The English Defence League has taken a time out from the campaign of race-baiting against less than 2 million Muslims in Britain, but particularly targeting Asian Muslims, to react to the student demonstrations in their own special way. The leader of the movement is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who goes by the name of "Tommy Robinson", who attacked the students in a speech this week. The former BNP member and football hooligan accused the students of "living off their dad's fucking bank cards" and not knowing what it means to be working-class. During the speech Mr Yaxley-Lennon issued a threat "The next time the students want to protest in our capital, the English Defence League will be there." This is a part of the EDL new approach of ruining left-wing meetings and denouncing trade unions as "communist", the movement is now engaged in the kind of red-baiting that still goes on across the pond.
The EDL seems to adhere to a vicious brand of evolutionary economics, whereby the strong rise and the weak fall, which is a departure from the traditional third-way economics of distributism. This is in line with the "permissive" aspects of post-modern nationalism, which is why they will claim to be defenders of freedom of speech against political-correctness. The kind of individualism the EDL favours is no doubt subordinate to nationhood. It may be a defence of free-speech but it's really about defending "English values", as if freedom was exclusively British. This extreme economic shift began with the BNP supporting the cuts and putting forward proposal of £200 billion in public spending cuts over a year, which would have decimated the welfare state and devastated the working-class. Though as this new strategy has accelerated the decline of the Party, the BNP have resorted to a vague list of cuts it advocates.
Not only would it appear that the EDL are now running with the stance that the BNP abandoned, but the growth of the League is now partly the cause of the decline of the BNP. The electoralist approach of Nick Griffin is perceived as a failure on the far-right and the EDL is a regression to the street level thuggery. As the EDL were originally just another force to collude with, the League have seized onto the "common cause" of stamping out the British Muslim community. From this there is a kind of unity among neo-Nazis and angry white men in general, but now the EDL is seeking to harden it's right-wing base in it's opposition to student demonstrations and trade unions. At the same time, the EDL has sought to allign itself with the Islamophobic wing of the Tea Party. The new line of the League on cuts might strengthen the link to the Tea Party and the American chickenhawks who have been on board for taking on Islamism for a long time.
In Fascist ideology the class struggle is typically displaced, the EDL are no different in this sense. The idea of an English working-class is posited against an exploitative left-wing elite who have capitulated to radical Islamists. Notice that neo-fascists have yet to replace European Jewry as a scapegoat which appeals to the upper-classes just as much as it does to the working-classes. To the rich the Jew was a communist and to the poor the Jew was a banker, the virulent anti-Semitism of the Nazis externalised the tension between classes onto a "common enemy" and we all know what happened thereafter. Instead the EDL have to stick to the same line as the BNP have been, that "Islamization" is being imposed as part of a conspiracy between a left-wing media and a liberal elite.
The "intellectual" leadership of the EDL is most certainly National Socialist in character, just as the leadership of the BNP has been since it's emergence in 1982, complete with the same old genocidal intentions. The foot soldiers are typically the standard football thug with just enough brain cells to hate everything foreign. But the base of the BNP and the EDL are not consciously fascist, which is the reason for the carefully maintained veneer of railing against a culture and not a race. Cultural chauvinism is something picked up from the New Right, which focuses on the incompatibility of the culture of a "race" and thereby targets the minority indirectly. Just as old-fashioned racism is making a return, race-related harassment and violence has increased in recent times from 13,000 in 1997 to 53,000 in 2005. 35,000 of which consistuted assault. Now we can see Bruce Forsyth and Jimmy Hill defend the use of slurs such as "Paki" and "nigger".
The base of the EDL is no different than any other far-right group, it consists mostly of working-class men who have been dispossessed over the last 30 years and have legitimate grievances. The working-class has been neglected and it's grievances have been ignored by the establishment. Unemployment and stagnant wages being a serious concern. The line of the reactionary press is that the markets are efficient and produce enough jobs for all people. From this view the only explanation for unemployment is that the jobless are lazy scum or that their jobs have been "stolen" by foreigners. It's assumed that the system is perfect and has only been disrupted by "meddlesome entities" (e.g. foreigners and scroungers). When actually the case is that the markets are inefficient and don't provide jobs for all. Enter the EDL, who take advantage of a source of untapped rage and acknowledge the grievances by offering ways of restoring order - e.g. cutting off all benefits and putting a stop to Muslim immigration.
The malicious defence of authority and the erosion of welfare liberalism for the sake of "social order" is partly about solidifying a ultra-rightist base, it appeals to the bourgeois sectors of society. Equally it is about the long-term future of the EDL, whether or not it is intended to be. The end of the welfare state does have the potential to enlarge and intensify support for far-right groups, as would a double-dip recession. As it would ensure the kind of conditions that produce and sustain groups like the EDL, e.g. high unemployment, stagnant wages and greater inequality. Though it is possible that this manoeuvre will drive away working-class support for the League, as opposition to the cuts could increase rapidly as demonstrated by the student protests. Hopefully the EDL will find itself outnumbered by going down this route.