Southampton has a proud anti-fascist history; on this day in 1937 Oswald Moseley and his Nazi-admiring blackshirts were chased from Southampton Common under a rain of bottles and bricks. A collection of thousands of trade unionists, families and above all ordinary working class people sent them hastily up The Avenue and out of our town; they never came back.
On the 76th anniversary of this often forgotten event, we would like to announce the formation of Southampton Anti-Fascist Action (SAFA); a local, democratic and completely autonomous group of people who are committed to fighting fascism and racism in all its guises. This must include educational campaigns and open debate as well as direct and uncompromising physical resistance; we would rather the likes of the EDL or BNP never again found people susceptible to their message but if they do we will be there to stop them peddling their hate.
The decision to form this group was not made lightly or without reason, in recent months we have seen a surge in support for racist organisations such as The English Defence League (and their numerous hilarious splinter groups) as well as electoral success for openly bigoted UKIP politicians all around the country. Southampton is no different, narrowly avoiding electing it’s first UKIP councillor in the shape of grotesque idiot John Sharp who last month came second in Woolston ward with 713 votes.
In the same month a march supposedly ‘in honour’ of murdered soldier Lee Rigby was attended by known Southampton and Portsmouth racists (including one charming bloke who was seen clutching a can of Spesh in his swastika emblazoned hand) and were then allowed to march through town, albeit in silence. A counter-protest was loud and enthusiastic but ultimately completely non-confrontational, allowing racist thugs to walk through it intimidating families and elderly residents. This for many was the final straw and the decision was made that the next time racists try to march through our town in an attempt to divide us they must be met robustly.
We also felt that it was necessary to organise in a way that was democratic, inclusive and non-partisan (ie. we are not a front for any political party, trade union etc.) as this has often not been the case with anti-fascist organisations in the past. Our policy on working with such organisations has not yet been decided, we want to unite with anyone who genuinely attempts to oppose racism but at the same time we remain sceptical of the behaviour of some large, well known anti-fascist groups in recent years. Only time will tell…
Stay tuned for more news coming very soon…
You will find us on the shop and factory floors.
You will find us on the terraces and in the pubs.
You will find us in the mosques, temples and synagogues.
But most of all you will find us united on the streets, and we hope you’ll join us.