The UAF strategy had been to mobilise nationally in an attempt to swamp the EDL turnout. In the event the UAF mustered between 1,000 and 1,500 and the EDL probably around 1,000. However, the strategy failed as the EDL succeeded in holding its rally, while the numbers mobilised by the UAF weren’t enough to even fill the half of the square the police had allocated for them. As in Manchester in October 2009, Mosque leaders had attempted to prevent Asian youth from attending the protest; however a large group did manage to join the demonstration towards the end, adding some much needed militancy.
The events in Bolton demonstrate that the UAF leadership’s strategy of calling on the state to ban the EDL and its events is both futile and counter-productive. Instead of acting against the EDL, the police has in effect begun the process of criminalising and banning the UAF. Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, who was in charge of police operations, was open in his praise for the EDL: ‘we have also seen groups of people, predominantly associated with the UAF, engaging in violent confrontation… I would also like to praise the efforts of the EDL stewards who worked with us in the face of some very ugly confrontations’ .
Unfortunately, this appears to have had no effect on the UAF line. After the police attack, Sabby Dhalu, the other UAF Joint Secretary declared: ‘the police's primary role is to ensure safety and public order. It is not in the public interest to allow EDL demonstrations to proceed. These so-called demonstrations should be banned’, while a shocked Weyman Bennett told the BBC that his arrest was not ‘a good sign for democracy’, that the police are ‘hostile to anti-racists’ and that their ‘neutrality needs to be questioned’. This position simply reinforces illusions in the state.
FRFI’s (Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!) position is clear: only an independent working class, anti-racist movement, independent of the British Labour government and its police force will be able to successfully confront racist and fascist mobilisations on the streets.
No to BNP! No to EDL! No to Labour!
No to all racists!
Don't vote, Organise!