Strategies against racism: a comparison of a social movement and case studies of anti-racist policy and practice in the local state

  • Michael F. Crabtree

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The thesis compares two contrasting strategies employed with the aim of combating particular forms of racism within contemporary Britain. Both are assessed as political strategies in their own right and placed within the broader context of reformist and revolutionary political traditions. The sociology of social movements is examined critically, as are Marxist and post-Marxist writings on the role of human agency within social structures and on the nature of social movements. The history of the Anti Nazi League (ANL) in the late 1970s and its opposition to the National Front is considered as an example of anti-racist social movement based on the Trotskyist model of the United Front. The degree to which the Anti Nazi League corresponded to such a model is analysed as are the potential broader applications for such a strategy. The strategy with which the ANL is compared is the development of anti-racist and equal opportunities policies within local government in the 1980s, primarily by Labour-controlled local authorities. The theory of the local state and the political phenomenon of municipal socialism are discussed, specifically the role of various groups operating in and around local authorities in the formation and implementation of anti-racist policy and practice. Following this general discussion, two case studies in each of the areas of local authority housing, education and employment are explored to consider in depth the problems of specific anti-racist policies. In summation the efficacy of the two strategies are considered as parts of wider political currents in tandem with their declared specific objectives.
Date of AwardSept 1988
Original languageEnglish


  • anti-racism
  • social movement
  • Anti Nazi League
  • local state

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