exploited the workers for their own ends. The feudal system that saw so many peasants starve to death wasn’t the creation of Islam – it was the work of white Normans (the ancestors of Nick Griffin of the BNP, as it happens).

EDL Islam is evil placardThis series then is written as much for English Defence League supporters as it is for anyone else. It’s an attempt to ask them to calm down and deal with the real cause of their dissatisfaction through the ballot box.

The real reason that working people are downtrodden in UK has nothing to do with Muslims. Nor are the current acts of terrorism the fault of our working class neighbours here in UK. There have been religious terrorists of all stripes for decades. Remember the IRA. Remember the Orange Volunteers. Remember Aanders Breivik. They were guilty of appalling atrocities in their day but nobody blamed all Christians for it. It’s equally wrong to blame all Muslims for the violence of a few.

If you truly wish to support the working classes of UK. If you genuinely want to improve the lot of disadvantaged citizens then stop targeting equally disadvantaged Muslims and start voting instead. If you genuinely want to combat terrorism then stop wasting public resources policing your attempts to defend empty car parks or smash up public houses. And stop beating people up just because they look a bit foreign.

Above all – stop firebombing Mosques, assaulting non-whites, sending hate mail, nailing pigs heads to places of worship and stripping Hijabis in the street. These tactics do you no favours – not least because you’re aiming them at the wrong targets.

Please stop being the distraction that prevents the working class from tackling the real problems of inequality and exploitation that concern us all regardless of colour, creed or ethnic origin.

White, Working class & British 1: Introduction

Sharper eyed readers will notice that I’ve made a few changes to this post. That’s because I made a couple of errors in relating my family history. The changes are to reflect the facts rather than my half-remembered (& inaccurate) romanticising. My thanks go to my mother for keeping me accurate.
wpid-Granda-at-17-G.-St-1978.JPGI’m a working class white bloke. My grandmother started life as a domestic servant and my grandfather left school as a young boy to be apprenticed to an undertaker. My great grandfather was instrumental in starting the first union in my hometown and was consequently ‘blacked’ by the local bosses. He never worked again.

My mother struggled to get herself trained as a teacher whilst bringing up three kids on a shoestring. I’ve been homeless, a busker, a care assistant, a barman, a salesman and eventually a nurse. I’m as working class as you can get – but I’m not special – and I’m not racist.

I’m writing this because I’m annoyed and I’m insulted. There is a growing sense of nationalism, of sectarianism and of racism in modern Britain that claims to represent me and others like me. The hard-working white people of UK, by virtue of skin colour, are expected to welcome fascism and racism as though it’s an indispensible, undeniable part of our group heritage. It isn’t.

In truth – nothing could be more removed from the heritage and traditions of white, working class Brits than the fascist ideal our grandparents fought against during the second world war. During that war huge numbers of ethnic soldiers wore British uniforms in a combined struggle against the extreme right wing policies of Hitler and Mussolini. Many others were our allies.

To say that I’m insulted though is only half the story. I’m also worried. I fear that the neoNazis of 2013 will continue to terrorize and abuse large sections of UK society. I worry that they will destroy all that the working classes have struggled for without ever realising how toxic right wing politics is to working people. And I am outraged that all this will be done in the name of ordinary working people, most of whom want no part in such abuse.

EDL giving Nazi salute because they don't know any better

EDL giving Nazi salute because they don’t know any better

Why the English Defence League (ELD) doesn’t speak for me!
I worry that the footsoldiers of this nationalistic rise, themselves working class Britons, are blissfully unaware of the wholesale oppression that their violence could bring about – not only upon those whom they mistakenly think of as ‘the enemy’ but upon themselves and their families. The current nationalistic, racist fervour is the thin end of a very large wedge. It’s a slippery slope that threatens to devour working people of all colours, creeds and backgrounds.

I worry that our working class youth is being hijacked into supporting the very same people who kept their ancestors downtrodden in the past. The divisions being created by right wing opportunists, aided and abetted (however unintentionally) by the alienated, the downtrodden and the disenchanted threaten us all.

Throughout this series I will attempt to explain why I feel so strongly about this nationalist, racist, fascist cancer and why it is so vital that it stops before UK citizens destroy everything that they hold dear.

The EDL attacks the wrong (soft) targets again

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Nazi salute from EDL demonstrator in Westminster today.

In the aftermath of Drummer Lee Rigby’s brutal murder in Woolwich the English Defence League continue to attack the defenceless. In doing so they show that they have far more in common with the terrorists they claim to oppose than they have with the overwhelming majority of peaceful British citizens.
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This group of Zeig Heiling neo fascists, known for their Nazi salutes, their violence and their drunken rampages are making real capital out of the Woolwich murder with their ironic (perhaps I should say ‘hypocritical’) claims of patriotism combined with the sort of thuggery more reminiscent of Hitler’s brownshirts and Moseley’s blackshirts than the Great British people. Britons have always opposed such disgusting fascism at every turn. And yet, apparently unaware of the ironic hypocrisy of their ‘patriotic’ claims these violent, street terrorists continue.

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The St. George pub in Bristol trashed this week by drunken EDL

To date there have been 193 anti Muslim attacks recorded by ‘Tell mama’ since Drummer Rigby’s murder including arson, vandalism and intimidation. Innocent muslim women have been stripped in the streets and the family of an elderly muslim man received threatening letters (allegedly from the EDL) shortly before his murder.

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The EDL is a racist, terrorist organisation committed to street violence and division. It has no place in a civilised society. Isn’t it time this movement of fascists was banned by the UK’s anti terrorist legislation in the same way that Anjem Choudhary’s ‘Muslims Against Crusades’ has been? Let’s face it – they spread the same message of hatred. The only difference, so far as I can tell, is that the domestic terrorism of EDL is far more violent than the MAC ever was.
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Perhaps the most eloquent comment I came across today came from @jjarichardson on twitter who said:

British Muslims honourably fought against fascism in World War II. Today, EDL thugs give Nazi salutes. I know who the real traitors are.”

And Farage claims UKIP isn’t racist.

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This guy from Worcestershire County Council is newly elected for UKIP. He advocates ethnic cleansing, summary murder of Muslim women and forced repatriation of Muslims & Jews. He also supports the EDL and thinks that using nuclear weapons for ethnic cleansing would be a good idea. But there’s nothing racist about UKIP. Oh dear me, no!

People are just people

Just a short point (may become a blog series in time)…

If we are to complain about Islamic fundamentalism, as the English Defence League never tire of doing, we must also complain about the abuses of Jewish & Christian fundamentalism. They’re all based upon the same God of Abraham (what Dawkins describes as “The bronze age God of war”).

Have you read Leviticus lately? Whatever charges of brutality can be brought against Islam can also be brought against Christianity and Judaeism. There’s plenty of stoning, sexism, genocide, rape and general nastiness on God’s part in all three religions. Fortunately though not everyone goes in for such antisocial practices.

The reality is that most Europeans (including European Muslims) reject fundamentalism in favour of a more pragmatic approach to society – live & let live. Let’s face it there’s a huge difference between Muslim & Islamist just as there is between Christian & Creationist. That’s why European law & the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regularly chastises the more extreme devotees of all three religious groups.

Let’s celebrate similairity instead of fighting about difference.

People are just people!

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