Inspired by the original Rock Against Racism movement in the UK, Love Music Hate Racism prepares for Anti-Racism Day demonstrations this weekend, as high school students in the U.S. take on the bigots and gun nuts
To paraphrase that old Buffalo Springfield song, something is happening here and what it is…is exactly clear. And it is this: The kids these days are not going to put up with any more bullshit from the adults. In the wake of the Florida school massacre and the rising tide of racism in the U.S. and throughout Europe, a tipping point has been reached.
First, this past Wednesday, students from all over America walked out of their schools to honor the 17 murdered in the St. Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Not only to honor these innocents, cut down by an embittered asshole who had access to a combat-grade weaponry, but to demand that the nation’s mis-leaders in Congress get off their NRA-purchased asses and pass some meaningful legislation to prevent these tragedies from happening again.
The next day, across the pond in London, England, on March 13, the world-famous graffiti artist Snub23 unveiled a giant mural promoting Love Music Hate Racism and Stand up to Racism, in the run-up to the United Nations Anti-Racism Day demonstrations in the UK and internationally on March 17th.
According to organizers of the event, Snub23 wants to convey the message that music unites us while racism only divides us.
“Music and solidarity messages go through many movements and we’re reinforcing a strong message that music brings people together. We’re such a multicultural country it’s ridiculous that we have racism,” says Snub23.
The graffiti artist cut his teeth on dissent as a kid, when his parents took him to demonstrations organized by the Anti-Nazi League, as well as to punk rock gigs in the UK.
Red Saunders, co-founder of Rock Against Racism, the spiritual and organizational forefather of Love Music Hate Racism, says, “The mural stands on the route of the 80,000-strong march to the first RAR carnival in Victoria Park 40 years ago. Incendiary graphics were at the heart of RAR’s work back then and it is brilliant to see graphic artists standing up to be counted again.”
Love Music Hate Racism is the stepchild of the Rock Against Racism movement of the 1970s. The first Rock Against Racism carnival, held in Victoria Park in London in April 1978, featured The Clash, Steel Pulse, Tom Robinson Band and X-Ray Specs.
This documentary includes great footage from the carnival (the carnival starts around 16:30):
Here’s more footage from the 1978 carnival, along with interviews:
Love Music Hate Racism Coordinator Lois Browne says the fight against racism has never been more important, and music is back on the front line of the struggle. “We are facing a massive rise in racism in Britain and across the globe,” Browne said. “Migrants and refugees are being scapegoated. EU nationals are used as bargaining chips in Brexit negotiations. Anti-Muslim campaigns by the press have led to a dramatic rise in Islamophobic attacks in the wake of terror attacks in London and Manchester…We have Trump in the USA and in Europe, the rise of the Freedom Party in Austria, Front National in France and AfD in Germany are signs of a resurgence of the far right. Music can help turn back this tide.”
We’ll leave you with this inspiring live recording of The Clash’s performance at the 1978 Rock Against Racism concert: