Loud and Proud. Listening to the English Defence League. 2014 rus/eng subtitles
The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the Sharia in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us
and call us extremists and kill us? Rather you lot are extreme. You are the ones… when you drop a bomb do you think it hits one person?
Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family? This is the reality The extent of your fight against the cancer of Islam
are shaken fists and a couple of thrown rocks even your war dead, brave, honourable and noble men and women who in their death gave us freedom and whose sacrifice whose sacred memory and priceless gift
is spat upon and insulted by Muslims, even this searing outrage fails to raise even the slightest, slightest indignation even the slightest rebuke, still you stand mute and motionless. Truly you are beyond contempt. Our nation has a rich history of greatness, progress, sacrifice and of service to others. I recall our nation our fathers and our grandfathers they did not waver they did not flinch. They stood with clenched fists and gritted teeth and suffering much The murder of the British soldier, Lee Rigby, proved to be a major turning point for the English Defence League. terms of its external profile, it moved from being a fringe organisation
to a household name Local divisions of the EDL reported a tripling of registrations through the social network and website pages within 48 hours of the death of Lee Rigby The EDL had emerged back in 2009 in direct response to protests by the Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun to celebrations of British troops homecomings
in Luton. Those links with ex-army personnel and with some of their organisations
remain strong within the movement and at grassroots level, concerns about disrespect for British troops
remains a strong motive for participation and membership of the movement – How old was I? About fifteen, sixteen We put on like drum and bass, we used to like Or rap and things like that, we used to like, hang around here. – So you’d bring music out with you? – Yeah, used to bring like a stereo. – And were you into footie at that point?
Were you into the fans and everything? – No, at the time I used to be a Liverpool fan, obviously not a real football fan,
just like a glory grabber. It’s still home
I lived in Greece for a, how long was I over there for, seven months – Doing what? – Well I was with my ex-girlfriend, she works over there and I was doing like odd jobs like a bit of labouring here and there and I loved it and but obviously, I was in a bit of trouble before I left
and obviously when I come back I went to prison I’ve done wrong and so, and look, I never, touch wood, you know, I ain’t been in trouble since. The voices heard in this film are those of grassroots activists it was a consant decision from the start of the research to focus on everyday members of the EDL rather than the leadership, whose opinions and positions can be accessed
by other means than ethnographic research. However some of the voices you will hear in this film are those of informal organisers and “admins” In the film all the names are changed to reflect the pseudonyms that the respondents have been given
in the academic publications although those who agreed to be filmed know that their right to anonymity are compromised by their appearance in the film. – So, how did you get involved in the EDL? – Since it was 2009, I was watching the news there’s some like, in Luton, some troops coming home
like a homecoming parade. I was watching and I heard loads of screaming and shouting and I thought, what’s going on there then
and it was obviously the Muslims, know what I mean, extremist Muslims saying like “death to our soldiers” and I thought that’s a that’s a bit bad that is. And like a few people like the local people from Luton they stuck together and as like they challenged them
and said ‘what are you doing?’ and I thought well fair play to them and obviously, I went on the internet I was on the Facebook and someone was talking about it so I clicked on some group, I think it was called ‘United People of Luton’. I can’t remember if I joined it or not, then it was like people were gonna start a movement and then my mate’s got involved wiv it and then he said like obviously ‘we’re gonna start doing demos about these sorts of people’, I said ‘what’s it about, like just Muslims, or?’,
‘no about extremists’. I said ‘well they’re not not extremists are they, they haven’t killed anyone, just putting their view across’. It’s just the way they’re going about it, they – they trying to change everyone into-it’s like the halal food, I mean if I – I like a curry I go to a curry house, and if it’s halal, it’s halal. But it’s not getting forced, it’s up to me it’s my choice to eat that curry or not. don’t agree with how it’s been killed, say chicken, I go to get a frozen chicken or a fresh chicken, it’s been killed, with a stun gun or whatever they use, but not to cut its throat and let it drip dry know what-with blood, I think, I don’t agree, even though,
if I was against it that bad I wouldn’t eat meat full stop. – If it’s in their own country it’s fine because I wouldn’t a, go and live in Pakistan because I’d be kidnapped and get my head chopped off and be killed anyway. But I wouldn’t go over there and try setting up the Church of England because it is their laws, it is their religion, it is their traditions, it is their creeds. But vice versa has happened over here. They are coming to this country slowly, slowly. OK they want a place to worship fine, let them have mosques. But do not allow Sharia law into this country. No how because it’s evil, it allows marrying and having children with children. It allows you to have more than one wife.
Which, OK, some people might say ‘great’. Women are second class citizens, they have to walk behind their husband. There’s just so much and slowly, slowly, it’s creeping into this country. I would not be surprised if in the next 10 years that there is Sharia law in this country
to some degree. It wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever. Because it’s English Defence League. People automatically assume that you are racist because you want England to be English, you know what I mean, white. – Instead of being patriotic. – Yeah, and that’s exactly what it is. – You know I’m not white. I’m not black but – Aren’t ya? You are not white? – No. I fucking keep scrubbing it but it’s not happening man. So yeah I think, not this top, cause I won’t wear this top around town cause this is I feel I mean I will wear it but I think it is associated with marches only. – No, I think I get challenged less to be honest with you because it shocks them. It’s quite easy for a non-white person or even a white person whatever to attack … with her top on because she’s white and she’s against,
you know racism is black and white. That’s what they assume but no I feel, I find it funny, but yeah they don’t know how to challenge me because they are looking at me and it totally blows out their whole opinion of the EDL because they are so small and narrow minded you know. Racism is white people against black people, that’s it. Racism to me is one race feeling more superior than another race or like religion. That’s it. It’s not about nationalities or anything like that. The EDL is routinely referred to in the press as a far right or extreme right group From an academic perspective it shows distinct differences from traditional
far-right and neo-Nazi groups. It is closer to a social movement than a political party and from leadership through to grassroots there is almosta a universal concern to mark a clear line between EDL and classic ‘far right’ or neo-Nazi groups. This has led some to suggest the EDL is part of a ‘new far right’ whose ideology is characterized by a very loose set of views focusing around ‘ultra-patriotism; a critique of mainstream politics; and an aggressive, anti-Muslim agenda’. – Paedo! Paedo! From my own experience of researching at the grassroots level, I would probably go further and suggest that alligiance to either right or left
has relatively little meaning for most members of the movement and that there is little sense of a shared ideology even though extreme members on the fringe of the organisation who follow some form of national socialist ideology
come from very different starting points. – English Defence League, we’ve been here 3 years. 3 years ago people would whisper “Muslim”, “Islam” They were scared to say the word ‘Muslim’,
they were scared to say the word ‘Islam’ They were. 3 years ago no one would say it The truth is coming out about Islam, people are proud to talk out against Islam And whether you like it or not these scumbags on that poster are being defeated because of English Defence League Muslim paedophile gangs. – If we unite as one we will be the most feared group in England against Islam.
The biggest… – It’s not about fear.
– It is it is about fear. If it is militant Islam they should fear us going to their town. – Why rule with fear? That’s Nazism surely, ruling with fear. – Not really. If we go to a town where it is Islamic dominated I do want um to be fear.
I do want fear. I do want them to feel fear that we am gonna go to their town to oppose them. – No, I want to be fear in the people’s mind about Islam not rule with fear. – No, the way I see it is if you can go into a demo,
come out of a demo peacefully then fair be it. But if you go into that town and them wanna confront you they’ve got to know the consequences that you aye gonna fucking just stand there,
sorry about my language, stand there and look at um, you are gonna say something. You are gonna act It’s England, not Pakistan. You know what I mean? It’s up to us what we do, not them. It’s our country, if you dow like our laws and our beliefs – Birmingham airport terminal 16.
You know what I mean? Pack your bags and go. That’s the way I see it like. – in the media when you hear something about EDL
they usually call it a far-right movement… – Yeah – Is that something you recognise, are you far-right? – Not really, I think I’m just like proud like. I dow like the way them chuck their laws on us so I dow see us as far-right racist hooligans do you know what I mean? Like when you am at a demo the media only show like the actual demo They dow show like what goes on behind the scenes like the meetings. Like when you meet up at the coach park it’s like one big family. Everyone is there for each other and that’s how it should be to be honest. – What’s a racist? Would you call yourself a racist? – No I’d call myself like…English. It ain’t racist to oppose like an ideology what’s based on to rape children and like based to cause hate. All Islam is like something what should be destroyed and hopefully it will be destroyed. – So my mom just didn’t know what to do and she always feels bad, the way I turned out And I said it’s not your fault mom, you know what I mean, you tried your best. – What do you mean, the way you turned out? What’s wrong with…? – Obviously me getting in trouble with the police and all that, she feels bad, I said well, it’s got nothing to do with you mom, there’s two paths, you chose me to go on the right path, it was me who chose that path, not you. I mean like bus drivers in Birmingham there’s a lot of Polish bus drivers that they can’t speak a word of England-English, but they’ll say ‘hello, morning’, They haven’t come over to take our jobs, they come over to work, like If I went to Poland and like I walked into a factory ‘can I have a job?’ I’m not taking anyone’s job, that person should’ve got there before me. But it’s the people who’re coming over, and claiming benefits and who wanna house and I’m thinking like it’s like that what’s his name that Abu Hamza is living in like a 2 million pound house and like his missus is still getting benefits, he’s got like 7 bedrooms, a couple of kids and I was thinking if that was like a a British person, whether they be white or black or Asian, they wouldn’t get nothing, they’ll be like ‘well like you can’t have that house cos it’s too big for ya,
you have to have this little one bedroom flat’. I’m thinking well, why is it that British people not getting anything but these immigrants that coming over and they’re getting everything. – Well they come into our country and they should at the end of the day I don’t care who it is they should take on our culture, you know. OK they don’t speak our language and whatever, learn it. – Who’s ‘they’? Who’ve you got in mind when you say…? – Anybody. It could be anybody. It could be Poles. It could be anybody and I just find them rude and arrogant, you know, they are over here and they look at you like you are a piece of shit
and whatever. You are in our country. You are taking our jobs. Do you know what I mean? – And who defended their country? – Exactly. – Who got their country back? It was us that went into Poland. So you’ve gone from Muslims to vroom Eastern Europeans. I feel Eastern Europeans, won’t point one specific one out, but you can look at them,
their community exactly like you can look at the Muslim community. They don’t want to integrate, they don’t want to know us, they don’t care. I’ve worked in places where, when you become a minority in your own country then you got a really big issue going on. I mean they used to associate the amount of illegal immigrants
in this country by like towns or cities here but now we are going to, we’ve got more illegal immigrants in this country
than Iceland have got population now. But does this perceprion of Islam as constituting a cultural threat to British society mean that the EDL is inherently islamophobic or racist? If there is an ideological trope underpinning narratives of participants in this research I would say it’s less classic form of racism which is in any case overtly condemned by many participants than a kind of ‘anti-multiculturalism’ where ‘multiculturalism’ is seen as a top-down political agenda imposed without a mandate ‘from the people’. Because it took a long time for Britain to get over racism. When I was a kid many years ago like I used to get chased by BNP, they was skinheads then, real you know fucking burgundy boots everything… – Oh it was bad. – So that was, so I think Britain got over racism it accepted multicultural everything because we all lived as one. I mean everyone’s got their issues, mainly old people with the Indians in the corner shops whatever. I mean my niece and nephew you know they say ‘oh fucking Paki’, well they don’t swear but ‘Paki’ or like my brother says it in front of them and I tell him ‘don’t do that’, because I mean the way we want to bring up our kids it’s not being racist it’s not that that’s why we wanna stop it because they will be brought up as racist and it will just cause the whole situation again and it’s took like thirty years to get over it and then the last ten, eleven years, well I’d say eight years, it’s kicked off again. but my main reason I feel is extremist Muslims where you can… – It’s not all Muslims is it? – No, it’s not. I’ve got a Koran at home, you know what I mean, Yes I have felt like burning it you know but I’d probably be sent down to prison and I have been tempted to do it actually to see exactly what would happen to me, apart from Muslims trying to kill me.
Just to see how the government would treat me This feeling of discomfort in multicultural environments may be influenced by wider anti-Islam discourses especially those currently linking fundamentalist Islam to terrorism but as historian Roger Griffin points out
co-habitation has never been a simple process. – This is is like a predictive mantra that there will always be components within a modern liberal democracy for whom multi-culturalism and the idea of open door policy to any ethnicity is a major problem. Quite often there are concrete socioeconomic reasons for that but also it’s just a question of temperament, Some people find cohabitation, what the Spanish call “convivencia”, much more psychologically distressing than others and that’s almost like an irrational factor that you can’t really capture in surveys. Even within the same street some people would find multi-culturalism more of a problem than others
even when they’re in the same group. It’s not all Muslims who are suicide bombers but all suicide bombers happen to be Muslim, how can you, and when they are walking around with these things
and when they escape, wanted criminals escape from France in a burka. Even France had the foresight now to stop them wearing burkas
and covering their faces in public David Cameron, all the British Goverment any man whatsoever who would tell us to strip our dress-code in order for us to display our beauty
when our beauty is only kept for our husbands We are not going to do something like this. – But I don’t agree with the burka full stop, cos I think, because like from the woman’s point of view it’s like degrading. It’s like me saying to my girlfriend ‘right we’re going the the pub now, a few of my mates will be there, put this mask on because I don’t want them to see your face’, she would be like ‘how about fuck off’ cos like it’s me trying to dictate to her. I think structurally there is no way on this planet that a far right, overtly racist ethno-xenophobic, anti-Islam party, will ever become a major force in British politics at a national level. So not in national elections. At local level, as we saw from the Respect vote, if you get a local constellation of forces, a perceived failure of councillors or mainstream parties to address very real issues
about employment and housing etc. combined with the astuteness of a local representative of the EDL to actually in his rhetoric avoid the stereotypes which would make people feel guilty
about voting for them. Whatever they feel privately.
Then it’s possible you could get some local victories I mean Tommy I think know what I mean, he’d be good at it, but for him to say for instance like I dunno, the English Defence League will go political everyone in the country votes for us and you’ve got Tommy as Prime Minister, I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’d be a good Prime Minister but I mean he hasn’t got he’s not that, he’s a clever lad I’ve seen him on Jeremy Paxman and that’s one person you can’t get over, Jeremy Paxman and when I found out Tommy was going on it I thought,
what a prat. I thought what a prat, and I watched it and I was gobsmacked because Tommy absolutely he just he destroyed him and I’m thinking, hang-fucking-on, but as like Prime Minister, it’s never gonna happen but you never know, know what I mean, he’s only just turned 30 I propose to end Islamic immigration straight away. Instantly. I’d stop the building of mosques. Instantly I’d make it extremely difficult for anyone who wants to have an Islamist ideology I’d make it clear – if you want Sharia you go to a country with Sharia While what unifies members of the EDL is the sense of Islam posing a threat to British society the range of experiences and views on what constitutes the nature of that threat are so diverse that it is almost impossible to generalize. – Where did you come from today?
– (both) Birmingham – Are you members of the EDL?
– (both) Yes. – How long?
– Let’s see. I think for me it’s been since 2011 – EDL I started basically since the day one. Since it was born itself – What made you want to participate in their activities? Well, myself I was in the British army, I done 5 years in there And the worst thing is, what gets me is like the way the contry has come to a downfall I am here because of Islam. Islam is a problem for everyone Myself, I am an ex-Muslim Basically I left Islam around, when I was 15 years old, then. I know everything about Koran What is its message
Islam is more of a cult than an actual religion – What makes you say that? – Because what is written in the Koran Everything that is written in the Koran and Hadiths more of 50% of these verses are actually quite violent They preach violence towards non-Muslims and towards women as well In fact, even the founder Mohammed, yeah He himself was different but not in a good way Because he was a kind of person who you would not regard as a prophet. I mean, for example, consummating your marriage with a 9 year old girl That would be unacceptable in this day and time – Tell us why you are here today? – Because everybody else is, really To fight militant Islam basically off streets of England – Are you a mamber of the EDL?
– Been a member 3 years It has changed. I’ve seen them go from violence to peaceful demos and back to violence. I’m not being funny, but sometimes it needed, sometimes it don’t – Why does it need it? – People aren’t going to stand up and count themselves unless I’m not being funny but a gang of people just protesting on the street
– that ain’t enough Sometimes you have to come down to bare knuckles
just to get your point across, in my eyes – And what else do you get involved in?
Do you get involved in any kind of politics? Talking to councillors, MPs? – No, no, nothing like that. Basically, where I’m from,
I’m from just on the outskirts of Nottingham. It’s full of Muslims, wearing burkas and things like that. Reason why I wear this is because they intimidate me with what they wear,
so I wear this to intimidate them, at the end of the day. Simple. – And what do you hope to achieve by coming on this demo today? – Get Islam out of the country.
– Do you think it will be effective? – Not today, no. Over time it will be. Like I say, I’ve been coming three years
and it’s one of them, it has took time to get where we’ve got now. A couple more years and I believe we’ll get somewhere else.. – And why English Defence League and not some other organisation? – BNP are racist. Nick Griffin’s a cock. Simple. Nick Griffin is a cock. Simple. -EDL isn’t racist then? – – No. I’m not being funny, right. We have got racist members, right. Not everybody… There is racist members. There is people who go there for a scrap.
There is people who go there for a cause. – Because this time it is not only the English people it is everyone that’s sleeping If you just look around what’s happening what’s happening in the world today It’s only because of one thing and that is Islam – But wouldn’t it be better to write to your MP?
– If you write to your MP, come on… you’re from Britain as well look at Tony Blair – he messed the country up look at David Cameron, what has he done? he’s let England become a basically a shit hole if you look at it, he opened the door to the EU. Why?
What’s the point? Now the people in the UK, British born people They ain’t got no jobs here, so what are you supposed to do? Obviously you have to do other stuff to support yourself It’s like myself, I used to do security, for example I used to get like 80 pound a shift Now the Sudanis, Somalians, Afghanis have come They work for two hours for 20 pound So what can you do? – What do you think EDL stands for?
– English Defence League – Yes, but what do they do?
– Stand for our rights – Whose our?
– White people They’re taking our jobs If you go round now, all the young kids now can’t get no jobs now
because all the Pakis have got them. – They’re knocking people’s homes down to build mosques for people to pray in there. What you should do is shove a pig’s head on them gates, man. – How old are you?
– [All] Sixteen. – Do you think a lot of people think the same way as you? – Yeah, a lot of people. They always come first. – So why don’t people come out? There’s not many young people, are there?
Why don’t they come out and demo? – Because they’re probably scared of like all them people coming after them. – You think they think that they would get kind of attacked if they came out, do you? – [All] Yeah. – So what will you go back and say now? – Tell people that they need to come. – Do you think it’s important still to go out on the streets and demonstrate? – Yeah. Nothing wrong with it. You’ve got to fight for your own country. – Do you think it will achieve anything? – It might. – In the future we’ll achieve something but if we go on the street now where I come from
and we’re shouting ‘EDL’, I’d probably get jumped on. No surrender! No surrender to the Taliban. Scum! Scum! Amidst this ambiguous and diverse set of positionings what emerges clearly is that EDL members share a sense that they as white British or white English have a ‘minority’ status and are subject to discrimination in terms of access to public resources especially housing, jobs and healthcare as well as by what they call a ‘two tier’ justice system
that privileges ethnic or religious minorities. If we would have attacked, 5 of us would of attacked a Muslim it would have been affray, it would have been a racist attack and we’d have been jailed for it. There is now double standards in this country. If you are a white, ethnic British person
and you do something like that you’re a racist. If somebody attacks you, I know there are new laws now, which has been about 4, 5 years to say that,
a white person can be attacked and it’s a racist attack. But, honestly I was sat on the train coming over here this afternoon
about quarter past 1 and I had a black African girl sat next to me which I haven’t got a problem with. But she kept, you know when the train is packed and she kept moving and her leg was shoving up against mine and she kept nudging my shoulder and, she wasn’t doing it on purpose, if I’d have turned around and said to her
‘oh for fuck’s sake do you mean not keep doing that sort of thing it is irritating me now?’ with my track record now that probably would have been deemed as racist. – What does that make you think about British democracy?
– Crap. There isn’t any is there? It’s erm, yeah it’s not good actually. we’ve got no civil rights, you know what I mean? We’ve lost all our civil rights I feel. I don’t know, it’s a weird one. I can’t wait for you to go to Luton and see what it is all about! It is unbelievable. There are hundreds and hundreds. Police always say something like there was three hundred.
There wasn’t three hundred. There was three thousand. Do you know what I mean? But the police always say there was three hundred. I mean if you’ve got somebody standing up the road like with the camera and you can see bodies for as far as the eye can see that’s not three hundred people. They said it was three hundred people. – See that’s when you feel you are doing a cause, yeah? I mean when you’ve got three thousand people there all for the same reason, not there for throwing bricks or what not you know we are there we are marching that’s when you feel proud – My name is Tommy and I’m divisional leader of the
English Defence League’s gay division LGBT – stands for lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender and EDL have had this division for over 3 years but from the media bias you would not know this otherwise they can’t keep up with the lie that we are homophobic fascists Even before EDL existed some of the first people to protest
against Islamisation was gay people Obviously Muslims aren’t the only ones who are homophobic Statistics show that 40% of this country are homophobes But look at this crowd now, I don’t see a single homophobe here Otherwise I wouldn’t have been allowed to speak The EDL is not about sexuality, is not about skin color, is not about religious beliefs all that matters is that we stand as one and we fight for England
until our dying breath There are numerous reasons why people leave,
or more usually ‘take a step back’ from the EDL. The ones that are often cited relate to the heavy toll
participation takes on everyday lives. I was just walking up here and I’ve noticed the car drive past me, it’s gone up to the island up here and then it’s come back down and I’m on my phone texting somebody, I’ve seen like about four Asian people, dunno if they’re Muslim or what and they’ve gone back round to the island and they’ve come back up and I’ve looked and I’ve thought oh, here we go so I carried on walking and I was about here and they pulled up and I seen one of them on the opposite side of the car, like that, hanging out the window and I thought what’s he doing, so I carried on walking and the next minute I’ve heard like a smash, I just looked, it was round about here, just smash and I thought I could smell petrol and the car sped off and I was like there was petrol there a few bits on my jeans, and I’ve looked and there’s like a rag in the middle of the road and it was on fire and I thought fucking hell, someone tried to petrol me I was panicking, if they come I was looking for anything like a piece of wood, ‘cause I’m thinking well they’ve just thrown a petrol bomb at me,
what are they gonna do next? I’m in the EDL for one reason. if I somehow say well I’m not gonna go through that area
then to me I’ve surrendered to them, I’ve, you know what I mean? I’m fighting this cause, with everyone else,
if I turn round I’m walking down that road but I’m not walking down that road, that seems to me that I’m giving in to them. Yeah long story, very short. I was erm at the demo obviously. I travelled across with Coventry and Birmingham lads and there was some Walsall lads there as well. I looked down to the right
and I just seen lines of police officers in riot gear and I thought ‘right we are here again, we are not getting out of this one for ages’. So I did walk down to them and I said to them, can’t remember the exact words but it was on the lines of
‘we aren’t getting kettled in again are we mate?’ and he’s gone ‘no, no ,no’ he said ‘we are just blocking the street off’. Noticed a load of guys with pink hair and multi-coloured hair shouting things, said nothing to um, walked back up, said to my mate won’t give his proper name, ‘f-ing UAF down there again ain’t there, cheeky gits after what they have done in Walthamstow occupying where we was meant to be and pelting Tommy Robinson and all the rest of it and stewards with stones
and bricks and anything they can get their hands on’. Next thing you know I’ve looked and there’s about hundred lads down there kicking off at the police, so I’ve gone down and I’ve noticed one of the lads from Walsall and he was like looking really aggressive. So I’ve gone in front of him, tried stopping him, noticed to the right hand side there was a load of lads ripping up everything they could and throwing it at the police. Truthfully I can look you in the eye and tell you I had nothing to do with it. You know my little daughter, on her life I had nothing to do with it. So obviously I’ve got my back to 3 lines of police, the next thing you know I’ve had a baton across my shoulder, I’ve had another baton, this is police batons obviously, across my leg. I’ve gone to the floor and I’m not the only one. As we are trying to like get up everybody’s gripping each other to try and get up so it’s almost like being on a merry-go-round, you can’t, and next thing you know I’ve got one on my head. So I was arrested and was took through what looked like a big steel cage sort of thing and there was like what we know as ‘paddy wagons’ in this country, like a big police van with loads of individual cells inside there and that was it. I ended up in Walsall, erm Bloxwich police station,
20 hours later I was released on police bail. the police bail was to not attend EDL demos and to sign on at police station every Wednesday and every Saturday between the hours of 1 and 3 and I was banned from going to Walsall. – Completely?
-Completely unless, well this is the ironic thing, I’m still banned from going to Walsall but my next appearance at the police station cause they’ve re-bailed me is at Walsall. So what are they planning to do,
have me for breaking police bail once I go in there? – Wankers they haven’t found any evidence to charge me with anything. So my solicitor has said to me ‘look out if they don’t find what they are after….’ cause initially they arrested me and they was looking to try and charge me on instigating the riot,
oh yeah causing the riot and throwing missiles at police officers. I can look you straight in the eye and look straight in the camera I did not do that, I’ve never done that and I never will do that. I mean I’ve been, and Hilary’s been around me a few times, you’ve seen me angry and shouting and but never to the point
where I’m gonna lose the plot. I’ve got too much to lose by doing that. My mortgage would go cause my missus would be out on the street if I went to prison, my business would fold Our aim in conducting this research has been neither to support nor condemn the views expressed by the EDL. It has been rather to listen to voices of individual members within the movement and to understand rather than judge the meanings they attach to their activism. For some this very act of listening will still feel like a legitimation of those views. I would argue though that, in practice, not listening simply reinforces that sense of being silenced
EDL members already perceive. In this sense the more they are silenced,
the louder they will have to shout to be heard. So what is the role of the academic here? I think it is not to use the knowledge gained to either support or condemn any particular political position but to encourage society to engage in critical reflection. To do that, we must first be self-critical and challenge our own positionalities; something which ethnography forces us to do on a daily basis. As one respondent said as I explained to him
that I was a researcher rather than an EDL supporter, ‘Universities are the training ground of the UAF’. Does this somehow evade the responsibility of the researcher to take up a stance in relation to his/her research subject? I would argue, on the contrary, that this critical reflection itself constitutes such a stance because the problem we are addressing here is not the EDL per se but a political system that fails to engage in a listening practice and whose only response to unwelcome voices is to quote ‘to smash the fash’. The stance taken here therefore is one of resistance to the replacement of explanation by condemnation. I then realised that marching through the streets saying,
‘Allah, Allah, who the f*** is Allah?’, what we were actually doing was giving any moderates,
any people who are willing to speak up against extremist voices, we’re actually giving them something to align themselves with extremists
on the same issue because we are offending all of them. So to solve the problem, we need the support and we need to work
with Muslims in this country, to defeat Islamist ideology.