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Rock Against Racism

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Rock Against Racism was a British anti-racist campaign that raised awareness for its cause by staging rock concerts.

RAR was originally conceived by Red Saunders and Roger Huddle as a one-off concert, but nothing came of the idea until August 1976 when Eric Clapton drunkenly praised Enoch Powell. Saunders, Huddle and two members of Kartoon Klowns[1] responded with a letter to New Musical Express announcing the launch of the Rock Against Racism movement and calling for collaborators; Huddle since claimed that they received hundreds of letters in reply. RAR was ultimately part of a broader anti-racism movement (its frequent partner, the Anti-Nazi League, was founded in 1977) that grew up in response to the National Front.[2]

The first RAR carnival was held in 1978.[3] The campaign prompted a backlash from the white power music scene, which launched Rock Against Communism in response.

At the time, Roger Huddle was working for the Socialist Workers Party as a graphic designer. The SWP was closely involved with RAR, allowing its PO box and print shop to be used by the campaign.[4]

The original incarnation of RAR gradually faded away during the eighties, although an arguable successor — Love Music Hate RacismWikipedia's W.svg — was set up in 2002 following the elections of BNP councillers in Burnley.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. Exactly who or what Kartoon Klowns were appears to have been largely forgotten.
  2. http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=8931
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.dkrenton.co.uk/rock_against_racism.html
  4. Andy Beckett, "When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies", Faber & Faber, 2009, pp. 449-50.