The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has called for launch of a new broad-based nationwide movement to resist racism and the growth of the far right.
John McDonnell has said that anti-racists should seek to emulate the work of the Anti-Nazi League, launched in the 1970s with high profile backing from trade unions and leading musicians from that era, such as the The Clash.
The Shadow Chancellor spoke out against the backdrop of demonstrations in support of far right activist Tommy Robinson, last week’s attack on Socialist bookshop Bookmarks and Islamophobic remarks from former Tory foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
McDonnell said that “with the scale of Tommy Robinson demonstrations, the storming of Bookmarks bookshop, and now Boris Johnson’s Islamophobic comments, we can no longer ignore the rise of far right politics in our society.
“Maybe it’s time for an Anti-Nazi League type cultural and political campaign to resist." he said.
“The Anti-Nazi League was an iconic movement over several decades that successfully combated the far right through the mass mobilisation of trade unionists and anti-racist campaigners.
“The ANL pioneered highly influential cultural movements like the Rock Against Racism, which attracted tens of thousands of people of all ages to anti-racist festivals and protests.
“We should seriously look at emulating the work of the ANL and Rock Against Racism at a time when the far right once again poses a genuine threat to our society.”
The original Anti-Nazi League was formed in response to the growth of the neo-Nazi National Front and Oswald Mosley's 'British Movement' in 1977, but was wound up in 1981 after the decline of both far-right organisations.
Former members were later involved in the establishment of Unite Against Fascism, which has played a large role in opposing marches and demonstrations by the English Defense League and associated far-right groups.
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