Hope Not Hate: Antifa Street Work
Whilst unrest in the North is no longer dominating media headlines, individual violence incidents have continued to take place this past week. On Tuesday, a Syrian family home was attacked in Newry. The family had only moved into the area 5 days previous and has since been moved again to safer housing. The attack was reprimanded by the community which is made up of a large majority of immigrant families.
In North Belfast a similar incident also occurred this week. A group of youths snuck into a protestant area and attacked the home of a young family. The police are treating both these hate crimes as surprising and isolated incidents. However hate crimes are nothing new and evidence of fascist sentiments which encourage such attacks have revealed themselves across the North in the form of graffiti and stickering.
Since the start of this year, IWW members across the country have used stickering as activism to ensure that the streets have little chance to perpetrate hateful ideologies. Across the greater Belfast area there has been a continuous pattern of Nazi and British Movement propoganda. Staying engaged with the local area is paramount to combating what can be a subtle gain of territory.
“I have stickers in every jacket I own so when I am out walking I keep my eyes peeled. Tearing down or papering over any fascist posters is a test of stamina,” a IWW Belfast member says. “Often the wobbly stickers get ripped down as well, so it’s about maintenance. It feels a bit like a slow burn turf war.”
The tension felt across the traditional community lines in the North have begun to be blatantly intercepted by fascist idealisation, using racism, xenophobia and sectarianism to misdirect anger. IWW members are continuing to take antifa action through this streetwork. “Stickering is cool because it heightens your awareness of where to look. You will often see wobbly stickers or antifa stickers that you didn’t put up. That’s so encouraging. It is an active campaign in Belfast.” another member says. This active campaign has been taken onboard by other left movements. Most notably is Feminist Collage Belfast who are a feminist movement who have been putting up guerilla slogan posters around the city in the wake of the Sarah Everard case.
As streets are being cleaned up to prepare for the reopening of shops and cafes at the start of next month, the political agendas may become more of an undercurrent again. However with plans for wheat paste campaigns and chalk graffiti, IWW will be making its mark against fascism as loudly as possible.