John McDonnell calls for new ‘Anti-Nazi League’ to tackle far-right racism

Posted On: 
7th August 2018

John McDonnell called for a new Anti-Nazi League group to be formed to take on the rise of the far-right.

John McDonnell at a May Day rally in 2017
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor said the popularity of Tommy Robinson and the storming of a socialist bookshop showed that extreme right-wingers were growing in strength.

He also said Boris Johnson's claim that women in burqas look like "letter boxes and bank robbers" was further evidence that racism is on the march.

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Mr McDonnell said a new movement should seek to emulate the ANL, which rose to prominence in the 1970s and was latterly linked to the far-left Socialist Workers Party.

He said: "With the scale of Tommy Robinson demonstrations, the storming of Bookmarks bookshop, and now Boris Johnson’s Islamophobic comments, we can no longer ignore the rise of far right politics in our society.

"Maybe it’s time for an Anti-Nazi League type cultural and political campaign to resist.

"The Anti-Nazi League was an iconic movement over several decades that successfully combated the far right through the mass mobilisation of trade unionists and anti-racist campaigners.

"The ANL pioneered highly influential cultural movements like the Rock Against Racism, which attracted tens of thousands of people of all ages to anti-racist festivals and protests.

"We should seriously look at emulating the work of the ANL and Rock Against Racism at a time when the far right once again poses a genuine threat to our society."

Meanwhile, shadow equalities minister Naz Shah has written to Tory chairman Brandon Lewis and equalities minister Penny Mordaunt demanding action be taken against Boris Johnson's "ugly and naked Islamophobia".

She said: "When Muslim women are being attacked in the street, his comments are dangerous and cannot be laughed off."