STAND UP TO RACISM SCOTLAND STATEMENT ON FOOTBALL LADS ALLIANCE

This statement is supported by:

Scottish Trade Union Congress
Show Racism the Red Card Scotland
Unite the Union Scotland
Stephen Smellie, depute convenor Unison Scotland
Joy Dunn, PCS Union Scotland National Officer
Denise Christie Scottish secretary Fire Brigades Union
John Kelly, EIS-FELA union president
Pam Currie, EIS-FELA vice president
Penny Gower, EIS-FELA Edinburgh College secretary
Tom Connolly, City of Edinburgh Unison secretary
Duncan Smith, Edinburgh TUC chair (pc)
Neil Findlay, Lothians Labour MSP
Ash Denham, Edinburgh Eastern SNP MSP
Ian Murray, Edinburgh South Labour MP
Tommy Sheppard, Edinburgh East, SNP MP
Gordon Munro, Leith Ward Labour councillor
Edinburgh One Day Without Us
Unite Against Fascism Edinburgh
James Dornan, Glasgow Cathcart SNP MSP
Robina Qureshi, Positive Action in Housing
Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
John Dennis, Dumfries TUC Secretary
Arthur West, Kilmarnock and Loudoun TUC secretary
Unite the Union Glasgow retired members branch
Peoples Assembly Scotland
Social Work Action Network Scotland
Jock Morris, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees chair
Bob Thomson, Scottish Left Review chair & past chair, Scottish Labour Party
Shelia Arthur, Community InfoSource
Scottish Borders LGBT Equality
Socialist Workers Party Scotland
Morning Star Readers and Supporters Group Scotland

Please email SUTRscot@gmail.com if you or your organisation wish to be added to this statement

Urgent call to support—demonstrate against racism

‘No to Racism, No to Islamophobia—Football for All’ unity event on 25 November, Edinburgh, assemble 9.30am

STUC St Andrews Day March and Rally, 25 November, Glasgow, assemble 11 am

We are deeply concerned by the news that the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) are set to march alongside Veterans Against Terrorism on Saturday 25 November in Edinburgh.

The FLA’s founder John Meighan has been in Scotland on a recruitment drive to drum up support for his organisation amongst football fans from Scotland’s biggest clubs. His organisation was founded in the wake of the terror attack at London Bridge. Millions of people were horrified by the attacks at London Bridge, Westminster, Manchester Arena, Parsons Green and at Finsbury Park Mosque.

The FLA claim they oppose extremism and terrorism and that they are not racist. But their track record contradicts their claim not to be racist.

They have now organised two big mobilisations in London. On their first demo some of the key speakers were linked to far-right groups, including Toni Bugle spoke a former candidate for the English Democrats, a party full of ex-BNP members. On the second demo on 7 October in London the same speakers were billed to speak, but were then pulled for “PR reasons”. The ex-leader of the English Defence League (EDL) Tommy Robinson was a popular figure on the demo.

The shadow home secretary Diane Abbott was attacked from the platform on 7 October – for signing a statement expressing concern at where the FLA is heading.

The FLA’s Facebook page has constantly seen regular posts from known far-right figures, with posts openly calling for “civil war” to deal with Muslims. The racist and Islamophobic posts on the page were one reason why the veterans’ charity Walking with the Wounded pulled support for the FLA’s second demonstration.

Since then Meighan has wished “good luck” to a far-right, Islamophobic demo at the East London Mosque and the FLA have promoted an Islamophobic demo outside the BBC in London.

Within the ranks of the FLA are neo-Nazis who are trying to create a racist and Islamophobic street movement. On their second demo in London on October 7th, between 15 to 20,000 people took part from dozens of clubs across Britain.

The whole Muslim community is the target for such demos, despite the fact that every major Muslim organisation condemned the attacks in London and Manchester. This is at a time when hate crimes against Muslims are rising at a dramatic rate.

We know that the vast majority of football supporters oppose racism and that clubs have invested much time and effort in supporting anti-racist initiatives. But we are deeply worried that some on the extreme racist and fascist right are attempting to use the FLA to win an audience for their political agenda.

We have to ask why an organisation that says it is not racist has failed to deal with the far right racists it is obviously attracting. The FLA leadership is opening the door to those who want to divide us all.

It will not be lost on trade unionists that this date has been chosen when the Scottish Trades Union Congress hold their annual anti-racist St Andrews Day march and rally in Glasgow.

We believe that, like the whole of society, football is for everyone, women and men, black and white, LGBT+ or straight, people of all religions or none.

It is vitally important that we mobilise to support the two events being held on 25th November. It is vitally important that the St Andrews Day March and Rally is bigger than ever before. We also hope that those—particularly on the East Coast—join us on the Stand up to Racism ‘No to Racism, No to Islamophobia—Football for All’ unity event on November 25th in Edinburgh to take a positive anti-racist message onto the streets and protest against Islamophobia and racism.

We would like football supporters, trade unionists, political parties and their representatives, religious groups, campaign groups and anti-racists to turn-out in numbers to show that Edinburgh is a welcoming place for all, whether that is on the terraces or streets.

To help build for this Stand up to Racism is calling a Day of Action to leaflet football clubs across Scotland on Saturday 18th November, from Aberdeen, to Dundee, to Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

 

Download the flyer SUTR25NovFLA.