AFA musicians

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R Totale's picture
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May 6 2020 11:31
AFA musicians

Just a general vague thought prompted by looking through old AFA stuff - obv the connections of some bands like the Blaggers and Upstarts are quite well-documented, but one of the Edinburgh AFA bulletins mentions a Unity Carnival with the Shamen and Fun Da Mental playing, and a Cable Street Beat Review mentions a cancelled gig that was supposed to have the Farm headlining. Does anyone know if there's a decent history specifically of the Unity Carnivals/Cable Street Beat/Freedom of Movement anywhere, or any kind of a listing of the musicians who were involved in supporting it? It seems like a bit of history that's worth preserving, particularly as the size of some of the carnivals helps to explode that old myth of "you can have a mass movement which is about large crowds passively listening to Labour MPs, or you can have squaddism which is about small groups of hard blokes getting into punchups with other small groups of hard blokes, and there is nothing in between". And also because it seems like a great source of nerdy trivia along the lines of "what links Ebenezeer Goode with militant anti-fascism?", for everyone running Zoom quizzes out there. Could probably even turn it into a top 10 if anyone wanted to.

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May 6 2020 14:57

I've not seen anything written down outside of Cable Street Beat and things like Beating The Fascists. The Oppressed did an AFA benefit single I think?

https://www.discogs.com/The-Oppressed-Fuck-Fascism-EP/release/1173025

And there was a dance music comp benefit whose name escapes me now.

Without doing down the achievement of the Unity Carnivals I think you would need to put the London one in the context of big events in London parks in the summer around that time, which included Hackney Homeless festival (organised by squatters), Deptford Urban Free Festival (probably also) and more mainstream biggies organised by the TUC and local councils - some of which were anti-racist festivals where radical elements like Active Distribution, AFA and local groups had stalls or a presence. (Clearly organising these things is a lot of work though!)

Also you might need to distinguishbetween bands that did benefits because it was an anti-racist / anti-fascist event and those that were distinct supporters of militant anti-fascism?

I think you're right though - that it was an important cultural intenvention that showed AFA to be much more multi-dimensional than its critics would have it.

R Totale's picture
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May 6 2020 15:39
Fozzie wrote:
I've not seen anything written down outside of Cable Street Beat and things like Beating The Fascists. The Oppressed did an AFA benefit single I think?

https://www.discogs.com/The-Oppressed-Fuck-Fascism-EP/release/1173025

And there was a dance music comp benefit whose name escapes me now.

Could that have been under "Freedom of Movement"? I've seen some references to that being the sort of "club/rave" wing of AFA, but nothing substantial.

Quote:
Without doing down the achievement of the Unity Carnivals I think you would need to put the London one in the context of big events in London parks in the summer around that time, which included Hackney Homeless festival (organised by squatters), Deptford Urban Free Festival (probably also) and more mainstream biggies organised by the TUC and local councils - some of which were anti-racist festivals where radical elements like Active Distribution, AFA and local groups had stalls or a presence. (Clearly organising these things is a lot of work though!)

Point taken, although part of why I was intrigued was one of the Edinburgh bulletins mentions a Newcastle carnival where they claim an attendance of 10,000 - I'm not in a position to judge how accurate that number is, but it sounds like a really impressive number for a city much smaller than London, and made me realise I have absolutely no idea which other cities might also have had similar events.

Quote:
Also you might need to distinguish between bands that did benefits because it was an anti-racist / anti-fascist event and those that were distinct supporters of militant anti-fascism?

I suppose that's true as well, although the flipside is that getting the former on board is in itself a mark of success by militants in doing the political/hegemonic work - like, I would think that, for a big chunk of the 2000s for instance, most musicians who just wanted to make a general anti-racist statement without thinking too much about the politics would just automatically play a LMHR/Searchlight/HNH fundraiser without even considering the idea of doing one for Antifa or whoever.

Anyway, I gave my copy of Beating the Fascists away quite a few years back (one of those things where I didn't realise at the time I was giving it away, I thought I was lending it to someone, but nevermind) so can't check easily in there. Looking in the Hann Physical Resistance book, it is understandably mostly focused on physical resistance, but does mention Anhrefn, Citizen Fish and Oi Polloi playing AFA gigs. Although again, with absolutely no disrespect to Oi Polloi intended, I don't think an article on "did you know Oi Polloi were supporters of antifascism?" would blow too many people's minds.

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May 6 2020 16:06

The Unity Carnival with the Shamen and Fun Da Mental etc playing was in Newcastle and 10,ooo sounds about right. We have a leaflet advertising 9and attended) the day but dontt know how to put pics on here

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May 6 2020 16:42

If you upload it to your own site, you can then share the picture here by clicking on the "image" box. If you have any other material about any similar events, those could be really good to see as well.

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May 6 2020 17:50

we have thousands of items we could share, but this site is not encompassing to the 'technically disadvantaged' that we are smile sorry but to even write something...there is just too many do's and donts etc etc and as for the picture, ive pressed the image box and it is asking for a URL..so thats me baffled ??

Unity Carnival was on 12th June. Free in park in center of Newcastle, hence large attendance. Credit to the Nation and AOS3 also played

It was Tyne + Wear anti fascist association event not AFA and was semi sponsored by local council etc. AFA did the 'security'

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May 6 2020 18:19

Oh yeah, sorry, I meant if you put it up on your own site then you could share it here by posting the URL for the image... alternatively, if you wanted, you could create an image gallery by using this: http://libcom.org/node/add/images

Ah, and this is one of those points where keeping track of lefty groups gets tricky - I'm guessing TWAFA were fairly friendly to AFA? Looking at old Fighting Talks in the library here, they seem to have listed TWAFA as the main contact in the north east.

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May 6 2020 18:30

As far as i can remember they were 'used' when needed whilst some kept a distance, and with good cause as later revelations were to show.........“Now, given I had never attended a meeting of TWAFA (Tyne & Wear Anti Fascist Association), I do not regard such an expulsion as personal either. They were simply acting in the interests of Searchlight / MI5, for whom they are a nice little training-ground. They were not to know at that point that I was fully aware of the TWAFA practice of photographing sellers of the anarchist paper Class War on Tyneside in early 1993. Again though, giving that photographing anarchists is something that an anti-fascist organisation should have no part of, and seems highly likely to have been carried out in the interests of local Special Branch at least (if not MI5)”. [i]Turning up the Heat – MI5 after the Cold War. Larry O’ Hara. Phoenix Press. London. 1994.[/i]

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May 7 2020 07:34

Might be of interest....

https://comeheretome.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/img064.jpg

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dqIHOfFfY8s/UIKUQvlFtBI/AAAAAAAAC1A/90Xdk1PI4Ds/s1600/IMG_0001_NEW_NEW.jpg


https://standupandspit.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/scan_chiph_101020160364_001-page-001.jpg

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May 7 2020 07:37

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May 7 2020 10:19

Also there is an amusing account of The Shamen's involvement at the Unity Carnival here:
https://libcom.org/history/beat-goes-history-cable-street-beat

As well as some brief info on Freedom of Movement.

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May 7 2020 10:47

Ah, so sounds like the CD you were thinking of might be "the “This Is Fascism” double CD". Which at first I wondered if it might be another of those names that's impossible to google, but doing a bit of digging I think might well be this: https://www.discogs.com/New-Fast-Automatic-Daffodils-This-Is-Fascism/release/55445

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May 7 2020 16:28

Yeah the timeframe for that is about right I guess, but no mention of AFA etc... a bit odd. One does naturally wonder how Freedom of Movement "lost contact" with AFA as mentioned in that history of CSB article...

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May 7 2020 16:32

Actually yes it is that one - it's listed as for sale by AFA on the back page of issue 15 of Fighting Talk with the same cover and artists listed. Good spot.

I wonder if it (like the Blaggers three LPs) has stood the test of time?

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May 7 2020 18:38

Yeah, I found it via a finding a footnote in a book* that mentions the album as "This is Fascism, Blue Source, AFA", which kind of makes it sound like that's the name of the record label? And I had been thinking that I can't imagine wanting to buy an album that just consists of 15 remixes of the same track in a row, maybe that's just me though.

Critique of Exotica does look potentially interesting in its own right, if utterly irrelevant to AFA for the most part

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May 7 2020 18:42

I read that and it is ok I think. Recall lots of bits about Fundamental who were quite interesting.

I think the author was embroiled in some kind of scandal at Goldsmiths more recently.

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May 7 2020 19:21

Also it was a bit of a DJ thing - all those mixes in one place. Depended on the quality of the original and how decent the mixes were of course. Christ I'm old.