Subtitled ‘The Secret War Between Britain’s Anti-Fascists and the Far Right’ this book details the militant, working-class response to fascism from the late-1970s until the mid-1990s. Starting with ‘the Squad’ – an active element of the Socialist Workers’ Party/Anti-Nazi League at the turn of the eighties – and continuing through the glory years of Anti-Fascist Action, it details a level of violence that will traumatise any armchair aficionado of the Battle of Stalingrad. As one of the authors Dave Hann comments:
‘This was war, and it was vicious, bloody and dangerous’.
The characters portrayed here are those at the very bottom of society: the unemployed, the low-paid, the football hooligan and the street thug. What united them was the desire to defeat fascism by all means necessary. Different disguises of the far-right, whether National Front, British Movement or British National Party, were engaged and routed, and loses to the left over a long period of time were few and far between.
It is, as the title suggests, a secret history, and fits comfortably alongside Morris Berkman’s The 43 Group which deals with the fierce Jewish response to Mosley’s immediate post-war revival.
In many ways though Hann and Tisley’s story is still being written as many of the combatants mentioned have successfully transferred themselves to the political arena.
No Retreat is published by Milo Books and is available now, but it’s strictly not for the faint hearted.
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