Lets get one thing very clear before I continue, this piece is not in support of Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network (MAFN) However, Nor is it a criticism of Anti-Fascism or any other group. No Pasaran!
I am an anti-fascist, I am also many other things, a woman, mother, social justice activist/campaigner, occasional writer, skilled pain in the backside, and I have been around the block a few times now, so for all these reasons I am writing this, a critique I am apparently still afforded in this just about still ‘Free Country’!
So who are MAFN? And why am I writing this? In coming words, the first question being fulfilled, will partly answer the second!
Firstly they are at their core, a relatively small and non-remarkable group (in terms of diversity), who sometimes double up with the remnants of LAFN -(liverpool anti- fascist network) and a few other individuals at Public Events and Meets. Most of the core group are new to anti-fascism, and to activism itself. Half do not live in Liverpool. But it is their playing field!
It is this core group, in which all ‘decisions’ are made, and where a hierarchy of mostly ‘anarchists’ exists, that I level this criticism and expose some truths about! As an ex-member of this group, I am under no illusion, that this is how a group of such a ‘proclamation’- in title alone, should evolve, be maintained, recruit, organize, safeguard, or Act and “Speak Like”! Speaking out against this, is not a crime against the long-run and international anti-fascist movement, it is quite the contrary, it is in defense of it! It is also a response to the gas-lighting and bullying I have experienced from some members of this core group, while it was being watched on or reported to the rest!
In the run up to the attempt at a ‘White Man March’ last year, many of us began to organize to spread the word to oppose it. The usual components of The Left, as well as The Local Community, Football Fans, and Students were all on board. LAFN had ceased to be a working group of local antifa and so there was arguably room for an organised group to evolve along with existing activists. and that was certainly the case to be. Suddenly ‘A Fresh New Face’ emerged, quickly making ‘a name for himself’,and along with a few others, helped form what he then went on to state, was ‘his group’ -MAFN. As I wont name names, I will refer to him as the ‘Crazy Frog’ from herein!
The publicity in the run up to the threat of a Far Right March, had also been unusually high at this time, these particular little Neo-Nazis were getting lots of attention before they even got off those trains!! They had bragged online about taking Our City, and Mayor Joe Anderson-(known for his honesty), had alleged they had threatened him and the L8 Community in a typed letter! That was never going to be taken by chance, or seen to be ignored, even though the Nazis denied the letter outright.
Big Joe would also eventually go on to gain ‘New Powers’ from the two occasions The Far Right Scum did show up, despite being happy for them to March through the City Centre on the 15th of August last year! He would also go on to take credit for the failure of The Nazis to March that day, and then, to condemn those left opposing their violence while the police looked on, on the 27th of February this year!
The Crazy Frog and his close companions were indeed in with the Molotov that went off at Liverpool Limestreet that day in August last year, but fortunately and most notably, so were thousands of Scousers, Local People and a good show of Antifa from around the country as support! Yet despite this, the Crazy Frog and spawn, still saw fit to take the majority of credit (that Joe hadn’t), and thanked the people of Liverpool for, ‘helping them win the fight’ No insult intended, None taken then!!
At this time, with events in Liverpool already having taken lots of twists and turns since The Election and The Occupation of The Bank of England, The New group (MAFN) began to attract those that had previously not even known what fascism or anti-fascism was, some of whom had also been new to any activism in Liverpool, and who had first appeared in the then occupied LoveBank or subsequent occupations. Now obviously this is not an issue on its own, but with no checks or balances it is a massive one!
Some of these people are not the real problem either, and a movement must attract new generations and blood., but there was no attention taken to the alarm bells ringing when The Crazy Frog threatened another much older man (at a meeting to arrange against The Nazis), then a disabled man at another, and then everyone he could, on Facebook! The other new members had become so immersed in being heroes with him, saving us all from Nazis and Fascism, (even Racism and Sexism too I think)…note to self– must ask about that one! -They did not challenge his aggressive, regressive and destructive ways! Giving it large!!
So when The Crazy Frog then went on to bully and insult me, and with another hide meetings and information from me., other members were still not interested, not learning anything; nor where they educating or focusing on the cause. Activities would largely involve: winding Nazis up online, pinching their flags, sticking stickers up, dressing up, taking photos of themselves ‘dressed up’ for Facebook, after turning up to meet their very similarly dressed- Nazi opponents in Liverpool and elsewhere! Massaging each others ego’s online, also seemed to be their new ritualistic-bonding method.
This was anti-fascism apparently, but not as we know it…
Let me expand, AND clear my throat!!
So if that wasn’t problem enough, along came ‘The Two Pauls’ – two men strongly suspected by many, of being informants/infiltrators, since a short time after they showed up at the LoveBank last April. One of these men, (Morgan), is now right at the heart of the Group, whilst the other (PJ) may finally have been expunged from the fringes, as he has recently exposed him self as right-wing and a police informant. He also began a big row over antisemitism pulling in the Crazy Frog and manipulating the MAFN mood. In weeks of that, he then began bullying me with The Crazy Frog, and most members of the ‘core group’ over a few day period in April. I was called a monster, dangerous, bully, crank, nutter, and my feminist and anti-fascist credentials called out. They also joked about me being sentenced to prison for my activism as I stood in the dock! They then used my real name in this behaviour, later accusing me of using theirs. or somehow exposing them as MAFN. The only mature experienced member still on board, brought them-self down to the level of the Fresh-Faced Crazy Frog and also joined in denying there was any issues, despite a long and respected reputation as an anti-fascist. A situation that was then either exploited or accepted by the Infiltrators and spawn!
After all they could do anything in their new name-MAFN ..with their New Status and no one could criticize them now without allegations of helping fascists in one way or another!
They hide behind a mask and a movement!
Most of them, completely fail to understand their privilege, in choosing to fight Fascism, that many don’t get a choice, nor do they get to/or have a choice in hiding behind a mask to fight every now and again, and whipping it off to get on with their other life!
They insult many like Jack Jones and those that fought in the Brigades, they insult The Community. They have no wider concept or perspective of anti-fascism and only truly do what is detailed above. They have little care for others arrested or those hurt after being brutally assaulted by fascists and police in Liverpool recently.
They have little care or knowledge, about protecting each other from imprisonment, and harm, inc (the minor in care) who is in their care when he shows out with them. It was a close shave in Wigan for him, the young kid was almost set upon by Fascists after the Crazy Frog and other core members ran away leaving him and three others alone! The next meeting, a week later, this wasn’t discussed, so I brought it up after being astonished that they had been laughing at a fascists poem online instead. Crazy Frog didn’t like this! He then went on to try ban me from ‘his group’creating an argument over the word ‘bitch’, and later admitting it was just an excuse to attack me!
The group also has no mission statement, Nor is it formally affiliated with the wider Anti-Fascist Network. They do not even have to state who they are and what they stand for. Easy life!!
Good job the many people affected by Fascism and Racism and More in Liverpool and Merseyside, are not waiting for them to come to their rescue, and that this lot have day jobs!