Is the Battle of Wood Green on 23rd April 1977 more than history?

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2019 by kmflett

Is the Battle of Wood Green on 23rd April 1977 more than history?


The Battle of Wood Green took place 42 years ago on 23rd April 1977. Details are here:

A united anti-fascist mobilisation largely prevented a march by the National Front through a busy North London shopping area on a Saturday afternoon. The current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, then a local Councillor played a key role.

Its important in itself of course to remember history and Corbyn makes it clear fairly regularly that he does.

Are there lessons to be taken from that day now?

Each situation needs to be judged and assessed in its own context so it would hardly be right to argue that what happened 42 years ago in North London provides a precise template for efforts to stop fascists today.

The NF were able to put 1200 people on the streets for a march on that Saturday afternoon and they mostly were not the drunk middle-aged football hooligans that often seem to be the core of current fascist mobilisations.

Still the current fascist threat is significant and its not the purpose of this to compare it with the 1970s for relative importance

So what lessons might be learnt from the Battle of Wood Green?

Firstly that a united protest was important, covering a spectrum from those who simply wanted to register a protest to those who were determined one way or another to stop the NF from marching

Secondly that at least an attempt to stop the march was also important. This was, arguably, done simply by force of numbers both of protesters and local shoppers disgusted that the NF were marching.

Thirdly and this is a matter of tactics, the physical confrontation with the NF. This depends on whether there are people prepared to do it, risking injury and arrest, not as some kind of elite squad but as part of the wider protest. It depends on an assessment of the balance of forces and whether it is tactically appropriate. The idea 42 years ago was to send a message to those who might consider marching with the NF that it might be bad for their well-being as it were.

Of course a lot more could be said. One could refer to the classic texts on the united front, to Cable St and indeed to the day exactly 2 years on, 23rd April 1979, when an anti-fascist protester Blair Peach was killed by a blow from a police baton while opposing a National Front meeting in Southall.

Within that however the Battle of Wood Green, 42 years ago today, takes its place.



3 Responses to “Is the Battle of Wood Green on 23rd April 1977 more than history?”

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