Hilary Pilkington
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‘Loud and proud’
Piercing the politics of silencing

In this chapter the relationship between EDL activism and the external political environment is considered. It illustrates how EDL activists experience the external political realm as a politics of silencing in which the expression of their views, as well as government policy, are constrained by the application of the ‘racism label’. This compounds a wider disengagement from the formal political sphere and a denial of the ‘political’ nature of activism, which has much in common with a disavowal of politics among the population more broadly. Activism in the EDL provides individuals with a way of cutting through the politics of silencing and finding a political voice. In contrast to the formal political realm characterised as a site of compliant listening, duplicitous chatter or meaningless debate, EDL activism is experienced as a space to ‘tell it like it is’ and to stand ‘loud and proud’. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of this for our understanding of the role of deliberation, consensus, conflict and dissensus in contemporary democracy.

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Loud and proud

Passion and politics in the English Defence League


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