redletter | 08.04.2008 19:13 | Anti-racism
The Love Music Hate Racism carnival on 27 April is set to be a great event, but it needs your help, writes Anindya Bhattacharyya
Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) has unveiled four new acts that will be playing at the free anti-Nazi carnival taking place in Victoria Park, east London, on Sunday 27 April.
Jay Sean, the Asian R&B superstar, and Hard-Fi, the indie rock band, are the latest artists to confirm their appearance.
Also joining the bill are The Good, The Bad And The Queen, the band formed by Blur’s Damon Albarn and former Clash bassist Paul Simenon.
Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex – the seminal punk act that opened the 1978 Rock Against Racism carnival in Victoria Park that this year’s event commemorates – have also agreed to play next month.
They join previously announced acts such as Babyshambles, Roll Deep, The Paddingtons and Heartless Crew.
Many musicians and DJs involved in the original 1978 carnival will also be making an appearance, including Tom Robinson, Don Letts and Jerry Dammers.
The LMHR carnival comes just four days before the 1 May elections for the London Assembly.
The fascist British National Party (BNP) only needs to grab 5 percent of the votes to gain a seat on the assembly.
The carnival, which is estimated to attract at least 50,000 people, will be the ideal opportunity to spread the anti-Nazi message and to mobilise people to vote against the BNP.
The event itself will involve two outdoor stages and a dance marquee featuring some of the biggest names in British underground dance music.
These include grime MCs Bashy and Snakeyman, hip-hop from Metz & Trix, singer Lady Ny, as well as a bassline house set from BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Target, and dubstep from Skream and Benga.
It will be preceded by a march from Weavers Field in Bethnal Green to Victoria Park.
This will celebrate multicultural London and the tradition of ordinary people fighting back against fascism that runs from the 1936 Battle of Cable Street to today.
Recent months have seen an onslaught of attacks on this multicultural and anti-racist tradition from the right – and increasingly from supposedly “liberal” media commentators.
These attacks have fuelled hatred against ethnic minorities, which in turn boosts the BNP.
The need for a radical mass movement against the Nazis is by no means confined to London, and the LMHR carnival will also act as a national show of strength against the BNP and a focal point for anti-fascists across the country.
Some 45 coaches to the carnival have been booked so far, many of them paid for by local trade unions.
The Unite union, for instance, is putting on two coaches from Burnley, the Lancashire town where the BNP has four councillors.
Unlike almost any comparable free music event, the LMHR carnival has no high profile corporate sponsors but is instead turning to the workers’ movement for funding.
Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, has endorsed the event. National unions sponsoring the carnival include Unite, the PCS, NUT, NASUWT, FBU, CWU, UCU, Connect, Bectu and the Musicians Union.
Many financial contributions have come from local union branches or workplace collections.
But LMHR still needs to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to pay for this crucial event and has launched an appeal for funds.
The key priority over the next couple of weeks is to get the money flowing in. The carnival also needs to be publicised and coaches should be booked.
The event itself is shaping up to be an electrifying expression of what’s best about music and young people today.
It will also set the tone not only for the 1 May elections, but for the battles against racism and fascism to come.
The following should be read alongside this article:
» Artists call for anti-fascist unity
To donate to the carnival or for more information go to » www.lmhrcarnival.com
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Some 30 years ago a group of political activists got together with a group of musicians to form Rock Against Racism. It was a movement formed in reaction to rising xenophobia and racism fuelled by Nazi organisations like the National Front.
Bands like The Clash, Steel Pulse and the Tom Robinson Band, to name but a few, helped create a political movement among music fans. The most memorable event was the Rock Against Racism “Carnival against the Nazis” in April 1978. A huge rally of 100,000 people marched the six miles from Trafalgar Square through London’s East End – the heart of National Front territory – to a Rock Against Racism concert in Victoria Park. The concert and march spelled the beginning of the end for the NF in the face of a young and diverse mass movement
Homepage: http:// www.lmhrcarnival.com