At yesterdays important and HUGE anti-Trump demo in London I spoke to anti-fascist leaders and veterans. They warned me that, as great as the turnout was, the Left in London was living in a bubble and didn't acknowledge or understand what was happening up and down the country.
That's nothing new. 8 years ago when I used to cover EDL demos, many would ask why I'm bothering, they're not worth a thought, not worth the oxygen, nothing more than something to be laughed at. Tommy Robinson is a joke. When I disagreed there were many heated debates and arguments.
We tried to warn then, what complacency would bring about. Not enough people listened. They mocked and disenfranchised those who were being fed by the mainstream press and politicians (including the Labour party) about Islamophobia and immigration - a handy scapegoat for all the billions spent on war and bailing out the banks post-2007.
Nobody has given a sh*t about the working class up and down this country, including an elitist Left that, by and large, is too snobby to do anything other than name, mock and demean.
We warned Brexit could happen and so could Trump. But for too many in the big cities, in their bubbles, their brain's simply couldn't register that it could.
In the meantime, facilitated by mainstream political and media hate, the nasty corners of our Establishment were buoyed. They wanted to push the rhetoric in to full blown and open transparency. And they did. They didn't create something new, they used what had already been placed there.
And instead of trying to heal divisions, we have just anchored ourselves further in our positions, too often, on both sides of the mainstream spectrum, missing the real picture.
At yesterday's "Carnival or Resistance" the Left wing partied their way through an abominably serious situation and left feeling as if they had won. It was an awesome day...but...
All of last night I was wondering if people really got it? Those protesting Trump with Obama and Clinton T-shirts? David Lammy saying we love America we just hate Trump? For all its necessity and success, the mainstream demo yesterday wanted to make Trump a ridiculous anomaly - an accident that happened because too many stupid people turned out to vote. Ignoring the systemic and foundational reasons it was so OBVIOUS Trump would get in to power - as the rational continuation of everything the UK and the US has done over the last two decades. Not wanting to accept America and UK society are split in their opinions...and that these countries are broken.
On Saturday I spent the majority of my day at the FreeTommy rally (I'll talk about this more in a facebook live in the coming days).
This movement is bigger, more organised, more well funded than ever before. This is no longer a few hundred "hooligans" stumbling out the pub for a brawl. This is thousands, including the white educated Middle Class of this country, out at a political rally. Big screen, mic system. Slick, well funded operation by those who know how to organise these things. Behind it is the mainstream politics of our country (and the US) , that is now openly fascist. I saw a man stand by the Churchill statue and do a nazi salute before chanting. I heard the head of UKIP refuse to use the word Islam, and instead say "cult of Muhammad." And an Australian activist on stage who said "Im the world's biggest Jewish Nazi" - to loud applause. That works in their head because these nazis want to kill Muslims, so they're not really nazis. Because unlike the nazis who killed the innocent jews, they’re against the subhuman and evil Muslims and they’re only being dubbed Nazis because of liberal fake news. If that’s being a Nazi they’re proud to be one, if only to piss off the “snowflakes”.
Except it’s not the “snowflakes” that are going to punched in the face.
It seems we want to make the same mistake again. Trump is president, UKIP became the mainstream, fascists are being appeased by the Republican and the Conservatives and the foundations of their anti-Islam, anti-immigrant sentiment has long been peddled by the Democrats and the Labour Party.
But we want to laugh off Trump, and say UKIP aren't serious (even though we are living through Brexit and Trump is here on a - may as well call it State - visit)
We want to be in denial.
As I walked home thinking this, I saw Owen Jones' tweet: "The fascist demonstration in London today was an embarrassing joke, not to be complacent because they’re a hateful menace, but as yesterday’s massive demo shows - we can mobilise far, far more against the politics of hate."
Yep, complete denial. They are not just "a menace". they are not just "a joke". And you are being complacent.
As a visible minority in this country, I would like to tell the majority of yesterdays, white, demonstration; Thanks for turning out against Trump, but just remember when things get really bad and its me and my black, asian and veiled friends whose lives are on the line, you will still be able to go to your party demo, tap yourselves on the back and go home. Because life will still be okay for you. But it wont be for us.
When you get uncomfortable, you carry on living your normal lives, and then come out for a huge carnival of resistance and go home. We were uncomfortable like that before Trump. We were uncomfortable like that under the Obama so many of you are now praising.
You need to make us feel you have our back. We don't feel that you do.
250,000 (including me!) went to the party protest (as important as it was).
About 500 turned out to actually face fascism on the streets of London. When things get even worse, is that number going to dwindle even further? Are we going to be left to be dealt with by the people you will be laughing off as a joke before you go somewhere else, on a completely different day, and make a funny "typically British" poster about it?
Do these comments make you want to get defensive? Well just stop for a minute, and realise that’s not your place. Check your privilege. Listen to those who you say you are out on the streets defending.
There is a very well oiled, well connected and well strategised machine behind this movement and they have found the key message to unlock their desire for power. Muslims are evil; You can be a nazi to a Muslim.
It's working. I can explain this all further, but actually, listening to these speeches, it's self explantory. Trump, Brexit, UKIP, the Tories, the Republicans, the Democrats and Labour. Which one hasn’t been Islamophobic? And now Trump America and Brexit Britain have a serious joint plan of action.
You can't laugh off a strategy that is working, or pretend it isnt - just because it doesnt exist around you.
I’m sorry if this grates those who are still pumped from yesterdays demo. But maybe if you had seen what I had seen today, it would have sobered you up a bit.
Take 10 minutes to listen to what is being said here. I had to listen to 3 hours of this...in fact hundreds of hours over the years. But you know what, to understand what is unfolding, first you have to listen. When you listen you can understand what strategy is being played out.
Those on that stage know exactly what they are doing. Those in the crowd have been tricked and fooled. Not by Trump. But by the press and the politicians they've grown up listening to, including the same Left wing Labour Party you keep telling us we need to vote for - then when someone we can get SEMI-onboard with becomes leader, you spend all your energy fighting AGAINST him, instead of fighting FOR us. You want to undo that progress and return to the Labour Party that helped fuel this situation.
You are all the ones who paved the way for Trump. We did this. Together.
Outreach to the white disenfranchised - the undereducated, the working class, those who havent lived with “others” and still believe everything they read in The Sun - that outreach was never done. We didn’t care about them then and we are mocking them now.
It’s too late now anyway. You wanted to ignore the racist underbelly of this country, pretend we have all moved on, even when minorities tried to say that we hadn’t. When minorities said we’re uncomfortable you wanted to skip down the road and leave us all behind. And now it’s punching US so hard in the face, even you have to make a poster and come out on a Friday. But where were you on Saturday? And where will you be tomorrow?
So now this is where we are at. I understand why these people turned out today. I won't belittle and mock and say they are nothing. But they are racists. So I stand with those who they are trying to harm and oppress. Those who are the truly marginalised. Those who have given up coming out to protest. Those who already think you - the lovely middle class make a funny poster left - have already failed them. Those who don't believe in you. I talk to them every day. I hear what they say. Do you?
Who is going to have their back? They don’t think you. What are you doing to prove us wrong?