"Here we go, here we go"...again? Standing up to Racist Football Fans
By assessing how anti-racists/anti-fascists have used different tactics to tackle far-right activity, this seminar will consider which approaches might best challenge racist ideas and behaviour amongst English football fans.
A carnegieXchange seminar from Dr Jon Dart
The emergence in 2017 of the Football Lads Alliance was the latest manifestation of the far-right’s association with English football fans. The arrival of the Football Lads is viewed here in the context of Brexit, an upturn in populist right-wing nationalistic politics, and a British Home Secretary’s (and future Prime Minister’s) intention to create a “hostile environment for illegal immigrants.” This presentation looks at the historic relationship between football and far-right politics beginning with the National Front’s (NF) activity in the 1960s and 1970s. I track this uneven relationship through subsequent decades and various far-right political groups: the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18 (C18), and the English Defence League (EDL) and, finally, the Football Lads Alliance/Democratic Football Lads Alliance (FLA/DFLA). I examine the tactics employed by anti-racists/anti-fascists in response to the different manifestations of far-right nationalism amongst football fans and pay particular attention to the use of non-violent mass protest and of direct physical confrontation with far-right supporters. By assessing how anti-racists/anti-fascists have used different tactics to tackle far-right activity, I consider which approaches might best challenge racist ideas and behaviour amongst English football fans.