15 June 2018

I Don’t Want To Fight You: An Open Letter to the Antifascists

I just wanted to pull together some of my thoughts from this weekend before everything gets swept to the back of everyone’s minds.

As most of you know by now, I was attacked by one of Antifa’s most notorious members on Saturday in the car park of M&S in Sevenoaks. Yes, another attack, another car park, this time with a slight upgrade in terms of branding.

I don’t feel much towards my attacker other than pity. She has been trying to wind me up on Twitter since but I just try and ignore it. Reading her posts makes me feel what she must feel on the inside and it’s horrible and dark. From what I’ve heard, she sounds like a very damaged woman—I don’t and never have wished her any harm. I think that being a member of Antifa has given her a way of channelling her anger, along with a friendship group and a sense of belonging.

Her only intent for me, however, is to cause me physical pain. She managed this on Saturday by grabbing the front of my hair and not letting go, pulling me to the ground. It took two of the men I was with to pull her off me, though she didn’t let up on her grip. She managed to pull out two significant chunks of my fringe, which was excruciating. The next day I woke up aching all over with bruises, scrapes and a neck injury. Antifa, of course, celebrated this as a victory.

What you didn’t see before the clip was that I was breaking up a fight between two girls—one on ‘our side’ and one on ‘theirs’. I told them to stop, that women fighting was disgusting and wrong. Seconds later I was grappling with a woman on the bloody floor.

Antifa are, to be fair, right to criticise my behaviour afterwards. I paced the area, screaming at a mother who had brought her distressed child to the event. I then shouted at children—who looked about 12 to 14 years old, as well as two middle class looking girls, who I said were traitors to women.
I was angry, disorientated, and in physical pain. I let her anger seep into me as I dusted off large tufts of blonde hair from my clothes. Looking back at the footage, however, I do feel bad for taking that anger out on children, who I don’t think should have been there in the first place to bear witness to any of the disgusting behaviour from both sides of the spectacle.

Then there’s Speakers Corner and the ironic ‘SUPPORT ALL WOMEN’ counter-protest the next day.

Despite their constant barrage of insults, I was happy to talk to Antifa. I have been for ages (the ones I’ve spoken with privately will remember), and I offered several times to engage in debate with them through the Police line. I tried with about three or four, who responded by calling me names, mocking my appearance and chanting at me in what I can only describe as bizarre and grotesque manner. The image of their contorted faces pacing back and forth, along with their deranged and nonsensical outbursts still winds me up—more out of exasperation than anything else.

As we neared the park, the jeers grew louder ‘NAZI SCUM, OFF OUR STREETS’. The usual. We were escorted through the wrong entrance, and were quickly moved round by the Police to the next entrance— which they thought was us being removed from the park. They started cheering and clapping, thinking they’d won momentarily.

After this they spent a while shouting at us, making predictable jokes and chanting as Freya read her speech nervously in an Police protected area. Laurie Penny was there and I was briefly optimistic when I saw her listening to Freya on our side of the fence, only to see later that she was just writing snide remarks on Twitter

Someone else said that the proof of my racism was ‘on my website’. When I asked if he meant my photography website he just grunted and turned his back on me.

Another asked me some nonsensical questions about Tommy which I couldn’t quite hear and told me my shoes were ‘shit’. I asked them what they thought about a member of their group physically attacking me the day before, which I was told was “hilarious”.

A tall mixed race girl also wanted to know how many people of colour were on our side, and another asked me why there weren’t many women with us. When I told her it’s because Antifa have a habit of attacking women, she seemed interested and actually stuck around to speak to me. She wasn’t ‘antifa’ but described herself as ‘anti-fascist’ and a feminist, and didn’t have her face covered. After it had died down
she came back again and we shook hands and spoke respectfully to one another, a small victory for me.

Another small win was when a red headed girl—the same one who I tried to stop fighting the day before—came over and asked if I would like a copy of their speech, which I did. As promised she brought it over after their event along with some other bits of material for me to read through. She said that if I wanted I could go through it and write a rebuttal, which I plan to do at some point. I understand we’re not exactly best friends but at least she granted me that.

A man in a brown coat and a red hat also spoke to me and told me that my image was being passed around several Antifa pages on Facebook as a target. He conceded that it wasn’t particularly fair, given that it’s largely down to my association with Tommy other than my political opinions, of which nobody seems to actually know anything about.

All in all it was a sad and confusing weekend. People are trying to get each other fired, there are threats left right and centre, both sides are painstakingly going through each piece of footage frame by frame in an attempt to somehow ruin someone’s personal life and plan the next attack. For what? It sounds like there’s a lot that we agree on, but some discrepancy over facts, gures and motives.

Of course, it goes without saying that no ‘feminist’ outlet or journalist has been in touch with me. Why would they? I’m not a woman, I’m a racist. What good would it be to humanise me? I’m the enemy. I deserve everything I get. I film the wrong content, I listen to the wrong podcasts, I read the wrong articles and agree with the wrong people. I handed over my right to physical safety when I picked up my camera and filmed the LD50 protest. Any attempt on my part to make light of the situation has been met with frenzied vitriol and justification for horrible things to happen to me. I was, and still am, in a lot of pain, so I suppose in this instance Antifa won. Feel free to congratulate yourselves. I wish I had something funny or edgy to end on but I don’t. I just wish this wasn’t the way things are.