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Monday, 28 February 2011

Bradford's response to the EDL

Today I went to a screening of Just West Yorkshire's documentary about the English Defence League's demo in Bradford last summer. It is a remarkably positive film that shows that Bradford has a lot to offer as an example of how to resist fascism. Everyone expected a riot, the media, the nation, the far right, but Bradford offered another reaction. It chose non-violence.

It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty - there were terrible fall outs amongst the anti-fascist community. The animosity between the 'Hope not Hate' group and virtually every other type of response nearly derailed a lot of good community relations built up over the years.

The Police did an amazing job. When they realised that the line they had been thrown about the 'We Are Bradford' campaign (separate but connected to the Unite Against Fascism national group) was not accurate, the police quickly changed tactics. In Bradford, they listened to the activists.

Our political leaders showed a lot of arrogance during the run up to the EDL gathering, but I do have a growing respect for Ian Greenwood, the leader of council. He is completely honest, even if we do disagree on many issues.

For all our differences, all the approaches, from 'Bradford Women for Peace' to 'Bradford Together's' petition to ban the march, all the strategies worked together in a remarkable synergy. God must have been watching over us that day, because despite ourselves, we managed to turn the EDL's plan of the 'Big One' into their complete 'Big Utter Failure'.

My book looks at the churches reaction to the EDL incursion into our city, and concludes that we must do all we can to support all non-violent responses to the far right. Bradford stands stronger because of this commitment.

2 comments:

  1. So the main issue is to offer a response to the 'far right', big exaggeration if I've ever heard one, but nothing is said about the Muslim problems?
    Their racism, their deliberate segregation from British society, their lack of support for British troops, their belief in a bizarre religion featuring a warrior prophet who marries and fornicates with a child, orders the massacring of an innocent Jewish tribe (women and children included).

    Nothing is said about all of this?!

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  2. Dear Andy, as tempting as it is to simply delete your comments, I think the hatred and mindlessness speak for themselves. I ask if we can meet in person, as I cannot have a conversation with an anonymous person. In my prayers.

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