Is the EDL Racist?
This is my first video based blog addressing the many lies that the EDL employ in attempting to deflect criticism and winning wider support. The most strenuously denied accusation is that they are a racist organisation. Whilst anti-Muslim bigotry uses near identical tactics of demonisation, dehumanising tropes and negative stereotypes to classic racism, the excuse that Muslims aren’t a race is too easily deployed as an obstacle in the path of the accuser. For this reason I have only included examples of pure racism in this video. I have also chosen not to include neo-Nazism which would by definition qualify as racist behaviour, as I plan on addressing this in a future blog.
It could be argued that racist language by individuals at 8 demos which have drawn up to 3,000 supporters over a period of 4 years isn’t conclusive proof that the EDL is a racist organisation. I would counter that by saying that leaders, organisers and stewards at demos are required to instruct attendees not to use racist language, which is an unusual request to make of adults in a non-racist organisation. It’s also worth noting that at no point in any of the clips does anybody challenge or question the use of racist language. I would also point out that cameras are not able to capture the words of every demonstrator at every march for the duration of the day.
To bolster my case I have included links below to screenshots taken of EDL members on social networking sites using explicitly racist language. This is just a small sample taken from their reaction to the riots of summer 2011 and the Stephen Lawrence trial.
Click images to enlarge
Again, some EDL sympathisers may argue that this is only two dozen examples from a period of four years where the EDL’s social media pages have attracted up to 100,000 users. I would ask them, why do the EDL seem to attract a disproportionate amount of people who are comfortable using racist epithets and displaying open hostility to people on a purely ethnic basis?
To add a little more scientific weight to my case I will provide some telling results from polls in which EDL members and supporters were asked to answer direct questions.
As the table above shows, as part of the Demos ‘Inside the EDL’ study of 2011, the voting preference of 1,295 EDL supporters was measured. 34% of the participants expressed a preference for the racist BNP, which is 17 times higher than the general population, whilst 14% chose the xenophobic UKIP, which is nearly 5 times higher than the general public.
The slides below are taken from Matthew Goodwin’s ‘Men of Violence? The Drivers of Public Support for the EDL’ study which polled 1,666 members of the general public. 298 were classed as EDL sympathisers, 124 self identified as EDL members, and the remainder were considered neither.
The slide above shows that those sympathising with the EDL have a clear antipathy towards immigrants, multiculturalism and diversity.
This slide shows not only an inclination towards ethno-Nationalism but also biological racism. As the slide states, these figures point to a more openly racist inner core to the EDL with a xenophobic circle of sympathisers.
Perhaps surprisingly, the above slide shows that the primary concern for EDL members and sympathisers is immigration and asylum, not Islam or even ‘militant’ Islam. At least a degree of proportion can be found within the rank of the EDL, as Muslims are beaten into third place by concerns over the economy. It’s not apparent whether concerns with immigration are based on fears regarding unemployment, welfare resources and the economy, or xenophobia and racism. But previous slides may provide an insight.
The next three slides illustrate the factors which are most likely to predict support for the EDL. The methodology is explained first.
As far as EDL sympathisers are concerned, by far the strongest indicator of support for the EDL is xenophobia, with an inclination to violence in second.
Not much needs to be added to the summary of the last slide. The key point worth re-iterating is that the EDL core membership is far more likely to be driven by classic racism and be pro-violence than not only the general public, but also the sympathiser. This would go some way to explaining why the more casual supporters are often oblivious to the extreme hardcore, and are confused by the accusations of racism. They may not actually spend a great deal of time socialising online or attend demos with the EDL, so are therefore less likely to have been exposed to the overt racism as the anti-EDL activist.
Is it possible to claim that the EDL is a racist organisation given the information I’ve presented here? The evidence would suggest that it attracts racists and xenophobes in numbers vastly disproportionate to the general public. It also suggests that the closer the individual identifies themselves with the EDL, the higher the probability is that they hold racist views. Add to this the fact that the leadership have a history of support for the BNP and it’s not surprising that they feel at ease doing this in EDL circles. The fact that the group’s raison d’etre is opposition to a religion practised predominantly by people of Asian, Middle Eastern and African origin provides the perfect cover for racists to be able to vent their hate with slightly amended terminology. Despite the disingenuous mission statement and lip service from the leadership, it’s undeniable that the EDL is riddled with racists and it isn’t a coincidence.
All screenshots used can be found in the link below.
Links to the full reports used are below.