Physical Resistance – A New Book on Anti-Fascism

A new book detailing anti-fascism in Britain over the last 100 years is due out on the 25th January 2013.

Physical Resistance: A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism by Dave Hann (co-author of No Retreat) is a history of large-scale confrontations, disruption of meetings, sabotage and street fighting have been part of the practice of anti-fascism from the early twentieth century until the twenty-first. Rarely endorsed by any political party, the use of collective bodily strength remains a strategy of activists working in alliances and coalitions against fascism. In Physical Resistance famous battles against fascists, from the Olympia arena, Earls Court in 1934 and Cable Street in 1936 to Southall in 1978 and Bradford 2010, are told through the voices of participants. Anarchists, communists and socialists who belonged to a shifting series of anti-fascist organizations relate well-known events alongside many forgotten but significant episodes.

 

 

Combining scholarship with the knowledge that can only come from political experience this is a moving memorial to the late author and those who have fought fascism in Britain for almost a hundred years. Detailed accounts, eye witness testimony and a non-sectarian approach make this an engaging and fascinating account that should be read by activists and historians of all kinds. Dr Hilda Kean

Left Archive: Red Action, Issue No. 68, Summer 1994 – REPOST

The following article is a re-post from Cedar Lounge Revolution

To download the above file please click on the following link: REDACTION

Recently Red Action posted much of their archive online, and this can be accessed here. That includes the above document, but since this was already acquired for the Archive and scanned in it seemed appropriate to include at least one example of the output of the formation (and as it happens we’ve been promised some more documents in the future with a specifically Irish orientation).

Red Action appeared in 1981 when members were expelled from the Socialist Workers Party for squadist activities. Consequently in outlook it positioned itself as an self-avowedly forceful response to the threat of fascism and racism as well as cleaving to a strongly working class centred position. In the 1980s it joined the RCP led Red Front (as can be seen in this document from the RCP in the Archive). Interestingly it transitioned into community based politics in the late 1990s and on into the 2000s, and former members were heavily involved in the Independent Working Class Association which went on to win council seats and only relatively recently became inoperative.

This document is of particular interest because while it demonstrates all the political approaches outlined above it furthermore relates to one key aspect of Red Action, that being an strong identification with Irish Republicanism – it is notable that in other documents available on the Red Action site Thomas ‘Ta’ Power of the IRSP, later assassinated by the IPLO, is quoted. The cover story notes that Patrick Hayes, an English born member of a PIRA active service unit, imprisoned for a short bombing campaign in England in the early 1990s, was a former long standing member of Red Action (for more on this see this from the UK Independent which gives a subjective but interesting overview).

As the editorial accompanying Haye’s statement at the Old Bailey on his imprisonment notes:

As an organisation, Red Action has from the outset supported the right of the Irish to bear arms in principle and supported the military campaign as a TACTIC. Where we see a synthesis between republicanism and revolution Trotskyism seeks only contradictions, and so while paying lip service to the principle of self-determination the middle class left has with a few exceptions been an unswerving critic of its implementation.

It continues:

Of course no one in Red Action knew when, or precisely why, Patrick Hayes took the decision to join the IRA, but from his own testimony it is clear that he regards support for the military campaign and taking part in it more a matter of emphasis than some ‘quantum leap’. Pat never made the media inspired ‘graduation from being a weekend radical to becoming an IRA volunteer’. As in the case of Portinari [a Loyalist gunrunner] the explanation is quite simple. He never was a weekend radical. He is, and always was in whatever capacity a revolutionary.

In some respects these quotes also offer an insight into other aspects of Red Action, namely a strongly critical view of other contemporary further left formations, particularly those with a Trotskyist orientation – albeit it itself came from a Trotskyist heritage. It also held a strongly working class position that saw itself as deeply at odds with the middle class both in class and political forms or in its analysis that other further left formations were distorted by that class.

This combative stance is exemplified by a number of articles in the document on Trotskyism, including ‘Trotskyism’ with No Illusions which lambastes both the British Labour Party and ‘the Trotskyite Left [who] without exception line up with the bureaucracy in defence of the status quo, [whereas] we stand with the working class against the bureaucracy’ and within the working class; with the anti-racists against the racists.’. There is also an article which takes as its starting point the then recently published final edition of the SWP’s Tony Cliff’s final volume of his biography of Trotsky which is sub-titled ‘The Real History of the Fourth International’.

The emphasis on Irish Republicanism is evidenced throughout the text with highly critical articles on the Troops Out movement (and which is also in passing highly critical of the RCP) and a page devoted to “Dispatches from a war zone” and which in this instance dealswith informers and pro-British agents.

 

 

There’s also a piece under the heading ‘Beyond the Pale’ for Red Action in Ireland, complete with PO Box. The accompanying article, ‘Guns, Drugs & The Community’, outlines the history of the development of the drugs issue in working class Dublin and how Concerned Parents Against Drugs (CPAD) became pivotal in ‘the fight against drugs’. The article notes that ‘The Left’s attitude to this genuine instance of working class people taking control of their lives has also been pathetic. From the SWM’s denunciation of CPAD as vigilantes, to the serious serious damage done to the anti-drugs campaign by the Workers’ Party’s allegations of addicts being kept against their will in France, the left in Dublin has been a hindrance to the CPAD. Sinn Féin are the only group on the left who can claim any credibility from the fight against the drug pushers. Contrary to the allegations of SF infiltration of CPAD, the SF activists actually belonged to the working class communities under threat and had every right ton involve themselves in the fight against drugs’.

In the latter there is the following reference: CPAD wants addicts to be sent to treatment centres where they might actually have a chance to get off drugs. CPAD have in the past sent addicts to the Le Patriarche centre in France but a Workers Party created controversy and lack of resources meant this could not be continued’.

 

Archivist: there are also some interesting comments on the original post which are worth reading.

 

See also: The Arrest of Patrick Hayes

Red Action Archive

The Red Action Archive is here!!!

It’s been a long wait but it looks like its been worth it. The archive contains the entire back catalogue of Red Action newspapers and bulletins, plus material on anti-fascism, Ireland and drugs.

A history of Red Action has been written too: The Road Less Travelled: The History of Red Action

Big thank you to those who have taken the time and effort to get the archive online.

Link to Archive

Red Action Bulletin

I have been resisting uploading the few Red Action bulletins and newspapers I have because they will shortly all be uploaded to the new Red Action website. However, after meeting some members of Revolutionära Fronten (Revolutionary Front) a Swedish organisation which is heavily influenced by Red Action and the Independent Working Class Association.

I promised that I would upload some of the Red Action bulletin editions so they can wet their appetite before the whole collection is released.

If anyone has any other Red Action pamphlets or material please get in touch at: antifascistarchive@gmail.comI can pay for postage and return the items in the same condition you sent them.

Related Posts:

  1. Red Action: Various Literature
  2. Red Action: Pamphlets
  3. Red Attitude: Manchester Anti-Fascist Fanzine
  4. Fighting Talk: Journal of Anti-Fascist Action

Red Action: Various Literature

This post will list various literature from Red Action.

 

 

 

Academic Works and Articles

This will be a list of academic studies which will be of interest to those wanting to study militant anti-fascism.

If you have written an essay which is of good quality or contains original research please email: antifascistarchive@gmail.com.

Essays not written by academics

On the Principles of Political Violence and the Case of Anti-Fascist Action (The Archivist, 2012)

“Taking It Back, Making It Strong!”: The Boundary Establishment And Maintenance Practices Of A Montréal Anti-Racist Skinhead Gang

The National Front and British National Party on Merseyside. A Geography of Political Extremism

Blackshirts in Red Scotland: an analysis of fascism and its opponents in inter-war Scotland

Articles on Anti-Fascism
1920-1945

Communists and the Inter-War Anti-Fascist Struggle in the United States and Britain (Copsey, 2011)

Anti-Fascist Activity in Manchester’s Jewish Community (Gewirtz)

1946 – 1959

“Class Before Race”: British Communism and the Place of Empire in Postwar Race Relations (Smith, 2008)

1960 – 1979

Conflicting Narratives of Black Youth Rebellion in Modern Britain (Smith)

A Bulwark Diminished: The Communist Party, the SWP and anti-fascism in the 1970s. (Smith)

Bridging the Gap: The British Communist Party and the limits of the state in tackling racism (Smith)

Are the Kids United? The Communist Party of Great Britain, Rock Against Racism and the Politics of Youth Culture (Smith)

1968 – Too Little and Too Late? The Communist Party and Race Relations in the Late 1960s (Smith, 2008)

When the Party Comes Down: The CPGB and Youth Culture, 1976-1991 (Smith)

Witness Seminar: Anti-Fascism in 1970s Huddersfield (2006)

1980 – date

Anti-Fascist Action: Radical Resistance or Rent-a-Mob? (Hayes and Alyward, 2000)

Marching Altogether? Football fans taking a stand against racism (Thomas, 2010)

When the Whites When Marching In: Racism and Resistance in English Football (Greenfield and Osborn, 1996)

Glasgow Celtic Fans, Political Culture and the Tiocfaidh Ar La Fanzine: Some Comments and a Content Analysis (Hayes, 2006)

The Limits of National Memory: Anti-Fascism, The Holocaust and the Fosse Ardeatine Memorial in 1990s Italy (Clifford, 2008)

Neo-Nazism, Holocaust Denial and UK Law (Cohn-Sherbok, 2010)

Choosing Social Justice over Hate Two Stories of Community Success in the Pacific Northwest (Stewart, 2010)

The Politics and Culture of FC St. Pauli: from leftism, through antiestablishment, to commercialization (Petra Daniel & Christos Kassimeris, 2013)

‘The birthplace of Italian communism’: political identity and action amongst livorno fans (Doidge, 2013)

Contesting the ‘authentic’ community: Far-right spatial strategy and everyday responses in an era of crisis (Ince, 2011)

Articles on Fascism
1920-1945

The Swastika and the Shamrock: British Fascism and the Irish Question, 1918-1940 (Douglas, 1997)

Opposition to the New Party: an incipient anti-fascism or a defence against ‘Mosleyitis’? (Copsey, 2009)

“Apostles of Fascism,” “Communist Clergy,” and the UAW: Political Ideology and Working-Class Religion in Detroit, 1919–1945 (Pehl, 2012)

1946-1959
1960-1979

Ulster Unionists in America, 1972-1985 (Wilson, 2007)

Shot By Both Sides: Punk, Politics and the End of ‘Consensus’ (Worley, 2012)

1980 – date

Patterns of Racism: Interviews with National Front Members (Billig, 1978)

Extreme music for extreme people? Norwegian black metal and transcendent violence (Phillipov, 2011)

Voice of our blood: National Socialist discourses in black metal (Olson, 2011)

Continental Divide: Immigration and the New European Right (Rosenthal, 2011) 

Visions of Hate: Explaining Neo-Nazi Violence in the Russian Federation (Arnold, 2010)

Anti-Zionism and the Italian Extreme Right (Chiarini, 2008)

Right-Extremism in Germany: Recruitment of New Members (Braunthal, 2008)

At the Roots of the New Right-Wing Extremism in Portugal: The National Action Movement, 1985-1991 (Marchi, 2010)

Australian Fascism? A Revisionist Analysis of the Ideology of the New Guard (Cunningham, 2012)

Colin Jordan’s ‘Merrie England’ and ‘Universal Nazism’ (Jackson, 2011)

The EDL: Britain’s New Far Right Social Movement (Jackson, 2011)

Negotiating White Power Activist Stigma (Simi, 2009)

The Nationalist Party of America: Right-Wing Activism and Billy Roper’s White Revolution (Dentice, 2011)

Computer-Mediated False Consensus: Radical Online Groups, Social Networks and News Media (Wojcieszak, 2011)

Red Action Pamphlets

I have uploaded two early Red Action pamphlets. Both are extremely interesting and tell the origin and the history of Red Action.

Click the links to download the pamphlets. The quality is not the best but that is because the quality of the pamphlets was not the best.

Thanks to Kebele Community Co-Operative for these.

Newspaper Articles on Red Action, Anti-Fascist Action and Fascists

Below are all the articles from The Guardian which mention either Red Action or Anti-Fascist Action. There is also an Independent article in there.

There is also the Scrapbooks. These contain hundreds of newspaper articles on fascism and racism and its opponents.

Related Posts:

Pre-War Newspaper Articles on Anti-Fascism

A Collection of Beatings and Images

Do you have corrections? Dates? Additions? Stories? Images? Simply comment them beneath the post or email them to antifascistarchive@gmail.com and I will amend accordingly.

Images (Left to Right):

  1. Red Action Banner (Date Unknown)
  2. Anti-Apartheid picket, S. African Embassy. “AFA supporters beat off a Nazi attack in Trafalgar Square after a Rememberance Sunday Demonstration” – Introduction to London AFA: September 1991
  3. “A fascist gets taught a lesson at speakers corner, Hyde Park 27/5/1989” – Beating the Fascists
  4. Talking With the Enemy: Policeman reads Red Action (1995)
  5. Redwatch picture from a Manchester Martyrs march. DN = Dessie Noonan (November, 1986)
  6. Fascist nurses busted nose in Albert Square, Manchester whilst anti-fascists look on (1994) – thanks Pedro, see Pedro’s comment for more information!
  7. John Tyndall, BNP leader, and David Copeland, the nail bomber. Tyndall looking worse for wear after  fighting broke out at the BNPs 15th Anniversary rally in Stratford , East London. (1997)
  8. The initial mock up for a new Anti-Nazi League magazine featuring UB40 and two members of the ANL, one of which would become a leading member of AFA (1981)
  9. Second side for above. (1981)
  10. Grover play at the Star and Garter, Manchester, for an AFA benefit. (Unknown Date).

Battle of Waterloo

“It Woz AFA Wot Dun It”: Battle of Waterloo, October 1992.

 

AFA’s press statement following the Battle of Waterloo

 

Newspaper Articles on the Battle of Waterloo

Do you have corrections? Dates? Additions? Stories? Images? Simply comment them beneath the post or email them to antifascistarchive@gmail.com and I will amend accordingly.