UPDATE Feb 2013: I retract my doubts about Hedley's record in militant anti-fascism expressed in this post, while I stand by my criticism of his antisemitic comments. I also want to make it clear that the opinions quoted in the second part of this post are not mine but those of an anonymous Wikipedia editor, in case it isn't clear enough.
1. Steve Hedley and the Zionists
Harry's Place and Shiraz Socialist have published some stuff about an union rep, Steve Hedley, and his rants at "Zionists" (i.e. Jews). Most recently, on Facebook various people chatting about the troubles in the SWP, Toby Abse reminded folks of comrade Martin Smith's closeness to antisemite Gilad Atzmon (documented here), which provoked Smith first into attacking Toby, then into calling serious hardcore anti-Zionists like Roland Rance "closet Zionists". Funny if it weren't so sad. Anyway, along the way, he made lots of comments about his prowess as an anti-fascist streetfighter, citing his involvement in AFA, and calling Rance a "keyboard warrior". Rance replies: "In fact, I organised the first AFA conference in Bradford thirty years ago. We had stewards around the town to prevent a possible fascist attack, but had to call them back to conference in order to protect members of the local Asian Youth Movement from physical attacks by members of Red Action. I know all-too-well about racism masquerading as leftist anti-fascism." Here's the comment I left:
Very odd that Hedley trumpets AFA and Smith/UAF at the same time. The heritage of UAF is the SWP’s expulsion of anti-fascist militants in the original ANL, two decades of SWP sectarian attacks on AFA and its “squadism”, and their re-establishment of the ANL in early 1990s as a direct attack on AFA. Martin Smith stands for the opposite of everything AFA ever stood for.
I was a London AFA ordinary rank and file member for over a decade and went to some national events, and I have no memory of this Hedley bloke at any event I went to. Maybe he was in a totally different part of the country, so I’m not saying he’s a liar, but I am a little suspicious of his claim to big AFA credentials, especially given his support for UAF. I’d be pleased to be told I’m wrong about this.
I was, I can't remember why now, looking at the AFA Wikipedia page. This had been included on the page by a disgruntled ex-member. I deleted it, as it's clearly not encyclopedic. But, even though it's not my view at all, I thought I'd paste it here in case anyone wants to discuss it, with added hyperlinks.
Having left AFA, disbanded Red Action, (and indeed abandoned activist anti fascist activity), to form the local electoral and local activism focussed , Independent Working Class Association (IWCA), ex Red action/IWCA members now argue that, while mainstream liberal anti-racist groups often focussed their attention on black people and other racial minorities as the victims of discrimination, AFA focused its efforts on the white working class, which it saw as the fascist movement's main recruiting ground. However,others, including ex-RA members who did not go down the IWCA route have argued that this supposed unique AFA "white working class focus" is a myth, backdating later IWCA politics into the AFA's actual history. They argue that even after the 1989 split in AFA with the more liberal anti fascist supporting organisations, the "on the ground" political focus of AFA remained essentially a very basic anti-fascist one, without any really significant political break from tactics and priorities pursued by the Anti Nazi League MK I, in its initial activist heyday 1977 to 1979. The ANL MK I , contrary to RED Action/IWCA claims , pursued a distinctly "twin track" , AFA-like, approach to anti fascism too, ie. physical street opposition to fascist marches and meetings, plus aggressive stewarding and violent additional actions by the "Squads", alongside the more populist, mass music carnivals and family day out marches, activities. The real difference being that in the ANL MK I the physical street action and "Squadist" aspect was largely unacknowledged publicly by the ANL leadership.3. Anti-Fascist Archive
I don't think I've linked yet to this wonderful site. To give a taste, it includes a reply to Dave Renton's dishonest review of Dave Hann's new/posthumous book Physical Resistance, a 1972 Workers' Fight (the proto-AWL) pamphlet on "racialism", Red Action publications, and lots more.