Anti-Fascism in Britain by Nigel Copsey

By Nigel Copsey

Anti-fascism has lengthy been probably the most energetic and dynamic parts of radical protest and direct motion. but it truly is a space of fight and renowned resistance that is still principally unexplored via historians, sociologists and political scientists.

Fully revised and up-to-date from its previous version, this ebook maintains to supply the definitive account of anti-fascism in Britain from its roots within the Nineteen Thirties competition to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists, to the road demonstrations and on-line campaigns of the twenty-first century. the writer attracts on a magnificent variety of resources together with reliable govt, police and safety providers files, the writings and memories of activists themselves, and the courses and propaganda of anti-fascist teams and their opponents.

The booklet lines the ideological, tactical and organisational evolution of anti-fascist teams and explores their usually advanced relationships with the mainstream and radical left, in addition to assessing their effectiveness in battling the intense right.

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85 Given the wave of anti-fascist feeling after Olympia, even fascists in rural middle-class areas were not immune to the occasional missile attack: in Melksham in Wiltshire, on 21 June, a car was overturned and stones, eggs and fruit were thrown by anti-fascists at an unfortunate group of Blackshirts. 8 6 Anti-fascist demonstrations also followed in June 1934 at Leicester and Swansea, but there were no reports of disorder. At Leicester, where a leading BUF figure, A. K. Chesterton, addressed a meeting at Oriental Hall a counter-procession of anti-fascists brought a donkey along dressed in a blackshirt.

In due course, they were joined by the support of Lord Marley, James Maxton, Fenner Brockway, Ellen Wilkinson, Dorothy Woodman, Harry Pollitt and Leah Manning (President of the National Union of Teachers). 91 An internal CPGB memorandum dated 13 August, reveals how central the Hyde Park counter-demonstration was to the CPGB's strategy of breaking the Labour Party's ban on the United Front. It states that the 'whole energy' of the CPGB must be put into preparations for Hyde Park over the next four weeks, the United Front with Labour organisations being the 'central task running through all the preparations ....

One section of the crowd was directed towards Hyde Park, another to nearby Thurloe Square where an impromptu, tightly packed meeting took place chaired by John Strachey. The crowd in Thurloe Square reportedly numbered between 3,000 and 5,000 and was, without apparent warning, subjected to repeated baton charges by police forcing it to disperse. The police alleged that the anti-fascist meeting in Thurloe Square was 'provocative', 'disorderly' and fell within the declared exclusion zone.

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Anti-Fascism in Britain by Nigel Copsey
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