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National Front Attacks

Labour movement more determined than ever

(October 1978)

From Militant, No. 428, 20 October 1978.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The National Front candidate at a recent Brighton council by-election – despite bringing in helpers from all over Sussex – received a derisory 32 votes.

That night, after the announcement of the result – a Labour gain following a strong anti-fascist campaign – frustrated NF thugs in combat jackets toured the area looking for isolated Labour supporters to beat up.

In the days that followed, the local Labour Party headquarters was attacked several times and bricks were thrown through the windows. Leading Labour activists received abusive and threatening phone calls in the dead of night.


The Brighton and Hove Committee Against Racialism and Fascism, led by its convenor, Labour Party member and ‘Militant’ supporter Rod Fitch, swung into action. A defence group was formed with a communications system so that within minutes of any possible attack they would be on the spot. The surrounding area was leafleted, and there was no shortage of volunteers to keep an eye on Labour’s premises.

Rod Fitch has been a particular target for the NF in this area, the home of Tyndall and a centre from which their activities, including finance and publications are directed. Practically all of Rod’s street came forward and offered to keep his house under surveillance, and to be ready to respond to any call for assistance.

Rod has wielded together an effective Committee based solidly on the labour movement, well supported by minority groups and the local Jewish community.

Having failed to intimidate him by the usual methods, one of the NF members took out a private summons alleging that he had been assaulted by Rod.

However, even a policeman called by the NF who was on the spot where the alleged “assault” took place stated he saw no such assault. This was confirmed by other witnesses who, despite threats, were prepared to give evidence.

Rod was acquitted.

In the same Court the next day, however, Paul Trill, agent for the NF candidate, admitted he had followed two young anti-fascists onto a bus and punched and kicked them.

Trill, of course, strenuously denied that he was part of an NF pack on the look out for anti-fascists to beat up.

He was fined £100 with £40 costs.

It was interesting to note that while on the previous day the NF were very much in evidence in the public gallery – they included Regional Organiser “Parker”, Tyndall’s father-in-law – not one was present to support Trill. He had to face the music alone.

“We have learned a lot from these events,” Rod Fitch told Militant. “Our determination is stronger and our organisation has been reinforced. While our campaigning work and investigations continue, our self-defence will be kept on the alert in the event of any backlash by the fascists.”

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Last updated: 3 June 2016