Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) has launched its biggest initiative to date – a 29-track double CD compilation featuring exclusive tracks from some of the country’s biggest acts, including Babyshambles, Lethal Bizzle, The Enemy and Roll Deep.
The first disc of the double album came out this week mounted on the front cover of the NME music magazine.
The NME also devotes the issue’s front cover and many inside pages to LMHR’s campaign to mobilise young people against the fascist British National Party (BNP).
Meanwhile the National Union of Teachers has helped produce half a million empty CD sleeves to be distributed in schools, colleges, workplaces and gig venues across Britain over the next three months.
The sleeves will allow people to burn their own copies of the double CD by downloading all the tracks for free from a specially designed NME-LMHR website.
The site also contains anti-fascist leaflets and posters, video interviews and live footage from LMHR gigs.
The NME has a circulation of 140,000 and is sold in almost every newsagent and supermarket in the country. Twice as many people read it online.
The support of such a major music publication will be invaluable to building the anti-fascist movement by taking LMHR’s message to an even wider audience.
That LMHR has been able to do something on this scale is testament to the success of its campaigning in recent years.
There have been more than 400 LMHR events of all shapes and sizes. These include two 50,000-strong free carnivals in Trafalgar Square and scores of smaller events in pubs and clubs around the country.
Many events have taken place in areas such as Stoke-on-Trent and Barking & Dagenham where the BNP had gained an electoral foothold.
The idea of a cultural response to the threat of fascism has struck a chord with many musicians.
“The work LMHR is doing is incredible – it restores my faith in humanity’s ability to feel solidarity and indignation at injustice, and actually act on it,” says Drew McConnell from Babyshambles, a longstanding supporter of the campaign.
“Considering there are hardly any black faces in the media spotlight talking sense, I feel like it’s my duty to support LMHR,” says grime MC Natty, who also contributes a track to the CD.
“This is not only to talk to black youth about our identity, but also to reach white youths who might just see the stereotypes on the TV.”
Several major acts have become closely involved in the campaign by joining the LMHR artists’ committee, organising benefit shows and speaking at LMHR and Unite Against Fascism events.
This means the campaign is now taken very seriously by the wider music industry.
There will be many more anti-fascist gigs and events staged over the following months, aiming to cut down the BNP vote at next year’s London Assembly and local council elections.
Unions in the campaign
Trade unions have played a crucial role in LMHR and its sister campaign Unite Against Fascism since their inception.
The unions have been the main organisations responsible for funding LMHR, and have also played an active role in the campaign.
The idea that unions can be at the forefront of fighting fascism and racism has huge appeal to young workers.
It shows that unions don’t only fight for their members in the workplace, but also over wider issues in society.
Trade union support for a cultural anti-racist campaign like LMHR can boost recruitment and feed into struggles in the workplace.
LMHR is asking trade unions at national, regional and branch level to affiliate to the campaign.