By New Worker correspondent
THE SOUTH East Alliance – a tiny racist and violent splinter group that broke away from the Islamophobic English Defence League a couple of years ago, faced absolute humiliation last Saturday after boasting they were going to march in force along Cricklewood Broadway – but only managed to mobilise 14 supporters plus another three who were too embarrassed to march with them.
Their declared target was an empty shop in the Broadway that was rumoured to a communications centre for the Muslim Brotherhood.
And the South East Alliance (SEA), whose membership overlaps with another racist splinter group, the English Volunteer Force, had tried to make this march before, on 14th June, but found their way blocked by a strong local anti-fascist turnout.
Last Saturday the SEA support had shrunk while the anti-fascist turnout multiplied. Brent Trades Council was there with its banner, members of the Labour Representation Committee, Paddington Number One RMT branch with their big banner, North-West London United, Fascist Free Kilburn, Polish anti-fascists Dywizjon 161, Southall Black Sisters, Unite Against Fascism, dozens of young people from Antifa – with five loud salsa drums – plus many, many local residents who just happened to be passing and decided to join in with the anti-fascists.
SEA stood no chance of getting past that lot with just 14 supporters and three others who decided to just hang around in doorways rather than join their colleagues.
SEA leader Paul Pitt made his usual protests to the police for failing to clear the anti-fascists from his intended route – but without much conviction. Even he could see his position was ridiculous.
When his party was just 10-strong he decided to march at the gallop up to the pen the police had prepared shouting all the way. His followers straggled behind holding up to six flags a-piece because they did not have enough people to hold one each. But Pitt’s arrogance was all bravado. He dived into the safety of the pen quickly enough and from behind the steel barriers and a police cordon tried to exchange epithets with the massed anti-fascists.
But he was out-shouted by the anti-fascists, asking: “Where’s your demo gone?” and: “There’s many, many, more of us than you; we’re black and white and Asian and we’re Jew; there’s many, many, more of us than you.”
Paul Sillet from Unite Against Fascism, with the aid of a megaphone, was able to tell the SEA that no one there wanted them and that the bagel shop behind the anti-fascists supported them – as did many other shopkeepers and shoppers.
Finally the salsa drums came into play and the fascists were drowned out completely by the sound – and decided to go home.
But anti-fascists made the point that although it may seem hardly worthwhile turning out to stop such a tiny bunch of fascists, it is still important to do so because it is anti-fascist opposition that discourages the fascists from coming out.
If the fascists were allowed to march unopposed their numbers would start to grow. Now it will take Paul Pitt and his followers a long time to live down this worst humiliation yet.