John Shemeld

The year before

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Grosvenor Square 1968 has become a common piece of historical shorthand (Feature, Socialist Review, May 2008).

There was a demonstration against the Vietnam War in March 1968 in London. It did not go to the US embassy. The battle of Grosvenor Square, when the police mounted full scale cavalry charges, was in October 1967.

The March 1968 effort was much larger but much more passive. Tariq Ali led it off to Hyde Park, and only the ultra-lefts (yes, I was one) went to Grosvenor Square, where we were totally outnumbered by the police (who didn't lose it this time). Apparently, at the end, they all sang Auld Lang Syne together (no, I didn't). There was none of that in 1967.

Rather the Gangster Than the Fascist?

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I agree with Chris Harman (June SR) on the danger of a re-emergence of popular front politics, but I do not agree that this meant abstaining in the second round of the French presidential election.

The LCR in France were right to call for a vote against Nazi Le Pen and therefore, unfortunately, for Tory Chirac during and only during the crucial two weeks of street demonstrations between the first and second rounds. Football fans understand two things that are relevant here. Firstly, if they are there in the stadium, and if they choose to support one side, they can have a small but real effect on the result.

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