Photofusion Member | David Hoffman
The English Defence League (EDL) is a new (2009) violent, far right, anti Islamic political group formed in reaction to Islamic protests against the UK’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The EDL make a big play of being a non racist group, claiming that they are only against Islamic extremism. To support that claim they have formed very small, symbolic subgroups with gay members and with Jewish members. They put statements denouncing racism and violence on their websites.
The reality is different. Just as the National Front and the BNP have always done, the EDL stage their protests in sensitive areas where they can stoke racial tension and provoke a physical reaction from anti racists and Asian youth. Their chants of “Allah, Allah. Who the fuck is Allah?” as they march waving flags and fists could hardly be more clearly calculated to bring violence to our streets.
The anger, alcohol and violence of EDL marches has attracted support from football hooligan firms such as Casuals United and the Headhunters who now find sporting venues difficult to use as an arena for violent confrontation.
As the BNP have weakened over the last year, riven by leadership struggles and even more vicious infighting over the money many of their more violent supporters, already frustrated by the BNP’s public move from knuckles to suits, have joined the EDL’s marches.
The political centre of the far right continues to dissolve and increasing numbers of working class youth of all races are being abandoned by the mainstream political parties. Together with the failure of organised left wing politics this creates increasingly fertile ground on which the EDL are rapidly building the force for the racial conflict they desire.
David Hoffman has specialised in social issues photography for more than 30 years. Resolutely independent, much of his work centres on the increasingly visible control the state exerts over our lives and choices. Racial and social conflict, policing, homelessness, drugs, poverty, social exclusion and environmental protection are documented, often through coverage of protest.
David Hoffman is a board member of the British Photographic Council, a founding member of Editorial Photographers UK, Photo-Forum London and the campaigning group ‘I’m A Photographer Not A Terrorist.’
’60s: Two universities, no degree.
’70s: Truck and van driving, Dip AD in Communication Design, began full time freelancing.
’80s onwards: Freelancing, specialising in social issues, for national newspapers, mags & books.