An interview with former EDL member turned anti-fascist

*Names omitted*

0161: How did you get involved with going on marches etc?

NP: There was an older lad at the footy organising it, sorta grooming people for it looking back. We were still in our teens. But we didn’t see it like that at the time.

0161: Did people see themselves consciously as right wing?

NP: At first we just thought we were doing the right thing. Against terrorism supporters like that Anjem Chaudhry. The bloke organising it was definitely far right though we clocked that later.

0161: Was there many other from the football there?

NP: Yeah it was the first time football lads has teamed up together it was pretty mad. So it felt like being part of an army like. Lads from all over the north west.

Liverpool and (Manchester) United weren’t on it. They’re so big like they have their own subculture and wouldn’t stand with other lads. There was some individuals like, but their lot wouldn’t stand with any one else. It’s all elitism innit. If the main faces say no it’s a no you know what I mean?

0161: What led to yous leaving it?

NP: By Bolton we was seeing pure proper racist shit and all this loyalist stuff. That was all mad to us. We had always had black lads in our firm. Proper far right sorts always tryna get us on other stuff an all. They seemed proper weird. And we didn’t respect them, they weren’t game. Scruffs. I went jail for footy stuff after that and started reading and that – read up on politics.

0161: What was your experience of the opposition?

NP: To be honest mate, it seemed like a sort of class war to us. Which is ironic. Like ‘who are these students?’ Proper middle class sorts.

It was more the police and boredom that killed it rather than UAF. If anything they gave us a target – a real enemy to vent at. It kept people coming back. They shoulda marched with us singing kum by yah and that haha that woulda put everyone off.

Few years later when we was looking round for sommat decent to fight for.. it was a bit weird some of the (left) groups we checked out and that. Once we met yous it was sound cos it was like ‘right these are actually like us’. I was half expecting all black (clothes) and like *mimes* face covering and hood .. instead of New Balance and Lacoste and whathaveyou haha.

I’d changed my views of the world and took my lads with me. Seems to be way it works – groups rather than individuals moving over.

0161: What impact did you manage to have locally?

NP: We got rid of the influence of the few muppets that made people think we (at football) were arsed about loyalist shit or owt like that. Got everyone to sack off the few muppets round our way who couldn’t leave it be (right wing politics) so they weren’t an influence anymore. Isolated em. Bullied some proper nasty cunts, proper nazis, so they dont do nowt anymore. Although the (recent) bombing doesn’t fucking help. We got a a-political group at [well supported lower league team] installed as an alternative to their (right leaning) usual bollocks. And got a bunch of people away from the footy doing positive community stuff. Not in your face politics proper working class unity shit that’s what people want and need. Telling you, anyone tries disagree ill send em to [asian lads] – and they’ll tell em: people need concentrate on what we have in common. No mad fantasy shit and no identity obsessive stuff. Look after your area.


NB: 0161festival.com is a platform for sharing a variety of articles about sports, arts, politics, history and Manchester. This article was sent in after an interview between two local lads involved with antifascist activities. 

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