White Riot (2019) Movie Script

MAN: Oi! Oi!
Oi! Oi.
Skinheads! Skinheads! Skinheads!
National Front.
We're all National Front.
WOMAN: You're all National Front.
Why? They're not English!
They don't belong here.
Our campaign is a cultural campaign.
Therefore, if we're against racism,
we're a cultural organisation
we're against racism in all facets
of British life. We're not just
interested in...
the fight against the National Front.
It's the fight against racism in
British society.
The allround, family British racism.
You know what I mean?
# THE CLASH: London Calling
Do you want this country
to become occupied
by a load of khakicoloured
multiracial bastards?
# London calling to the faraway towns
# Now war is declared
and battle come down
# London calling to the underworld
# Come out of the cupboard,
you boys and girls
# London calling
now, don't look to us
# Phony Beatlemania
has bitten the dust
# London calling, see,
we ain't got no swing
# 'Cept for the ring
of that truncheon thing
# The ice age is coming,
the sun's zooming in
# Meltdown expected,
the wheat is growing thin
# Engines stop running,
but I have no fear
# Cos London is drowning,
and I live by the river
# London calling to
the imitation zone
# Forget it, brother... #
I was involved, as I always had been,
since I first became
culturally active on the left
or an artist on the left
running a studio.
My studio was in Soho,
in the West End.
We had an agitprop theatre group
called the Kartoon Klowns.
WOMAN: Our information now
is that there is a strange phenomena
on planet Earth
a ruling class, which is corrupt.
In the evenings, we'd rehearse
at my studio in the day I'd be
a working photographer.
I was asked by NME, 'Will you come
down and photograph the punk night?
Here I am, down the ICA
and, suddenly, the Clash come on
# THE CLASH: White Riot
15 minutes of unbelievable
energy and power and volume,
and lyrics about unemployment
and youth alienation and, like,
'Jesus Christ'. And then
they were gone. They were off.
The economic situation
was really bad.
The IMF had moved in
they were putting pressure on
wage cuts and social services cuts.
The whole atmosphere
was really dark and hard.
The rightwing press
playing the same old tune
"We're gonna be swamped.
We're gonna be mobbed."
To where would you repatriate those
immigrants who were born here?
To where they wanted to go.
In most cases, they are the citizens
of their countries of origin
although born in this country.
A person would be
physically seized and deported
like a person being erm...
taken onboard
Her Majesty's ships of war
at the end of the 18th century.
So where would you draw the line,
Mr Powell?
I draw it short of that.
The National Front
were growing incredibly.
Webster was a clever organiser.
He started to march in the right
places make the right noises.
They were, as they said, 'kicking
their way onto the headlines'.
Keep our country free from invasion
when the invaders have got black,
brown and yellow faces!
ROGER HUDDLE: I was talking
to Red in the pub.
We was both really concerned about
the rise of the National Front,
erm...especially around my area,
in Walthamstow.
They was using the usual scapegoats
Asians, blacks...whatever.
And so, we said,
'What we need to do is do a gig.'
A thing called Rock Against Racism.
Also, Bowie was coming out with
a load of crap as well at the time.
And then Clapton came out with
all that racist shit in Birmingham.
We all know of Eric Clapton
as the great blues guitarist
the God...hero of blues guitar.
And blues that came out of slavery,
and here he is supporting the man,
Enoch Powell, who's the greatest
supporter of white supremacy
in Britain at that time.
At first, we just didn't believe it.
I was so angry about it,
I just went, 'We've got to do
something about this.
I have the answer.
I just went, 'I've got to send it
to all the music press.
About two weeks later,
it was published.
I saw Red's letter in the NME.
I wrote back to Red quite quickly,
and he wrote back to me
and invited me along to a meeting.
One rainy night,
I went over to the East End,
and the people in the room
were artists
and writers and political activists.
It was immediate I thought,
'This is a gang I'd like to join.
# 999: So Greedy
I was going into the print shop
fairly regularly.
There was Syd and Ruth,
so they naturally gravitated,
and the energy and the excitement
of it, and the potential of it,
was what pulled
all these people onboard.
Syd, he'd been a documentarystyle
photographer in Australia,
so it was quite natural,
when he came here to London,
that he would have his camera
with him.
Ruth really knew what she was doing
she had the graphic sensibility
and power that sink right in
to the punk explosion.
RUTH GREGORY: This photograph
comes out of ID Magazine.
I have whited it out,
I think, using TippEx. (LAUGHS)
This is the very first fanzine
we ever did.
I'd had the idea of 'Temporary
Hoarding'. It said it so well
It was like a street hoarding,
like a rough thing in the street.
Then, purely by accident, the word
'RAR' happened to be in 'Temporary',
which was great.
It was very much a cutandpaste
kind of approach.
I found this quote from Rod Stewart.
I really liked Rod Stewart.
He says, 'I think Enoch Powell
is the man. I'm for him.
This country's overcrowded.
The immigrants should be sent home.
That's it.'
This is the man who
just moved to Los Angeles, you know?
I mean, the man's full of shit.
I got rid of all his albums.
I haven't listened to him since,
which is a great shame.
We were interested in the idea
of people being able
to express themselves,
and that the expression itself
was a political act.
Dr David Widgery, who was one of our
great supporters in the early days...
..he wrote these words. It's like a
little, mini oneparagraph manifesto.
'We want rebel music, street music.
Music that breaks down people's
fear of one another.
Crisis music. Now music. Music
that knows who the real enemy is.
Love music, hate racism.
It was a scary moment because punk
could have gone either way.
Some of the bands
did have NF following.
The NF were selling their newspapers
outside kids' schools.
They were recruiting on the streets.
Most fights which happen in school
are caused by racism, right?
It's not just by jealousy or hate,
or something which crops up between
'em. It's mostly racism.
I just think the National Front
wants someone to blame...
GIRL: Someone to pick on.
..for what's happening
to the country at the moment.
The whole point of RAR...we're
trying to put some bit of doubt
are you really NF? Are you really
someone who wants no future?
This isn't martial music the roots
of this are ska. They're black music.
I went down to this club in Peckham,
and I was the only white person
in the whole place.
And everyone was going,
'Who's this fucking bloke?'
I met this man Red Saunders.
And he was, like, talking sense.
You know, he was like, 'We've gotta
get together. We've got to build
something that we're all proud of.
We've gotta try and stamp out
this ugly demon
that's coming into our community.
And the only way to do it
is to bring people together.
You don't mind the white kids
coming along?
No, well, that is the idea, you see?
Reggae is for everyone, you know?
It's not just for black people.
It's for white people, it's for
yellow people, green people.
It's for people, you know?
which was really lucky for us in RAR
because we were fans of all this,
and we stepped on the train.
It's like there's a railway station.
The train pulls in.
The doors open. Punks get on,
and all the reggae bands get on
and 'Bang'.
# CCCCCCCome on,
take a bite of the bait
# You can't afford to hesitate... #
This is the first RAR gig,
with Matumbi Dennis Bovell.
# 999: Obsessed
That was a hell of a lineup
that night.
There was a brilliant punk band
called 999.
To me, they had the energy
of The Clash
and the outrageousness
of the Sex Pistols.
The Royal College authorities
went bonkers
because people were hanging off
the rafters and the balconies.
999 came with white,
workingclass punks.
Always have black and white bands
together to break down the fear
cos the NF is trading on
nothing but fear.
That's why it was so important
for RAR to have its own political
voice with its own fanzine
so Temporary Hoarding was able to go
a bit further than just antiracism.
And I claim that in the ranks
of our Blackshirt legions
march the mighty ghosts
of England's past.
In this country,
in 15 or 20 years' time,
the black man will have the whip
hand over the white man.
COLIN PRESCOD: Britain, mother of
the Empire, has had to welcome in her
children and to allow them to settle.
They have not been allowed to settle
in a dignified manner.
And because the blacks have refused
to accept indignity and victimage,
Britain is stuck with a rebellious
black presence in its centres.
RUTH GREGORY: We challenged
ideas of empire
the subjugation of people
all over the world,
Partition in India, the attitudes
of the British as a dominant force
a superior race.
RED SAUNDERS: My dad worked for
the Crown Agents of the old
British Empire.
I was brought up as a kid
in West Africa in Nigeria.
I remember the extraordinary nature
of white supremacy
with the European clubs.
I mean, there was a sort of
unofficial apartheid
running through the entire system.
My dad had reported
the Prague Spring in 1968,
when a lot of writers and artists
had tried to take on the Soviets.
And my mum had come from America
had been involved in
the civil rights movement.
We emigrated to Australia in 1960.
Some of that time I spent
on an island called Palm Island.
It was a situation
of complete apartheid.
We didn't go to school
with the aboriginal children.
They had their own school.
On my mother's side of the family,
my grandmother was a suffragette.
So I have, at least, two generations
behind me of activism.
(CHANTING) La, la, la, la
# We're gonna send the blacks back.
# We're gonna send the blacks back,
la, la, la, la. La, la, la, la.
# We're gonna send the blacks back,
we're gonna send the blacks back
# La, la, la, la. La, la, la, la #
believe, as Hitler's Nazis did,
that white Europeans are
naturally superior to other people,
and that the white race
has got to be preserved.
Britain will be taken out of
the Common Market
and new links forged with
white Rhodesia and South Africa.
Part of what RAR was doing was
trying to think about racism
in terms of it is a white problem.
And the idea that
we were all still living,
consciously or unconsciously,
with the legacy of colonialism.
# That's a plenty's got a beat in it,
the rhythm's got a lot of heat in it
# Bet your bottom, ten to five,
# It's gonna get you doing
what it's doing to me... #
I've got a sort of knack of talking
to these native wallahs.
Get on with that punkahing, you berk!
I wish to make a complaint against
Moved next door,
that's what he's done.
What do you mean, 'Is that all?'
Extreme racists
have become part of balance
an acceptable point of view within
the spectrum of political opinions.
Can you imagine the media
displaying the rhetoric of, say,
black revolutionaries?
I hope to achieve,
through the ballot box,
by getting people elected,
first of all, an immediate halt
to coloured immigration.
And thereafter,
the phased repatriation of all
coloured immigrants,
their descendants and dependants
from Britain to their lands
of ethnic origin.
INTERVIEWER: And if they don't go?
They're going to go.
RED SAUNDERS: What would happen if
they don't want to go back?
And he said, 'Don't you worry.
They're going back.'
Then we enter cattle trains and,
you know, we know what that means.
Do you know what I mean?
Rock Against Racism was white people
finally waking up to the fact
that, 'Oh, my God,
there's racism here.
Huh? Please. You know,
black people were living it.
REPORTER: The Front got their best
results in Bethnal Green and Bow,
where they polled 19.2% of the vote,
and in Hackney South,
where they took I9%.
MAN: The National Front
is a Nazi Front!
ALL: Smash the National Front!
The focus was then absolutely on
the proper organised politics.
# GANG OF FOUR: Damaged Goods
Kate Webb was the youngest person
who came to work fulltime
in the RAR office.
KATE WEBB: We were
absolutely overwhelmed.
We were getting sackfuls of mail,
and Red and the other photographers
let me have a desk.
I used to corral gangs of people.
We'd sit there with letters strewn
all around the floor
all of us picking up letters,
reading them out aloud
and just writing back
as quickly as we could.
# Your kiss so sweet
# Your sweat so sour
# Your kiss so sweet
# Your sweat so sour
# Sometimes, I'm thinking
that I love you
# But I know it's only lust...
It was the antiracist enthusiasm
the commitment to people
to the horror of possibility
that we may have
a National Front administration.
# Sweat's running down your neck
# Heated couplings in the sun...
I remember getting a letter
from a kid in Aberystwyth.
He said,
'My schoolteacher's a fascist.
Say Ted in Bognor Regis.
You know, Ted who was 14
and going to school in Bognor Regis.
And we would say, 'Dear Ted,
There is no RAR group
in Bognor Regis, but you are now
Bognor Regis RAR.
# I always knew it would
# You know the change
will do you good
# You know the change
will do you good
# Damaged goods
# Send 'em back
# I can't work, I can't achieve
# Send me back
# Open the till
# Give me the change
you said would do me good...
This was a coup for
Temporary Hoarding at that time.
# You said you're cheap,
but you're too much
# Your sweat so sour
We're working on Temporary Hoarding.
We're working on the next gig.
# But I know it's only lust
# The change will do you good...
The Rock Against Racism banner
that's here, and here, is ironed on.
That's the way, you know... It was
all handson guerrilla activities.
# I'm kissing you goodbye
# I'm kissing you goodbye
# I'm kissing you goodbye
# I'm kissing you goodbye
# I'm kissing you goodbye #
We used to do a gig guide,
and it would be instructions
to the RAR group,
whether they were in Lowestoft
or Leeds, or wherever they were,
'If you're gonna book a gig,
this is what you do.
Make sure you control the stage
At no point do you let anybody else
get to the microphone.
Roots, Rock, Ratskank
We're opposed to the idea
of the National Front,
and we wanna stop it at the
beginning, at schools and that.
Come and join the discussion
about what we can do
to fight the Nazi National Front
in schools.
'See there, we are black,
we are white, we are dynamite.
Schoolkids against the Nazis.
That's rather good.
I went to a Rock Against Racism gig,
and at the end, there was black and
white people with fists like this,
shouting, 'Black and white, unite.
I got some literature from a friend,
and I just realised what
the National Front were up to.
# Swamp her, better call
the rat catcher
# Swamp her with an alien culture
# Swamp her, better call
the rat catcher
# Swamp her with an alien culture
# Swamp her, better call
the rat catcher
# Swamp her with
an alien culture... #
# XRAY SPEX: Warrior In Woolworths
# Warrior, warriwarrior
# Warrior in Woolworths
# Humble, he may seem
# Behind his servile innocence
# He plots and he schemes
# He's the rebel on the underground
# She's the rebel of the modern town
# He's the rebel
on the underground... #
She was one of the very first
artists that talked about
things that people
never, ever talked about.
PAULINE BLACK: She had fashioned
something for herself.
The common way that black females
were supposed to present themselves
is with plenty of flesh
and, you know,
some exotic ripe
berries somewhere.
PAUL SIMONON: The school
I went to, right,
all the kids are supposed to, sort
of like, be factory fodder,
you know? That sort of stuff.
And, like,
the school's sort of built... It's
a real depressing school and that.
You go there
you don't learn nothing.
All you're working for is just
to go into the factory,
which is round the corner.
your fans on the dole?
I mean, do they feel the same way?
Well, I mean, if there was jobs,
then they wouldn't be on the dole.
And maybe we'd be singing about...
love and kissing or something.
ROGER HUDDLE: There's all kinds
of historical references within
the layout, where thinking was,
partly, to turn them into
a gang of outlaws.
You know the famous pictures of
the James gang?
So it's partly that
that they're all in their coffins,
and they're outlaws
but also it's a famous reference
back to the 1871 Paris Commune
where they lined up all
the Communards as they killed them.
Temporary Hoarding was sold
mostly at gigs and demonstrations,
and when we had enough money
to produce a new issue,
then we'd produce a new one.
Me and my beloved.
That is Notting Hill Carnival
in the year of Heavy Manners,
which must have been 1977.
Temporary Hoarding tried to pick up
specific issues.
This is a good one here
about sus laws.
At that time,
there was a massive amount of
police picking up black youth.
There's a great quote here. It says,
'Sus on a date unknown,
you did conspire with people unknown
to rob people unknown.
DENNIS BOVELL: All it needed was the
police officer's word against yours,
and the magistrate
would send you down.
It was used, as my friend
Linton Kwesi Johnson says,
'unscrupulously' against us.
You're nicked.
MYKAELL RILEY: You were warned by
your parents if you were going out,
'Be in before ten o'clock.
If we were going to a club
and someone didn't turn up,
the first thing we thought of,
'Let's check out the local
police station.
Cos that journey between the house
and wherever you're going
the venue
could be intercepted by the police.
And then the challenge was to get
them out of the police station
because staying overnight
in the police station was also
a dangerous affair.
I was a radiographer at that time.
I was stuck in the back of a car.
I was taken to the local department
store and, to this day,
I always wonder what would have
happened if the two white women
who came to look at me through the
window had said, 'Yes. That's her,'
how my life might have evolved.
The police came to a club
where I was having a soundclash.
They were coming out of the toilets,
so they say, with a prisoner that
they had arrested in the toilets,
and the audience saw fit
to free the prisoner.
They then accused me of standing
on the stage with a microphone
saying, 'Get the boys in blue.
At the end of six months' trial
at the Old Bailey,
I was sentenced to three years.
After six months in Wormwood Scrubs,
my appeal comes up, and I win.
And I'm told, 'Off you go, and think
yourself lucky that you didn't have
to spend three years in prison.'
INTERVIEWER: For something
you didn't do. Absolutely.
Webster, being a clever bastard,
designed a march to go right through
an area of immigrants
and ethnic minorities, you know
a black area of London.
We arrived quite early that morning.
You went, 'Wow, this is a community
that's gonna defend itself.'
There was a lot of messing around,
where people didn't really know
who was where or what.
There was these continual things,
'They're coming. Everybody get
ready.' 'Oops, no, they're not.'
'Yes, they're coming now. Right.
It was very, very frightening.
MAN: The only chant today is
'National Front' nothing else.
Take orders from the police.
No backchat with the opposition.
No leaving the column to fight,
and no chanting except for
'National Front'.
Have you got that?
(CHANTING) National Front,
National Front!
National Front, National Front!
National Front, National Front,
National Front!
And it was only an hour later
when 'Wap'.
When the Front came up with
all the Union Jack banners,
the honour guard, suddenly,
there was this amazing onslaught.
And I looked across, and I saw
all these kids steaming into them.
It was the Cypriot youth
who all just went straight in,
'Fascists off our streets.'
Nazis go! Nazis go! Nazis go!
We stopped them going through
to Catford.
We dealt the Nazis the biggest
defeat they've suffered so far!
(CHANTING) The workers united
will never be defeated!
to the demonstrators,
the National Front had been diverted
before reaching
the Clock Tower area of Lewisham.
They were routed down Cressingham
Road and into a small car park,
where they were allowed
to hold a rally.
we start the meeting,
we have a debt of gratitude
to pay to the police today.
As we usually do,
I want you to show your appreciation
for the unfortunate police
who have had to stop us today
by giving them three rousing cheers
for the police.
Hip hip...
ALL: ..hooray!
Hip hip...
ALL: ..hooray!
Hip hip...
ALL: ..hooray!
MAN: Let him go! Let him go!
This is our borough!
MAN: Some people are saying,
'No, I don't think the police
would do that.'
But they did. They just came in, and
that was what took me by surprise.
I didn't think they was gonna start
poking at my eyes
and kicking me in the crutch
and things like that.
But they did. Yeah, they did.
..all the trouble is coming from
the northbound carriageway where
there's no policemen...
That was the first time, ever
since the Second World War,
that the British police
broke out the riot shields.
Webster always used to say,
'You won't believe the amount of
senior police officers who support
the National Front.'
Well, you did see it at Lewisham.
I feel that the National Front isn't
a problem you can forget about,
and it'll go away,
because it is a problem,
and if you do leave it,
it'll grow and grow.
It's like a cancer.
There was a massive, massive
explosion of solidarity,
from black militants,
like Darcus Howe,
to Jewish businessmen saying,
'I don't like your politics, but...
we'll do anything
to help fight the NF.'
I was surprised it got covered.
We weren't superheroes
we were just ordinary people. We
were ordinary, antiracist citizens.
Everybody from Aberystwyth to
Plymouth youth were reading the NME
and the Melody Maker
and all these papers.
When they became really clear of the
fascist nature of the National Front,
and they put their full support
behind it
well, the level of RAR support
went up 5,000%.
# One, two, three, four!
First generation, illegal immigrants
# Second generation,
juvenile delinquents
# Torn between two cultures...
RUTH GREGORY: Alien Kulture were
part of our RAR committee in London.
# We're taught how to pray
five times a day
# But that's not what we're about
# We just want to live out
our lives...
sending a message out to people
that we're not that different.
This is the problem we have
as Asians
live in this culture,
but come from this culture.
So we have a culture outside,
which is punk gigs and politics.
We have a culture at home,
which is Bollywood films
and, maybe, watching for the only
Asian programme at the time.
# All we need is understanding
to be happy and content...
The thing to do is organise more
get involved in outside
organisations with white people,
with black people. The only way
we can do it is together.
# ..culture crossover... #
We have to get our message
out there, somehow.
Asian parents are concerned about
the detrimental effect
they feel white culture will have on
their children.
A lot of Asian youths go to discos
and play in bands,
and erm...they're not actually
rejecting their Eastern culture,
but their parents think they are
just because they are doing what
they are doing, you know?
# Asian youth, oh, where you been?
# Asian youth, you wanna be seen
# Asian youth, you dunno
who to turn to
# Oh, Asian youth... #
I'd grown up listening to
Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen,
Neil Young, Bob Dylan.
You'd rather hear The Jam.
You'd rather hear The Clash,
Tom Robinson Band, the Sex Pistols
because, in a sense,
they belonged to you.
Tom Robinson really appealed,
you know?
Songs like Winter Of '79
they were of the time.
# TOM ROBINSON BAND: Winter Of '79
KATE WEBB: I went to see
the Tom Robinson Band,
who were playing at the ICA.
And I became, immediately,
a really big fan.
# They done in Dave and Dagenham Ron
in the winter of '79
# When all the gay geezers
was put inside...
I think I wrote to Tom
a fan letter and he wrote back.
He introduced me,
through his letters, to a load
of people, and I got to know them.
There's a photograph here of Tom.
This is me.
This is Karen, who was a secretary,
and the two Jewish schoolgirls
from Camden
who went by the name of 'Scruf'
with one F and 'Scruff' with two Fs.
And we formed a kind of band,
embarrassingly called
the Robinson's Rats,
and we followed them up and down
the country.
# When all the gay geezers
was put inside
# And coloured kids
was getting crucified
# A few fought back
and a few folks died... #
At a gig, you'd be dealing
with antiracism.
Here, you're taking it further.
Here we're looking at the war in
Northern Ireland.
NEWSREADER: British troops,
once hailed as peacemakers,
are now the object of hatred
of the Catholic minority
accused of allowing the Protestant
government to oppress at will.
We were being held in the grip
of fear fear, in our communities,
of the gunman.
This was about a rape by a soldier
of a young woman, who told her story
in Temporary Hoardings.
With Temporary Hoarding, we might
introduce the politics of the wider
movement continuously into it.
So it was a...
It also had a purpose as educator.
We were able to test out ideas.
We were able to move
to broader areas.
In those days,
there weren't that many people
who were making the connection
between oppression of lesbians
and gay men, and racism and fascism.
The first article I wrote
for Temporary Hoarding
was a piece called
'No more normals'.
I wanted to point out
the way heterosexual people
and behaviour and relationships
were regarded as the norm,
and lesbians and gay men were
totally invisible in the media.
Obviously, an important part
of Temporary Hoarding
was interviewing bands.
There's an interview here
with Adam And The Ants
'Wouldn't you like to rip him
to shreds?'
which is done by Lucy Toothpaste,
and I did the design.
He was determined to say
that he was antifascist,
but he still insisted on his right
to use imagery which
came from Nazi Germany.
What we used to do in our interviews
was really challenge
and continue the debate.
It was a way to put both sides
of these arguments
and hear what people had to say.
Our world was a world without
any social media.
Forget social media
there was no mobile phones.
You had to put four pennies in
a bloody box and press a button.
Our world was the underground.
The underground press
was street posters
London was covered in them.
The Clash were one of
the most amazing bands,
so we've taken the lyrics...
and printed the lyrics of White Riot
'I want a riot of my own.'
This could get stuck up
as a complete individual poster,
and that really was the whole spirit
of Temporary Hoarding.
TOPPER HEADON: The right wing
hijacked White Riot as a song
because it was 'White' Riot.
They didn't listen to the lyrics.
White Riot is about the fact that...
wish the white people would riot
like the black people do
because, you know,
we're not happy either.
You can get all the Rolls Royces,
all love dough,
all the country houses...
all the servants you want.
And I just think there's nothing
at the end of that road
no human life or nothing.
And that's why
I just don't wanna go that way.
That's why I think that
it's all of us or none.
Front is a Nazi Front.
ALL: Smash the National Front!
The National Front is a Nazi Front.
ALL: Smash the National Front!
The National Front is a Nazi Front.
Smash the National Front!
RED SAUNDERS: If you met somebody
who was just a confused racist,
not a fullon Nazi,
you could win 'em away sometimes.
But fullcore Nazis no.
I never met any of the...
I wouldn't have sat and debated.
There was none of that.
Front celebrating
its tenth anniversary
by launching a youth section.
When we do start sending the blacks
back, it's not gonna hurt them,
and they'll be given
financial aid and assistance.
We think a lot of them
will go back willingly
without starting kicking up a fuss,
and violence and that.
You'll get the odd one, perhaps.
There were attacks to RAR groups
in different areas of the country.
People in Manchester describing
people climbing through the windows
trying to smash the gigs up.
Shut up! Shut up.
They had to instruct people,
when they left the gigs,
to take all their badges off
because Nazis would float around
where they knew the gig was
and jump people.
A lot of fans were
British Movement...National Front.
They were real whitesuburban
white flight
they were very hostile to black kids.
You look at that up fucking Bristol
200 niggers. You should have
shoved 200 skinheads up there
to kick the fuck out of 'em.
The Old Bill didn't, they
fucking ran away bunch of cunts.
BOY: They the NF
and the British Movement
they go to the gigs
to cause trouble.
In the front, there was a couple of
skinheads banging this guy's head
against the scaffolding.
Every time he came up,
there was blood more and more.
It's just a bad image, really.
That's what gets the image.
It's just the skinheads, innit?
Everyone thought all skinheads
were Nazis,
which, of course, was utter rubbish.
They weren't.
But a lot of skinheads were.
You didn't bother to stop
and debate the point.
When we played London,
we knew what we were going to get.
Wednesbury is an area
I'd never heard of.
We went walking down, turned
the corner where the hall was,
and there were 30 skinheads
standing outside there.
We just looked at each other and
thought, 'Oh, God. Not again.
Our job was to peel away
the Union Jack...
to reveal the swastika.
Sham 69 had a really confusing
relationship with fans.
His fan group, quite a lot of who
were workingclass kids
involved in the National Front
or on the fringes of it...
He had a strong respect
for who he thought these kids were
and how they were left out of most
decisions in the world.
He didn't want to be somebody who
said, 'You should think like this.'
JIMMY PURSEY: They're all moving
down the same conveyor belt.
They're all being subjected to,
'You do this, son.
You come from there, son,
so you have to do that.'
If you come from a tower block
in the East End,
you are subject to either working at
the docks or so on, so on, so on.
'No, you mustn't go out.
No, you mustn't leave London
and be someone else
because that's wrong.
You're not born to do that.'
I went down to see Jimmy
and his mum and dad
because I wanted to ask them
if they were prepared to support RAR.
Why not do something really clear
and do a gig with a black band?
We put on this gig with Sham 69
and Misty In Roots.
Misty In Roots and Sham
were all backstage.
I was doing a bit of compering and
backstaging, and a bit of everything.
Misty started playing dominoes...
and the tension in the room
as they started to whack down
the dominoes on the table
it was as if they were saying,
'Come on, then.'
You know what I mean? 'We're here.
We're not going anywhere.
# There's gonna be a borstal breakout
# I'm sitting in this cell, yeah,
for something I didn't do
# And all I can think of, baby,
I think of you...
The British Movement got in
dozens of 'em.
'What have we done?'
You know? I started to really doubt
the whole idea.
I was a real nervous wreck
that night.
People were freaking out,
'If they get on the stage,
retreat defend the PA system.
If they get to the PA system,
turn it off.'
# And now I'm getting out,
I'm coming back for you
# There's gonna be a borstal breakout
# There's gonna be a borstal breakout
# There's gonna be a borstal breakout
# There's gonna be
a borstal breakout #
(CHANTING) Skinheads! Skinheads!
You see that?
MAN: Get on with it!
(SIGHS) Yeah. I dunno what
to do now. What can I do?
(CHANTING) Skinheads! Skinheads!
Skinheads! Skinheads!
I preach peace. I go on there,
and I do my best.
And that's all I can do
is do my best
Across the country, there must
have been several thousand people
from minority communities
who just got shit and piss
through their letterboxes
with regularity.
People couldn't go onetoone
to school. They had to go
in groups of ten.
I mean, listen to the stories from
Bengali communities in East London.
I would say they are shitscared
to walk around the streets.
It's not gonna stop them
from staying in this country.
You'd been spat on,
people had thrown bottles at you,
you'd regularly been called 'paki'
so it was quite normal.
REPORTER: This Asian shopkeeper,
who spent three years in
a Japanese prisonerofwar camp
after fighting for Britain in
the last war, describes the attack.
All these skinheads...throw these
stones and break my whole windows.
And, all of sudden, one is coming
here. I break my teeth in here.
Do you mind if I ask you...
why is it that the police have,
apparently, not been successful
in protecting some Asians and,
in fact, also some English people
from what is, clearly,
racial violence?
It's speculatory to suggest
that all attacks on Asians,
or any other minority, are motivated
by racial motives. I'm not
suggesting that all of them are.
I'm saying it looks as though we've
got a new phenomenon of people,
and they may be organised
or they may not,
but actually going out and hunting
for people of particular groups.
We have no evidence...
that they are organised.
there were 7
in and around
Brick Lane racist murders.
RUTH GREGORY: This is when Altab Ali
was murdered in the East End.
We got firebombed at one point,
and we did...we moved offices.
We had to get into all that stuff
where you have to block up
your letterbox.
Where you wipe your feet,
you put sand down in case petrol
comes through.
I, quite often, was terrified.
Just after our daughter was born,
we got a bullet in the post.
I just hid it away, straightaway.
People said, 'Oh, go to the police.'
'Are you fucking joking? You know?
(CHUCKLES) No, because we knew,
like Webster said,
the police weren't gonna be helping
us. Every demonstration we went on,
they hindered us.
It was our people got arrested
and kettled. It wasn't the Front.
This was a gang of street thugs.
They were out to terrify you.
(CHANTING) Black and white, unite
and fight! Smash the National Front!
MAN: I wanna hear it louder! ALL:
Black and white, unite and fight!
When RAR and the ANL came together,
that's how vital the campaign was
it was life and death
for many, many people.
(CHANTING) ..unite and fight!
Smash the National Front!
Red Saunders, one of RAR's founders,
what he saw as the difference
between RAR and the AntiNazi League
It's a difficult question, Janet.
Erm... I mean, RAR and the ANL are
completely separate organisations,
but they work in unity together
on the cultural fight
against racism and fascism.
We were united in the fight with them
against the National Front.
Whereas we were more
specifically cultural, and
into militant entertainment,
they were into
the political election fight.
KATE WEBB: All of us
had gone regularly
to the Notting Hill Carnival,
and we wanted to pay homage to that,
and what a brilliant, vibrant
thing that was every year.
I remember the AntiNazi League,
who said they would help us
with funding,
wanted us to do it
off the back of a lorry.
We had completely different ideas.
We were gonna march from
Trafalgar Square to Vicky Park.
The NF were getting the 23%
of the vote there, so we went,
'Well, that's where we've gotta go
the heart of their territory.
wasn't completely sure
that we could pull it off,
which was very unusual for Red.
I remember when we first started
talking, I thought, 'Bloody hell.'
You know? 'That's huge. I don't know
that we can be cut in with that.'
And then once it went,
it just rolled, you know?
Get permission from the council
vital stuff.
Get a stage build it.
Then you get the backline.
Then you get the generators.
And then, at the same time
get the bands.
Who's gonna be the bands?
We've gotta have rebel reggae music.
We finished up with Steel Pulse
cos Handsworth Revolution was out.
At the same time,
myself and Roger were going,
'It's gotta be Tom Robinson.
Then the debate started
about The Clash,
'Gotta have The Clash
absolutely great energy, punk band.'
We had a big row
over the running order.
Roger and I argued that, actually,
we should have Tom on last.
Not because we necessarily thought
he was a better musician
or more exciting,
but because it was clear that
Tom was the kind of person who,
at the end the gig,
would bring people together.
So the decision was,
'OK, well, you go and tell them.
You go and tell The Clash that
they're not gonna go on last
and get them to agree that.'
All right?
# Back in the garage
with my bullshit detector...
Bernie Rhodes, their manager,
was going on and on and on about
it was all Woodstock,
and we was all hippies,
and they were the real fighters.
They played endless tricks on us
and turned the lights on and off
and were trying to feel us out and
test us who the hell we were.
TOPPER HEADON: It was very much a
question of us swallowing humble pie
to support Tom Robinson,
who had been involved
since the beginning so,
rightly, he was headlining.
But it went against the grain
to support someone.
Er... But the cause was more
important than our personal egos.
# I don't wanna go to where...
where the rich are going
# I don't wanna know about
what the rich are doing
# They think they're so clever
# They think they're so right
# But the truth is only known by... #
Once they'd come onboard,
it just exploded.
There were threats.
In the runup to the carnival,
The Clash went and demonstrated
outside the NF headquarters
with Steel Pulse.
'They're much too cool
to hold placards,
is what I think when I look at
these photos. (CHUCKLES)
ROGER HUDDLE: We built the stage,
I think, on that week before,
on the Wednesday.
I'd never been so nervous
in my life.
We had a sixmonthold baby at home.
I was climbing the wall.
But then the AntiNazi League
slept on the stage,
so it was protected 24 hours.
It had rained almost
the whole of the week before.
The park was like a swamp.
We were very anxious.
We didn't have mobile phones.
We had no connection
to Trafalgar Square.
We had no idea how many people
were coming.
I got there, like,
7 o'clock in the morning,
'Oh, my God, nothing's happening.
And the weather wasn't very good.
The police were
ridiculing us, saying,
'Nobody's gonna come to this.
Noone's gonna march. They're only
going for the music.
And I thought, 'I'll go up to Soho
and get myself a bacon butty
and a cup of tea.'
I came back, and just the first
big coaches were arriving.
This coach pulled up and the doors
opened, and this haze of smoke
and stuff came,
and all these punks tumbled out.
I thought, 'Hello, hello.
I came down from Glasgow on a coach
travelled overnight.
I don't like the Nazis,
and we're here to show that.
We're against them up there too.
They want to bully people into their
point of view. I think people ought
to stand up for their opinions.
The rise of the NF is probably the
worst thing that's happened in this
country for years, politically.
We came up here from Hereford
simply to show
that there are people from our place
who care to try and stop this.
The message of this carnival,
not only to the loonies
of the National Front,
but to all bigots everywhere,
is 'Hands off our people!
Black, white, together
tonight and forever.
I saw Tom, and he said,
'I've got the whistles.
I said 'Great,' and we started
throwing out the whistles.
And anyone who was at the carnival
will tell you
the cacophony of noise
was unbelievable.
The march headed off
with all these bands on platforms
and those wonderful effigies
of Martin Webster, Tyndall
and Adolf Hitler
that were made by
the Spitting Image team.
(CHANTING) Smash the National Front!
When we came down Bethnal Green Road,
and all the NF were outside
the Blade Bone pub,
'Seig Heil! Seig Heil!
And then down the road came thousands
and thousands of multiracial kids,
punks everybody.
An hour later, the march was still
coming, and they were kinda,
'Erm... Seig... Ah, fuck.
Let's go and have a drink.'
(LAUGHS) You know?
And they just fucking gave up.
This is a multiracial borough,
and we want it to stay that way.
Every human being has got the right
to live and to have employment,
and shouldn't be treated
as less of a human being.
Because I feel really strongly
about racial prejudice.
I think it's a slur
and a disgrace to this country.
ROGER HUDDLE: Twelve o'clock
we was gonna start.
And I know it's a bit Biblical,
but the sun broke out.
I came onto the stage.
There was a bloke with a dog,
there was two kids on bikes,
and that was it.
And there was Victoria Park
noone in it at all.
So, XRay Spex were gonna open.
RUTH GREGORY: Coming into
Victoria Park, and hearing that
(SINGS) Some people say,
'Little girls should be seen and not
heard,' but I think...
POLY STYRENE: ..Oh, bondage,
up yours! One, two, three, four!
# XRAY SPEX: Oh Bondage Up Yours!
# Bind me, tie me,
chain me to the wall
# I wanna be a slave to you all
# Oh, bondage, up yours
# Oh, bondage, up yours
# Oh, bondage, up yours...
The security was
a complete shambles.
They could defend
the stage against the NF,
but how do you defend the stage
against 80,000 pogoing 18yearolds?
(LAUGHS) The defence went down,
people collapsed
people were being brought out.
# Oh, bondage, come on
# Oh, bondage... #
This guy said, 'Can I help?
I turned round there's this
70yearold St John's Ambulance guy
with his cap and his uniform.
A little unsung hero of the day.
I told the council
that we expected 500 people
cos we didn't wanna get involved in
bringing in Portaloos.
The park keeper came,
and we introduced him
to Steel Pulse's crew...
..and the last time I saw
the park keeper, there was
a big cloud of ganja smoke.
So that was the council dealt with.
Up Against The Wall
# Consternation in Mayfair
# Rioting in Notting Hill Gate
# Fascists marching
on the high street
# Carving up the welfare state...
TOM ROBINSON: Being there,
and seeing the numbers
coming in through the gates,
hour after hour after hour
the numbers just kept coming.
We had no idea how many people
were going to come.
The PA was desperately unsuitable
for that gig.
The sound was awful and yet,
the thing was
just being there
was the important thing about that.
# Panic in the County Hall
# Look out, listen, can you hear it?
# Whitehall got us up against a wall
# Up against the wall #
Everyone said to me, 'Oh, Red,
you should do the compering.
I said, 'Oh, God.' You know?
I was really anxious about it.
I used to play this character
called Mr Oligarchy
in the theatre, who controlled
all the workers, you know?
I wear my Mr Oligarchy's cape,
and I ran onstage.
And I screamed out...
..'This ain't no Woodstock
this is the carnival against
the fucking Nazis.
And there was a massive roar
from the crowd.
And it sustained me
throughout the day.
# STEEL PULSE: Jah Pickney RAR
# Rock against racism
# Rock against fascism
# Rock against Nazism
# It was a tough decision
# Smash it...
and there's 80,000 people.
That audience knew who we were,
and we weren't being booed off,
we were being accepted in fact,
they were singing along.
And we got applauded for wearing
Ku Klux Klan hoods
to a white British audience,
which was, simultaneously,
humbling and hilarious.
To know that we made a big
difference, and to see that
there was a lot of people that was
against the negativity of racism
you know, it was a milestone
in what we've achieved.
# Rock against Nazism
me say, 'Smash it.'
# I've come to conclusion that
# We're gonna hunt, yeah, yeah, yeah
# The National Front... #
We came away from that thinking,
'Of all the other horrible things
which are happening,
this is a mass audience saying that,
"You're OK. We support you."'
The best thing of all
was the jam at the end.
I do remember the jam.
I do remember them all coming on
and Jimmy Pursey coming on as well
and joining them.
KATE WEBB: Jimmy Pursey could bring
a group of people into the carnival
that we wanted to try and reach.
There are all kinds of dangers
involved in that
because you're bringing people who
may be involved in fascism,
or maybe are threatening
to other people.
it would be great
if Jimmy could get onstage with us
to nail his colours to the mast
as well.
To say to the Sham 69 fans,
'I'm not a racist.'
We had no idea how many people
were out the front.
And my vivid memory of that day
is walking up cos it was
a very high stage
walked up the stage
and saw 100,000 people.
And it was like... (INHALES)
(WHISPERS) It's necessary.
We're gonna play our opener.
(SCREAMS) White riot!
# White riot I wanna riot
# White riot a riot of my own
# White riot I wanna riot
# White riot a riot of my own
# White riot I wanna riot
# White riot a riot of my own
# White riot I wanna riot
# White riot a riot of my own
# Black men gotta lot of problems
# But they don't mind
throwing a brick
# White people go to school
# Where they teach you
how to be thick
# And everybody's doing
# Just what they're told to
# And nobody wants to go to jail
# White riot I wanna riot
# White riot a riot of my own
# White riot I wanna riot
# White riot a riot of my own
# All the power's in the hands
of people rich enough to buy it
# While we walk the street,
too chicken to even try it
# Everybody's doing
just what they're told to
# Nobody wants to go to jail
# White riot I wanna riot
# White riot a riot of my own
# White riot I wanna riot
# White riot a riot of my own
# (SHOUTS) People just wanna...
sell records!
# White riot a riot of my own #
MAN: Bring it up, please,
for The Clash!
'In this society, we're made to feel
powerless and useless,
and that the great and the good
should do our thinking for us.
And one of the wonderful things
that we did in RAR was to say,
"No, just ordinary people we can
do things. We can change the world."'