Anti-Nazi League

The Anti-Nazi League (ANL) was an organisation set up in 1977 on the initiative of the Socialist Workers Party with sponsorship from some trade unions and the endorsement of a list of prominent people to oppose the rise of far-right groups in the United Kingdom. It was wound down in 1981. It was relaunched in 1992, but merged into Unite Against Fascism in 2003.

Anti-Nazi League
Anti-Nazi League (logo)
Anti-Nazi League logo
TypeAnti-fascism and anti-racism organisation
HeadquartersUnited Kingdom


In its first period, 1977–1982, the Anti-Nazi League was launched directly by the SWP; it was effectively its front organisation.[1] Many trade unions sponsored it, as did the Indian Workers Association (then a large organisation), and many members of the Labour Party, including MPs such as Neil Kinnock. According to socialist historian Dave Renton, the ANL was "an orthodox united front" based on a "strategy of working class unity", as advocated by Leon Trotsky.[2] Critics of the ANL, such as Anti-Fascist Action[3] argue that the ANL's co-operation with "bourgeois" groups who work closely with the state, such as Searchlight magazine and the Labour Party, rule out this description, making it a classic popular front.

Most of the ANL's leafleting and other campaigns in the 1970s were in opposition to far right groups which it claimed were not just racist but fascist, such as the National Front, an organisation led by John Tyndall who had a long history of involvement with openly fascist and Nazi groups. The ANL also campaigned against the British Movement which was a more openly Hitlerite grouping.

The ANL was linked to Rock Against Racism in the 1970s, which ran two giant carnivals in 1978 involving bands such as The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, Steel Pulse, Misty in Roots, X-Ray Spex and Tom Robinson, attended by 80,000 and then 100,000 supporters.[4]

Alongside the broad "marches and music festival" focus of the ANL, in 1977 the SWP also formed regional fighting groups, initially in Manchester and then elsewhere, known as "squads" to both safeguard the ANL's broad, populist activities, though aggressive stewarding, and also to fight the National Front street gangs whenever the opportunity arose.[5] Although the SWP leadership eventually turned against this "dual track" approach to anti-fascism – expelling many leading "squadists" in a purge in late 1981 – it is said to have proved an effective strategy during the ANL's early years from 1977 to 1979.[6]

Blair Peach killing

In April 1979, an ANL member, Blair Peach, was killed following a demonstration at Southall against a National Front election meeting. Police had sealed off the area around Southall Town Hall, and demonstrators trying to make their way there were blocked. In the ensuing confrontation, more than 40 people (including 21 police) were injured, and 300 were arrested. Bricks were allegedly hurled at police, who described the rioting as the most violent they had handled in London. Peach was among the demonstrators. During an incident in a side street 100 yards from the town hall, he was seriously injured and collapsed after being struck on the head, allegedly by an unauthorised weapon used by a member of the police Special Patrol Group. Peach died later in hospital.[7]

An inquest jury later returned a verdict of misadventure, and no police officer was ever charged or prosecuted, although an internal police inquiry at the time and not released officially for 30 years, thought he had been killed by an unidentifiable police officer.[8] A primary school in Southall bears his name.[9]

Closing of the ANL

In 1981 with the eclipse of the National Front and collapse of the British Movement the initial incarnation of the ANL was wound up.

Some elements within the ANL opposed the winding up of the organisation, including some members of the SWP. After being expelled from the Socialist Workers Party some of these elements formed Red Action and with others organised Anti-Fascist Action.[6]


In the early 1990s, the far right, and in particular the British National Party (BNP) was resurgent both electorally and in terms of racial attacks (from 4,383 in 1988 to 7,780 three years later).[10] Anti-Fascist Action, now the longest established national anti-fascist organisation in the UK at that time, organised well-attended events in October 1991 – a Unity Carnival in East London attracting 10,000 people and a march through Bethnal Green attracting 4,000 people – prompting other left-wing groups to launch anti-racist and anti-fascist organisations, including the Anti-Racist Alliance (ARA) in November and the re-launch of the ANL two months later.[11]

When the National Front and the British National Party had been led by John Tyndall, his record of involvement in openly neo-Nazi groups made it far easier to assert that the National Front and BNP were fascist or neo-Nazi in nature. Similarly, Tyndall's convictions for violence and incitement to racial hatred provide ample grounds for the ANL to claim both organisations were racist.[12] After 1992, the ANL and other anti-fascists argued that the BNP remained a Nazi party irrespective of the fact that under the leadership of Nick Griffin it adopted what the ANL described as the 'Dual Strategy' of cultivating respectability in the media while retaining a cadre of committed fascists. This position was countered by BNP members who claim that their party is increasingly democratic in its nature. An investigation by The Guardian newspaper (22 December 2006) affirmed the ANL's view that the BNP remains a fascist party.[13]

ANL's relaunch was criticised by other anti-racists. The recently launched broad-based Anti-Racist Alliance said: "The ANL is an exercise in nostalgia. These people are living off the glory of a few years in the late 1970s, when we're setting up a long-term challenge to racism in Europe, an anti-racist organisation that will live in the community and in the mainstream of political life." ARA's chair Ken Livingstone used his column in The Sun to denounce the ANL as an SWP front. Anti-fascist magazine Searchlight criticised the "politics of deceit being practised by the SWP", accusing the ANL of deliberately exaggerating the danger posed by the BNP.[14]

In 1993, the ANL organised a demonstration, attended by up 15,000 people (and marred by police provocation and violence)[15] at the BNP's bookshop in Welling, in the wake of the killing nearby of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, attended by Stephen's mother Doreen Lawrence; ARA held a rival protest in central London on the same day.[16]<[14] However, Doreen Lawrence came to realise that the ANL was a "front for the Socialist Workers Party". She later wrote that "the various groups that had taken an interest in Stephen's death were tearing each other apart and were in danger of destroying our campaign which we wanted to keep focused and dignified", and Doreen and Neville Lawrence wrote to both the ANL and ARA to demand that they "stop using Stephen's name".[17]

ANL worked with Love Music Hate Racism (based on the earlier Rock Against Racism), from 2002 onwards.[4]

In 2004 the ANL affiliated with the National Assembly Against Racism to relaunch as Unite Against Fascism.[18][19] The ANL National Organiser at the time of the creation of Unite Against Fascism was Weyman Bennett, a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party as was Julie Waterson, Its previous National Organiser.[20]


In August 2018, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called for a revival of "an Anti-Nazi League-type cultural and political campaign" following a number of far-right and racist incidents in the UK, including fascist attacks on a socialist bookshop by members of the far-right and UKIP, marches in favour of far-right activist Tommy Robinson and high-profile Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.[21][22] This "welcome and timely" call to action was supported in a Guardian letter signed by the league's founders, which included former Labour minister Peter Hain, political activist Paul Holborow and leading musicians from Rock Against Racism.[22]


  1. ^ Boothroyd, David (2001). The History of British Political Parties. Politico's. p. 303. ISBN 1-902301-59-5.
  2. ^ Renton, Dave (25 December 1998). Fascism: Theory and Practice. Pluto Press. ISBN 0-7453-1470-8.
  3. ^ Fighting Talk no.22 October 1999
  4. ^ a b "Love Music Hate Racism". Love Music Hate Racism. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  5. ^ Steve Tilzey and Dave Hann No Retreat 2003
  6. ^ a b Steve Tilzey and Dave Hann No Retreat London: Milo Books, 2003; Sean Birchall Beating the Fascists' London: Freedom Press, 2010.
  7. ^ "BBC 1979: "Teacher dies in Southall race riots"". BBC News. 23 April 1979. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  8. ^ Paul Lewis "Blair Peach killed by police at 1979 protest, Met report finds",, 23 April 2010
  9. ^ "Blair Peach Primary School".
  10. ^ Guardian, 20.2.93
  11. ^ Keith Popple (1997) "Understanding and tackling racism among young people in Britain' in Keith Popple, Jan Laurens Hazekam, eds, Racism in Europe: A Challenge for Youth Policy and Youth Work, London: UCL Press, p.20
  12. ^ Sandra Laville and Matthew Taylor, "A racist, violent neo-nazi to the end: BNP founder Tyndall dies", The Guardian, 20 July 2005.
  13. ^ Cobain, Ian (22 December 2006). "The Guardian: "Racism, recruitment and how the BNP believes it is just 'one crisis away from power'"". London. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  14. ^ a b Paul Anderson "Anti-Racists at Odds" New Statesman & Society, 15 October 1993
  15. ^ Transpontine Racist Murder in SE London 8 January 2012
  16. ^ Andrew Hosken, Ken: The Ups and Downs of Ken Livingstone, Arcadia Books, 10 April 2008: Chapter 18: 1985–1994. Ken and the rise of Socialist Action, 1985–1994, p.265
  17. ^ Doreen Lawrence, And Still I Rise, Seeking Justice for Stephen, Faber and Faber, 2006, pii7
  18. ^ Tate, David (24 May 2006). "The Guardian: "Unite against Facism: let's hope so"". London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  19. ^ "Socialism Today: "The politics of anti-fascism"".
  20. ^ "Julie Waterson (1958–2012)", Socialist Worker, No.2329, 17 November 2012
  21. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (7 August 2018). "John McDonnell: revive Anti-Nazi League to oppose far right". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  22. ^ a b Sabbagh, Dan (15 August 2018). "Anti-Nazi League founders call for new national campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 August 2018.

External links

1993 Welling riots

On 16 October 1993, an anti-racism march near Welling in South East London turned violent, leading to large-scale clashes between police and protesters which left around 70 people injured. The march was intending to demand the closure of a bookshop which was the headquarters of the British National Party (BNP).

2001 Bradford riots

The Bradford Riots were a brief period of violent rioting which began on 7 July 2001, in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. They occurred as a result of heightened tension between the large and growing British Asian communities and the city's white majority, escalated by confrontation between the Anti-Nazi League and far right groups such as the British National Party and the National Front.

Similar ethnic riots had occurred earlier in other parts of Northern England, such as Oldham in May and Burnley in June.


ANL may refer to:

American Negro League, one of the several Negro Leagues that were established during the early twentieth century in the United States when professional baseball was segregated

Andulo Airport, an Angolan airport with this IATA code

Anniesland railway station, from its United Kingdom rail code

Anti-Nazi League, an anti-fascist campaign in the United Kingdom

Anti-Nowhere League, an English punk band

Argonne National Laboratory, one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories

Australian National Line, an Australian government-owned shipping company

Australian Netball League, a second-tier netball competition in Australia

Alien Kulture

Alien Kulture was a British punk band active from 1979 through 1981, founded by Ausaf Abbas, Azhar Rana, Pervez Bilgrami, and self-described "token white" Huw Jones. Inspired by the nascent punk scene, the Anti-Nazi League and the Rock Against Racism concert series, and wanting to express the frustrations of second-generation Asian immigrants during a period of ethnic tension and race riots in Britain, the members of the band turned to music to achieve politically what they had not been able to via protest rallies, and to draw on their Pakistani Muslim backgrounds to promote an Asian presence in popular culture. They took their name as a response to then newly elected Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's stated fears of being "swamped by people with a different culture".Seeking to express themselves as youth caught between two cultures, they wrote songs about racism and issues within the Asian community, such as arranged marriage, leading to attacks both from neo-Nazis supporting the National Front as well as other Asians who felt they were disgracing their community. The band eventually recorded one album plus a single, "Culture Crossover" b/w "Asian Youth", which was released by Rock Against Racism Records. They attracted the support of famed BBC DJ John Peel, who said he played them on air not just because they were Asian but because he liked their music. However, they were otherwise ignored by mainstream media, and the group came to feel their music was not having the political effect they had hoped for. They declined an invitation to perform at a concert with The Specials at Coventry Stadium in protest of racial profiling by police because Ausaf and Azhar were due to sit their finals exams at the London School of Economics that same day, and disbanded soon after, having played only 30 shows.

Today, Huw Jones works in the non-profit sector in Leeds, Pervez Bilgrami runs a successful recruitment agency with his wife, Azhar Rana is a partner in a firm of chartered accountants, and Ausaf Abbas is a financial advisor.


Anti-fascism is opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals. The anti-fascist movement began in a few European countries in the 1920s, and eventually spread to other countries around the world. It was at its most significant shortly before and during World War II, where the fascist Axis powers were opposed by many countries forming the Allies of World War II and dozens of resistance movements worldwide. Anti-fascism has been an element of movements holding many different political positions, including social democratic, nationalist, liberal, conservative, communist, Marxist, trade unionist, anarchist, socialist, and centrist viewpoints.

Bass Culture

Bass Culture is an album by dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, released in 1980 on the Island Records label. It was produced by Linton Kwesi Johnson and Dennis Bovell (credited as Blackbeard).

The track "Reggae fi Peach" laments the death of Blair Peach, an activist who was killed in London during a clash with police officers while protesting with the Anti-Nazi League against a British National Front meeting in 1979.

Brockwell Park

Brockwell Park is a 50.8 hectare (125.53 acres) park located south of Brixton, in Herne Hill and Tulse Hill in south London. It is bordered by the roads Brixton Water Lane, Norwood Road, Tulse Hill and Dulwich Road.

The park commands views of the skyline of the city and Central London, and hosts almost 4 million annual

visits. At the top of the hill within the park stands Brockwell Hall.

Whilst competing against multiple demands from a broad range of other interests, the entirety of Brockwell Park is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) of Borough Importance (Grade I), with mature trees including ancient oaks, substantial lawn areas set to meadow, and a series of lakes. As well as adding to the landscape value, these support a variety of birds, and bats including Pipistrelles, with frequent visits from rarer species like Daubentons, Noctule, Leisler's and Serotine bat.The Park is listed for its heritage value on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, Grade II. Noted for its nineteenth-century layout as a gracious public park, the clocktower, water garden, JJ Sexby-designed walled garden and other monuments, the park provides a pleasant exploration with links to its eighteenth-century agricultural past in the hedge lines, and mature oak trees. The model village houses outside the walled garden were originally donated to London County Council by Edgar Wilson in 1943.The Brockwell Lido, a Grade II listed art deco building near the top of the park, is an open-air swimming pool popular with swimmers and bathers. Its attached café/restaurant is also popular. Other amenities in Brockwell Park include tennis courts, a bowling green, a BMX track and a miniature railway.Brockwell Park is open from 7.30am to 15 minutes before sunset every day.

Crisis (band)

Crisis are a British punk rock band formed in 1977 in Guildford in Surrey. They performed at rallies for Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League, and at Right to Work marches. British music magazine Sounds used the phrase "Music to March To" to describe their distinctly edgy, controversial and far-left form of punk rock.

Derek Beackon

Derek William Beackon is a British National Front politician and former British National Party (BNP) member. In 1993, he became the party's first elected councillor, although he served for only eight months.

Hollywood Anti-Nazi League

The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League (later known as the American Peace Mobilization) was founded in Los Angeles in 1936 by Otto Katz and others to organize members of the American film industry to oppose fascism and Nazism. Although it was a communist front organization, run by the American popular front, it attracted broad support in Hollywood from both members and nonmembers of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Like many such communist front groups, it ceased all anti-Nazi activities immediately upon the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in August 1939.

List of riots in London

The following is a list of riots and protests involving violent disorder that have occurred in London:

1189: The Massacre of the Jews at the coronation of Richard I

1196: William with the long beard causes riots when he preaches for the poor against the rich

1221: Riots occur after London defeats Westminster in an annual wrestling contest; ring-leaders hanged or mutilated in punishment.

1268: Rioting between goldsmiths and tailors1391: Riots break out in Salisbury Place over a baker's loaf

1517: Evil May Day riot against foreigners takes place

1668: Bawdy House Riots took place following repression of a series of attacks against brothels1710: Sacheverell riots, following the trial of the preacher, Henry Sacheverell

1719: Spitalfields weavers rioted, attacking women wearing Indian clothing and then attempting to rescue their arrested comrades

1743: Riots against Gin Taxes and other legislation to control the Gin Craze, principally the Gin Act 1736; rioting was fuelled by consumption of the drink itself

1768: The Massacre of St George's Fields after the imprisonment of John Wilkes for criticising the King

1769: The Spitalfield riots when silk weavers attempted to maintain their rate of pay

1780: Gordon riots against Catholics

1809: Old Price Riots, 1809 following a rise in the price of theatre tickets

1816: Spa Fields riots, Spenceans met in support of the common ownership of land

1830: Attacks against the Duke of Wellington in his carriage and on his home, for his opposition to electoral reform (which had been seen partly as a solution to rioting by rural workers).

1866: a riot took place in Hyde Park after a meeting of the Reform League was declared illegal

1886: The West End Riots followed a counter-demonstration by the Social Democratic Federation against a meeting of the Fair Trade League.

1887: Bloody Sunday, a demonstration against coercion in Ireland and to demand the release from prison the MP William O'Brien

1907: The Brown Dog riots, medical students attempt to tear down an anti-vivisection statue.

1919: The Battle of Bow Street, Australian, American and Canadian servicemen rioted against the Metropolitan Police

1932: The National Hunger March ended in rioting after the police confiscated the petition of the National Unemployed Workers' Movement

1936: The Battle of Cable Street saw rioting against the Metropolitan Police as they attempted to facilitate a march by the British Union of Fascists

1958 Notting Hill race riots between White British and West Indian immigrants.

1968: Rioting outside the United States Embassy in Grosvenor Square in opposition to the Vietnam War.

1974: Red Lion Square disorders happened following a march by counter-fascists against the National Front.

1976: Riots during the Notting Hill Carnival.

1977: The Battle of Lewisham occurred when the Metropolitan Police attempted to facilitate a march by the National Front

1979: Southall riots during a Anti-Nazi League demonstration in opposition to the National Front.

1981 Brixton riot against the Metropolitan Police. Especially on 10 July, rioting extended to other parts of London and numerous other cities around the UK

1985 Brixton riot against the Metropolitan Police after they shot the mother of suspect Michael Groce.

1985: Broadwater Farm riot, residents of Tottenham riot against the Metropolitan Police following a death during a police search

1990: Poll Tax riots followed the introduction of a poll tax.

1993: Welling riots, October 1993. A march organised by the ANL, the SWP and Militant resulted in riots against the Metropolitan police.1995: 1995 Brixton riot against the Metropolitan Police occurred after a death in police custody.

1996: Rioting in Trafalgar Square and surrounding streets following England losing against Germany in the semi-final of UEFA Euro 1996.

1999: Carnival Against Capitalism riot

2000: Anti-capitalist May Day riot2001: "riots" in Bradford and Oldham between Asian and white youth

2001: May Day riot in central London by anti-capitalist protestors.

2002: Rioting around The New Den stadium following Millwall F.C. losing against Birmingham City F.C. in the 2002 Football League Division One play-off.

2009 G-20 London summit protests occurred in the days around the G-20 summit.

2009 Upton Park riot before, during and after a 2009–10 Football League Cup second round match between West Ham United F.C. and Millwall F.C..

2010 UK student protests against increases in student fees and public sector cuts.

2011 anti-cuts protest in London against government public spending cuts.

2011 England riots, initially in London, following the police shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham

2017: rioting outside Forest Gate police station following the Death of Edson Da Costa.

Love Music Hate Racism

Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) is a music-oriented antiracism campaign based in Britain. The campaign aims to bring people together and promote unity through the power of music. LMHR was born in the tradition of the Rock Against Racism (RAR) movement of the late 1970s. The campaign held many successful festivals in the early 2000s such as a Victoria Park carnival and at Stoke Britannia Stadium, at which tens of thousands of people attended and international artists performed.It is closely associated with Unite Against Fascism (UAF)/Stand Up To Racism (SUTR), the successors of the Anti-Nazi League (ANL); ANL co-founder Paul Holborow described LMHR, UAF and SUTR as "stand[ing] in [the ANL's] tradition."

Martin Webster

Martin Guy Alan Webster (born 14 May 1943) is a British political activist, a former leading figure on the far-right in the United Kingdom. An early member of the National Labour Party, he was John Tyndall's closest ally, and followed him in joining the original British National Party, the National Socialist Movement and the Greater Britain Movement. Webster also spent time in prison for helping to organise a paramilitary organisation, Spearhead, and was convicted under the Public Order Act 1936. Rumours of his homosexuality led to him becoming vilified in far-right circles, and he quietly disappeared from the political scene.

Maurice Ludmer

Maurice Ludmer (1926–1981) was a British anti-fascist activist and journalist. His father was a Salford hairdresser and mother a teacher of Hebrew. His family moved to Birmingham in 1939. As a young man he was interested in sport and joined the Young Communist League. During the Second World War he served in the British Army. It was the shock of a visit to Belsen concentration camp which influenced his life.He became a sports journalist by trade. In the 1950s he became active in local politics in the Midlands, particularly tenants' associations and the peace movement. But following the Notting Hill riots 1958, the controversial Smethwick election and the anti-immigration Immigration Control Associations, he became an active anti-racist.In 1961 (when the first Commonwealth Immigration Bill was being discussed in parliament), Ludmer, with Birmingham activists of the Indian Workers Association such as Jagmohan Joshi, set up the Co-ordinating Committee Against Racial Discrimination (CCARD) which opposed both state racism and far right activism. CCARD also organised demonstrations over international issues such as the Vietnam war and against British colonial rule in Africa. It helped launch the more broad-based national organisation Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD). In the late 1960s he resigned from the Communist Party which he felt was not fighting hard enough against racism.Ludmer continued to oppose organised fascism and was attacked by fascists on several occasions.In February 1975, he launched Searchlight, with the aim of 'turning the searchlight on the extremists'. It reprinted on its cover the famous 1930s anti-fascist slogan 'They shall not pass'.

The magazine managed to infiltrate anti-fascists into right-wing groups, gathering secret information about fascist activities. For example, it exposed the existence of Column 88, the controlling group of the hard-line British Nazi underground, the annual Nazi reunions in Europe, and the British National Front's attempts to infiltrate trade unions.Ludmer spoke up for black peoples' right to self-defence against racist attacks. In 1976 he wrote: 'The days have long gone when Asians, Blacks and Jews will meekly accept a role as the convenient scapegoats for the ills of society. Nor will those who cherish democratic ideals sit back while fascism tries to grow on the dunghill of racialism. Notice has been served that unless full protection is provided within the law against racist violence, intimidation and harassment, then those who are the intended victims reserve the right to organise their own protection in co-operation with all those growing sections of society, who abhor the politically motivated racism of the extreme right and fascist organisations.'Ludmer was a member of the steering group of the first Anti-Nazi League in 1977-8. A Manchester Anti-Nazi League activist recalled that 'Maurice was a firm part of the Labour movement. He was a Communist, and the President of Birmingham Trades Council. The people who initiated the Anti-Nazi League had to have Maurice's support.'

Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League

The Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights (originally the American League for the Defense of Jewish Rights) was founded in 1933 by Samuel Untermyer to enact an economic boycott against Nazi Germany.

Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival

The Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival was a free music concert and march held on 15 July 1978; the concert taking place in Alexandra Park, Manchester. Jointly organised by Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League, the concert was preceded by a march through Manchester, starting at Strangeways on Bury New Road, at 12 noon. The concert featured Steel Pulse, Buzzcocks, Exodus and China Street – and was attended by around 40,000 people.

The concert was conceived by Bernie Wilcox of Rock Against Racism and Geoff Brown of the Anti-Nazi League in April 1978, as they travelled back from Carnival Against the Nazis, which was held in London’s Victoria Park on 30 April 1978. The pair, inspired by the event, wanted to create a similar concert in the northwest.

The event was organised within just ten weeks. For the stage, fencing, sound and generators Bernie and Geoff asked for expert help from Chris Hewitt who organised the Deeply Vale free festivals and who had already provided sound for various Rock Against Racism / Anti-Nazi League indoor events.

Using the stage, generators and PA equipment from the Deeply Vale Festival 1978 (which ran 5 days later near Bury) helped to make the carnival viable both financially and logistically. Deeply Vale also staged a Rock Against Racism day in conjunction with Bernie Wilcox as part of its July 1978 Festival.

Graham Parker and the Rumour approached Rock Against Racism, asking to play a practice set prior to supporting Bob Dylan's first UK concert since the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969 at Blackbushe Aerodrome (by coincidence,Bob Dylan and Graham Parker and the Rumour were playing on the same date as the Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival). With the permission of Manchester City Council, the practice session, which became a Rock Against Racism event, took place on the Thursday before the Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival on the Saturday.

Another Rock Against Racism concert was organised to take place on the Friday evening before the Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival, this time featuring the Rich Kids and The Fall, at UMIST Students' Union.

Rumours that the concert’s date was chosen to coincide with the Moss Side by-election of 13 July 1978 were untrue as the organisers were unaware of this when the concert’s date was set. Alexandra Park was chosen because of its location in the centre of Manchester’s black community and because of its beautiful tree-surrounded oval that was perfect for an outdoor concert.

Socialist Workers Party (UK)

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is a far-left political party in the United Kingdom. Founded as the Socialist Review Group by supporters of Tony Cliff in 1950, it became the International Socialists in 1962 and the SWP in 1977. The party considers itself to be Trotskyist. Cliff and his followers criticised the Soviet Union and its satellites, calling them state capitalist rather than socialist countries.

The SWP has founded several front organisations through which they have sought to exert influence over the wider left, such as the Anti-Nazi League in the late 1970s and the Stop the War Coalition in 2001. It also formed an alliance with George Galloway and Respect whose dissolution in 2007 caused an internal crisis in the SWP. A more serious internal crisis emerged at the beginning of 2013 over allegations of rape and sexual assault made against a leading member of the party. The SWP's handling of these accusations against the individual known as Comrade Delta led to a significant decline in the party's membership.On the international level, the SWP is part of the International Socialist Tendency.


Squadism (or sometimes "Squaddism") was the practice of physical, anti-fascist direct action. The term, often used pejoratively by liberal anti-fascists eschewing violence, originated in the Anti-Nazi League, an anti-fascist campaigning organisation dominated by the heterodox Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The SWP formed "squads", fighting units, in 1977, initially to defend and steward meetings against violent attacks from the fascist National Front. However, other anti-fascist squads emerged separately from the SWP, such as the Sari Squad.

The name associated eventually with all of the fighting groups of that era, i.e., "Squads" originated with the already established Manchester-based anti fascist fighting group, drawn from many groups on the left and non-aligned anti fascists which first adopted the name "The Squad" for its, previously very ad hoc, fighting unit in 1977. The adoption of the name, "Squad", had only an accidental connection with the very similar "Peoples Squads" in Italy in the early 1920s.

Squads were active in the North West of England and then Glasgow, the Midlands, Hatfield, and London in this period. The core of the fighting units were SWP members, but also included many members of other left groups and non-aligned anti fascists. The squads were formed to directly combat the rising tide of fascist "street" violence being experienced by the Left, and black communities, during this period, from the National Front in particular. The regionally-based direct action squads operated within, but also considerably beyond, the ANL. Squad members also used violence and intimidation to break up meetings, marches and other gatherings of far right groups such as the National Front and the British Movement. The idea behind the tactic was to ensure the safety of ANL and general left meetings through efficient stewarding, and also to generally intimidate groups seen as fascist, without generating media publicity for the far right.

Squadism became increasingly frowned upon by the ANL/SWP leadership when the National Front's expansion fell away in the late 1970s. By 1979/80, the ANL leadership had decided that the National Front was a broken force, and so militant campaigning anti-fascism was no longer a priority. Militant anti-fascists both within and without the SWP strongly disagreed with what they saw as a mistaken and opportunistic abandonment of militant activity. The SWP leadership had also for some time been concerned that in areas of London and Manchester the semi-clandestine combat groups had become a law unto themselves. A campaign led by the Central Committee within the SWP against "squadists" was organised in late 1981, on the back of an "operation" by the Manchester Squad which resulted in five of its members (and four non-Squad SWP students) receiving prison sentences. Many of the individual SWP members who had defended the Left from fascist attack across the UK for many years were expelled during late 1981 to early 1982.When the ANL was disbanded in the late 1970s, many ex-squad members went on to form Anti-Fascist Action and Red Action (AFA), whose "Stewarding Group" was active (along the same lines as the earlier "Squads") from the mid-1980s until the early 1990s. As a term of abuse, "squadism" is taken to mean vanguardist, secretive, adventurist, direct action against fascist organisations; isolated from mass anti fascist activities. This negative, pejorative labelling of any combat group based physical force action against fascism has since the 1980s been the political orthodoxy on most of the British Left. Anarchist groups and other anti fascists in particular however have continued the direct physical action, "squadist" approach to fascist street mobilisations to the present day, via a variety of nationally networked groupings over the years, such as "No Platform" and "Antifa"Similar currents have existed elsewhere, with analogous terminology. In Italy, for example, the Arditi del Popolo (people's squads) pursued a similar policy in the 1920s and were suppressed by the Communist Party of Italy.

Wil Hodgson

Wil Hodgson (born 1978) is an English comedian. He has lived in Chippenham his whole life and began performing comedy in 2003. Prior to this he had worked part-time as a lecturer at Wiltshire College and had a stint training to be a wrestler during which he participated in 30 man "Battle Royals".Hodgson is known for his fast and almost monotone delivery which along with his bizarre persona has been known to divide audiences. He is also known for his bright pink hair (until recently, a mohican) and his love of 1980s girl's toys such as Care Bears and My Little Pony.Hodgson is also known for his material on women's bodies which he claims to be nature's greatest invention. He is vocal in his dislike of size zero models and airbrushed photos, expressing a preference for magazines such as Readers' Wives and for larger female celebrities such as Fern Britton and Liza Tarbuck.

Hodgson was a member of the Socialist Workers Party and the Anti Nazi League whilst a student at the University of Luton but claims to have no specific political allegiance besides his stance against racism, sexism and homophobia.

Hodgson's Edinburgh Festival shows have largely consisted of stand up material about his lifestyle and opinions combined with lengthy monologues about "The Red Team" a possibly fictional primary school sports day team made up of outcasts and misfits and their daily battles with the bullying "Green Team".

Hodgson's material tends towards autobiography rather than straight observation.

In 2004 he won a Perrier Award for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.He supported Ian Cognito on his national tour in 2005 and began his own national tour in January 2007. He supported Mark Thomas on some dates of his "It's The Stupid Economy Tour"

In December 2010, Hodgson filmed a cameo appearance in the independent feature film, What Happened After Macbeth directed by Jack Doyle which had been intended for release in 2013. The film also features cameos from stand up comedians Seymour Mace and Des Sharples.

National Leadership
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