On May 26th, the city of Edinburgh prepared itself to give a heated welcome to the racist members of the SDL, who were planning to demonstrate in the city.This demonstration was shamefully unprecedented, with members of the SDL having been granted the local authorities’ permission to demonstrate legally, despite continuous violent attacks against Muslims in particular, all across the country.
Large police numbers were displayed all over the city centre in order to avoid violent incidents. In addition, members of the SDL were confronted with a large anti-fascist demonstration of hundreds of people organised by Unite Against Fascism, amongst other organisations. Lothian and Borders Police estimate that around 80 people participated in the SDL rally and the events passed off without major incidents.
The Muslim community of Edinburgh was well represented in the counter demonstration. Socialist Appeal was also well represented, and members managed to sell many papers and even chat to some of the demonstrators. In the end,members of the SDL were forced to leave the city under the pressure of the counter-demonstration and its participants’ determination not to let them march across the city.
The counter-demonstration against the racist SDL should be considered a success.The general mood was very positive and encouraging and enhanced by the multiculturalism that typically characterises Edinburgh itself. However, the fight against fascism should also include a political and ideological basis. Marxist ideas provide a powerful tool against the weak and pathetic arguments that the SDL is able to provide to its members, based on homophobia and hatred rather than on the realisation that we are immersed in a historical class struggle against the capitalist system.