The Home Secretary Theresa May has banned the right of the far-right English Defence League to march upon Tower Hamlets in London as they intended to in the coming days. I oppose and despise the EDL as much as any civilized person should. Beyond the stupidity of their opportunistic racism and fascism, they pose a deep threat to the well being and cohesion of our communities, and are primarily known for their long standing violent thuggery, as well as habituation of terrorism, and international associations with such organizations and individuals.
But I absolutely oppose the prohibition of their public demonstration. We do not defeat fascists by censoring them. This only gives power to their propaganda narrative about being "persecuted." In defending the universal rights of free expression for all, we defeat prejudice and bigotry in open debate and confrontation. We can refute its dishonesty easily, which people like the EDL do by merely speaking for themselves, and as did BNP leader Nick Griffin in his hilarious Question Time appearance in September two years ago. What are we afraid of? The authority of government deciding what is an "acceptable" protest or not. This I think we should be.
When Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists were stormed into retreat by anti-fascist and progressive forces in the Battle of Cable Street, they were essentially defeated as a dangerous political movement. But what if the government had banned the attempted display under influence from "anti-racist" organizers? Mosley's Blackshirts could have very well grown in their recruitment. We can't say ¡No pasarán! with nothing to face and stride against.