Rock Against Racism, youth culture and multiculturalism
in Crisis music
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Some of the most vehement criticisms of Rock Against Racism (RAR) are concerned in one way or another with the organisation's cultural basis. To clarify the understanding of RAR's mission, this chapter considers not only what RAR was, but also what it was not. As with punk, RAR's attitude towards reggae was not simply a positive affirmation of the genre's radical potential; it also has to be viewed as an attempt to build a cultural coalition in an area vulnerable to incursions from the far-right. These contradictory cultural interactions help people to understand the importance of the anti-racist multiculturalism that RAR addressed to white youth. RAR's major polemical point, that a streak of racism ran through the music industry, provided an organisational focus for the movement as well as a cultural boundary.

Crisis music

The cultural politics of Rock Against Racism

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