Fighting Talk 7 (1994)

Issue 7 of Anti-Fascist Action's Fighting Talk magazine.

Submitted by Fozzie on February 1, 2019


  • Waterloo Sunset
  • Let's Get Physical
  • To Ban Or Not To Ban (the case against state bans on fascists)
  • International Solidarity: Building Links
  • Germany Calling: Column by Autonome Antifa (M)
  • Organising Resistance (analysis of tactics used by YRE/ANL etc in South East London)
  • A View From Valhalla (overview of fascist publications)
  • The Good Old Days: The Roots of AFA In Manchester
  • World In Action: Violence With Violence (review of TV programme about anti-fascism)
  • Letters
  • Freedom of Movement (dance music benefits for AFA)
  • Stickers/Merchandise/Contacts

Let's Get Physical - Sid Martell

The implementation of a No Platform policy will invariably involve physical confrontation with the fascists. In this issue Fighting Talk's Sid Martell explores the politics of the pavement...

From Anti-Fascist Action's Fighting Talk magazine issue 7, 1994.

Submitted by Fozzie on March 6, 2019

"AFA is committed to fighting Fascism both physically and ideologically. We are not fighting fascism to maintain the status quo but to defend the interests of the working class"

Point 1.4 London AFA constitution.

Many people beside the state are opposed to Anti-Fascist Action's policy of physical confrontation, these range from the fascists (they especially don't like it), the liberal 'state ban' wing of the movement (ARA, Searchlight etc..), all the way to so-called revolutionary organisations like the Socialist Workers Party (see the last issue of FT, they might pay lip service to 'taking on the fascists', in reality they can't implement a No Platform policy and they need the police to function). So, what with all this opposition, is AFA merely being obstinate? Are we just isolated thugs? Or are we principled militant anti-fascists using the best means at our disposal to stop the fascists.

Firstly, let's get a few things straight. Anti-Fascist Action is not a terrorist or military organisation, neither are we just a group of thugs who simply enjoy a good row. AFA is a broad-based national organisation made up of working class people who are serious about combating fascism. Fighting fascism demands a lot from those who undertake it seriously, the risks are high, the hours are long and mostly spent getting bored - waiting for something to happen, and it doesn't earn you a living.

As any committed militant in any struggle will tell you that goes with the territory, nobody asks for thanks or a pat on the back, you just get on with it. What's to a large extent unbelievable, and yet at the same time so predictable, is that as well as this there are characters in the movement, whose courage and integrity are questionable to say the least, who seem to spend more time slagging off the militants than they do making the minimal (and often detrimental) impact that they do on the fascists.

AFA started when everybody else dropped Anti-Fascism, the real problem of course, being the Tories!? Now that the rest of them have come back on the scene they find that we've not been away, our rag-tag band of directionless cut-throats and thugs managing to stay the distance while the rest of them chose complacency and denial of their own ineptitude. As well as this they also find that while they run around chasing their tails and getting nowhere, AFA continues to pop up every now and again to remind the fascists that there will always be two sides of the opposition to them.

Throughout this century it seems that anti-fascist militants have had to put up with unwholesome elements at their backs. During Franco's dictatorship after the Spanish Civil War, the words of anarchist anti-fascist guerrillas (who were making 'substantial withdrawals' from various financial institutions on behalf of the resistance movement) have a familiar ring...

"Yet some of our so-called comrades attempted to defame our conduct in this matter - calling us robbers, bandits, criminals in exactly the same way as our fascist enemies. They do so to justify themselves to our movement for their own cowardice and inactivity."

Even within AFA there have been times when certain elements have called for more 'political' campaigning: when pressed, more 'political' campaigning basically means `non-violent' protest type campaigning a la Anti-Nazi League. AFA has outlined many times that it has a 'twin-track' policy of both ideological and physical confrontation, what this article aims to make clear is that both parts of our strategy are indeed political. Both are of equal importance, and the balance between them constantly and consistently maintained.

A classic cliché used by all manner of characters, from magistrates to 'revolutionaries', is to confront them physically you are "Just as bad as the fascists". Anti-fascist militants have had this thrown at them since fascism began, the equation being; if you meet violence with violence, then you become what you hate. This oddly Christian moralisation (odd because easily as many people have been killed in the name of Christ, as Mussolini or Hitler) is not just misguided, it's thoroughly out of order. Fascists employ violence as a means to an end, they are not violence personified; to be violent is not to be a fascist. It is what lies behind that violence; virulent hatred of the working class and its aspirations, that gives fascism its character.

The aim of fascism is to amplify the violence already inherent in the state; the violence of the Police, Immigration officials, the Army, etc. being just a tea-party to what the fascists would have them do. It is obvious that if working class people are to defend themselves and their interests, they must react in accordance with this threat. Therefore an act of aggression against the fascists must be seen as an act in defence of the working class, and as such be a political act.

The argument that anything other than pure self-defence (for instance defence against attack on an ethnic community) is mindless petty violence with no political motivation holds about as much water as a sieve. The formidable increase in state terror that would arise from a fascist dictatorship is justification enough for the eradication of fascism. The working class is already under attack, the state is already throwing punches, the coming to power of the fascists is the big right-hander, the knock out punch. It's already a question of them or us, the war has already started.

It's interesting here to note just who is saying what as regards this question. The vast majority of anti-fascist militants are working class, not just for the wider abstract reasons outlined above but because they bear the first brunt of the onslaught of fascism, and in the long term they will suffer the worst casualties. If someone in a pub full of local fascists declares themselves an anti-fascist, there won't be much time for formal debate and dissection of analysis. Working class people don't baulk at violence, they are not so conditioned to reject personal/political violence while condoning institutionalised violence as the middle classes are. It is obvious then that while the middle class orientated wing of the movement call for the police to deal with the "criminal fascist element", people on the street are forced to deal with it themselves.

It is the organisation of this militant working class resistance to fascism that is the task that AFA has set itself. All of the moves made by AFA are dictated by this aim. The direction of the organisation is orientated by discussion of the militants on the ground, there is no military hierarchy governing the politics of the organisation, rather the politics control all AFA stewarding activities. The stewards are at all times answerable to the rest of the organisation, their role is to carry out the wishes of the membership. It is the people active in AFA who have defined this, it is the militants on the ground who argue for political discipline. We would argue against a purely street outfit, not because we are against 'street activity', but because alone it has no meaning. There are many historical examples to draw from this, from the IPLO in Ireland to renegade Zapatistas in the Mexican Revolutions.

If you carry out acts of an 'illegal' nature then you are bound to attract those who simply wish to get involved in that end of affairs, who are not political. It is up to the movement to either educate or reject those elements, and only the backing and guidance of the wider movement can define were the line is drawn, where acts degenerate to the socially criminal rather than the political. It is only when the politics are let go that things are reduced to pure factionalism and criminality, that has never and will never be the case with AFA. All those who have made claims along these lines are either enemies of militant anti-fascism, or the sort of play-pretend 'leaders' who get their fingers burnt when they play with fire.

The need for discipline and organisation then is paramount to us, one because it makes us accountable to ourselves and the movement, and secondly because it makes us a more effective force on the street and in the political arena. There have been times when elements attracted to AFA seem to feel that these things can be dispensed with, those that espouse the anti-fascism of the cider bottle and the wildebeest. While not denying anybody's right to oppose fascism, there is no place for this within AFA. It must be made clear, AFA wins, there aren't any prizes for second place. Without coordination, without experience and back up, little groups marching off here and there will ultimately come a cropper. This is not a game, the fascists mean it - and what has kept AFA effective is that we mean it too.

It's ironic really, that many who have consistently slagged off the physical element of AFA, have at the same time come begging for protection when there's a possibility that they themselves might be attacked by the fascists. AFA has learnt a lot from this, smiles the one day, vilification the next. It has also learnt that being some sort of token police force for the 'left', has gained us nothing but their subsequent whinging afterwards. Or even during, there have been a few occasions when an AFA stewarding outfit has actually had to 'steward', only to meet shock horror from those who most definitely would have been on the receiving end of it from the fascists if we hadn't been there.

Our job is beating the fascists on our terms, our stewards are only jeopardised by our activities, or the ones we sponsor. What many on the 'left' don't realise is that the physical victories of the fascists are worth more than ours because they are in the ascendancy, they are on the offensive while the left' stares up its own backside wondering what day it is. Any victory that we give them on the street is a body blow for us, if we are to be defeated then we'll go down fighting for something to fight for, not for liberals and cowards who can't hold their hands up.

But again that's not to say that we won't work with anyone else, we have stressed time and again that unity is made around activity, not verbal niceties. (See the Unity Article in the last issue of FT). If anybody who adopts the same stance as us, who works in the same arena as us, isn't working alongside us, then could they let us know? The point has to be made, AFA has a job to do, it hasn't the time or the resources to argue the toss about 'United Fronts' and such like. Let's face it, that isn't just fiddling while Rome burns, it's setting up the whole orchestra and giving the audience boxes of matches.

It seems that the calls for Unity tend to be made most vociferously by those who when they had a chance to make some sort of impact, i.e. when they were in AFA, chose to abandon that and now wander in the wilderness calling for "committees" around this and "Unity" around that because it's the only chance they'll get to prove how 'wadical' they are by talking a load of old nonsense. They now find they're in a position where far from "making No Platform mean No Platform", they are effectively more unable to deliver that than they ever were! It's not saying it, it's doing it that counts. AFA continues to do it.

Physical confrontation is not only necessary, but from a propaganda point of view it's indispensable; Waterloo was a straight go, and an immediate success. It shows people what can be done, and what has to be done, if fascism is to be beaten back. AFA victories in the North. in Scotland, and in the Midlands are a direct result of the commitment to a physical presence put in by AFA militants, the ceaseless work of individuals and groups gaining results that no amount of lollipops and petitions will ever bring. AFA's work against the recent 'Ian Stuart Memorial Gig' made sure that it didn't go ahead, that Combat 18's 'security' was turned on its head (Charlie Sargeant and 'mad' Phil Edwards both making early bids for the 'shithouse of the year' award), and we still managed not to get battered by the Met (unlike both the ANL and C18, the latter getting a serious seeing to in a pub outside Waterloo, looked bloody nasty from where we were standing...).

AFA, despite all its enemies, continues to go from strength to strength. We've proved time and again that only by militant action will the fascists be put down, and despite all the efforts of the establishment, the fascists, and the liberals, we're still in the game. Time will tell what happens with the ANL, YRE etc.. We're not asking anything of them, what's important to us is that AFA remains a viable outfit, and that it holds to its tradition. Remember, though we've said it before, a physical commitment by us doesn't require every individual in the organisation to be a super fit street-fighter, what we do want is people who agree with our policy, and who will work towards its implementation in the capacity best suited for them. Genuine anti-fascist militants should join AFA, and militants from other outfits should work with us on the day. True unity. unity in action, is the only 'unity' AFA calls for. A commitment to that is what earns AFA's respect, and it's the only thing that does.


3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by

Thanks for this! Do you think you could switch the title and author names round though? i.e. rather than what it is now, do 'Let's Get Physical - Sid Martell'



3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by


Thanks for this! Do you think you could switch the title and author names round though? i.e. rather than what it is now, do 'Let's Get Physical - Sid Martell'


Yep, no problem. I did wonder about that.

To Ban or not to Ban: The Case Against State Bans on Fascists - Jim Kane

From issue 7 of Anti-Fascist Action's Fighting Talk magazine, 1994.

Submitted by Fozzie on March 6, 2019

The question of whether anti-fascists should call on the state to ban fascist organisations or demonstrations has always been a controversial one. The moderate wing of the anti-fascist movement has never had any problem in appealing to the state. For all their apparent differences on other issues, Searchlight, the Anti-Racist Alliance and the Anti-Nazi League have all made such demands on the police at one time or another.
Anti-Fascist Action represents a different tradition - militant anti-fascism. In contrast to the other groups mentioned, we have never called on the police to do our job for us. Nor will we. In this article, Jim Kane explains why.

Militant anti-fascism has a single goal - to forcefully disrupt the fascists from going about their business. Our aim is to prevent them from selling their papers, distributing their leaflets, putting up their stickers and posters. Our intention is to make it impossible for them to stand candidates in elections, and where they do manage to stand, to disrupt their campaigns at every stage. Ultimately, our aim is to crush them completely, to wipe them off the face of the earth.

These are serious matters: the fascists know the importance of physical force in politics, and are far better organised on this level than the so-called revolutionary left, which is long on words, short on action. If you set yourselves these aims, as we do, you have to work out a serious strategy of how to carry them out. You have to know what it is you are up against, and what it is you are doing.

We have never made any bones about it: to fight the fascists ideologically, you have to fight them physically. To fight them physically, to disrupt their meetings, to subject them to the pressure that they try to subject us to - to do any or all of these things means to break the law. A purely "legal" anti-fascism is no anti-fascism at all.
You don't have to be Einstein to work out the consequences: if you set out on a militant strategy, you are on a collision course with the forces of law and order, the state. If you seriously oppose the fascists in a way which is effective, you are operating against the state. This is a fact of life.

The fascists often taunt AFA as "bootboys for the establishment", claiming we do the mainstream parties' dirty work for them when we attack the "real" revolutionaries of the far right. It's not our job to point out to the fascists that they are making a mistake on this - let them dream on. But if we were to entertain the same illusion, that we are in some way involved in a common fight alongside the respectable politicians of the establishment parties, then we will come a cropper.

The moderate wing of the anti-fascist movement does see things in this way. Searchlight makes no secret of the fact that they trade information with the state, and that they want to see the state take a more active part in combating fascism. The Anti-Racist Alliance and Anti-Nazi League similarly expect, though they are sometimes disappointed, that the police will take their "responsibility" for keeping the peace seriously enough to keep the fascists and anti-fascists apart.

This is what happened at Brick Lane after the fighting the first week after the British National Party election victory. The anti-fascists turn up to demonstrate peacefully, while the police stop the fascists from getting anywhere near them. And it worked, in a fashion. The fascists lost their paper sale, or rather gave it up sooner than get involved in a regular set-piece with the Old Bill; the anti-fascists got to take over the corner of Bethnal Green Road and Brick Lane and proclaim the area a "Nazi-Fee Zone."

Everyone, the BNP excepted, is happy. Or so it seems. True, the fascists temporarily lost their paper sale, and that is no bad thing. But the anti-fascists lost something else that is far more important in the long run: they lost their momentum. As we warned in the previous issue of Fighting Talk, two or three weeks of turning up in droves to shout anti-fascist slogans when you know the fascists won't be allowed to turn up is more than enough for most people.

Numbers fell very rapidly at Brick Lane thereafter - the Militant decided to call the whole thing off, just weeks after they pledged to drive the fascists out of Brick Lane “forever", while the Socialist Workers Party opted for a handful of paper sellers on the corner instead of a full ANL turnout.

The police were more than happy to keep the fascists at bay so long as it was a matter of hundreds of anti-fascists turning up - they didn't want any more bad publicity, after all. But when the numbers fell down to the tens, the police, too, called it a day, and left everyone to get on with it. Overtime or no, it’s cold out there protecting the anti-fascists.

The situation now is untenable in the long run. At the time of going to press, the SWP send half a dozen paper sellers for an hour, and then go home. Would these six or so Bolshevik hardies be able to hold off a BNP/C18 attack? Of course not. Does the SWP have a van load of heavies just out of sight, ready to respond if the fascists make their move? Don't make me laugh. Brick Lane is now like just any other SWP sales pitch - a few local branch members standing on the corner hoping to flog a few copies before they get thumped.
And get thumped they surely will. One day, when it suits them, the fascists will stroll down Bethnal Green Road and retake their paper sale, disposing of a few easy targets from the SWP in the process. The fruit of a strategy that relies on police protection is a good kicking.

AFA opposes the reliance on state bans for precisely this reason: it doesn't work. We are not like the pillocks in the Revolutionary Communist Party and their front organisation, Workers Against Racism, who go on TV to proclaim their willingness to defend the democratic rights of the fascists. We shed no tears, not even crocodile ones, on the odd occasion when the police get stuck into the fascists. In our book, the fascists have no rights, democratic or otherwise.

But “fighting" fascism with state bans means opting for the role of peaceful bystanders. It means not fighting fascism, but wishing someone else would do it for you. Worse than simply not working, it is actually counter-productive. The fascists thrive on presenting themselves as a party of action, who, in contrast to the left, can actually get things done, can actually make a difference. They laugh at most of the left as a bunch of middle class tossers who haven't got a clue.

Unfortunately, the left's habit of standing behind police barriers and striking up a chorus of “The police protect the fascists" does nothing to dispel this image. On the contrary. It proves the fascists right.

If we are to challenge the fascists effectively, not only on the streets (though that is crucial) but in the hearts and minds of white workers, we have to behave differently. We have to show, in action, that the fascists do not have a monopoly of violence and initiative. We have to show that we, too, can make a difference. We have to push them on the defensive, make THEM hide behind the barriers and shout "police protect the fascists - please!", and we have to make sure everyone knows about it.

Some groups, especially on the Trotskyist left, put forward the argument that it is wrong to call for state bans because any weapon that the state has in its arsenal, including any special powers you sanction for them to deal with the fascists, will ultimately be turned against you. In a sense this is true: the public order legislation that was enacted in the 1930s was allegedly to be used against Mosley and his British Union of Fascists, but in reality was used far more often against the Communist Party and other left-wing organisations.

But it would be a mistake to see too much in this. The capitalist state certainly prefers to have a legal fig-leaf to shroud its real intentions against the working class and its organisations, but it hardly needs it. The rules are there to be broken, and only middle class liberals should expect otherwise.

We, on the other hand, should face facts: the state is willing to use any means necessary against us, legal or otherwise. If they need extra powers to deal with the working class, they take them - and they certainly don't wait around for some well-meaning democrat to beg them to act against the fascists before they do so.

The argument against calling for state bans is more practical than that. We know that the fascists are the establishment’s last resort when the going gets tough. We know, therefore, that when the state makes any partial moves against the fascists, it is to deal with a temporary source of embarrassment - a propaganda ploy. It has nothing to do with really combating fascism.

Consequently, if fascism is to be stopped, it must be stopped by other means, by the direct action of the working class. State bans can play no role in this, our strategy. They are a diversion, a blind alley. Let others wander down there.

"The Good Old Days" - The Roots of AFA in Manchester

National Front and members of the 'Squad' (who later went onto form AFA) clash a

Anti-Fascist history from issue 7 of AFA's Fighting Talk magazine (1994).

Submitted by Fozzie on March 6, 2019

The late 1970s saw the emergence of the Anti-Nazi League (ANL) in response to the growth of the National Front (NF). The NF targeted left-wing, Irish and Troops Out public meetings in the town centre.

In response to the threats and attacks on left and progressive meetings. a stewards group was formed by anti-fascist activists from a number of left groups in Manchester. The primary function was defensive, and with the influx of activists politicised by the ANL, this type of frontline defensive grouping attracted the interest of many keen to implement Sir Matt Busby's football strategy "Attack is the best means of defence," in the political arena against the fascists. This was evident when the Manchester NF football team "The Lilly Whites" attempted to fulfil their league fixtures, only to be kicked out of the park by some tough tackling anti-fascists.
Left/Irish meetings were resolutely defended and fascists activities were attacked/disrupted without let up. The high point of the ANL campaign was the Manchester Carnival.

After the 1979 election demise of the NF, the ANL organisationally ground to a halt. However, fascist activity didn't, and the beginning of the eighties saw the NF attempt to sustain a paper sale in the centre of Manchester. This was met with attack after attack and on one occasion the whole NF group were ambushed at their meeting point. A number of NF supporters were taken to hospital including a German soldier on leave from NATO duties.

Both covert and overt operations designed to disable the NF organisationally and demoralise their membership were carried out. The net result was that the NF were driven out of the town centre and no fascist group has managed to regain the position since.

1981 saw the re-emergence of the ANL in response to the continued NF and British Movement (BM) threat, both now operating on an openly Nazi ticket. It also saw the Hunger Strike Commemorations for Irish Republican POW's held during the year. This led to the resurrection of the Manchester Martyrs Commemoration. The issue of Irish Nationalism has always proved a great motivating factor for British Nationalists in Manchester, especially after the successes in 1974 of driving the Manchester Martyrs March (MMM) off the streets amid much anti-Irish hysteria in the aftermath of the Birmingham bombings.

The MMM of 1981 and subsequent years ensured a large fascist turnout, and likewise an even more determined anti-fascist presence, who showed both the capacity and tenacity to extend the skirmishes to before, during and after the march. This has been fine-tuned over the years to the extent that even in 1993 despite the MMM being a shadow of its former self, the fascists still implement an "arrive late and leave early policy". No doubt there are some who will be leaving even earlier this year!

The ANL which re-emerged in 1981 contained many of the anti-fascist street activists of the late '70s who had now embraced the need to organise politically as well as being active on the streets.

This led to a more direct style of political campaigning with anti-fascist groups operating week in week out at Maine Road (Manchester City's Football Ground), and Old Trafford (United's, need I explain!). Pat Crerand, ex-Celtic and Man United player came out on occasions to assist the Reds Against the Nazis (RAN) group issuing leaflets.

At Maine Road, the situation was somewhat more serious as MCFC had an in-house Nazi NF following, who had on occasions attempted to leaflet the ground. The arrival of Blues Against the Nazis (BAN) incurred the wrath of City's Nazis and the anti-fascists came under attack. Word of the attack spread and at the next home game, the NF attacked again but this time they were counter attacked by the `Kool Kats' (MCFC Black Youth). One key NF member was chased into City's souvenir shop and severely beaten by some of City's anti-fascist supporters.

With the escalation of violence by the NF at Maine Road, BAN wrote to P. Swales (City's chairman) asking him to condemn the City NF following. He refused on the basis that one lot were as bad as the other! This proved the widely held theory that he knew as much about politics as he did about football.

On a regional level, ANL activists from Manchester involved themselves in the campaign against NF chairman Andrew Brons, who was working as a lecturer at Harrogate Further Education College. Indeed Manchester anti-fascists along with Asian youth from Bradford, operated with distinction against the fascists (bussed in from Leeds) on a number of occasions. Civic recognition was bestowed on some anti-fascists, who received custodial sentences from Harrogate magistrates for turning over the BM. On another occasion, Steve Gaunt, Brons' minder, found himself on the receiving end from anti-fascists after being arrested and handcuffed to the arm of a solitary police officer. The officer was unable to make any further arrests or take contemporaneous notes! Recently Searchlight informed its readers that Steve Gaunt had returned from Croatia minus one leg, it was last seen flying backwards over Bosnia. So if you've got any odd socks you know where to send them, or even the odd boot!

Nationally the ANL were organising the Leeds Rock Against Racism (RAR) carnival. In the month leading up to the carnival Manchester ANL activists ran a full-time office and leafleted every school, college, gig, and football match they could cover. The return was phenomenal, with over ten double decker buses filled with carnival-goers from the Manchester area. At the same time a group of anti-fascists were charged with offences relating to militant anti-fascism in Rochdale, for which eight of them were eventually sent to prison. This also coincided with the SWP's move against squaddist elements in both London and Manchester, of whom they were politically embarrassed, prior to disbanding the ANL and pulling out of anti-fascist politics.
The SWP expelled anti-fascists including some who were jailed for anti-fascist activities whilst members of the SWP/ ANL. Comrades indeed!

The jailing of eight antifascists for militant action against fascism created problems for the families. The Rochdale Defendants Fund was set up to raise money. The campaign asked for support only from those who supported the actions of anti-fascists. Conditional support or support offered to only some of the 8 was refused. The SWP to their shame attempted to raise money for only two of the jailed anti-fascists.

The campaign ran for 15 months during which contributions and donations came from many trade union groups, branches and shop steward committees. Gigs were held throughout the year, the one which proved to be most successful brought together Manchester's top three reggae bands and showcased Elliot Rashman (currently Simply Red's manager) as guest DJ. UB40 sent autographed LPs to be raffled.

In 1985 AFA was formed by those committed to ideological and physical confrontation. This was soon put to the test when the NF attempted to hold a march and rally in Stockport in 1986.

The SWP were strategically massed behind the police cordon outside the town hall, whilst the NF walked past waving banners. Two vans travelling in opposite directions pulled alongside the Nazis, whereupon anti-fascists emerged from the rear and engaged in meaningful dialogue with them. The Nazis and the police retreated to the shelter of the waiting room of Stockport British Rail station.

A line of police moved on the anti-fascists who in turn moved towards them, whereupon the police and dogs turned and ran! Attempts to induce the Nazis to leave the waiting room with the assistance of smoke bombs proved unsuccessful. However, one Manchester NF-er complains of a little 'chestiness' to this day!

Four fascists arrived late in a shiny new Saab (Daddy's?), and on realising we weren't fascists they drove off at high speed. The car escaped but only to a set of red lights, whereupon anti-fascists turned the car upside down complete with occupants, and some kind soul threw in a smoke bomb for good measure!

1986/87 - AFA set up an anti-fascist hotline to monitor racist attacks and fascist activity. AFA were also involved in defending Viraj Mendis who took sanctuary in a church after facing a deportation order. A number of attempted fascist attacks were nipped in the bud. On one occasion, St George's Day, a protest by 'English Nationalists' did not materialise after anti-fascists chanced upon the same pub they were meeting in. (We weren't tipped off, honestly.)

In another attempt Mr. Payne, BNP organiser, was contacted by 'an alleged sympathiser' who offered him information that the BNP required. Payne poured forth the BNP plan to storm the church and seize Viraj Mendis, drag him out and chain him to a lamp post, where the police could arrest and deport him.

The exchanges were tape recorded and attempts were made to do follow up calls in the presence of the media. A further set of calls were made but Payne was nervous and non-committal. When challenged by the agent he admitted he'd been visited by the police, who had been made aware of the taped conversations by an 'anti-fascist journalist'!

The traditions and principles of militant anti-fascism are still firmly applied by Manchester AFA. Over the years we have proved that the fascists can be kicked off the streets and kept off by physical and ideological confrontation. It may be hard work, but we can still 'always look on the bright side...!’