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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation - Hereford: The black apple #3 - THEY SHALL NOT PASS

Date Fri, 27 Jul 2007 06:49:15 +0300


As the British National Party announce the formation of a new group in Hereford,
we look back at the Battle of Lewisham in London when local residents decided to
stop fellow fascists, the National Front marching in their community. On 13th
August 1977, the fascist National Front (NF) tried to march through the
multi-racial working class borough of Lewisham, south east London. It was a
national mobilisation with NF branches coming from all over Britain. A large
anti-racist mobilisation turned out to oppose them in what was to become the
biggest street battle against the fascists since Cable Street in 1936. The NF
had grown rapidly during the 1970s, evolving from a tiny group of fascist
crackpots to a large party with a national presence. Their electoral successes
were accompanied by growing racial violence,
with attacks becoming more frequent.
When word got out that the NF were
planning to march, the All-Lewisham
Campaign Against Racism and Fascism
(ALCARAF) ­ a group made
up of various Labour Party
members, local religious
and `community' leaders
-­ refused to directly oppose
them. They organised a counter-
demonstration miles away from
the NF assembly point and hours
before the NF were due to arrive
in Lewisham. However, thousands of
people decided to ignore the advice of
the march organisers and headed over to
where the NF were due to meet.
The fascists couldn't meet at their original
location and in the end the police
smuggled small groups of fascists through
the back streets of south east London.
There were over 4,000 police on the streets
of Lewisham that day protecting the NF.
This was also the first time that riot police
had been deployed on mainland Britain.
However, this was obviously not enough
for the NF who later complained that they
hadn't been given enough protection!
Over 10,000 people turned out to
oppose the NF. Even before the NF found
themselves on the wrong end of a hail of
bricks, bottles and smoke bombs, they
were visibly frightened by the massive
numbers of anti-racists. Black, white
and Asian youth all came to fight the
fascists. As the march moved slowly
through the streets, the fascists were getting
hit from all sides. At one point the march
was cut in half as anti-racists smashed
through police lines and engaged in
hand-to-hand fighting with the NF. The
fascists were completely overpowered
by the superior numbers of the counter-
demonstrators.
The police had tried to defend the fascists
and had failed. They tested new `crowd
control' methods and indiscriminately
attacked the crowds of anti-racist
demonstrators. However, the anti-racists
refused to run and fought back. With
a taste of their collective strength they
smashed through the police and attacked
the fascists with rage. Because of the large
numbers of locals on the day, people used
their knowledge of the back streets to out-
smart both the police and fascists with
surprise attacks. In the end, the NF march
was dispersed without even completing
half their march route!

The Battle of Lewisham showed the
fascists that their presence would
not be tolerated in our communities.
More importantly, it showed us that none
of these fascist muppets were the invincible
street fighters they were stereotyped as.
They were, and still are, a menace in our
communities and not only should they be
forcibly removed, but Lewisham showed
that when we act together, they can be
forcibly removed
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