British anarchism in the era of Thatcherism
in Against the grain
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Prior to the 1970s, the history of post-war British anarchism had been a story of patchy, partial and inconsistent advance, intertwined with often prolonged periods of retrenchment. Division and disunity still afflicted sections of the anarchist movement, but the upturn in the current's fortunes and the volatile political context of early Thatcherism continued to keep centrifugal pressures in check. Anarcho-punk provided the momentum to re-energise the movement, but its impact changed its profile and the centre of political gravity within it. As anarcho-punk had been able to do five years earlier, Class War seized the initiative and the notoriety of the movement. The particular culture and form of the anarchist punk milieu and that surrounding Class War made the brokering of alliances with other activist forces extremely difficult, reinforcing an isolating 'otherness'.

Against the grain

The British far left from 1956

Editors: Evan Smith and Matthew Worley

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