Right-wing nationalism is on the rise. Immigrants are demonized. Police target people of color, often with deadly force. Vigilantes and militias look to divide the nation. Economic trouble only increases the tension. This is America in 2021.
But it was also Britain in 1976.
The right-wing National Front was gaining seats in government, fueled by racial tensions due to increased immigration and economic austerity. The nation seemed to be on the path toward fascism. Skinheads and neo-Nazi groups co-opted images—and sometimes members—from Britain’s rising punk scene. But the anti-racist punks fought back. From 1976 through 1982, Rock Against Racism (RAR) held concerns, published zines, organized marches, and harnessed the DIY spirit of punk, dub, and reggae to push back against those who sought to gain power by dividing us.
Today, in the United States, the stakes feel even higher. Racist authoritarians have reached the highest levels of the U.S. government, while unregulated internet corporations allow the spread of propaganda, hate speech, and violent movements.
It is time to come together again, to work from the ground up and show that this isn’t who we are.