161 Crew Manchester Statement

Written and posted first by Facebook page Manchester 0161 Antifascists and copied here with permissions to be shared.

An important message, passed onto us today by friends in Manchester.

“Social Duty – 
161 Crew MCR have repeatedly set out its position regarding how militant anti fascism responds to discharging a social duty. 

Working Class Organising with Trade Unions – 
That social duty has many facets, meaning working class communities must organise from its roots of working class resistance to rise a force that can meet and counter the rise of right wing hatred either on the streets or in their communities. 

The communities must look to the Trade Union movement, Labour, and left wing grass roots groups such as Momentum to assist in putting a visible opposition on the streets to counter the right wing presence. This should be well defended but not lead inexperienced members of the public into unnecessary danger or arrest. 

When the right wing attacked an RMT picket, at Manchester Victoria Station on the 5th January 2019. We saw working class community mobilisation involving Trade Unions and left wing groups the following week. This demonstrates that relationship already exists, and must be built upon.

State Controlled Theatre – 
Groups who set up stalls and put on events should only do so if they are confident of defending themselves. Groups should cease expecting militant anti fascists to attend city centres and play superhero bodyguards. 

Such a theatre is controlled by the police both overtly and covertly. It allows for the easy identification of activists by police and often leads to avoidable arrests which would jeopardise the ongoing vital working class community cohesion programmes that activists may be advancing. 

Not an Emergency Service – 
161 Crew MCR have repeatedly made clear, the theatre of engagement is chose by them, and them alone. Engaging with fascists should be done when discreet and opportune, in the tradition of Anti Fascist Action / Red Action. The situation is not critical enough to warrant another wave of unnecessary court cases and bail conditions.

Media –
Most propaganda from the right in the modern era takes place online. The streets is no longer the main concern for the right. They know they can reach far more via the web. We cannot no platform someone on YouTube or social media. The answer is to develop an alternative media operation and develop media personalities.

161 Squads are not a rent a mob or some kind of emergency service for the left, and never will be.

We stand with working class communities, to advance community cohesion. 

P.R.O. 161 Crew MCR.”

NB: 0161festival.com is a platform for sharing a variety of articles about sports, arts, politics, history and Manchester. This article was sent in and written by a local Manc antifascist. 

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