Facing up to the Fascists

Confronting the National Front in Bristol in the 1970s

Event Details
Date: , 2022
Time: to
Venue: Bristol Central Reference Library, BS1 5TL
Price: Free
With: Colin Thomas
Note: This event was not organised by BRHG.

Thurs 27th October 12.30-1.30pm Foyer, Bristol Central Library, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TL

As part of the ongoing exhibition of resistance to fascism in the city in the 1970s at the Central Reference Library Colin Thomas will speak about how the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism resisted the National Front in Bristol in the 1970s and 80s – and won.

The first warning came fifty years ago – the National Front decided to put up candidates in Bristol. The party was led by John Tyndall who had advocated Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ as a model for Britain and, writing about Jews, argued for “the elimination of this cancerous microbe in our midst.”

By 1973 Tyndall and the National Front had shifted the focus of its race hatred, seeing the expulsion of Asians from Uganda as an opportunity. Although its four Bristol candidates weren’t elected, one secured 17.7% of the local vote.
With National Front membership doubling, opponents of homegrown fascism began to organise. NF meetings at Bristol primary schools were picketed and one at Sefton Park school in 1977 sparked a riot which led to six arrests, all of them anti-NF protestors.

This led to the creation of the Anti-Nazi League in Bristol, formed at a crowded meeting in St Pauls on February 28th 1978, and was followed by a series of Rock Against Racism events in the city. A year later the National Front had collapsed.

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