Antifascists from Portsmouth traveled to slough Yesterday (Saturday 1st Feb) to oppose the dwindling EDL, whilst a good time was had by all, we unfortunately spent most of the day opposing the EDL’s private security firm, The Police. Hopefully some thoughts and info from the day will follow, but for now here’s an open letter to the Police from a good friend of Portsmouth Antifascists who has since moved away, but who’m we met up with yesterday:
I’m pretty sure that, if you bothered to meet me, you’d quickly cast me as
exactly the type of person you’d expect to stand politely in a pen while
you march racists up and down the high street. A ‘white’ woman with a
degree and no criminal record, not exactly what you would call physically
imposing, more often laughing than not. If you randomly met me in a
setting where you weren’t protecting fascists, you might think I seemed
nice, and if someone told you I was an activist, you might object that
surely, I was too nice for that. You wouldn’t be the first, and you know
what, you are right. I am nice, and that is exactly why I am out there
opposing that fascism you so happily protect, even though you have me at a
disadvantage in nearly every way.
You are twice as big as me, you are trained in combat and shooting, you
are armed and shielded to the teeth and you are even prepared to abuse
dogs and horses in order to attack us. No wonder we terrify you, standing
there with no other protection than the strength of our conviction that
racism and fascism need to be fought.
It’s not hard to guess why you would protect the fascists and target us.
They are authoritarian, we are not. Seeing as you fancy yourselves an
authority—and I can understand why, what with all the weapons and
state-sanctioned violence—it’s only logical that you’d protect them.
Still, I wonder, how does it feel when the crowd chants ‘Who protects the
nazis? The police protect the nazis!’ Do you actually tell yourselves
you’re enforcing ‘public order’, or are you perfectly aware of the kind of
system you act as hired guns for in the hopes that your willingness to
dispense violence at the drop of a word sets you enough apart from the
rest of us that you will be protected?
But what am I saying, that is exactly what the system does. The system
will always protect itself, and you know it. That’s where you find the
courage to face your terrifying opponent, the citizen.
Do you realise that that works both ways? That when you cast us as your
opponents, you cast yourselves as ours? I don’t need the fascists to
harass me when I have you, pushing me, surrounding me, shouting threats at
me, trying to ridicule me. Not to mention what you’ve been doing to my
friends or the systematic unfounded arrests you’ve been making for the
sole purpose of putting everyone into your databases.
You err on the side of brutality because you seem to think that is the
best way of scaring the not-yet-hardened ones among us off the streets
forever. I can see you doing your darnedest to force me out of any public
space like the sheep you’d like me to be, and while it may seem on paper
like I should be the easiest person in the world to intimidate into never,
ever exercising her right to assembly, I am afraid it’s just not going
that well, my dears. In fact, I am pretty sure at this point that any
further radicalisation of yours truly that may occur will not even be
because of the non-uniformed fascists. No, I lay that down at your feet.
Before you worry your pretty little helmeted heads too much over how this
could have gone so wrong and why brute force and scare tactics haven’t
shut me up yet, I’ll be happy to tell you straight up. You see, I never
did respond well to bullies.
There. Now stick that into the file you have on me. It’s under C for Citizen.