Point Blank, RA Vol 4, Issue 4, Dec '99/Jan '00

Cable St Commemoration

Oct 7-10: In a departure from the normal format of public meeting/rally, the annual Cable St Commemoration was marked this year by a public debate on the relevance of ‘race and class’ as part of an effective strategy to counter the steady growth of racism and fascism. Following the 11 million votes plus for the Far Right in the Euro election: ‘Never Again?’ was the question posed. Among those on the panel were Guardian feature writer Gary Younge, academic Roger Hewitt plus representatives from the Anti Nazi League and AFA (full report page 5). The public debate was the highpoint of four days of AFA-sponsored events, which included the showing of Ken Loach’s acclaimed series Days of Hope, at the Lux Cinema, E. London.

Anarchist Bookfair

Oct 16: The biggest ever turnover from an AFA stall at the Anarchist Book Fair, some £350 in total suggests a number of things. One, the campaign using anarchism as a flag of convenience in order to discredit AFA, appears to have suffered a serious loss of credibility’ following the disclosure by RA that the real focus of the inquiry into the manipulation of the AFA Northern Network was not anarchism per se but Nick Lowles, the new Searchlight editor. Secondly, the gradual reawakening of interest in militant anti-fascism, indicates that at least this section of the Left no longer buy into the Searchlight/ANL fable of the ‘BNP on an ever downward curve’.

AFA Leafletting & RA Paper Sale

Glasgow: October: In response to a BNP recruitment campaign in the Southside of the city. AFA leafletters had an early morning start, when over 2,500 leaflets were distributed door to door in the tightly packed streets of the Croftfoot area of Glasgow. A fifteen strong team completed their task in little over two hours. A police attempt to intimidate R.A sellers at Celtic Park failed when the notion of ‘specific complaints’ from other Celtic fans in relation to R.A being ‘pro-IRA’ was effectively challenged by the sellers. In response to the charge that the ‘pro-republican’ nature of the material ‘was likely to provoke a breach of the peace’, a seller pointed out to the officer that he had actually ‘walked past Republican News sellers’ on his way over, and if he had come a little earlier he would have ‘had to pass Republican Sinn Fein paper sellers as well and you can’t get more ‘extreme’ than that!’ Despite the disruption, up to seventy RA bulletins were sold with the sale being supported by new members travelling from Dumbarton and Fife.

Searchlight Conference

Birmingham Nov 10: Despite being denied a stall, AFA members made a decisive intervention during a seminar jointly hosted by Searchlight and the Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit. In the workshops AFA reps took on all corners from Black Nationalists to the ANL exposing and winning the arguments hands down, (further report Not Waving...)

Troops Out Conference

Nov20: A one-day conference entitled ‘The North of Ireland, What Next?’ was considerably enlivened by a Red Action presence both during and after the event. Highlight of the event was a stinging attack by the TAL editor on the representatives of the Brit Left who accused the SF representative of ‘selling out’. Noting the ‘ridiculous pretence of their pretending to be more radical than Irish Republicans while at the same time supporting a Labour party that has possibly a worse Human Rights record in Ireland than even the Tories!’ Later the TAL stall in particular did a roaring trade.

Reproduced from RA Vol 4, Issue 4, Dec '99/Jan '00