We were down in Brighton for the launch of Dave Hann’s book Physical Resistance: 100 Years of Anti-Fascism (Zero Press) last Friday which was an incredible and inspiring night. The place was packed out by 100s of anti-fascists from Brighton and Sussex, and as far away as Manchester, Hatfield and London with representatives from the 62 Group, Yellow Star Movement, Rock Against Racism, Anti-Nazi League 1 and 2, Red Action, Anti-Fascist Action and Brighton Anti-Fascists. The complimentary beer and wine ran out pretty quickly, the atmosphere was celebratory and it was standing room only for an audience as varied as the book’s contents. Half way through there were still punters coming in. Many different viewpoints were represented and several writers, relatives and roustabouts contributed to the readings, some by those in the book such as Tony Greenstein and Red Action veteran Mick O’Farrell, a bona fide anti-fascist legend sporting a 1970s MUFC scarf, who spoke about anti-fascist history as well as discussing his politicisation at Grunwick and his move from aggro on the football terraces to aggro on the picket lines alongside striking print workers and miners. The performance poet Attila the Stockbroker gave a flavour of the early 1980s climate when fascists regularly tried to disrupt punk gigs until they were eventually repelled by the advances of militant anti-fascists and Red Action who went on to organise Anti-Fascist Action. The stand-out readings were that of a lady climbing off a bus and attacking Oswald Mosley with a brick in her handbag as well as a memoir of an International Brigade member which described how a 17 year old volunteer went to Spain on a day ticket and included his account of advancing on the fascists under shell fire. It was incredible to be in the same room with folk who have dedicated so much to the anti-fascist struggle with energy and compassion and for many a real connection was felt from the 1930s to the present day struggle.
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