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Book Reviews

Left-wing youth activism and the celebration of unity with reggae & punk

By Jo Manby

Crisis Music: The cultural politics of Rock Against Racism by Ian Goodyer. Manchester University Press: 2009

(Local Classification: AR.8.00/GOO)

November 1976. Rock Against Racism (RAR) holds its first gig in the Princess Alice pub in the East End of London. Young people are rallying against the far-right National Front.

Two years later, April 1978. Victoria Park in the East End of London. A huge crowd gathers for a day-long outdoor concert headlined by Tom Robinson and The Clash. It was this concert, organised by Rock Against Racism, that helped to radicalise a generation and gave punk a reason to be something more than rebellious nihilism.