Remembering and reflecting on the 'Battle of Lewisham' in August 1977, when a mobilisation by the far-right National Front in South East London was met by mass opposition

Sunday 7 March 2010

Socialist Worker on the Battle of Lewisham: The story of the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism

The Socialist Workers Party played a key role in the events of August 1977. Its newspaper, Socialist Worker, has re-published extracts from their original article about the event, as well as some recollections. Some extracts are below. The first article also includes some analysis in the aftermath by the late Chris Harman, Alex Callinicos and others.

Lewisham 1977: the day we turned the tide on the Nazi National Front
Fighting the fascists at the battle of Lewisham

Thirty years ago this week the apparently unstoppable rise of the Nazi National Front (NF) met a serious challenge. On Saturday 13 August 1977 a Nazi march through Lewisham in south London faced a counter demonstration by thousands of anti-fascists. The fascists’ march was stopped. Though the confrontation was condemned in all the national media for violence, it lit the spark that would soon lead to the founding of the Anti Nazi League, and set back the fascists for a generation. Here we reprint excerpts from our coverage at the time.


They did not pass!
Socialist Worker, 27 August 1977

The Nazi Front got the hammering of their lives last Saturday.

Thousands of people responded to the Socialist Workers Party’s call to stop them marching.

Black people and trade unionists, old and young, 14 year olds and veterans of Cable Street, Rastafarians and Millwall supporters, Labour Party members and revolutionary socialists – all joined in a massive united action against the Nazis. [Read the rest.]

This article has recollections from Paul Holborow, Iqbal Khan and others. This is Paul Holoborow:

The huge confrontation at Lewisham in 1977 was a turning point. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the local black community came together to confront an NF march. Thousands of protesters took the streets and we gave the Nazis a good hiding.

The next day I went into the SWP headquarters and the phone began to ring and ring.

There was a call from a Jewish guy in east London saying, “I don’t agree with the SWP over many things, but what you did to the Nazis on Saturday was bloody marvellous – what can I do to help?”

Calls like that were where the momentum came from to form a broader organisation – the ANL.
Finally, this article recalls the founding of Rock Against Racism and concludes with Red Saunders' RAR Top 10. (For more Red Saunders, click here.)
Red Saunders of RAR’s top ten:

•X-Ray Spex – Oh Bondage, Up Yours

•Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

•The Clash – (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais

•Linton Kwesi Johnson – Reggae Fi Peach

•Tom Robinson Band – Glad To Be Gay

•Steel Pulse – Handsworth Revolution

Steel pulse - handsworth revolution
Uploaded by mickeynold. - Explore more music videos.
•Junior Murvin – Police And Thieves

Junior Murvin - Police And Thieves -1977
Uploaded by LostPirate77. - Watch more music videos, in HD!
•Misty In Roots – Own Them Control Them

•Aswad – Live And Direct

•The Specials – Ghost Town

The Specials - Ghost Town- Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

No comments: