Campaign Against Racism and Fascism
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (April 2009)|
The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF) is an anti-racist group based in London with a history going back to the mid-1970s. It was originally an anti-racist/anti-fascist paper published by Anti-Fascist Committees in Greater London, later it appeared as a section within the anti-Fascist Searchlight magazine, and later still it split with Searchlight to publish as an independent magazine for some years before closing down in 2003. The CARF editorial collective was always closely associated with the IRR (Institute of Race Relations) and the CARF group now operates as a support group for the IRR's news output.
The journal CARF was first published in late 1976 by the Richmond & Twickenham Anti Racist Committee. In 1977 it was adopted as the paper of the (London) Anti-Racist, Anti-Fascist Co-ordinating Committee (ARAFCC) - a federation of the broad-based anti-fascist committees that had sprung up across Greater London in response to the growth of the National Front and its Strasserite offshoot, the National Party. ARAFCC and CARF were also associated with the Institute of Race Relations.
When ARAFCC wound down in 1979 CARF continued to publish under an agreement with the then editor of Searchlight, Maurice Ludmer, with whom they had generally good relations, and CARF appeared for several years as a separately edited section within Searchlight. This arrangement continued after the untimely death of Ludmer in 1981, but was put under some strain by the perception that Searchlight maintained too close a relationship with pro-Zionist groups (Zionism being regarded as a racist ideology by the great majority of leftist and anti-racist groups and organisations in the UK).
This strain came to a head in 1991 when Searchlight editor (and one of its original founders) Gerry Gable was accused of excluding leading Asian anti-racists from a public platform and when he published an article promoting the openly pro-Israeli/pro-Zionist Jewish Action Group in the pages of Searchlight. The CARF editorial group decided to end their relationship with Searchlight and CARF went back to being an independent magazine with an editorial collective based largely on members and supporters of the IRR. By this time the activists from the London Anti-Fascist Committees who had founded CARF in the 1970s were no longer prominent and CARF had therefore lost most of its connections with local working-class and Labour Movement bodies (e.g. with local trades councils that had established or sponsored most of the London Anti-Fascist Committees).
CARF published until 2003, when it was decided that the magazine was no longer viable and it effectively became a support group for the IRR's own publishing and promotional efforts.