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Anti-Fascism in Britain by Nigel Copsey

By Nigel Copsey

Anti-fascism has lengthy been essentially the most lively and dynamic components of radical protest and direct motion. but it truly is a space of fight and renowned resistance that is still mostly unexplored by way of historians, sociologists and political scientists.

Fully revised and up-to-date from its prior variation, this e-book keeps 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 assets together with legit executive, police and defense companies files, the writings and memories of activists themselves, and the guides and propaganda of anti-fascist teams and their opponents.

The ebook strains the ideological, tactical and organisational evolution of anti-fascist teams and explores their usually complex relationships with the mainstream and radical left, in addition to assessing their effectiveness in scuffling with the extraordinary right.

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As Mosley began to speak he encountered heckling. He paused, the spotlight shone on the offenders who, hopelessly outnumbered by fascists stewards, were forcefully ejected. This pattern was repeated throughout the meeting. Crowds outside, subjected to charges by mounted police, witnessed anti-fascists being ejected. Many were bleeding, their clothes were torn and some victims were said to be verging on collapse. 7 6 Significantly, Mosley had invited many influential people to the Olympia meeting.

Unlike the 1920s, anti-fascism was not restricted to London; it had extended into provincial areas as early as 1933 and grew to national significance. It is worth reiterating that the rise of Nazism, the early growth phase of the BUF and the willingness of the militant Left to take the lead in organising opposition through locally based united fronts were the key factors behind this wider development of anti-fascism. Local activities raised anti-fascist consciousness and on a number of occasions encouraged large-scale participation.

Once again the Daily Worker 38 Anti-Fascism in Britain declared that Mosley had been swamped by a 'sea of working class activity', drawing explicit, albeit forced parallels with the much larger mobilisation in Hyde Park. In fact Belle Vue had a further dimension. Acting inconsistently with the CPGB's official line, which stressed police indulgence towards fascism, Maurice Levine, a prominent local Jewish Communist, called on the Chief Constable of Manchester to ban the BUF's rally. 1 14 What Levine's approach to the authorities does reveal is that ideological concerns did not prevent pragmatism and variation in anti-fascist strategy at a local level, even for an organisation like the Communist Party which was so closely attached to its ideology.

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