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DCA Archive

White Riot

Rubika Shah

Rubika Shah’s prize-winning documentary explores how the 1970s London protest movement Rock Against Racism (RAR) challenged British fascists head-on with passion, defiance and of course, great music.

In the late 1970s, Britain was in turmoil. Industrial strife and a lurch to the right had established the racist National Front as an ugly presence on the streets and a potential force in parliament. One salvation, politically and culturally, came in the form of punk rock, whose musicians were angry, rebellious and touched the hearts and minds of the nation’s youth. Rock Against Racism was formed in 1976 in partial response to ‘music’s biggest colonialist’ Eric Clapton and his support of racist MP Enoch Powell. As neo-Nazis recruited the nation’s youth, RAR’s grassroots publications and multicultural punk and reggae gigs provided rallying points for resistance.

“Rock Against Racism challenged British fascists head-on with passion, defiance and of course, great music”

White Riot brilliantly chronicles this confrontation, incorporating archive footage and contemporary interviews to create an evocative picture of what became a highly effective movement. A timely and very relevant film, this vital documentary is full of present-day echoes.


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