Football Lads Against Fascism

Discussion in 'protest, direct action and demos' started by Red About Town, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Exiting the Vampire Castle

    This is correct. But again, her point was about the class composition of those present - not their race or gender.
    Nigel likes this.
  2. jimmer


    Yeah my point was she's wrong about the class composition of those present. She says it was "mostly white students" and I've got no idea where she got that from. I joined the demo towards the very end and most of the people I saw that I recognised have fairly standard working class jobs.
  3. Magnus McGinty

    Magnus McGinty IdProle

    Using Marx’s definition (selling your labour to capital) that net can be cast pretty widely to include doctors, and journalists.
    Plus there’s people in ‘fairly standard working class jobs’ who also got their house bought for them by their wealthy parents.
    Nigel and crossthebreeze like this.
  4. jimmer


    Very true, although I was leaving the journalist I know who I saw out of the people I saw with 'standard working class jobs' and the NHS worker I chatted with the longest was a nurse and neither have had homes bought for them by their parents. I don't really want to derail this thread with a discussion of how bad some bits of McKenzie's article were.

    I hear FLAF held their own against a larger crew of West Ham and Spurs fans which bodes well for the future.
    Nigel and Pickman's model like this.
  5. emanymton

    emanymton A cat politely sat on the flaming gardener.

    How do you tell the class composition of a protest by looking at it?
  6. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    the same way people usually estimate its size, by pure guesswork
    SpackleFrog and emanymton like this.
  7. sunnysidedown

    sunnysidedown caput mortuum

    Ask a sociologist.
    dialectician, Nigel and Libertad like this.
  8. hot air baboon

    hot air baboon Well-Known Member

    shout Coo-eeee Tarquin and see how many people turn round
    Nigel, crossthebreeze, Sean and 6 others like this.
  9. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Exiting the Vampire Castle

    Perhaps by examining the stated politics and approach of those on the protest (which she does)? It is possible to understand something about the dominant class composition of a group without speaking to them all individually.

    Have you got any comments on the wider point she makes?
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  10. emanymton

    emanymton A cat politely sat on the flaming gardener.

    Is class determined by stated politics?
    Nigel likes this.
  11. Red Sky

    Red Sky It was like that when I got here.

    Can you post the text so the rest of us can see what's what?
    Nigel likes this.
  12. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Exiting the Vampire Castle

    Sunday, 14 October 2018
    British Fascism and the Fight for Working Class Politics: The Democratic Football Alliance March into Whitehall


    I spent a beautiful warm, and balmy Saturday afternoon in mid October walking between Whitehall to Trafalgar Square in central London, with wide open eyes to the consequences of 8 years of austerity for the poorest, and socialism for those with economic, cultural and political power. What I mean by this is since the banking crash of 2008 there has been a scarcity of resources for the British working class, material but also the resources that are connected to dignity and respect. The British working class whether we like this or not have always found their value, their inner dignity and their wider sense of worth from family, community and work. The austerity programme that has hit all social services- relied on to maintain working class life in an already unfair and unequal system has been severely cut, working class people struggle to find a place to live, the consequences is a breakdown in their communities, they struggle to find work that offers enough recompense to feed their children and put a stable roof over the heads of their family, and lastly the very basics like healthcare, welfare services, and education have been cut to the bone which has a massive impact on not only the physical lives of the working class but also how they see themselves in relation to how they are valued. (When I talk about the working class for those ready to jump all over this and purposefully misrepresent this -I mean all working class people, black, white, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, South American, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and everywhere else but whose homes and lives are in the UK).

    At the same time the middle class have seen and advanced their role in this deeply unfair and unequal Britain and that is through the medium of politics, culture and education. It is true that the middle class under the austerity programme may have seen their incomes fall, and are also finding it difficult to get on the housing ladder but they have temporarily substituted their economic capital for cultural capital with a large slice of that as political capital.

    The middle class through holding on to their safe territory of education have managed to colonise all political debate from the left to the right and everywhere in between, they have become ‘right and legitimate’ in all social, and political debate. This is problematic because it has left the working class has wrong as default and therefore must prove how they are ‘right’ but also how their voices can be legitimate. This has left them bound and gagged.

    The middle class use the notion of the 1% to explain inequality and an unfair system however this allows them to be uncritical about their own position. Allowing them to be in a unique advantage point they can look up and point the finger of blame and look down and either despise, blame or create victims for them to save.

    Back to London 13th October 2018

    I anticipated as I travelled to Charing Cross on the Northern Line another day of a couple of hundred people on two sides of an argument insulting each other over a thin blue line of coppers who are now a thin yellow high Vis line.

    To some extents this is what I saw, but I felt unsettled all day, and have since. We are not in the 1970s and the 1980s, the DFLA (Democratic Football Lads Alliance) are not the National Front and they are not fascists, my comrade Martin Wright who I was with recognised some of the people marching with the DFLA from the 70s and 80s who had been part of the National Front, the BNP, and other far right and fascists groups but they were a minority. What unsettled me was that a majority of those marching yesterday with the DFLA where there for many reasons, and I spoke to them why they were there, some said it was Pakistani rape gangs, others about Muslim terrorism and extremism, all of them talked about their fears of Shariah law. There was and is a definite anti-Islamic flavour in their words, however there was also a recognition that as working class people (which they identified as) that they were unimportant, their views ignored and their identities, communities and social positions were being devalued.

    None of this new news, and my fear and what unsettled me the most was not the thousand or so ‘activists’ on the DFLA march but how this plays out in the wider country and within class politics.

    The AntiFa Unity Opposition

    The Unite and AntiFa opposition has claimed victory, in that a little over a thousand people turned up and prevented the DFLA in marching on their police agreed and designated route to Whitehall to hold a rally. When I saw the two groups converge at Trafalgar Square there was nowhere near a thousand people in the Unity March a few hundred that I have to say showed a commitment and bravery in holding to their convictions of the day, despite being asked by the organisers to not mask up, bring their dogs (on strings) be hung-over or to drink on the march, all of which I thought was bizarre, and my message to the organisers that put out this memo in future join the Unite Against Fascism, SWP, TUC, Labour Party and Momentum along with the reporting Guardian Journalists at their village fair- that was out of sight and out of mind speaking only to themselves, their irrelevance is not worth any more discussion.

    The Unity march although admittedly had a small victory delaying the DFLA march on the day but actually looked totally unconnected and unrelated to the British working class, they were mostly white students, singing out-dated and generic unrelated ditties about keeping fascists off our streets, and refugees being welcome.

    The Football Lads and Lasses Against Fascism

    However there was some hope within this day that had totally unsettled me, and that was the newly set up group of working class people FLAF that had used a social media campaign to make the argument to other working class people in the last few weeks that you can be working class, a football supporter and anti-racist. The FLAF formed their own roaming group going straight to the pubs along the route and confronted the DLAF. This was a tactic taken straight from Football Firms (remember those on the march forming the DLAF are already organised and have been for generations through their football firms, they use tactics of taking over space using their oppositions pubs, they spread themselves out over a large territory using their own spotters, and crews, I know this I was married to someone that employed these tactics in his own support for his beloved Nottingham Forest).

    The DLAF appeared as a group on their march as a thousand mostly white men, although there was also black men, mixed race men and Asian men amongst their ranks, however there was probably another thousand in the pubs along the route. At the end of the march some of the DLAF carried rosettes and flower arrangements in their club colours mostly London Football clubs.

    The FLLAF looked like their opponents they were working class men, football supporters and understood and knew the tactics, they took the fight to the DLAF in the pubs but the police very quickly moved them out of the area with horses.


    The day was personally unsettling for me, because I am a white working class woman, because I have personal connections to ‘Football lads’, and to working class people all over the country that relate to DFLA and because my son is mixed race and many other people that I love dearly through a rise in far right politics are now vulnerable.

    But the 13th October 2018 around Trafalgar was a set piece, a show piece in what is a wider game being played out in the country and probably much wider. The left are smug, middle class, and always right, this is a problem and is absolutely fuelling conservative right leaning popular politics (UAF, Momentum, SWP, Owen Jones et al and Novara Media you are really problematic but too arrogant to acknowledge it).

    There is a wide, deep, pervasive and long problem with the British class system that reproduces inequality in the forms of economic, social and cultural resources; the current climate in the UK is a battle in how we acknowledge that inequality and how we tackle that inequality. The working class are losing and losing big in so many ways our voices are not being heard in any medium and the middle class are speaking for us, this is allowing right wing populism to totally ambush these feelings and experiences of powerlessness. Everyone may be claiming victory but only the usual suspects are winning, and that is those who already have a voice, a platform and power on all sides.
    mx wcfc and Red Sky like this.
  13. Red Sky

    Red Sky It was like that when I got here.

    Thanks. Pretty much Lisa McKenzie by numbers. Doesn't write all that coherently for an academic.
  14. copliker

    copliker ...

    Lisa MacKenzie of the working class fortress that is *checks notes* the London School Of Economics.
  15. Red Sky

    Red Sky It was like that when I got here.

    She is literally the most working classiest person there has ever been.
    Signal 11 likes this.
  16. eoin_k

    eoin_k Lawyer's fees, beetroot and music

    Lisa doesn't really do that though. She invites the organisers to stand in a static kettle with SUTR over the wording of a memo that was supposedly sent out. I'm not familiar with the details of this, but even her version hardly map clearly onto class politics. Dogs (on strings) sounds like a cliché about lifestyle anarchist subculture, and the biggest differences in attitudes to alcohol these days seem to be intergenerational. None of which is meant as a full defence of a memo (?) I've never seen.

    She backtracks on this to some extent whenever organisers have challenged her in the comments, although I can't read all of these anymore. (Not sure if some have been deleted or if this is to do with privacy settings and using a different computer.)

    Otherwise, the only reference she makes to the demo is about some of the chants. I think there is probably room for both disagreement and lessons to be learned about this. Off the top of my head, I know people descended from Kurdish, Jewish and Spanish refugees who were on the block, and others who have had more than their fair share of visa issues to remain in this country, or have concerns about how Brexit will affect their rights somewhere that they have lived for as long as they can remember. Perhaps, they don't hear the expressions of solidarity with migrants as quite so irrelevant to the current rise of right-wing populism. That said, it shouldn't be taken for granted that everyone on the block agreed with the tone of every chant, or that anyone was or should be in overall control of everything chanted for that matter.

    None of this is to suggest that criticism from her viewpoint should be unwelcome. But this needs to go beyond inaccurately dismissing the entire block as a homogenous group of white middle-class students. A bit of consideration about how to do this less divisively might not go amiss either, unless we're all happy that the Football Lads (and Lasses) have got this all in hand without the need for anyone else to get their hands dirty. Everyone I've spoken to has been more than happy to see the emergence of FLAF. Before this report the consensus on here seemed to include a degree of respect for the block, however grudging.
  17. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Exiting the Vampire Castle

    Think she’s at Middlesex University now.
    Nigel likes this.
  18. Serge Forward

    Serge Forward Utopian materialist

    The same way you can tell papers like the Sun etc are written by working class journalists with the right patter... oh wait...

    We're back to "working class as an identity" are we not?
    Nigel likes this.
  19. Red Sky

    Red Sky It was like that when I got here.

  20. Signal 11

    Signal 11 also programmed for conversational english

    I think this is the memo. It doesn't say anything about masking up but does have the other things she mentions.

  21. Magnus McGinty

    Magnus McGinty IdProle

    It has a very parenting tone.
    Nigel and SpackleFrog like this.
  22. Red Sky

    Red Sky It was like that when I got here.

    Packed lunch? Ffs
  23. Magnus McGinty

    Magnus McGinty IdProle

    Dress warmly. It’s like everyone attending are aged twelve.
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  24. MadeInBedlam

    MadeInBedlam Arm the mentally ill

    My eyesights fucked - at first reading I thought that said ‘don’t spliff up’
    Nigel likes this.
  25. Fallon

    Fallon Active Member

  26. albionism

    albionism A successful virus clinging to a speck of mud.

    So, erm, what's going to happen if a group of, say, West Ham FLAF
    run into a group of West Ham DFLA on a demo?
    Nigel likes this.
  27. DaveCinzano


    A load of claret all over the pavement
  28. xarmian

    xarmian Active Member

    Bit more about that from @libcom and @sisyphusa replying on the their thread
    Nigel and crossthebreeze like this.
  29. JuanTwoThree

    JuanTwoThree Back to the mug-shot

    I'm puzzled why this is any different from other times the far-right has had more than the hard-core support it always has. It's hardly a new phenomenon; in a sense you are in the 70s and 80s, or plenty of other times in history, if people are again supporting fascists without being fascists themselves.
    Nigel likes this.
  30. JuanTwoThree

    JuanTwoThree Back to the mug-shot

    The DFLA not the NF? It waddles like a duck.

    Nigel likes this.

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