By 1976, the National Front had become the fourth largest party in Britain. In a context of national decline, racism and fears that the country was collapsing into social unrest, the Front won 19 per cent of the vote in elections in Leicester and 100,000 votes in London.
In response, an anti-fascist campaign was born, which combined mass action to deprive the Front of public platforms with a mass cultural movement. Rock Against Racism brought punk and reggae bands together as a weapon against the right.
At Lewisham in August 1977, fighting between the far right and its opponents saw two hundred people arrested and fifty policemen injured. The press urged the state to ban two rival sets of dangerous extremists. But as the papers took sides, so did many others who determined to oppose the Front.
Through the Anti-Nazi League hundreds of thousands of people painted out racist graffiti, distributed leaflets and persuaded those around them to vote against the right. This combined movement was one of the biggest mass campaigns that Britain has ever seen.
This book tells the story of the National Front and the campaign which stopped it.
"I was gripped and loved the way it took me through different elements of popular culture, personal reflection and policy. It is the best account of the relationship between punk and the Anti-Nazi League/Rock Against Racism." Lucy Robinson, Professor in Collaborative History, University of Sussex
"A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the post-war history of racist and fascist movements and the strategies of resistance to them." Hsiao-Hung Pai, author of Angry White People
"David Renton's book helps us understand a pivotal moment in the defeat of fascism; it addresses the militant tradition of anti-fascism with real consideration." Louise Purbrick, contributor to Physical Resistance: A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism
"For an insight into how to build a mass, popular and victorious movement around anti-fascism and racism there is no better book than David Renton’s latest, Never Again, a historiography of Rock against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League, 1976-1982." Mark Perryman, Philosophy Football
"Renton’s brisk yet rigorous book excels on the political context. He elucidates the toxic internal politics of the NF…and he doesn’t skimp on the numerous disagreements that churned beneath the surface image of multi-racial solidarity in the anti-fascist camp….Yet there are broader lessons here for anyone seeking to build an effective mass movement without being derailed by purity politics or egos….Never Again explains exactly how something was done." Dorian Lynskey, The Spectator
"The publication of Never Again comes at a time when the extreme right wing that RAR and the ANL were set up to oppose are on the march again.In this sense, it is an important means of taking stock." Neil Cooper, The Herald.
1. In England, dreaming
2. A history of coups and expulsions
3. The other young believers
4. Reggae, soul, rock 'n' roll
6. Even God has joined the Anti-Nazi League
7. We all got high, we touched the sky
9. Keeping on keeping on
This new book series focuses upon fascist, far right and right-wing politics primarily within a historical context but also drawing on insights from other disciplinary perspectives. Its scope also includes radical-right populism, cultural manifestations of the far right and points of convergence and exchange with the mainstream and traditional right.