Britain is my homeland. For all her flaws that I find in myself and all her greatness that so often I do not, there is a part of me that is forever England.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published on my now permanently banned Medium.com account on October 13, 2017. It is still accurate in my opinion, so I have republished it here. ~A.S
Having lived overseas for some time now, I am in a peculiar position- every time I return home, the landscape is a little different. Is it England that is changing, or I, or both? What I have noticed, is that as ever, the United Kingdom absorbs cultural norms from America, across the gossamer fine Atlantic membrane that separates our civilizations like opiates crossing the blood/brain barrier.
Scaremongering about the far right is just the latest phenomena in this grand cultural ‘exchange’.
For years, the archetype of the British socialist has fallen into one of two broadly defined categories. Firstly, there are the so-called ‘champagne socialists’ who will wring their hands at the problems of the poor and the racial minorities. Ask them to visit a soup kitchen with you, and you will be drowned under a deluge of pressing engagements and nonspecified excuses. They are, however, well versed in how jolly awful capitalism is, despite having no real desire to change anything about it.
Second come the children of these middle-class dilettantes; they who are studying Gender Studies & Sociology at a university in the middle of nowhere, with professors produced by the same system as they are. Dutch door anarchy. These kids are the twins of the ones who have taken up shields with NO HATE emblazoned on them in the US. All the better to beat veterans in wheelchairs with, my dears. The red blood of these angry men (and feminists) is fashionably juxtaposed with the black, the black of bloc anarchist.
Technically speaking, there is a third kind of quasi-socialist who flits in between the parent and child socialists at will, selling pot to both. This is, of course, the true anarchist, the greebo, the hippy. Politically and culturally irrelevant, these strange critters cloak themselves in cold war German military jackets and patchouli.
For some reason, they never age, only seeming to be replaced by a never-ending cycle of dropped out kids, who burn out on acid, decide the system is fucked, and that psytrance raves on mountains are better than houses and jobs anyway.
All three groups are rarely comprised of stupid people. Ideologues, for sure. But never stupid. They have read Proust. They understand Sartre or at least tell you they do over a poorly rolled joint with a THC content lower than their contribution to the national GDP. These people are our intellectual elite.
Do you know who is stupid? I mean, really stupid?
Football (soccer) fans. They are stupid. They fight each other over tribalist nonsense. They spend vast sums of money earned working on building sites on tickets and paraphernalia that swells the off-shore accounts of Russian billionaires. Their simple minds turn to junk food when their team loses. They don’t care about politics. They are working class, by and large. They vote as their parents voted.
Except recently this has changed, and dramatically. For decades, the left has bemoaned the lack of political engagement among the working class of Britain. The leftist wrings his hands about ways to engage the youth of today in politics. For, as we all know, the 18–24 demographic now outnumber the baby boomers, and if only they would get out and vote- well. Socialist eutopia beckons.
Jeremy Corbyn, with some… friends
This is not what has happened.
The predominantly working-class men who follow football have begun to be politicized, alright. Oh yes, they have. As Rudyard Kipling wrote,
It was not preached to the crowd.
It was not taught by the state.
No man spoke it aloud
When the English began to hate.
The Football Lads Alliance, an ostensibly apolitical movement against all forms of extremism, on the surface looks ideologically naive. Formed in the wake of Islamic terrorist attacks in Britain that are all too soon scrubbed from the mind, the FLA planned a march through London, on June 24th.
The March Against Extremism disavowed the far right, but is in essence a response to the lack of action taken by the UK government against Islamic Extremism. After all, Islamic Extremism is by far the most threatening and deadly extremist behavior in the nation. The march paused to pay respects at London Bridge, site of the horrific van and knife attacks.
Naturally, the March has been portrayed in the press as organized by the far right. Naturally, the usual suspects on the left the communist Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and the Socialist Worker were quick to jump on the bandwagon. What is a leftist movement if you have no enemies to purge.
In all, ten thousand working-class men marched through the capital, with no violence, a far-right presence tiny enough to be insignificant, and yet, there the leftists were. Crying ‘NAZI’ at the top of their little lungs.
But, this article is not about the march. The march organizers claim to be apolitical, which is idealistic in the extreme. In the case of any social movement, you play politics, or you will be played with politics. As the Socialist Worker newspaper points out with accuracy:
“By pointing out to softer elements of the FLA that they are being used by fascists, the opposition can drive a wedge into this new right-wing movement to split it too.”
This is correct. It doesn’t matter if the Football Lads Alliance is 0% fascist. It only matters what the optics are, and who controls the narrative. Outside the group, the narrative is controlled by the left, who have successfully painted the FLA as an offshoot of the English Defence League, a nationalist group that has been explicitly shunned by the FLA. It is also indicative of the desired outcome of the socialists that the “softer elements” be brought over to their camp. As ever, when the far left cannot convince through argument, it will attempt to subvert through slander.
The Football Lads Alliance, 07 October 2017
That really should prove my point. On the inside of this growing movement, there is the danger of infiltration by the far right. Outside the group, the press and the far left are already lumping the movement in with far-right nationalism. It’s a great recruiting tactic if you are a budding Antifa, who is all dressed up and with no one to mace.
I hope I have given a complete enough overview of the situation around these events, coming as they are hot on the heels of Muslim gangs raping white girls, children losing their lives to nail bombs at pop shows, stabbings in pubs and an attempted bombing of a train, this last, that has been met with a resounding ‘so what.’
While our politicians, cowards to the last, exhort us all to Keep Calm and Carry On, You Bloody Plebs it is the working class who are finally realizing who -and what- has come for dinner.
“I already am eating from the trash can all the time. The name of this trash can is ideology. The material force of ideology makes me not see what I am effectively eating.” - Slavoj Zizek, on ideology.
Does it take a bunch of football fans to point this out? Are we Brits so mentally enchained so to be unable to discuss the elephant in the room?
So it appears, that to discuss the problem of Islam in the United Kingdom online gets one arrested. To talk about it in the workplace will result in unemployment. To talk about it in the home will split your family. To talk about it with your friends loses you your friends.
*Just part and parcel of living in a big city. *
Where then, as a culture, are we to look? We have built bridges on our walls because we are not racist enough to build walls around our nation. We quibble over Brexit, the democratically mandated will of the people because middle-class socialists like easy holidays in Tuscany. Freedom of movement across Europe is jolly good, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing on the dole queue.
Here is the clarion call that is loud and clear. The people on the Football Lads march are the people of Rotherham. The people of Newcastle. The people of Manchester. The people of London. Their opponents live in the green belts. Their opponents cry “Not All”, when the argument is never about all or none, and never has been.
Unlike the United States, the actual violent aspects of the left are incredibly small in the United Kingdom. This is proportional to the numbers of active far-right street groups, who can barely draw more than a hundred people to a rally. The idea that a bunch of sports fans can drown out both sides with a non-partisan message is highly encouraging to me. There are still dangers ahead.
On October 7th, another Football Lads Alliance march took place in London. The organizers are of the opinion that a turnout of 50,000 or more people peacefully marched through the city. This is encouraging- although for some reason the BBC and other mainstream media outlets ignored it.
The press ignored the march because there was no violence. Without violence, the march cannot be held up as an example of far-right bigotry against the left, the religion of peace, and globalism. What. A. Pity.
Despite this great success, I hope to see some development in organization within the Football Lads Alliance to protect themselves from their enemies- who are numerous, vocal, and politically astute.
Here is the issue. The Football Lads are one hundred percent correct in opposing extremism from Islam and the far right. They fail to understand that this will not deflect criticism from the leftist media that the march is a smokescreen for the far right, regardless of intentions. It will also not prevent, as the Socialist Worker again correctly noted, that the far right will recruit on these marches if they can.
And so we come to the problem inherent in having such a laudable but vague goal. Marching against extremism sounds nice enough; except that extremism is a subjective term.
Without context, extremism is meaningless, and so is the opposition to it. Extremism itself is not in and of itself an enemy. As Sam Harris has said, extremist Jains walk around looking at the floor, so to avoid treading on ants. While there is no need for the Football Lads to become a political movement, the understanding must be that the movement is political.
The Football Lads Alliance has only recently begun, and so we should not be too critical of their organization yet. Still, as friends, we should not allow friends to fumble blindly in the dark in a room full of knives.
The wry comedy we can all at least enjoy, however successful this nascent movement might be, is that the decades-long struggle for the leftists to instill class consciousness in the proletariat may be at an end. It’s just not ending up the way their Critical Theory professors told them it would. The working class has awoken, and shockingly enough, they have decided that being told that they are racist, homophobes and Islamophobes, when they are not, is a crock. About bloody time.
And where are our police force while all this goes on?
What has happened is that our police force is busy pandering to an LGBT+ crowd with freshly painted squad cars. The use of no-no words on social media will see you arrested. The very idea of criticising Islam in public will have you on a watch list. The watch list that we already have in the UK, that of 23,000 known jihadis or fundraisers for terrorists, lies gathering dust.
This is not to say the security services in the United Kingdom do not do a seriously heroic job preventing and catching terrorists when they are allowed to. Our leaders were told for years that cutting the policing budget in the face of Islamic Terrorism was an awful idea. Those senior officers who said so were ignored and portrayed in the press as simply greedy for more tax revenue.
It’s good to know who our masters consider to be the real problem. It’s not the terrorists. It’s not the socialists. It’s everyone else. It’s you, with concern for your family as another rape gang is arrested and passed off in the press as simply Asian. Strangely we are yet to see a group of Japanese men in the dock for passing around teenage white girls like sex dolls. It’s the people who voted for Brexit. It’s the working class themselves, who resolutely vote against what they are told is in their best interests.
And so, tired of being ignored, sick of being disparaged, the English have begun to march. Let us all hope they do not begin to hate.