Last night, Liverpool Antifascists held perhaps our largest ever meeting, in response to the events of 21st July, when the James Larkin Society’s anti-fascist march was aggressively targeted by hundreds from the English Defence League, Combined Ex-Forces and other far right groups. To achieve what had amounted to a nationwide fascist mobilisation, the fascists had falsely linked the Irish flute band with being “IRA supporters”, or simply being “IRA”. As we marched, cops made many arrests in response to fascists throwing missiles, spitting into the procession, and sometimes trying to break through police lines to reach us.
Yesterday’s gathering took place in Toxteth – the area we had assembled in on the 21st, and which we had marched through to reach town. The impetus for the event came from a Facebook group that had sprung up within hours of the demo, asking why fascists had been allowed to march through L8. This gave us some clues to how disorientating the spectacle must have been for people to open their windows and see so many Union Jacks being waved by the roadside, while the kerb presence of so many fascists and police must have made our ranks almost invisible!
Liver AF wanted to set the record straight, so we did that on the Facebook page, and took the opportunity to put our case forward face to face at the meeting. There was agreement that anti-fascism needs to “sink its roots” deep not only in Toxteth, but also throughout the city, if that Saturday’s horrible scenes are not to be witnessed again. Our central idea of “working class unity against fascism” was unanimously welcomed.
For the next couple of hours, there was much discussion about precisely how this can be achieved. Though there were definite differences of emphasis, if all the ideas expressed in that room are put into place over the coming period, in years to come the 21st of July 2012 will be seen to have been the making of Liverpool anti-fascism.