Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) is hosting a rally with music and speakers in Trafalgar Square, London, this Saturday. It aims to encourage young people to reject the fascist British National Party (BNP) at the May elections and celebrate Britain’s multi-racial, multi-faith society.
The rally will be a great opportunity for anti-racists from around the capital to come together and send a message that the Nazis will not divide us.
LMHR was set up in 2002 in response to rising levels of racism and electoral successes for the BNP. It works closely with Unite Against Fascism, the national anti-fascist campaign.
Using music to fight the Nazis follows in the tradition of the Rock Against Racism (RAR) movement of the late 1970s. LMHR aims to be a national movement, so it’s vital that everyone gets involved however they can.
Indie band Metro Riots have been involved in LMHR for a couple of years. Lead singer Damo spoke to Socialist Worker about his involvement.
“Being involved in LMHR means a lot to a group like us,” he says. “When I was growing up in Bermondsey, south London, multiculturalism was the norm. I had friends who were black and Asian. It wasn’t until I got to secondary school that I began to realise what racism was – that there were these small minded people.
“It’s plainly obvious that racism is the worst form of hatred – and people need to get down to Trafalgar Square on Saturday. This is an issue that involves everyone, from all walks of life, and we all need to get involved.
“This is especially true now when politicians are lying and the media are stirring things up – because it suits them to keep people scared. We have to do all we can to stop racism. The racist will go down every avenue – so we must too.”
One of the speakers at the event this Saturday will be Gurinder Chadha, the director of the films Bend It Like Beckham and Bhaji On The Beach, both of which examine multicultural Britain.
Gurinder spoke at Unite Against Fascism’s national conference earlier this year where she vividly described her experiences of growing up in 1970s London against a backdrop of fascist activity by the National Front.
She also described how attending RAR’s legendary April 1978 carnival against the Nazis in Victoria Park, east London, was crucial in giving her the confidence to fight back against racism.
“We cannot lose the gains made in the last 30 years against the right wing,” she says of her involvement in LMHR’s campaign. “We cannot stand back and let people be killed because of their skin colour. We cannot allow a younger generation to feel scared that they cannot stand up, protest and be counted.
“It is all our responsibility to fight and protect our Britain, a Britain for all of us. I would urge everyone to get involved with LMHR and Unite, and use their voice and be counted.”
The Trafalgar Square rally will bring together a range of musicians, activists and trade unionists from different backgrounds.
Performers range from Scottish indie group Belle & Sebastian, London grime crew Roll Deep, through to Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal.
Emmanuel was a former child soldier. Many of his songs talk about the need for tolerance. In his song Gua he sings, “I can’t wait for that day for when I’ll see no more fears, no more tears, no cry, no tribalism, no racism in my motherland – I can’t wait to see that day.”
Meanwhile LMHR has teamed up with radical US hip-hop act Dead Prez for their Bigger Than Hip-Hop tour of Britain. They will be supporting LMHR at gigs in Bristol on 29 April, Liverpool on 1 May, Manchester on 2 May and London on 4 May.
The band Anti-Flag will be playing a free gig on Monday 1 May at Cafe 1001 on Brick Lane, east London with DJ support from Dirty Pretty Things. Doors open at 7pm.