“The day I realised music could change the world”

Billy Bragg – among my heroes, and definitely one of the reasons I critique (and, fair to say, criticise) the US to its face – has an article in today’s Guardian.

Back in the late 70s, I was working in an office, a place of casual racism and homophobia. I never spoke out against it because I felt I was in a minority and didn’t want the grief. On the streets, the National Front were marching through immigrant neighbourhoods, stirring up trouble and trying to divide communities.

I may well have carried on turning a blind eye were it not for the Clash. When their name was added to the bill of the first Rock Against Racism carnival in April 1978, I knew I had to be there. When I arrived at the rally, in east London, I was amazed to see 100,000 young people just like me – one for every vote the National Front had won in the council elections the year before.

It is brief, and it is specific to the UK (the BNP, specifically), but it is still the man who wrote The Great Leap Forward


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