by Red Road
It is not often anti-fascist activity in the “U.K.” these days gets the media coverage, negative or positive, and generated as much debate on the left over the use of violence to deal with fascist street activity. The incidents in question are the particularly violent clashes at a motorway service station just off Maidstone in Kent and, for the third time, in Dover.
The previous fascist mobilisation to Dover (Organised by the National Front) was met with hand-to-hand fighting in a car park, delaying of the fascist march and flying construction debris causing several injuries on both sides. The numbers were roughly even and the event was neither a win nor a defeat for anti-fascists and likewise for fascists. Anti-fascist numbers would have been higher if it were not for a demonstration in Central London to support the refugees.
Claiming some warped and debased victory, but secretly feeling left in a sort of win/lose Limbo, the fascists decided to have another pop at Dover. This time both the anti-fascist mobilisation was to be much larger than the previous time and much more well organised. Previous lessons had been learned. Fascists ramped their mobilisation (Organised by the North West Infidels and South East Alliance) to be some sort of March on Rome but as we were to prove later it would not as spectacular and victorious as that, more like the March of Fools. Fascists were promising violence and wanted “red blood” (Yes, you heard that right) and mashed up Danni Brooks (the Nazi daughter of humiliated Nazi Ade Brooks) claimed that 90 odd percent of fascists mobilising for Dover were going to be there simply to have a pop at “reds”.
Friday 29th January 2016 was the day we travelled to London in order to prepare and get ready for the next day’s mobilisation in Dover. We were anxious about the next day but arriving a day early helped us to calm our nerves. It turned into a bit of a jolly but we had business with some other fascists to attend to later that night anyway. I received a tip off from one of our Kurdish socialist friends a couple of weeks previous about a possible street mobilisation on the evening of the 29th. This was to be an outing of clerical fascists, namely of the Daesh (IS) supporting variety.
A few of us agreed that on that night we would go and give them the same treatment we would to any other fascists, a complete no platform. We felt this justified on the basis of their Daesh support, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism; xenophobia and their vile targeting of Muslims not going along with their sick ideas (most Muslims that is). Such people also provide fuel for the state’s repressive fire. As is the case when it comes to all fascists it should be up to us, the working-class, to defeat fascists on the streets and in the political arena NOT by the actions of and appeals to the state. So anyway myself and another anti-fascist, on our way to an anti-fascist meeting, decided to go ahead as spotters and phone back for others to come when they had been seen at their mobilisation point. However on our way there I received a message telling me that night’s clerical fascist outing was called off. Shit!, some of us were waiting to have a pop at them but alas it was not to be. They were lucky but maybe not so much the next time. So we carried on as normal to our meeting.
The next day arrived and we set off in a column of 5 coaches bound for Dover. These were not the only coaches from London and elsewhere either, we were looking at 700-1000 on our side. We pulled into a service station just off Maidstone in Kent. People got off the coaches to go to the toilet and whatever else. I stayed on the coach and then after a few minutes I heard the sound of another coach behind us about to pull in. I got up, looked out of the back window and thought, “Jesus, for fuck sake”. From where I was it looked like a coach load of what looked like casuals so the adrenaline started flowing, no longer tired. Their coach pulled between the coach I was in and then they started to get off the coach. As they were stepping out of the coach I was in no doubt as to what they are, a coach load of Nazis given away by the Combat 18 t-shirt wearing bonehead. Then a matter of seconds later a scuffle could be heard and a fight broke out. A group of casuals filter off from the scuffle and circled our coach. I began asking around if anyone had any weapons, no one had any. However the circling casuals rejoined the fight in front of the service station building entrance. The coach driver, understandably looking startled, locked the coach doors. I went down to the driver and asked him to open the door so I could get out, he refused but then I demanded it and he opened the door and let me out.
When I got out of the coach a couple of smoke grenades had been let off near the entrance of the service station building where the main fighting was taking place. It was a scene of chaos, hand-to-hand fighting between the two groups. One of the Nazis had blood pissing from his face and so I went around to the main group of anti-fascists. Advances to and from each other with fists and feet flying, flag poles being used to batter Nazis and debris in the form of chairs, bins and stones began flying. The Nazis were well out of their depth, whom by now we knew to be “Chelsea” (An hour or so later learning that they were in fact Chelsea Headhunters). They probably though they were going to Dover to turn over a bunch of middle-class Corbynistas and hippies but they were very wrong. The Headhunters were receiving a lesson in stark reality. Fighting spilled out between the coaches.
They were taking a proper kicking and another Nazi head is split open when their own coach began pulling away. They all shit themselves and began running towards their coach rushing to get on. The coach stopped and some got on whilst some others stood outside in front of the side door. Anti-fascists rapidly closed in from two ends and floored a few of the Headhunters and gave them a good kicking whilst the others were almost climbing over each other to get into the coach via the side door. Whilst the fascists who had been floored were getting a kicking those struggling to get back onto their coach were being punched and battered with poles. As this was happening the fascist coach windows went through and side mirrors and lights smashed.
The Chelsea Headhunters were going nowhere now. Anti-fascists pulled back and got back onto our coaches. Sensing a small amount of safety as four of our coaches began pulling away a few of the Headhunters began to get off the coach again. They were incensed, the mighty Chelsea Headhunters had their arses handed to them so one took their coach’s emergency hammer and began smashing the windows of the fifth anti-fascist coach which was parked up (although not completely smashed). They threw bricks at the coach I was in, which just bounced off the windows, we were pissing ourselves with laughter. Then one bloodied Headhunter picked up a brick and threw it at our coach and cracked an outer pane of safety glass. What happened next was just disgusting, they went and smashed up a coach load of Russian school children parked at the same service stop. Horrible bastards taking their defeat out on innocent school kids.
Everyone back on the four coaches we once again began pulling away when the police turned up and stopped the coaches. We were then held on our coaches for the next 3-4 hours at the service station. After a few hours we were taken off the coaches and searched. A couple of anti-fascists were then nicked for ridiculous and false reasons. We were then put back onto our coaches and with Dover having by now finished, made our way back to London.
As we were a significant number going to Dover, we feared that those who had made it would get turned over. We could not have been more wrong. Whilst we were being held on the coach we watched the Ruptly live feed of the events in Dover. Militant anti-fascists had a decent turn out there despite being quite a few down due to the service station clash. On a couple of occasions anti-fascists briefly blocked the fascist march, delaying and creating chaos for them. The fascists were also being pelted with debris. When both those in Dover and those at the service station got back to London we learned that in Dover the fascists had tried to attack multiple times, but were repelled by hand-to-hand fighting with the fascists sustaining some tasty injuries as a result. These Nazis in Dover were not closet Nazis but unashamed out-and-out neo-Nazis, with stiff right arms in unison.
Ultimately the fascists were able to achieve their objective of marching in Dover, but not without heavy resistance resulting in quite a physical humiliation for them as their injuries show. Of course, the fascists are in denial, insisting that they won the physical fight, but reality and their injuries tell a different story.
As anti-fascists what this tells us is that, for the most part, fascism is no longer interested in achieving electoral success, as is the case with the BNP etc. They were beaten off the streets by Anti-Fascist Action, Red Action and others, they retreated to the ballot box and now, for explicit Nazis, the ballot box is no longer an option. They are out of the pseudo-Nazi closet and on the streets again and this needs to be met on the streets with a twin track policy of physical and political confrontation. The Nazis mean business and are not kidding about and neither should we. Physical force should be met with physical force: political force should be met politically: and when they try to organise culturally (Music etc.) we need to organise culturally. We need a working-class alternative led by working-class anti-fascists which will not just react but will pre-empt and prevent. We can see this slowly coming to fruition but we do not have time for incremental victories, the time is now.