RED ACTION AND CLASS WAR: EARLY DAYS

A cutting from Red Action Issue 8 which welcomes the publishing for the first two issues of Class War

Ian Bone

sean

This is a page from RED ACTION number 8. If you look closely at bottom right you will see a short piece entitled ‘Anarchy in the Uk’ which welcomes the appearance of the first two issues of Class War and looks forward to a possible future working relationship. Class War welcomed a number of Red Actionists to an action outside the Rose Ball in Park lane a few weeks later and a number of people – including Tim Wells from the legendary Anti-Social Workers maintained friendly and active in both camps for a while. A few of us were even at a certain fracas at the Roebuck in Charing Cross Road.

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Spanish Civil War: Portraits

International Brigade Memorial Trust

Having seen the excellent work in finding images of International Brigade volunteers and then putting names to their faces on the International Brigade Memorial Trust Facebook page. All the information and photographs are from this Facebook page.

I have created this post with some of the images uploaded. More will be added in the future and as more information and photographs are put on the Facebook page. I hope this post will help keep the memory of the sacrifice and bravery made by the volunteers.

Please visit and support the International Brigade Memorial Trust.

InternationalBrigadeVolunteers

One Man’s Revolution: A Review

One Man’s Revolution by Dan Todd: a Review

The Archive is grateful for being informed about this short autobiography via the Anti-Fascist Archive’s email (antifascistarchive@gmail.com). If you have any stories or information please don’t hesitate to email and let the Archive know.

Whilst One Man’s Revolution has an image of Red Action’s dark ‘Voice of Reason’ t-shirt the memoire largely covers Todd’s life prior to joining Anti-Fascist Action in 1992 and Red Action in 1994. Obviously, it’s this period the Archive is most interested in. However, Todd writes a fluent and interesting account of his political development and his personal life, giving an insight into a Red Action member. One criticism of the writing is that the chronology can sometimes be hard to follow. From the interviews I conducted for my thesis, Todd has a lot in common with their responses. Including, believing the Socialist Workers’ Party to be neither revolutionary nor working class.

In the fourth chapter Todd reaches the AFA and Red Action stage of his political life. Todd is modest in his role in AFA prior to joining in Red Action but once joining Red Action he was thrown into a full-time role despite wanted to be a part-time activist due to family restrictions. Red Action had no time but full-time. In Red Action and AFA he found a political role, unlike the SWP, he found Red Action to be both revolutionary and working class. Todd gives constant justification to violence throughout the book and Red Action’s promotion of violence sat well with Todd. Red Action’s social make up also made Todd feel more socially comfortable.

Todd does recount some interesting details of joining Red Action and physical contact with fascists. Regarding his recruitment, Todd joined the south London Red Action branch and names an organiser as Tubby. Tubby has an interesting story; Todd derides Tubby for lacking the precision and discipline trade mark of Red Action. He also questions his actions during preparations for a hit on Matthew Collins, later revealed as a Searchlight agent, and during the Little Driver action. Repeated failures in discipline and disorganisation led Todd and two other Red Action members to report Tubby and their suspicions of him being an infiltrator to the leadership. Tubby was given the benefit of the doubt and asked to leave Red Action and turn over any materials to Todd; which only led to further proof of Tubby holding back on intelligence. It is quite clear Todd believes Tubby to have been an infiltrator, perhaps a state infiltrator. Following Tubby’s departure Todd with help from the Greenwich Action Committee Against Racist Activity kick life into the South London AFA branch.

Whilst Red Action’s activity against fascism is features heavily its support of militant Irish republicanism does not. Todd mentions the criticism Red Action received for “links” with the INLA and a Red Action meeting with Sinn Féin member Francie Molloy, now a MP. But it seems he largely had little to do with the Republican side of Red Action, including the Saoirse campaign.

Todd remains loyal to the Red Action withdrawal from the streets and the Independent Working Class Association. He saw the continuing violence against tiny sects as futile and repeatedly criticises a character named Mickey, who he met when Mickey was filming Ratcatcher, for surrounding himself with anarchists who wanted to continue a physical only strategy against the dwindling elements of fascists who pursued the same strategy.

One Man’s Revolution is well worth a read for scholars of militant anti-fascism. It provides a glimpse into the causes of one man to join Red Action and AFA and also provides a short history of AFA and Red Action in south London. The writing style is enjoyable although the chronology can be at times confusing and it is light on any analysis of Red Action’s and AFA’s activity.

One Man’s Revolution is available for Kindle on amazon.co.uk

Red Lion Square and the Death of Kevin Gately

New Historical Express

On 15 June, 1974, Kevin Gately, an anti-fascist demonstrator and student at Warwick University, was killed during a demonstration in Red Lion Square in London, in a clash between police and anti-fascist demonstrators opposing the National Front’s meeting at Conway Hall. Next year will be the fortieth anniversary of his death. 

The following is an excerpt from my PhD thesis on the demonstration at Red Lion Square and the aftermath of Gately’s death, with a particular emphasis on the division between the Communist Party (the focus of my thesis) and the Trotskyist left, the International Marxist Group (IMG) and the International Socialists (IS) (A wider discussion of the left and anti-fascism in the 1970s can be found in my article here). 

red lion squaregately

On June 15, 1974, the National Front had organised a march through London, ending at Conway Hall in Red Lion Square. Liberation (formerly the Movement for Colonial Freedom)…

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