HERE IS MORE INTERACTIVE DOCUMENTARY AND HOPEFULLY EDUCATIONAL FOOTAGE TOUCHING UPON THE ANTI NAZI MOVEMENTS HERE IN BRITAIN DURING THE 1970’S- 1980’S .
PLEASE DO BE AWARE THAT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , IT’S OWNER , OR ANY OF IT’S STAFF HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL HAVE NO AFFILIATION , CONNECTION OR INVOLVEMENT WITH ANY EXTREMIST , POLITICALLY MOTIVATED OR OTHERWISE MOVEMENTS WHATSOEVER …… WE SIMPLY EXHIBIT AND TOUCH UPON A GREAT MANY POLITICALLY INCORRECT AND TABOO SUBJECT MATTERS THAT NO OTHER VISITOR ATTRACTIONS DARE COVER IN THE WAY WE CHOOSE TO DO HERE. …. “IT’S ALL HISTORY FOR GOODNESS SAKE”….EVEN IF ON OCCASIONS, SENSITIVE , THOUGHT PROVOKING SUBJECT MATTERS THAT INCITE STRONG DEBATE .
||This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2008)|
The Anti-Nazi League (ANL) was an organisation set up in 1977 on the initiative of the Socialist Workers Party with sponsorship from sometrade 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.
The initial sponsors included Peter Hain (a former Young Liberal leader; then the communications officer of the postal workers’ union UCW, more recently Secretary of State for Wales), Ernie Roberts(deputy general secretary of the engineering union AUEW) and Paul Holborow (of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)).History
In its first period, 1977–1982, the Anti-Nazi League was supposedly run by an elected committee nationally and similar committees throughout the country, although in practice many local and National ANL initiatives were launched directly by the SWP. Many trade unions sponsored it as did the Indian Workers Association (then a large organisation), and many members of the Labour Party and MPs such as Neil Kinnock. The Anti-Nazi League was best known for the two giant Rock Against Racism carnivals of 1978: involving bands such as The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, Steel Pulse, Misty in Roots, X-Ray Spex andTom Robinson, they saw 80,000 and then 100,000. 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 formedRed Action and with others organised Anti-Fascist Action, who had a much more open view to using violence to intimidate groups and individuals they considered fascist. In 1992 the Socialist Workers Party relaunched the Anti-Nazi League due to the electoral success of the British National Party. In 2004 the ANL affiliated with the Unite Against Fascism group alongside other groups such as the National Assembly Against Racism.
Most of the ANL’s activities in the 1970s were in opposition to the National Front, an organization 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 allowed to run down in the early 1980s. The organization was revived in 1992. In the 1990s its main efforts have been to oppose the British National Party, which denies that it is a Nazi Party.
The ANL carried out leafleting and other campaigns against Far Right groups which it claimed were not just racist but fascist; see BNP and British National Front. The ANL was linked to “Rock Against Racism” in the 1970s, and has worked with a similar group, “Love Music Hate Racism“, from 2001 onwards.
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 anti-racist 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 hurled at police, who described the rioting as the most violent they have handled in London. Among the demonstrators was Peach, a New Zealand-born member of the ANL. During an incident in a side street 100 yards from the town hall, he was seriously injured and collapsed, blood running down his face from serious head injuries. He died later in hospital. An inquest jury later returned a verdict of misadventure, and Blair Peach remains a symbolic figurehead for the ANL. Campaigns continue for a public inquiry into his death. A primary school in Southall bears his name.
The ANL’s Leadership
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. Its previous National Organiser was Julie Waterson, also a member of the Socialist Workers Party and a former member of the National Executive of the Socialist Alliance.
Challenges and criticisms
Denials of Fascism and Racism
When the National Front and the British National Party were 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 werefascist or Neo-Nazi in nature. Similarly, his convictions for violence and incitement to racial hatred provide ample grounds for the ANL to claim both organisations were racist. The ANL and other anti fascists argue that the BNP remains a Nazi party irrespective of the fact that it has adopted what the ANL describes as the ‘Dual Strategy’ of cultivating respectability in the media while retaining a cadre of committed fascists. This position is countered by BNP members who claim that their party is increasingly democratic in its nature. Journalistic investigation by The Guardian newspaper (December 22, 2006) has supported the ANL’s view that the BNP remains a fascist party.
A popular front against fascism
More broadly, the ANL is seen as a form of anti-fascism that seeks out alliances with a broad spectrum of progressive organisations usually rooted in the Labour movement. Socialist historian Dave Renton, for example, in his book Fascism: Theory and Practice, describes the ANL as “an orthodox united front” based on a “strategy of working class unity”, as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Critics of the ANL, such as Anti-Fascist Action 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.
Critics of the ANL (including people opposed to the far right) claim that its “No Platform for Nazis” policy and call for far right parties to be “shut down” amounts to denying the democratic rights tofreedom of speech and freedom of association. For some, this reflects the fact that freedom of speech is either universal or non-existent; others take the more nuanced position that this reflects the greater protection to be accorded to those sub-sets of freedom of speech and association which deliver ‘democracy’ (so political speech would attract greater protection than forms of speech, such as pornography, which do not contribute to democracy). This view point accords with those anti-fascists who believe that the best way to defeat the far right is by debate rather than censorship, which they say is both ineffective and hypocritical. Relatedly, the ANL has been subject to the more pragmatic criticism that its constant calls for groups like the BNP to be banned will allow the far right to portray themselves as victims of censorship, and the anti-fascist movement as intolerant and undemocratic. The ANL response to this criticism derives from the argument that, because fascist groups ultimately seek to curtail democracy and suppress democratic rights (even if they initially seek to obtain power through democratic means), the curtailment of their democratic rights can be justified as a means of protecting those of the broader citizenry. Militant anti-fascists, however, have criticised the ANL for relying on the state to prosecute or censor fascism, rather than promoting direct action by citizens.
Relationship with the SWP
The ANL has been accused of being a ‘front’ for the Socialist Workers Party; that is, of being controlled by the SWP and having the agenda of recruiting members to that organisation, while giving the impression of being independent, generally by left-wingers who are not associated with the SWP