Report of the anti-fascist protest against Saturday’s London march by the Football Lads Alliance

By Sonia Gable

Nice one all on Stand Up To Racism attempt at leafleting today, at Downing St, Paul Sillett writes.
Some good people have reservations about what we did but i think it was right, albeit a tough call. Moreover, the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) said they might get 40,000. About 10 000 is perhaps correct. Not good obviously, but as others have said, not the break through they thought possible. Moreover some FLA took the leaflet and were fine with us, others, many of course, weren’t. A senior CWU postal worker trades unionist and a GMB member were among those racially abused today. A large part of the FLA would have liked to attack us, clearly, eg the bottles and threats that were lobbed. This from a supposedly anti racist and non violent organisation…as for the FLA being family friendly, well they can dream.
Good of course, too on Kevin Courtney and Show Racism The Red Card, among others, for backing us.
In one sense, The FLA are also not very good with their strategy, eg they promised for weeks, a fundraiser with several household names from the football world recently, with an appearance of the F A Cup.
After intervention by certain people, from our side, one footballer withdrew, claiming he didn’t know anything about it. I believe him. It started to go all quiet on the fundraiser front, and it clearly didn’t happen, so one to us. They also promised 200 Ghurkas on the demo and about the same number of Polish overall that didn’t materialise, though some Ghurkas were present.
However FLA bullshit is not clever and may come back to haunt them.
Stand Up To Racism contacted Ghurka organisations who in one case at least put the word round their people to be wary of the FLA.
Clearly, whatever the final figure, the FLA represent the chance for the far right to get in there and start to try and recruit people. Tommy Robinson clearly knows this of course, and whilst it was welcome that the FLA twice told him to leave, other unsavoury incidents show the dark side of the FLA.
Open Nazis were on the demo, as people have said and were not throw off, the FLA clearly have the muscle and know who certain fascists are, so why didn’t they is the obvious question. Indeed more time was spent attacking Diane Abbott, moreover the fact no Muslim spoke on the FLA demo was telling. Several were asked to, and to their credit, refused.
John Meighan, the FLA’s founder, veiled threat to Diane Abbott and the rise in online Islamophobia on the FLA social media, reflect some of the venom that was levelled today, A section of the FLA, chanted Stand Up To Racism, it was hard to tell, but some were sincere, many weren’t…those who were sincere, i think were some West Ham.
Inter football firm rivalry for the most part was non existent, though the 200 odd crew from a notorious, London, firm who broke form the march and went off to Victoria, weren’t there to do early Xmas shopping, something was set up beween then and another Northern firm, as far as I know. Plod nipped it in the bud, so not all FLA unity then. I doubt this will be acknowledged on the FLA wall, we will see.
At least 2 reports from credible people say that 3 firms had a fight in Central London, post march, not good for the much vaunted FLA unity,
Promises of a large number of Rangers fans also didnt materialise. The big hitters today were around 800 each from West Ham and Spurs, a fair crew from Arsenal, about 50 from Newcastle, not the rumoured 3 coaches, about 60 from Leicester. Millwall too had a fair amount as did leeds and Queens Park Rangers. London firms made up the central organising of the march.
Best to our stewards who faced down intimidation from rump fascists on the march, the latter at least, didn’t have the guts to promote openly their filth.
The FLA’S trajectory goes more to the right, then. Their anti Abbott and attacks on the left say much. Certain chants were of course reminiscent of EDL demos, but many would reject the EDL, from the FLA, but not reject anti Muslim hate.
It’s a credit to anti fascists that the far right are so useless that they can’t get in and in any way shape the FLA, for now at least. The FLA did not get beyond a hardcore, which is important. However,as we know, we have a long road ahead and much to do…can I politely ask anyone who uses the above in articles /blog site give a credit to Stand up to racism eg about the fundraiser FLA blagged would happen.