The build-up to the White Man March had been intense. As soon as the event was announced by the fascist National Action a few months back, various groups on the Liverpool and national left began planning their response. In Liverpool, this process was complicated by the continuing and horrific presence of activists who had ties to both camps, but that’s a matter for another day.
In the last week or so, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson threw petrol on the flames when he published a letter purportedly from National Action, which promised “only bullets will stop us”. Though NA claimed the letter was the work of a provocateur, Anderson used it to push for an increase in his own powers. On the Liverpool Labour blog – widely quoted in the Liverpool Echo – Anderson called for national politicians to “reverse the current situation where I, as the highest ranking democratically-elected official in my city, have no power to represent my community and take steps to safeguard my communities – only the Home Secretary does.”
In other words, Anderson – who by his own confession has killed many with his cuts to local services – wants the power to decided what is and what is not “on the wing of any normal political ideology”, and therefore what is to be granted the liberal democratic right to protest. It would be a disaster if Anderson were to be granted this power, as it would no doubt be used against those who oppose austerity before too long.
Yesterday’s result – thousands of working class activists overwhelming both police and fascists to force the cancellation of the march – is infinitely preferable to an anti-working class mayor using the police to ban the march. The ‘Battle of Lime Street’, as it is already being called, it possibly the Liverpool left’s greatest achievement in a generation. Though he was forced to concede that people power won the day, Anderson and all capitalist politicians will be wary of a force that made them irrelevant for one day, and which showed the potential to make them irrelevant for all time.