Our brave correspondent reports from the front line of a fairly shit protest, where the most prominent feature was SWP hypocrisy.
Pointing out people’s hypocrisy is a sure fire way to rile them up. That was my main finding from the frontline of the anti-Tommy Robinson protest outside the Union on Wednesday.
It is safe to say this week’s protest was pathetic compared to the demonstration against the Israeli Ambassador earlier this term. It was dominated by the Socialist Workers Party and Unite Against Fascism, a closely linked organisation. Oxford’s resident protestors, the Oxford Activist Network had a small presence but were keen to distance themselves from the SWP, and wisely so.
I approached some of the demonstrators – those who were actually making some noise – as the Activist network were noticeably subdued and all the noise was coming from the middle-aged socialists. One man started talking about the ‘lack of respect shown by Robinson’, a statement I took to be at least mildly ironic given the SWP’s record on women’s liberation (see their cover up of rape allegations for more details.)
He didn’t take to that overly well and became aggressive, shouting in my face that my claim was ‘abusing his wife’ who was present. Where the logic behind that idea came from will be something unknown to all but him forever. Despite asking him to stop being aggressive (to which he replied by accusing me of being aggressive), he kept on being a prick until some friends hauled me away from him back onto Union grounds.
Dignity saved and my nose not broken, I watched the protest from safety of the Union grounds, and it appeared to be rather sparsely attended. Despite various attempts to contact those involved with the Oxford Activist Network, they have flatly refused to comment about the success of the protest (answer: limited) or the potential association with the SWP.
Oxford’s branch of UAF commented that they believed they ‘exposed Robinson as a fascist’ and ‘tarred him with the label of fascist at a local and national level’, whilst accusing the Union of conspiring to aid Tommy Robinson in shedding a fascist label. Unless they somehow made national news of a very small protest, Oxford UAF is being optimistic at best with their views.
What the protest really showed is that not many people really care about Robinson, who has been out of the national spotlight for years. Personally, I learnt a lesson as well – don’t present inconvenient facts to SWP protestors!