Anti-Fascism in Britain by Nigel Copsey

By Nigel Copsey

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

Fully revised and up to date from its past variation, this publication 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 powerful variety of resources together with authentic executive, police and safeguard prone documents, the writings and memories of activists themselves, and the guides 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 scuffling with the intense right.

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However, once a counter-demonstration had been organised, activity often lapsed. There were exceptions, such as Manchester, which was noted for frequent low-level street confrontations between hardline fascists and anti-fascists. But as a general rule the problem, noted in the CPGB's monthly, was apathy and lack of direction. It was, as one comrade remarked, a case of 'now that Mosley has gone there seems to be nothing for us to do'. 122 For the CPGB, this inactivity was the direct result of the prevailing 'reformist' position which defined fascism solely in terms of the fight against Mosley and the BUF.

119 According to the picture gleaned from Home Office sources, the scale of anti-fascist activity noticeably declined in 1935. As Cullen has noted, for the first part of 1935 the CPGB concentrated its efforts on anti-Jubilee activities. 12 Clearly a contributory factor behind this decline in anti-fascist activity and the CPGB's corresponding shift in agitational focus was the departure of Strachey who, prior to his visit to the United States, was insisting that the 'most urgent task of Communism' was 'to save human civilisation from Fascism'.

Elliot (Men's Origins of Anti-Fascism, 1923-35 31 Co-op Guild), H. Adams (Building Trade Workers) and Professor H. Levy agreeing to serve on the initial Committee. 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.

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