Lost video “Aug 13” on “Battle of Lewisham 1977” found in Spectacle Archive

Late July 2017, just a few weeks before the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham Spectacle found the “lost” video of the anti-fascist film “Aug 13: What Happened” in its extensive and unique video archive. The Spectacle video archive contains over 3000 hours of video on social justice, urbanism, human rights, housing, anti-racism, alternative and radical media from 1977 to the present day. Much of the late 1970s and 1980s content was shot in and around East London which was a very different place then.

The film “Aug 13” was found, high on a shelf, among a group of U-Matic tapes Despite TV had gathered for a film, never finished, for the 50th Anniversary of the 1936 Battle of Cable Street when the Jewish community of East London and its anti-fascist allies blocked the streets in order to prevent Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists marching through.

August 13 1977 the Battle of Lewisham from Spectacle Media on Vimeo.

The film depicts the infamous events of 13 August 1977, the so called Battle of Lewisham, when the far-right National Front (NF)  attempted to march through South East London which led to clashes with anti-fascist groups, and later between demonstrators and the police. The footage shows the first time police deployed riot gear on the UK mainland and provides vital evidence about the demonstration and its aftermath in which over 100 people were injured.

With testimony from eyewitnesses varying, and often contradicting official reports, the battle has become a contested historical event. The film was shot by volunteers connected to the Albany Video project in Deptford. This version was restored just in time for the anniversary and is now included in the London Community Video Archive

Nearly forty years later to the day, 12 August 2017, there was the “Charlottesville incident” a counter demonstration against a White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville , Virginia, USA. Lessons from the past might help in the fight against a new virulent form of Fascism taking a grip particularly in the USA, UK and Europe.

You might also be interested in our  documentary  film

22nd August will also be the 26th anniversary of the Rostock-Lichtenhagen riots. Check out our participatory investigative feature length documentary “The Truth Lies in Rostock

The Truth Lies in Rostock from Spectacle Media on Vimeo.

August 1992 Lichtenhagen estate, Rostock, former East Germany. Police withdraw as fascists petrol bomb a refugee centre and the home of Vietnamese guest workers while 3000 spectators stood by and clapped.

Using material filmed from inside the attacked houses and interviews with anti-fascists, the Vietnamese guest workers, police, bureaucrats, neo-nazis and residents, a story of political collusion and fear unfolds.

“Aug 13” is just one of the many lost and forgotten gems to be found in the Spectacle Archive. We are always interested to explore collaborative projects based on our archives.

To find out more about our archive, which also includes 100s of original paper documents regarding independent media 1977-2000 please ontact archive@spectacle.co.uk to find out more or visit Spectacle Archive

 

 

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Sari Squad- the Afia Begum campaign

The Sari Squad were a group of activist women, mostly South Asian, who helped to defend multicultural clubs and gatherings from racist attacks in the early 1980s. Based in East London, they campaigned to raise public awareness for Afia Begum, a young Bangladeshi widow who was deported from London with her child, Asma, in 1984, despite there being no concrete justification for such action. Her treatment was harsh, described by the European Parliament as ‘callous and showing the racist and sexist nature of the United Kingdom immigration laws’. In April 1984, the Sari Squad took their case to the European Commission of Human Rights. However, in the same year, and before the Commission could rule, the UK Government arrested Afia in a dawn raid and deported her.

In a Commons sitting on 11 June 1984, MP Harry Cohen condemned this deportation as a ‘disgraceful action’. He pointed out how the Home Office’s haste to deport Begum, and their total disregard for her situation (recently widowed after her husband died in a slum fire in Brick Lane) reflected how she had become a ‘victim of prejudice of the worst kind and at the highest level.’ Responding to Cohen, David Waddington MP essentially dismissed all the issues raised as missing the point, arguing that ‘the vast majority of people do, however, accept the need for immigration laws and for adequate machinery to enforce the control required by these laws’

Just what he means by ‘adequate machinery’ is unclear, but if this recent interview with Benjamin Zephaniah for The Guardian is anything to go by, it wasn’t so much machinery but bigotry in the form of attacks, especially from the National Front, that operated to control immigration. Retaliation was a means of survival (‘we still had to fight them on the street’), and Zephaniah praises the ‘legendary’ Sari Squad for the way they fought against racism.

In this extract, taken from our video magazine, Despite TV 3, various members of the Sari Squad discuss how they go about fighting for tolerance and justice, and why Afia Begum’s case is so important to them. Although the footage was shot in the 80’s, it remains just as current today, in our increasingly unsettled, multicultural, yet ironically intolerant society. The post-Brexit climate of casual racism and violent racist attacks makes it all the more crucial to raise awareness that this kind of intolerance is just as prevalent and unjustified today as it was then, and we must continue to raise awareness.

This video is available to watch on Vimeo, and is part of a new series of archive material from Despite TV, which will be re-circulated over the coming months.

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LGBT History on Film: Despite Clause 28 – 1988

LGBT History on Film: Despite Clause 28 (1988) from Spectacle’s Archive.

Despite Clause 28 (1988) Trailer from Spectacle Media on Vimeo.

In the late 1980s and 90s, Despite TV, a collective of filmmakers founded by Mark Saunders (Spectacle Media) specialising in social and political issues, took an active interest in documenting and raising awareness of state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) persons in the UK.

In 1988 Despite TV produced a short campaign film, ‘Despite the Clause’, in response to the proposal of Section 28, a typically Thatcherite Local Government act proposed in 1986 and passed in 1988 which banned the “promotion of homosexuality”. The bill was proposed by the Conservative Party during the HIV/AIDS epidemic and purported to fear-mongering, homophobic tropes which portray LGBT people as deviant.

Section 28 was to have a damaging affect on LGBT individuals and, in particular, LGBT political and community groups, forcing them to limit their vital contributions to their communities, and in some cases shut down entirely for fear of legal backlash or censorship.

Despite the Clause features appearances from high profile activists including co-founder of Stonewall UK, Sir Ian Mckellen and Michael Cashman and M.P. Diane Abbott. In the film, Abbott, who was present at the proposal of the clause in the House of Commons, describes it as “A horrible, hysterical witch-hunting debate.” She also states that “The spirit behind Section 28 is a spirit of violence and intolerance to anybody that doesn’t conform, to anybody that’s different.”

Despite the best efforts of activists, Section 28 was ultimately passed and not repealed until 2003. Nonetheless, activists describe the resistance built against it as having a positive effect in establishing solidarity between LGBT people across the UK. Stonewall and other activists fought continuously for it’s repeal for over twenty five years. This campaign film subsequently remains a significant piece of LGBT history.

The full film is available for free here.

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See our Despite TV project pages for more information and videos.

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Yvonne Ridley interviews now published

A series of interviews with British journalist, broadcaster and human rights activist, Yvonne Ridley has now been published on the Spectacle website.

To watch them, please visit our Guantánamo archive pages.


Please note that these interviews were conducted during a screening, hence the occasional background noise.

Order Spectacle’s DVD Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Click Guantánamo for more blogs
Or visit our Guantánamo project pages for more information and videos.

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Exodus 2 DVD Special Offer

Spectacle has a special 2 DVD offer: Exodus Extended Mix and Exodus from Babylon for £18.00 (including VAT and post)

Exodus Extended Mix

 

Never seen on UK TV Exodus Extended Mix was broadcast by ARTE in Germany, France  and Italy. It contains all the 26 minutes of Exodus: Movement of Jah People that Channel 4 broadcast plus an extra 18 minutes on HAZ Manor, attempts to get the Ark, on prohibition and the police operations.

Exodus offer working, viable solutions to many of society’s stated ills, poverty, crime, drugs, unemployment and the break down of community.

Exodus is a unique urban phenomenon which does not simply confront but intelligently challenges society’s assumptions and values. They offer working, viable solutions to many of society’s stated ills, poverty, crime, drugs, unemployment and the break down of community. Exodus blend a volatile mixture of rastafarianism, new-age punk and street smart politics. ‘We are not drop outs but force outs.’

Exodus from Babylon

 


The utopian Luton based Exodus Collective has met with powerful opposition. This film investigates the intricate web of this opposition and identifies a number of interlocking interests at play.

The Luton based Exodus Collective came into existence in 1992 as part of the growing DIY culture which arose in response to unemployment, poverty and frustration amongst young people.

They organised free ‘rave’ parties, renovated derelict homes, set up a community farm and now plan to open a community centre.Some of their activities border on illegality but they are entirely peaceful Exodus has a huge following amongst local people.

Their philosophy has a strong spiritual strand, appealing to notions of community and natural justice in its struggle for survival and renewal. However, their utopian project presents a challenge to the status quo and has met with powerful opposition.

Exodus from Babylon investigates the intricate web of this opposition, from aggressive policing to local government obstruction. It reveals the shift in policing from reactive peace keeping to proactive intervention, involving a series of special operations by Bedfordshire Police.

The programme looks in detail at a number of police actions against Exodus, including the prosecution and acquittal of collective member, Paul Taylor, for possession of Ecstasy and for murder. It asks why the strategy of getting tough with Exodus emerged and identifies a number of interlocking interests at play.

Exodus from Babylon contains original music by the Exodus Collective and some great reggae tunes.

Buy on Paypal below or visit our distribution page for details of other payment methods

£15.00 +VAT = £18.00 (post is included)

 

Exodus Special Select buyer,language and format

Visit Spectacle’s Archive for more videos on Exodus and Marsh Farm
Watch Cracklife music video. Shot in a one day workshop on Marsh Farm with Marsh Farm Outreach and local youth
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Thousands protest against Government Spending Review

Thousands of students, trade unionists, community groups and others marched through the streets of London in protest following the brutal spending cuts issued by the Tory government yesterday.

Students from University College London and surrounding universities initiated the march on their campus and were soon joined by thousands of others united in the cause. Banners on display reflected the diversity of those protesting, including unions such as Unison, the National Union of Teachers and the GMB. The procession passed through Central London and ended up at a rally outside Downing Street. Simultaneously thousands of demonstrators were also gathered at a rally at Lincoln’s Inn Fields where Tony Benn, as well as other trade union and movement leaders addressed thousands of angered protesters. The Lincoln’s Inn Fields protesters later marched towards Downing Street.

Local protests were also organised around the UK;  a clear indicator of the public’s outrage at the proposed rebudgeting of the country’s coffers.

To read related articles go to our blog and to IndyMedia.

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Micronomics

New to the Spectacle Archive

Interviews from the Waffle Bank shoot with Refugee Youth are now available via the Spectacle Archive.

Waffle Bank Investment Bank is a skill exchange programme using Belgian waffles as currency.  The process encourages participants to consider what  skills they bring to the table and find ways to connect and share these.

Watch the interviews now.

Details about the Micronomics project are now available, visit the Project Page for more details.

Watch all Micronomics clips.

Learn about the group Bicycology which features in the project. Watch the Bicycology interviews.

Information about Cycle Training UK and watch the interviews.

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Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

New to the Spectacle Archive

Footage from the Q&A from the Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo screening at the National Film Theatre, Southbank is now available via the Spectacle Archive.

The Q&A featured Polly Nash, Gareth Peirce and Andy Worthington, and was chaired by Victoria Brittain.

Also available are interviews from the event.

If you are interested in organising a screening in your area contact us now.

Find screenings near you.

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo is available to purchase now, click here for more details.

Find out more about Spectacle’s Guantánamo Project

Visit our Archive for extra interviews and more

Find out more about Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo

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Micronomics

New to the Spectacle Archive

Interviews and footage from Spectacle’s Micronomics Project is now available through our Archive.

Micronomics investigates an understanding of small scale self-organised (micro-)initiatives and whether the economy has room for them.

The film considers their potential to challenge the dominant definition of ‘the economy’ and implication, when the value created and exchanged is of social nature.

Details about the project are now available, visit the Project Page for more details.

Watch all clips associated with Micronomics.

Learn about the group Bicycology which features in the project. Watch the Bicycology interviews.

Information about Cycle Training UK and watch the interviews.

Clips from Spectacle’s Waffle Bank shoot with Refugee Youth will also be uploaded to the archive.

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