Stopmfe would like to thank everyone who came out to oppose the March for England. The crowds of anti-racists and anti-fascists along the seafront vastly outnumbered a fascist march whose numbers have now fallen to less than one hundred. We estimate that over a thousand raised their voices and held their placards high in the area the police designated for protest with a Section 14. There were also hundreds of anti-fascists trying to block and challenge fascists as they assembled and dispersed from their seafront route.
March for England proved again to be an aggressively fascist affair. The pretence about celebrating St George’s Day, which never really held up, has been dropped for the thuggish stance of far right nationalists against anti-racists. Brighton, the ‘liberal capital’ of Britain, is their target because it is a place that embraces difference, where tolerance of all peoples, including migrants, is a civic virtue. We would like to think so. But, it was more noticeable this year as Stopmfe leafleted our city that March for England was taking place while racism was being mainstreamed. Just a peak at the posts by MfE supporters on The Argus blog show how many old school racist stereotypes have been dusted off the shelf and are back in use. Laments about loss of English culture are simple a reactionary attempt to turn the clock back to the mythical time of an entirely white society.
Of course, there were confrontations when March for England arrived in Brighton. Ignoring fascists is not option, at least not for those refuse to deny history. The big question about the rise of Nazism in the interwar years is always: why did people let it happen? Why did they wait for the terrible consequences of hatred of others to unfold? Let’s not just witness racism worm its way back into our communities; let’s not just watch fascism grow again. In true Brighton style, opposition to March for England was wildly diverse. Hats off to the man who stood on a rooftop playing a single note on a trombone. Great admiration for the beautiful banners: the rainbow colours of “Racists go Home” floating from a hotel window and the pink and silver of “This is Anti-Fascism” wrapped around the Clock Tower. Respect, too, for those who stood their ground as drunken fascists threw tables and chairs from one Brighton’s best loved pubs at them.
There were many different experiences of Sunday 27 April. Stopmfe has been gathering peoples’ views. Here’s a few.
View from crowd behind the police barriers: “There were definitely less of them, less March for Englanders, than last year. Those flag waving bullies were humiliated. You could see that, especially when they just turned around after a few yards and retraced their steps.”
On the seafront: “Has the message got through yet? We’re at risk of getting bored saying it year after year. I wouldn’t want to sick them onto any other place but they should fuck off from here. Can I say that?”
Top of Queens Road: “I don’t understand why half million was spent fortifying the seafront for a march that took a maximum of thirty five minutes, and that was dragging it out, then the fascists are just let loose on our city afterwards. Who thought that was a good idea?”
The North Laines: “For sure this was a day of anti-fascists versus fascists but to all intents and purposes it also looked a struggle between a young generation and an old one. Young people, female, male, whatever, were standing up to a bunch of middle aged men who had too much booze and we’re trying to relive their 1970s.”
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