Intolerants not welcome – The Battle of Lewisham 1977

13 August 2017 will be the 40th Anniversary of the “Battle of Lewisham” when thousands of local people and other anti-racists refused to allow the fascist National Front to intimidate them with a provocative march through the community. Lewisham poet Mark ‘Mr T’ Thompson has written this poem in remembrance and celebration of the historic event. Openeye Film, with Revolting Films and The Cultural Chameleon press, have captured Mark performing his poem on the very streets that were defended so courageously 40 years ago.

Intolerants not welcome – The Battle of Lewisham 13.08.1977

An anti muggers march, called by mugs who wanted to spread hate
August thirteenth in ’seventy seven, history demands we mark the date
when South East London screamed out for black and white to unite and fight,
ensuring wronguns on right would never again be so bold or bright.

The backward Front was in for one hell of a surprise;
they’d find Clifton was a hill up which they just couldn’t rise,
So behind brown-boy hunting boys in blue, and baton wielding horsemen,
on Achilles, this most dishonourable guard wheeled to come again!

But the locals stood firm, even with kids in our front ranks,
so today, we youngers need to give it up and show some thanks
to those old boys and girls who got up, stood up, and who never come fi play –
the beating heart of Lewisham who pogo-skanked to block the way.

Some will tell you that we rioted,
and they are not entirely wrong
but we would not be quieted
and we faced up proud and strong

landing one thump ‘Pon fascism’s glass chin;
sure, we fought with the law, but the law couldn’t win
because these are OUR streets
and this IS our home
where from the cradle we’ve been rocked by our beats
and mock racists, who still fear on these roads to roam.

See, what happened on this day is,
as one, our people made it clear –
intolerants, listen up, unnu are not welcome here!

Next weekend there will be a number of events to celebrate the anniversary.

On Friday 11th August Mark ‘Mr T’ Thompson, will be performing alongside Attila the Stockbroker, Robb Johnson, Zena Edwards and more at Spirit of ’77: Protest poetry and song.
Find tickets to Spirit of 77 here

There is one comment

  1. Colin Frost-Herbert

    Brilliant poem. Wasn’t there, should have been but partner of the time was frightened for me. But was about during skirmishes just a few weeks before when we drove the NF off of a Catford paper sale. Reenacted a scene out of Cabaret, knocked the fascist papers in to the gutter. The nazis sought refuge in a local pub and we picketed. The police told us they wouldn’t leave their hideaway until we left, we told the law that we were not going until they had disappeared. Do not remember how it was resolved – 40 years is a long time – but I guess the finishing touches were laid in Lewisham in the way the poet describes.

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