FILM REVIEW | WHITE RIOT
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
not gonna lie, watching the recent documentary WHITE RIOT (SMOKING BEAR, 2019) about the inner-workings of the ROCK AGAINST RACISM movement in late 1970s BRITAIN, it echoed and reminded me quite a bit about the outright LUNACY of the modern day MALICIOUSLY MISINFORMED BREXIT crowd and even FLORIDA's culture war against education, specifically AFRICAN-AMERICAN history and GENDER / LGBTQ STUDIES. it all feels the same.
ROCK AGAINST RACISM was a group initiated as part of a DIY cultural reaction against growing widespread BRITISH ANTI-IMMIGRANT sentiment during that late 70s period (famously spearheaded by notorious bigot MP ENOCH POWELL of NORTHERN IRELAND) and the subsequent rise of the NATIONAL FRONT. much like TED NUGENT, LIL WAYNE, KID ROCK, LIL PUMP and KANYE WEST provided cultural air cover for DONALD TRUMP during his DISASTROUS regime, ERIC CLAPTON, ROD STEWART and even DAVID BOWIE did the same during this period with regards to POWELL and his RACIST public declarations advocating for the forcible repatriation of generations of immigrants (i.e. THE WINDRUSH GENERATION) and their defendants back to their ethnic nation of origin, irregardless of their visa or citizenship status. in recent years CLAPTON has been outed publicly for his history of VILE RACISM and ETHNO-NATIONALISM, which is truly BIZARRE given the effort and extent to which such was covered up and looked past for decades. i mean the dude literally was globally celebrated for being a SAVANT BLUES guitarist of the first order, a musical form with deep roots in the AFRICAN-AMERICAN struggle against slavery. for him to be a WHITE NATIONALIST is still head-scratching in terms of its sheer audacity. CLAPTON is always will be a phony to be ridiculed and pitied.
the NATIONAL FRONT was essentially a REVANCHIST, FASCIST movement that preyed on the FEARS of the WORKING-CLASS WHITE men who felt emasculated in the wake of the fall of the empire and the perceived weakening of the UNITED KINGDOM's global standing. this movement sought to reimpose an ETHNIC PURITY to the nation and establish exclusive economic ties with the likes of APARTHEID regimes in RHODESIA and SOUTH AFRICA as well as other satellite nations in AFRICA and SOUTH EAST ASIA. much like modern PUTIN wishes to reimpose the territorial and economic claims of the fallen USSR, the NATIONAL FRONT sought to reimpose COLONIALISM at home and abroad. and in terms of growing WHITE membership and waging FEAR through VIOLENCE against minority groups, for a period they were successful.
such is the backdrop to a famous concert in the heart of the NATIONAL FRONT's stronghold in EAST LONDON at VICTORIA PARK that included the likes of X-RAY SPECS, STEEL PULSE, the TOM ROBINSON BAND and THE CLASH. such a show was the capstone event after a day of protests through the streets that showcased the SILENT majority of BRITISH citizens from across the nation who showed up in droves to protest not only the NATIONAL FRONT, but the COMPLICITY of the police and political classes in tolerating such HATRED and ANTI-DEMOCRATIC SENTIMENT.
the fact that the COUNTER-CULTURAL movement represented by ROCK AGAINST RACISM as well as the ANTI-NAZI LEAGUE, as well as the music press (NME, MELODY MAKER, etc) that adopted and actively promoted its political objectives, worked is an INCREDIBLE achievement.
makes me wonder how such would work now in a world rife with digital platforms that perpetuate MISINFORMATION and state initiated DISINFORMATION campaigns at a PERVASIVE clip even GEORGE ORWELL could never have imagined. modern FASCISTS now like governor RON DESANTIS of FLORIDA are attacking the education architecture that underlies INDEPENDENT THOUGHT in his state. if voters keep reelecting him despite such ANTI-DEMOCRATIC tactics, where is the opposition going to come from with an equal and identifiably massive force. today feels different, but maybe it shouldnt.
WHITE RIOT seems to be a clarion call for today's youth to get involved and push back, whatever the odds or sacrifice. it is a genuinely UPLIFTING film that i highly recommend.
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