We held a fantastic celebration of diversity and multiculturalism in Cambridge on Saturday. Local trade unions were at the heart of the mobilisation that united with community, faith groups, political organisations, cultural organisations and other campaigns. There were hundreds of local trade union members out on the streets to stop the EDL. Representatives from at least 9 trades councils and most of the local union branches. I walked the length of the march several times and Cambridge workplace reps and union activists were everywhere – stewarding, organising, chanting, singing . . .and dancing. But most importantly being counted!
We did what we set out to achieve! Only 30 racists and fascist (one actually unrolled swastika) turned up in the EDL’s designated cage. There were more known fascists hanging around town but they were so humiliated they could not bring themselves to join their own protest. This means we divided them.
Some people have said we should just ignore them. If we had done this they would have had more people join them and they would have been bolstered in confidence. After Saturday I think they will be unlikely to come back to Cambridge any time soon and will probably think twice about calling other protests under the EDL banner in the near future. However we must not be complacent. Groups aligned to the EDL (East Anglian infidels & English Patriots) have already helped organising a sizable anti-immigrant demonstrations in Boston and have called another for Wisbech on the 25th May. I’m sure they will look for other ways to try and build a base for their ideas.
We have made confronting anti-immigrant feeling and helping organise migrant labour a priority campaign for the coming year and are reaching out to work with the union movement across the region. It is important we build our organisation and learn lessons from each other. Please consider if you can attend the UAF national conference this Saturday to tell our story.