Monday, 25 July 2011 00:23
The Guardian's report 'Norway gunman claims a London connection and links to the EDL'
informs us:'Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the Norway killings that left 93 people dead, began his journey in extremist rightwing politics at a small meeting in London in 2002, according to his online manifesto, and may have attended a far right demonstration in the UK as recently as last year.In a 1,467-page document that contains chilling details of his preparations for Friday's attacks, Breivik outlines his UK links, claiming he met eight other extremists from across Europe in London in 2002 to "re-form" the Knights Templar Europe – a group whose purpose was "to seize political and military control of western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda".The manifesto, signed "Andrew Berwick London 2011", contains repeated references to his links to the UK far right group the English Defence League. On Sunday there were unconfirmed reports from one of the organisation's supporters that the 32-year-old had attended at least one EDL demonstration in the UK in 2010."[B]ar one or two doubt the rest of us ever met him, altho he did come over for one of our demo in 2010 … but what he did was wrong," said an EDL member online.In the manifesto titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, Breivik writes: "I used to have more than 600 EDL members as Facebook friends and have spoken with tens of EDL members and leaders. In fact; I was one of the individuals who supplied them with processed ideological material (including rhetorical strategies) in the very beginning."...It reveals an obsession with the Crusades and a supposed threat to Christian Europe posed by Muslim immigrants and mainstream political leaders. Breivik predicts a European civil war will take place in three stages, ending in 2083 with the execution of "cultural Marxists" and the deportation of all Muslims.'
The Guardian's report is likely to be damaging for the EDL in three ways. It may prompt the British state to be less tolerant of EDL demonstrations. It also threatens to embarrass many of the 'softer' supporters, who could be inclined to dissociate themselves. Some supporters are more dedicated than others - bad publicity (and it doesn't get much worse than this) can separate a broad layer of casual supporters from the committed hardcore. Finally, this can galvanise anti-racists to take action to beat back the EDL threat.
The key to defeating racist movements is the collective action of the anti-racist majority. The police and intelligence services can't be relied upon to deal with violent far-right groups and individuals - not least because the state is culpable in the Islamophobia which creates the conditions in which they fester. A sustained mass campaign against the Islamophobia which provides the breeding ground for the EDL - and equivalent organisations or networks elsewhere - is required.
The appalling media reaction to unfolding events on Friday evening - with a widespread assumption among editors, journalists and commentators that it must be 'Islamist' terrorism - served as a vivid reminder of the prevalence of elite Islamophobia. It hopefully shocked people into recognising how embedded anti-Muslim assumptions have become in the media.
Islamophobia, not only in the UK but across much of Europe, is state-led. A 'respectable racism' which has become vastly more prevalent during a decade of the 'war on terror', it finds its most acute expression in EDL mobilisations - and, even worse, the horrific massacre on Friday. We need to permanently turn the tide against this racism in the media, in politics and on the streets. Share