On August 8th in Blackpool, North England, thousands of people gathered for Rebellion Festival. Each year the festival attracts more and more people, but it has to be said, not everyone is a part of the same big happy punk family. You see, politics is pretty inherent in punk culture, and at times the relationships between the skins and punks is a tentative one (obviously we’re not including SHARPs here). Political persuasion is often very extreme in Punk from the crusty looking, animal liberating, squat punks to the working class, boots and braces, football loving skins (Ok, ok, we’ll stop with the stereotypes!). The point being despite this, trouble is often low to non-existent at the Festival. In fact, the left and right often seem to come together in face of the Police. Because well everyone hates the police, right?
It seems though that this is an exception, as while things may have been very calm in Blackpool, they were a lot more heated on the streets of Birmingham. In the center of Brumtown, left met right, or if we’re being fucking crude, white met non-whites. The English Defence League and Casual United were in Birmingham town to demonstrate against ‘Islamic fundamentalism’. On hearing about the planned march, anti-fascists, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) organised their own demonstraion. The EDL managed to call on the support of approximately 150, whilst the UAF had a rollcall of about 400.
As even a baby could predict, things didn’t run too smoothly. Pockets of violence broke out between the two groups and the police arrived in full riot gear. The general public were locked into shops as they tried to protect themselves from the ensuing violence. Shops closed their shutters and streets were closed off by steel barriers. Thirty five people were arrested and three people were injured during the riot.
It is without a doubt that events like this are an example of what is to come in the future as tension mounts between the left and right. The mass media’s focus on migration, terrorism, and the current economic climate has been a tool for the Right to expand their ranks. Enthusiasm for them is already very evident as seen in the election of BNP members into European parliament. It’s important for us, as people to read between the lines of the mass media (and here if you desire to do so) and other forms of propaganda to make up our own minds.
With more ‘peaceful protests’ planned in the future it’s time to clear the streets, or take them fucking back.