12 Months Under Heavy Manners
A recent find – Temporary Hoarding issue 3 from 1977 (according to Syd Shelton who along with Ruth Gregory were the designers of the Rock Against Racism’s fanzine).
This issue highlighted the events around The Battle of Lewisham, which occurred on this day in 1977, and features the Iconic photograph of the late Great Darcus Howe (by Syd, see original photo below) speaking to the 8000 strong crowds that had gathered at Clifton Rise to stop the National Front march through Lewisham. The NF was the 1970s manifestation of white British fascists. The significance of the strength of the counter demonstrations against them at Lewisham and later Southall, despite an almost honor guard display of support by the Met police protecting the NF marchers, seriously damaged their movement. Obviously, the British press declared a riot and spoke of left wing agitators bent on violence causing trouble against the peaceful NF marchers.
Photos by Syd Shelton
The Battle of Lewisham was the first time the police used riot shields in England and the police heavy hardness is evident from footage of the day. After Lewisham and Southall the NF were never again a credible political party, but where did all those voters go? For all of those who stood in Lewisham and blocked the NF March in 1977, and to all who stand up against racism and fascism today, we raise our fist in solidarity!
Recommended viewing and listening:
Podcast: Bass Culture UK. Red Saunders Part 1: Photographer and co-founder of Rock Against Racism in conversation with Mykaell Riley, Director of The Black Music Research Unit.
Online Exhibition: Rock Against Racism.