Community unites against fascists in Cricklewood

by New Worker correspondent

ANTI-FASCISTS turned out in force in Cricklewood Broadway, north London, last Saturday to counter a demonstration planned by the Britain First movement.

Britain First is one of the fairly new Nazi splinter groups that has emerged from the decline and break-up of the British National Party and includes a number of well-known thugs who were considered too extreme even for the BNP.

One of these is Jim Dowson, from the occupied north of Ireland — a wealthy business man with strong ties to Ulster loyalism who used to fund the BNP until he had a spectacular falling out with BNP leader Nick Griffin.

Britain First had planned a demonstration outside a building in Cricklewood Broadway which they claimed was an organising centre for the right-wing Muslim Brotherhood. But their aim was to intimidate local Muslims generally and to raise their profile.

According to police present on the day, Britain First had not sought permission for their demonstration.

Cricklewood is a very mixed area with large Muslim and Irish communities and the local traders and shoppers were aware something was going on as the anti-fascists assembled in front of the building targeted by Britain First.

Many members of the Labour Representation Committee were there as well as members of Unite, and PCS unions and Brent Trades Council with a couple of banners and members of the Irish community. They had come not as a gesture of support to the Muslim Brotherhood but in solidarity with the local Muslims in general and absolute opposition to the Nazis trying to establish their presence in the locality.

There was a long wait for the fascists to arrive — all 28 of them led by Britain First chair Paul Golding — carrying Union Jacks and being marched by police at high speed from the local station where they had assembled and singing Onward Christian Soldiers out of tune.

But as soon as they reached their small, designated police pen opposite the anti-fascist group, the anti-fascist numbers multiplied instantly as members of the local community crowded around to join in.

The anti-fascists filled the air with chants of: “Nazi scum, off our streets” and “Black and white, unite and fight, together we are dynamite”.

The fascists also chanted and shouted furiously and sang the National Anthem out of tune but they could in no way match the anti-fascists either in number or sound. And their numbers soon started to dwindle as they realised there was no useful point to their action.

One of the fascists became so angry and excited the police had to separate him from the rest and put him on a “naughty step” to calm down.

Meanwhile from the anti-fascists, local Muslim youths, using the Brent Trades council megaphone, also urged the fascists to calm down: “You’re supposed to be a peaceful demonstration,” they said.

If anything the presence of the fascists prompted the local community, in all its wide ethnic diversity, to come together as one in opposing them.

Dowson himself did not appear, possibly because of bail conditions imposed on him as he is facing charges in relation to Ulster Loyalist violence over a change in policy about flying the Union Jack on civic buildings.