It started with a strawberry milkshake.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (pretend name Tommy Robinson) was on the streets of Manchester stirring up racial hatred and xenophobia as part of his Rebel Media and American Conservative funded campaign to become a legitimate politician when he got drenched in thick milkshake. It wasn't planned, it wasn't Antifa or some other organised Anti Fascist. It was just an random Joe who, having left McDonald's, saw a racist getting up in peoples faces and making the air stink and thought "fuck it". Yaxley-Lennon switched from his "respectable politician" act to completely loosing all control in an instant, and from the look on his face, had his day spoilt.
The next day Yaxley-Lennon attempted to test out his powers of persuasion on a mum in Salford out to pick up some shopping and promptly lost a debate with her. Realising that confrontation works a bit better for him than conversation, at the next rally, in Warrington, he singled out one of the few Muslims who just happened to be stood watching and marched over. Flanked by his very dodgy entourage, which has included knife wielding kidnappers and Polish Neo Nazi (who he professes to be opposed too) Yaxley-Lennon and co. surrounded the poor guy and went on the attack. It's a method favoured by Scientologists, street missionaries and the like; crowd your target, pretend to be spectators and then apply pressure, bullying the opposition to force a reaction. Once a reaction is got - or once they've finished shouting in someones face - they shove the result on Youtube under "Tommy takes on a terrorist" or some shit. The lad being targetted here, Danyaal, nodded for a few seconds and then thought "fuck it", tossing his milkshake over the fascist, before being jumped by Yaxley-Lennon and his wee mob.
Two makes it a tradition
Pretty Soon, Alt-Right mouth piece Carl “it's OK if she understands consent” Benjamin who likes to make rape jokes and spread racist drivel has four milkshakes, some horse shit and even a handful of kippers (he's a candidate for UKIP get it :p) tossed over him over three days of campaigning and then, the one that took it to all the papers, Nigel Farage takes a Banana and Salted Caramel milkshake to go in the most efficient community response ever. He arrived... got out... a random passing by saw him and thought “Milkshake, fuck it, just do it”... Farage runs off crying about how his security isn't up to par.
You know what? It works too.
These pricks stop coming out to play.
After Benjamins's three days of milkshake and horse shit, UWE cancelled his podium. He's since shut the fuck up and stayed off the radar. As a bonus, fellow peadophile apologist Milo Yiannopoulos was also milkshaked while out campaigning with Benjamin in Exeter and stopped coming out to play too.
After Farage was doused he refused to get off his bus in the next town. A few days later as I write this, Farage is trapped on his bus in Rochester, refusing to get off because three people dressed in black who “looked like they had milkshakes” sent his security into a panic.
After Yaxley-Lennon was covered, he not only instantly returned to the violent thug he is, his methods reverted from the politican out and about after a baby to hug to the atypical right wing methods where he can try to control the opposition through violence and intimidation.
You see, milkshaking is a radical response even your average liberal can get behind, it's leagues away from the violent confrontations that often result from confronting Fascists. You don't need a dedicated squad with militant tactics and organisation nor do you need to read the literature or have a deep understanding of why “¡No Pasarán!” is so important. Heck you don't even need the physical capacity to handle yourself - though it does help if you are stealthy, quick on your feet, or able to roll with a couple of punches.
You really just need a shake.
It's the rally ending weapon that can be in anyone's hand.
The likes of Benjamin and Farage can't deal with it. There is nothing they can do but whine after the fact.
They are both in political parties that want to be seen as mainstream. Sure they promote xenophobia and Ethno-Nationalism but they do so with pretensions of legitimacy and thus their capacity to react is limited. Add now the fact that overwhelmingly people in the UK, leave or remain, left or right of centre, are deeply opposed to such blatant racism (and of course nonces), plus (unfortunately) McDonald's is fucking everywhere. This all means each step on the campaign trail is a potential threat to them - a countdown to humiliation and a visual display of what the people think of them.
These guys come from a position of trying to assert themselves as legitimate politicians and black bloc tactics often don't work against them. The police are ready to beat the opposition out the way and their PR machines all to rehearsed at responding to this kind of confrontation. As a result they have felt free to trounce around seemingly invulnerable.
Shakes make them stay at home.
It infuriates them immensely. Authoritarian bullies like this can withstand violence, it's their world. What they can't stand is humiliation. Milkshaking is a savage insult and public display of rage that undermines their attempts to appear dominant and powerful. It cuts them deep. Being ridiculed in public can make even those who've been in the politics game for a while loose their cool and end up punching children in the face.
This behaviour isn't normal. It's not the behaviour of the democratic politician.
Most take these kind of things and laugh it off like Ed Milliband did after being egged a few years back or by attempting to remain calm and rise above it as homophobe Anita Byrant did when she took a pie to the face. This latter hilarity part of a pretty good run in the States for pies in face, a classic for it's circus connotations alone. Oh and let's not forget Corbyn who stood up, dusted himself off and carried on after Brexit supporter John Murphy smashed an egg on his head. This by the way resulted in absolutely zero complaints about “political violence” from the right of centre.
Slight tangent but John Murphy was given an utterly absurd 28 day prison sentence for egging Corbs, which almost inevitably the Liberal left declared a win against violence, selectively ignoring prison abolitionism and solidarity against state actors when it suites them. Can't touch the holy messiah eh?
Ok, sure, there is the odd barny like the 'Rumble in Rhyl', but Prescott was always a bit of a lad and it wasn't long before he was laughing about it, instead of say, calling on the mob to abuse and intimidate his attacker like the fash do... besides the guy was a pro-hunt protestor so fuck him.
It's clear that from Heseltine to Bush there is a long history of chucking stuff at or over politicians, it's an overt display of opinion from those who are often silenced. It isn't about debate or lofty politics, it's about expressing rage in a manner that remains shy of actual physical harm. It's inherently working class and it's a most appropriate display of fury from your average - generally upstanding - member of the community. There are mind you, alternatives as illustrated by Greek Anarchists when dealing with Police protecting a Golden Dawn candidate in the local elections a few days ago.
Now in the UK this level of conflict is a world a way from what most people want, such militant action is a distant memory and most want it to remain there. Which is why when dealing with career politicians such as Farage or new chancers like Benjamin, milkshaking or it's equivalent is a perfect expression of distaste and one they have little response too. They must accept the disgust people have for them and get out of dodge.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is a different kettle of fish.
The EDL like a dozen other mobs before them came to demonstrations, in part to have a scrap. It was part of what held the hooligans - who didn't really give a fuck about the politics - onboard and active. After proper Nazis started to filtering in and after getting a pasting one to many times Yaxley-Lennon, declared he was no longer with the EDL, saying himself he was worried about the "dangers of far-right extremism". He subsequently took a pay check from a xenophobic think tank which masks it under the banner of “counter-extremism”. He subsequently disappeared to work with Americans and get some nice fat checks. A few years, later he's come back a little smarter. Now he's fuelled by American money, Russian twitter bots and contacts across the saccharine coated far right networks of Robert Shillman's “Rebel Media” and distinctly uncoated Neo-Nazis from Poland. He's dressed to impress but remains the same violent thug.
Having taken to pretending to be a journalist, He began once again to spread hate at every opportunity , not being held to account until he ended up Jeopardising the prosecution of paedophiles with his attempts to sow racism and division amongst the working class. This while taking home fat pay checks and thousands in donations from some of the poorest in our communities. It was all working too!
The financial backing meant he could hold legitimate looking rallies with TV screens and police permission. The Nazi emblems and Seig Heils were exchanged for Union Jacks and smiles. He was careful about what he said trying to remain respectable, he wants to be a politician see? roots in the community like. The crowd of Fascists chanting racist drivel and trying to attack people on the edge of his rallies became “not his responsibility” an unfortunate radical periphery... 'least to the media and public in general... Anti Fascists still knew their names tho and the links across the various networks of scum. This “unfortunate radical periphery” kept starting a ruck, each and every time and it wasn't a mere coincidence. Like the Alt-Right over in the States - notably Richard Spencer – Yaxley-Lennon wants to appear respectable while continuing to foster a hostile environment and empower his base, the Ethno-Nationalists. He's trying to walk a fine line of encouraging the most horrific events while saying “I'm innocent”, oozing disgusting rhetoric while pretending to hold no responsibility for the acts of violence that follow in the wake of vox tyrannis.
Suddenly it's Anti Fascists who stand out, latter day ninjas on the edge of a “peaceful” gathering. It's them who – despite being on hand to protect people from drunk fash - that look like the aggressors before the right wing Youtuber's lens and even those of the mainstream media. Without context or understanding of the tactics of Fascists, popular opinion started to move towards these ersatz rebels, despite their campaign outright parroting Hitler's propaganda.
Time and time against various far right speakers got to say “we aren't racist, we are just patriots. Why are you censoring free speech?” and relished in pointing at networks like National Action and System Resistance for what actual Nazi's look like... claim to just some patriots andthat it was the Antis that are are here to be aggressive and violent. This is something that funny enough got the out and proud Nazi's from these networks gripeing on places like Stormfront, tho to be fair their Overton window is so far right they were never a fan and see this lot as traitors to the Aryan cause.
This middle grounding was working, The huge demo in London proved that. A media savvy attitude and thousands of of pounds in backing puts on a good display. Then came the milkshakes and the humiliation. How dare people not respect political discourse? His boys got worried and took to kicking off with school kids. They needed a narrative that painted them the victim of violence, not milkshakes! How can a 'ard lad take on milkshakes? Directly after the second milkshaking, Stephen Yaxley- Lennon's bodyguards started a fight and beat up a 24 year old woman. It started when one of his entourage Danny Tommo, barged into a man with his hands in his pockets clearly with with intention to start a brawl. It wasn't enough tho and two blokes smacking someone half their size didn't look good so when he came to Liverpool he had his lackey, class traitor and wide up merchant, James Goddard try to wind up the crowd by approaching them and agitating them, unfortunately for him he told some scouse mums that Liverpool was a shithole and was chased down the road eventually apparently having to climb a tree.
Seriously you fash fucks, stop trying to mess with mums.
So what are you gonna do? It's not going well... Milkshakes and mums aren't great for the big man image... (By now even Burger King Is getting in some laughs) so a couple of days later Yaxley-Lennon rocks up to Oldham, knowing that he'll get a fight if he wants one given the complex history of the area. He brings plenty of boys and they come prepared. While a few locals who think he's talking sense listen to his Alt-Right, not quite racist speech, his boys taking action. They arn't stood listening to him yammer on, nah they are at the back kicking shit off. According to the (0)161 Manchester crew, his mob first tried chasing a black women then started tossing hammers and bottles. What followed was the Muslim Defence League (MDL) alongside Oldham locals and Anti Fascists from across Manchester taking them on directly and overtly.
This was a fight he needed.
There was plenty of footage for him to paint a picture of hostile Muslims and violence... Instantly there were videos about stabbings and a shooting, entirely fictional but they plant the seeds. The Facebook timelines move so quick, truth is negotiable and the damage is already done before the few inclined to look it up find out the truth. The next day Youtube is crawling with “Truth about Oldham” videos declaring it an an attack by Muslims on good hard working white patriots. A bullshit narrative that the Fascists feel secure in and can use to play victim. Deeply concerningly they targetted Legal Observers from GBC and Netpol for abuse, labelling them as “Islamic Legal Observers – Paid for by the Islamic Labour Party!”, putting not only their capacity to protect ALL protestors from the state but also tempting fate with their personal safety both during protests and after due to the right wings habit of doxxing and attacking.
The next few days is a tirade of media highlighting their hostile reception and pushing self victimisation across social media. Countless hours of effort is spent painting a picture of where the mainstream media and police are part of a oppressive “left” system and the traitor protesters are working for the boogie man of “Islam” who they treat like it was Emmanuel Goldstein and this is Airstrip One. They are the victim and Islam an all powerful enemy always present and furiously trying to destroy everything the good British people love... they say everything but “fourteen words” and “white genocide” in their campaign to make people feel under attack.
Now they can add genuine violence to this make believe fantasy. Remember the right feeds off fear and intimidation. Not just spreading it in the community but internalising it, letting it fuel their dreams of being a noble vanguard for the British people/Aryan race (delete as appropriate). In the current climate of seemingly approachable right wing politicians, taking a beating (imaginary or otherwise) works in their favour, it solidifies their narrative as a victim and the Anti Fascists as the hostile mob.
In domestic abuse support, they call this DARVO: Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. DARVO is the reaction that perpetrators of wrong doing may display in response to being held accountable for their behaviour. Abusers Deny their behaviour, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim into an alleged offender. This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility or even blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.
It's a popular strategy across the Alt-Right. Even with it's media savvy smiles and boy next door manners which make it acceptable for financing publicly, these movements which previously relied on grass roots support and macho power plays has changed tack. They have taken the grand strategies popular with abusers, oppressors and bullies throughout history and made them work. Now they have a plan and believe they have moved beyond the blunt weapons they relied on in the past, at least in public.
Yeah it's taken a while for the Anti Fascists to catch up.
Well now they have.
The capacity (and let's be honest often the inclination) for a physical line of defence remains but from London to Glasgow, Anti Fascists of all persuasions have noticed the shift in response. A passer by with a milkshake can end a rally and send them packing, ridiculed by everyone. Somewhere between a passive static demo and street battles there is milkshaking. So most everyone has decided at the same time to celebrate the new method and help give it a firm footing as the "go to response" in the minds of those who might never join a counter demo but still really hate fash.
Mind you it doesn't mean to say there is no space for a community to defend itself.
It's not a single strategy but a collection of means and methods that just got a little larger.
Funny thing is, fascists have a short memory about how well violence actually works for them historically. If they think they own the physical response... they are wrong.
1933, The Battle of Stockton-on-Tees saw blackshirts from the “British Union of Fascists” attempting to hold a rally on Market street. They were met but Anarchists, Communists, Trade Union members and locals in general armed with pickaxe handles, staves, half bricks and razor blades. Nothing peaceful happened that day and the community took the Fash on directly sending them fleeing down the road. They were 200 and met by 3000 and 20 of them left with several injuries including the brother of John Warbuton (one of Mosley's top bods) who took a brick to the face and lost an eye.
1936, The Battle of Cable street saw thousands of working class lads and lasses stand with the Jewish community against Mosley's black shirts. A local dock worker smacked a blackshirt so hard he lost an eye too, in place of milkshakes, the contents of chamber pots were poured over them and the police both.
1977, The Battle of Lewisham saw 4000 Anti Fascists confront 500 National front attempting to march with 5000 police protecting them. 11 of these cops were sent to hospital and over a 100 of the NF lot went home wts in Lebanon and The Nationalists that followed Franco.ith injuries.
1992, The Battle of Waterloo, a Blood and Honour gig brought 1000 or so skinheads to town and saw sporadic fighting across the area as pockets of Fash sent to pick up direction to the gig at Waterloo station encountered squads from Anti-Facist Action and Red Action promptly receiving a pasting.
“The station concourse was nearly deserted. We discovered afterwards that British Rail had given Black and Asian workers the day off – pandering to racism. A small group of Red Action went into the station buffet and found a couple of skinheads who had been enjoying a quiet cup of tea. There was some loud rumbling and smashing sounds, then the Reds emerged unscathed and blended with our crowd. Five minutes later an ambulance arrived to cart off the two hapless Fascists. (Rumour has it that they might have been, in fact, plain clothes coppers).”
Fuck, there is a long history of bashing the Fash on the streets of Britain.
This also extends to field of war, not just in the Second World War but Catalonia and Rojava too, where Anti Fascists volunteered their service and too often their lives fighting against a brutal enemy. It's this enemy who the likes of Yaxley-Lennon , Benjamin, Farage and the rest of them echo now, sure in their own vernacular with a focus on “British values” but it's the same poison, From Isis in the Levant to Phalangests in Lebanon, from the Nationalists that followed Franco to the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, the bile is the same.
In truth for most, it would be hard to deny the cathartic pleasure from this history, however the British people are keenly aware that it doesn't go one way, from mass attacks on union strikers and peaceful protestors to straight up murders such as those of Gurdip Singh Chaggar and Jo Cox. The right wing has illustrated time and again it is not afraid of violence, not the defensive violence of the opposition but deliberate attacks on innocents.
This is why Anarchists and Communists take a strong zero-tolerance line and traditionally rock up ready to defend themselves and the community. It's a brutal history that meant they were always ready for the worst and it left them somewhat taken back when the right-wing changed it's pace. Sure there was celebration when Richard Spencer took a smack to the face, however to the media he was just a nice normal guy chatting about politics... it kicked up a lot of debate that leant towards platforming Fascists as part of good ol' Free speech an Americanism that seems to have drifted eastwards as a blind absolute that allows the worst amongst us to play victim if they are not tolerated and heard.
Milkshaking, much like that famous punch unites everyone who hates Fascists in orgasmic relief while sending the media opinion pieces into free fall, crying about how politicians should be free to go about their business unharassed - seemingly ignorant of the context of these demagogues and bigots. Both sent the right as a whole crying about “political violence” despite, at the same time celebrating brutal attacks on peaceful activists who you know... aren't advocating for the systematics genocide of entire races. It's now gone big with European and American outlets talking about this "British phenomenon" of milkshaking and we've seen international comrades at first smirk, not quite getting it, then then realising it's fucking beautiful. The first international hit in this was of resistance being Dan Park , a piece of trash from Sweden.
It's not all without critisims mind.
It has brought out some less awesome side in the left, namely all the Bukkake jokes and the Brazzers logo.
Like for fucks sake, can we just not?
When folk add the Brazzers logo or joke about them “being gay”, “loving cock” or “bukkake” they are attempting to humiliate these homophobic, misogynist pricks by comparing them to sex workers, gay men and women in general who are fetishised for accepting an act that is erotic due to it's nature as an act of degradation and elicit humiliation. Look, calling someone "gay" isn't fucking great in the slightest because however you mean it, you are implying that being gay is a negative or something undesirable.
People argue that it's just to offend the fash sensibilities however in reciting the worst of their traits it just contributes to the hostile attitude we as a society hold on sex work and on feminised people in general. This isn't an attack on the sexual act or pornography mind, just stop fucking using them as means to undermine.
"haha you look like the girl I masturbate over" isn't cool.
Similarly it's ticked off Vegans and Animal Rights activists somewhat as milkshake is a product of a shitty industry. So have a think about your vegan options... maybe consider the classic water ballon full of water/paint or if you want to be inventive cook up some gunge - Powder paint 160 grams (2%) Xanthum Gum 96 grams (1.2%) HOT water 8 litres.
As I add final notes they are giving out free milkshakes at polling booths and someone's apparently chucked one over a Brexit Party volunteer of venerable age (who once shot an unarmed man during the troubles) so it looks like folk are taking all manner of action with milkshake. Over in Salford, Yaxley-Lennon's lot were chucking bricks and bottles injurying three, so true to form eh?. I'm sure we'll see much more from milkshaking, for better and worse, until eventually we'll all get bored.
Till then, keep letting Fascist scum know what you think of them and don't forget the odd bigwig from Labour and the Tories. ■
Rhyddical is just another pseudo bohemian revolutionary Anarchist who expects better of us all but does his mains in Tesco anyway.