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  • Published in Opinion
Far-right activist Tommy Robinson who is serving a 10-month prison sentence for contempt of court. Photo:  Andy Thornley

Far-right activist Tommy Robinson who is serving a 10-month prison sentence for contempt of court. Photo: Andy Thornley

Saturday's far right demonstration in support of Tommy Robinson must be opposed directly on the streets

On Saturday 14 July the combined forces of the far-right will return to the streets of London, marching in support of the imprisoned former leader of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson. It is imperative that the left is organised to stop them.

The same forces, comprised of the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, For Britain and other such groups, mobilised on 9 June, bringing 15,000 people to their rally at Whitehall. On that occasion, they greatly outnumbered anti-fascist forces.

While it is unclear whether the far-right will be able to mobilise as many people on 14 July, we should be focused on matching them. It is crucial that anti-fascist movements, Labour and the wider left unite and work tirelessly together to ensure a strong opposing force in London for the day. 

In previous decades of far-right mobilisations, the left ensured thousands of anti-fascists were there to meet them. Yet, 9 June’s mismatch illustrated what can happen if those on the left are not united and organised around stopping the far-right.

While the parliamentary far-right is in its weakest position for a generation, the Democratic Football Lads Alliance has successfully grown in prominence in recent months, rallying behind the campaign to ‘free Tommy Robinson’ and selling themselves as defenders of free speech to distract from their overt Islamophobia.

They have also been emboldened by the success of far-right figures across Europe and the wider world, with Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders speaking at the 9 June demo.

At Unite’s conference, Len McCluskey made a welcome intervention on the subject. In his speech, he urged the trade union movement to tackle the rise of the DFLA head on. Indeed, trade unions must play a big part in opposing the group and its activity.

It is vital that Labour, anti-fascist groups and the wider left come together to mobilise around the 14 July. It is only united that we can oppose the far-right and stop the tide.

Unity protest against Tommy Robinson, Trump and the far-right assembles at 1pm at Old Palace Yard, Westminster. Find more details on Facebook

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