Snaking through the beautiful cobbled streets of Bristol on an English Defence League demo, it was depressing to see one of the jeering handful following us make a Hitler salute.
This would have been distressing enough at any time, but we were marching in solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community: not one of Adolf’s favoured constituencies. Before the march we gathered in a car-park by the river Avon overlooked by a walkway over which our opponents, misnamed Unite Against Fascism, had draped a banner proclaiming “¡No pasarán!”
This was the slogan of the original – and real – antifascists fighting in the Spanish Civil War. As brainwashed as many soldiers of the International Brigades were by Marx, the more percipient among them understood that while no Western government would challenge the Nazis, if they could be thwarted in Spain then Europe might be spared the evils that many saw coming.
Emblematic of the storm to come was the fate of Federico Lorca, a poet who was executed by Fascist forces because of his sexual orientation in 1936. So it was strange to see so-called anti-fascists demonstrating in favour of a mode of Islam that would dispose of Lorca today at least as efficiently as Franco’s forces. The real antifascists must be turning in their graves.
One of the many themes of today’s demo was EDL solidarity with the LGBT community. A male-to-female transsexual who is a long-standing member of our movement put things in a nutshell as she spoke for all of the EDL membership:
We fully support the rights of the LGBT community to live without fear of persecution. On this day of Pride in Bristol I wish to say I’m proud to be a transsexual and I’m proud to be a member of the English Defence League.