Thirty or more of the men involved in the BYF attended a conference against racism and book launch in Birmingham in September.
It was impressive to see how the movement that empowered a community still endures — all the speakers used lessons learnt in the Battle of Brick Lane to speak for the need to unite and organise against racism today.
From the perspective of a Muslim woman, migrant and anti-racist activist this book is incredibly important, lovely to read and inspirational.
It is well needed at this moment when Britain’s far-right is starting to gain confidence and grow in size, with thousands attending their mobilisations.
The unique thing about this book is that it is written from the Bangladeshi community’s point of view, as a then new ethnic minority migrant community, by someone who was young at the time and who was one of the people who took the matter into their own hands and organised along with anti-racists and socialists and fought back, winning some important victories.
There is a well detailed description of both state racism and fascist’s daily attacks, as well as the ill treatment and blatant injustice received from the police.
This book should be read by everyone who wants to appreciate the battle that this community fought to help create the Britain that we know today.
Hopefully because of this book more of the Muslim community will decide to get involved in anti-racist campaigns. If they smashed the National Front at Brick Lane in the 1970s we can do it again with the fascists now.
Epic struggles such as Brick Lane helped to bring in equality laws around discrimination, improved the lives and social standing of Asians in general and helped strengthen anti-racism in the trade union movement.
We can learn from the strategies and tactics used at the time and recognise that, despite the great dangers facing us today, important gains and advantages were won for us which we can continue to use.