White Riot 15
From the archive
This film was last shown on 1 October 2020
Shah’s energising film charts a vital national protest movement. Rock Against
Racism (RAR) was formed in 1976, prompted by ‘music’s biggest colonialist’ Eric
Clapton and his support of racist MP Enoch Powell.
White Riot blends fresh interviews with queasy archive footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches. As neo-Nazis recruited the nation’s youth, RAR’s multicultural punk and reggae gigs provided rallying points for resistance. As founder Red Saunders explains: ‘We peeled away the Union Jack to reveal the swastika’.
The campaign grew from Hoxton fanzine roots to 1978’s huge antifascist carnival in Victoria Park, featuring X-Ray Spex, Steel Pulse and of course The Clash, whose rock star charisma and gale-force conviction took RAR’s message to the masses.
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- Rubika Shah
- 1 hour 20 minutes
- Dennis Bovell, Mykaell Riley, Red Saunders