THE FAR-RIGHT group, Generation Identity (GI), which promotes a new version of eugenics, planned to hold a “European conference” in London last Saturday. Details of the venue were kept secret until the last minute to try to foil anti-fascist protests.
Their problems began on Friday when two of the main speakers, Martin Sellner, an Austrian activist, student and the leader of the "New Right" Identitarian Movement of Austria and part of the alt-right movement, and Hungarian activist Abel Bodi Rex, were detained at Stanstead airport and barred from entering Britain.
On Saturday anti-fascists were monitoring venues and tube stations across London. Through the help of trade unionists from the RMT union, various places thought likely to be used by GI were under watch. News came through in the early afternoon that GI were in the Stage Community Arts Centre in Sevenoaks, Kent.
A quick phone call to the trustees of the Stag Community Arts Centre led to the well-heeled young members of GI being turned out by the management just as anti-fascists from London arrived to join local anti-fascists in Sevenoaks.
Ex-Britain First thugs providing security for GI tried to throw their weight around in their displeasure but were rebuffed. Disgruntled far-right individuals took to YouTube to whinge about supposed anti-fascist attacks on free speech.
Scuffles in the car park ensued and were broken up by police as the members of GI wandered around trying to find a new venue, or even somewhere they could get a drink; they found themselves barred from all the pubs in town. The Stag Community Centre people had put the word around.
Sellner was central to the far-right “Defend Europe” campaign last summer, which tried to stop boats attempting to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean. His mission ended in failure – ironically, after getting into distress off the coast of Libya, Sellner and others were saved by a refugee rescue boat.
Despite GI's hype and internet promotions, they attracted fewer than 60 to their “conference”. Overnight, some who had paid the nearly £50 attendance fee complained to GI that they had not received confirmation of conference details. The live feed of GI’s day periodically failed and has few followers.
Overall the day was a disaster for the racists and a success for anti-fascists.
Meanwhile John Meighan, founder of the Football Lads Alliance (FLA), has left the FLA and handed over the leadership of the group to a ‘new Admin team’.
Anti-racists’ activity has clearly played a role bringing pressure on Meighan and the FLA over recent months that has revealed their real agenda.
But they warn that nobody should believe that the threat the FLA poses has weakened or disappeared. If anything, John Meighan’s departure could smooth the tensions that have led to splits and arguments amongst the FLA’s supporters.
Recent articles in the Observer and Times newspapers have exposed the racism at the heart of the FLA project.
The FLA’s turnout on its recent Birmingham march was also a factor in Meighan’s departure. Originally the mobilisation was flagged up as a 20,000-strong protest but in reality they mobilised around 1,500.
This led to increasing criticisms of Meighan’s leadership of the ‘movement’. He also faced accusations of financial mismanagement of funds.
The FLA has moved sharply rightwards since its initial mobilisation in London last summer in the wake of a wave of terror attacks. It initially claimed to be against all extremism, and to be neither of the left nor the right.
But it has moved in an increasingly Islamophobic and racist direction. Posts on the FLA’s secret Facebook wall have included horrible racism and Islamophobia, and violent threats against Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
The FLA has been attracting far-right elements, and increasingly John Meighan offered his support to far-right figures and mobilisations.