Digging around the other day for the source of the late Julie Waterson's quote about BNP voters being "scum off housing estates", I found myself searching in vain for Red Action material on-line.
Much of it can be found at the Red Action Archive.
With hindsight, I think Red Action were one of the most important developments on the left in my lifetime. The attempt to come to terms with being predominantly working class activists within a mostly middle class 'revolutionary' left created a similar dynamic to that which Class War experienced in the Anarchist movement. That tension produced some very, very good writing in Red Action, especially when it became a magazine - be it on Ireland, class, community and of course anti-fascism. Some of the critiques, especially of the SWP's anti-fascist front groups, or the security service links of Searchlight Magazine, landed knockout blows.
There were problems, many of which brought about Red Action's rather stuttering demise. One of the things we always used to say in Class War was "you can take Red Action out of the SWP, but you can't take the SWP out of Red Action". Red Action fell out with virtually everyone they worked with over the years, and were never wrong on anything, ever.
This ideological arrogance (Leninism in practice?) sat uneasily with the open, 'back to our communities' approach of the Red Action initiated Independent Working Class Association. More generally, the long slog of community organising proved beyond the fatigue levels of activists who for the first time were going up against, not the fringe groups of the far left or fascist right, but the local machines of national political parties. Even here, the old Red Action soon surfaced, with Hackney IWCA falling out with its parent body.
Such of course is politics, and internal arguments become nastier and more amplified when the rest of the world is carrying on without you. I still read my old copies of Red Action (with the odd exception of some of those densely typed centre pages on Marx in the newspaper!) and continue to learn from them. Do check out their archive.