Last Sunday 11th April members of Whitechapel Anarchist Group and it’s associates were asked down to Barking to help assist the RMT’s “Stop The BNP” meeting with stewarding. The original venue was intended to be the Broadway Theatre but despite this being pulled by the management at the last minute, the event went ahead outside with speakers including locals, Bob Crow, RMT members and UAF (Unite Against Fascism).
Having arrived at Barking and adorning our RMT vests we helped the RMT stewards hand out flyers and offer assistance for locals wishing to attend. With the arrival of General Secretary Bob Crow the congregating crowd headed down to Broadway Theatre to begin the rally while our stewarding group remained at the station for late arrivals. Within minutes it was reported that BNP supporters had been spotted amongst the crowd, therefore we left the station to assist the other stewards with diffusing any situations that may occur.
The rally had a strong turn out with many locals congregating to hear the speeches, best of which was a life long Barking resident talking about the importance of neighbours uniting to stop the spread of the BNP’s vile divisive racism. Once we had arrived it was quickly worked out that the two “Nazi’s” who had been pointed out were in fact members of WAG! And to add insult to injury one of them was Martin Lux author of “Anti-Fascist” – an autobiography about battling the National Front during the seventies! Despite this slight hiccup the rally passed off with no problems and was a successful, informative and enjoyable event.
Barking’s finest Weatherspoons pub hosted the post-rally refreshments where our eclectic anarchist mob and members of the UAF drank to our success at a job well done, but it was around this time that the second hiccup of the evening would occur. A member of WAG who was writing up a report on the day was accussed by a UAF member of being sexist, the reason being that he had used the term ‘girl’. In the context – ‘what is that girl’s name?’. According to the UAF member they believed that any female over the age of 2 years old is a ‘woman’. Despite the ideological differences we all left the pub with a few chants of ‘Whitechapel’s Red And Black Army’ along the high street entering Barking tube to head home to the old east end.
The debate continued on the train journey but soon exploded in emotion when Martin Lux was told that “because you are white and working class you should expect that people will think you are racist” by the UAF speaker. Following verbal jibes resulted in a UAF member stepping up with a “Come on then” to a WAG member who responded with an “Alright”, but despite one or two hot headed members of WAG, the situation was stopped by WAG and Anarchists because the UAF member had no police lines to protect them and would have ended up in a serious sticky situation seeing as they were outnumbered by about ten to one. Calm returned to the train carriage and the UAF members sheepishly sat in silence before exiting at the next stop.
The accusation made by the UAF that because you are white and working class you should expect that people will think you are racists is a gross insult to us as class struggle anarchists and dedicated militant anti-fascists. This logic would also mean that if you are Asian or muslim you should expect that everyone thinks you are a terrorist or if you are a black male you should expect that everyone thinks you are drug dealer. We believe this is what is known as racism. And it says a lot that this is the attitude of a member of the UAF speaking down in Barking! They are probably recruiting more voters for the BNP if this is what they say to the white working class!