While the first anti-fascists emerged with the rise of dictator Mussolini in Italy, the resurgence of neo-fascism in Britain in the 1960s led to the creation of the 62 Group, a non-fascist coalition, in 1962. Started in response to this rise in neofascism, they appointed Gerry Gable to work with their intelligence operation. This led to the formation of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, alongside Searchlight Associates, an information service aimed at exposing racist and fascist groups. Searchlight Associates collected material from a wide range of radical right groups, primarily in Britain but also Italy and internationally. They especially focused on the British National Party, Combat 18, the English Defence League, as well as activist groups with opposing ideology. The results of these investigations formed the Searchlight Archive, which is a major body of material documenting the activities of British and international fascist and racist organizations. It is also a unique archive and is one of the most extensive and significant resources of its type in Europe. The archive features an array of material and documents related to the history of the extreme right.
This collection contains leaflets, stickers, posters, electoral ephemera and other political propaganda from politically right leaning groups, such as the British Movement, British National Party, Combat 18, England First, International Third Positionists, National Front, National Socialist Movement, and the National Socialist Party of Australia. These materials offer unique insight into the beliefs, actions, and campaigning strategies of several racist and fascist movements, and others supporting right-wing extremism, in addition to mapping the evolution of extreme right movements throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century.
This collection is highly important, not only for those interested in the history of far-right movements in Britain and abroad, but any researcher attempting to understand global politics in the twentieth century.
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