Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Battle of Lewisham 1977 - Forty years on

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 Darcus Howe at the Battle of Lewisham, August 1977

 The Battle of Lewisham - Reunion - How we stopped the Nazi NF

Fb event:  https://en-gb.facebook.com/events/133868593825540/
  • Saturday 12 August at 13:0016:30 UTC+01

  • Clifton Rise, London, SE14 6, United Kingdom
Forty years ago this August, thousands of anti fascists and locals from South East London stopped the fascists of the National Front from marching.  The National Front hoped that by demonstrating in Lewisham – an area with a high proportion of Afro Caribbeans – they would further intimidate minorities. The fascists, however, were to receive a rude awakening. The victory was critical in beating back the rise in racism and fascism. Saturday 13th August, 1977 helped set back the fascists for a generation.
The far right had become, pre Lewisham, mainstream in the media, in political life and often, in popular culture. In 1977, the National Front received over 100,000 votes in London elections.
The historic day in Lewisham, itself, saw trades unionists, socialists, Labour Party members, and crucially, many people from Lewisham itself, come together to say enough is enough.
Up to 10,000 people joined in to oppose the NF. All the fascists possible routes were continually blocked, NF banners were burned, and Bob Marley was played. The counter demo became a great example of black and white unity.
Nazi organizations such as the NF, believed that they could build a mass movement based upon racial prejudices and racist violence. They were wrong, and they were defeated.
Ted Parker who took part in the battle, mentions, “Thereafter the NF never again posed a serious political threat. Lewisham led directly to the formation of the Anti Nazi League (ANL) which, together with Rock Against Racism (RAR), and nowadays Love Music Hate Racism mobilised hundreds of thousands in collective expressions of solidarity between those of differing cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Organised racism was marginalised for the next quarter of a century”

Come and march and meet with some of the key individuals, who alongside many others, helped beat back the rise in racism and the fascists who fed off such poison.
People who played a critical role at Lewisham and some who helped form the Anti Nazi League (ANL), will recall the day the Nazis were stopped from marching and why it matters today. We'll assemble at Clifton Rise, a key location on the day.
The united front of socialists, trades unionists, Labour members... anyone against the Nazis, that was the ANL, was inspired from Lewisham. Alongside Rock Against Racism, the ANL was crucial in undercutting the then growing NF.
The ANL combined physically confronting the Nazis wherever they raised their ugly heads with powerful propaganda exposing the little Hitlers. It was a mass movement, that faced with the challenges posed by Le Pen, Golden Dawn and Jobbik, still reasonates. Please share this event, invite your friends, let's celebrate the victory and ensure today's fascists are defeated.

Hosted by Unite Against Fascism

See also the commemorations being organised by Goldsmiths College - here: 

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