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Editor Nick Lowles
Categories Politics
Frequency Monthly
First issue 1975
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Searchlight is a British anti-fascist magazine, founded in 1975, which publishes exposés about racism, antisemitism, and fascism in the UK.

Searchlight's main focus is on the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18, and other sections of the far right. The magazine is published by political activist Gerry Gable and edited by Nick Lowles, and was founded by the late Maurice Ludmer, a lifelong socialist and longstanding anti-racist and anti-fascist.


Early history

The current Searchlight magazine was preceded in the early 1960s by a magazine of the same name, edited by left-wing Labour Party Members of Parliament Reg Freeson and Joan Lestor with Gerry Gable as "research director". It ceased publication in 1967, but Gable, Ludmer and others stayed together as Searchlight Associates before re-launching a regular journal. The pilot issue of the new Searchlight appeared in February 1975, with Maurice Ludmer as its editor.[1]

Ludmer and Gable were also amongst the first sponsors of the Anti-Nazi League, with Ludmer sitting on its first steering group.[2]

In the Ludmer years, Searchlight had a close relationship with CARF, the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, whose magazine was published as an insert from 1979.

After Ludmer's early death in 1981, British academic Vron Ware briefly took over the editorial role until 1983.[3]



State Links

Publisher Gerry Gable is known to have links with MI5. His leaked 1977 London Weekend Television Memo stated that he had "given names I have acquired to be checked out by British/French security services".[4] A 1987 profile referred to Gable's "wide range of contacts, including people in the secret services."[5]

Anarchist Distrust

The most consistent and in-depth left-wing critic of the Searchlight organisation is the veteran anarchist Larry O’Hara, publisher/editor of Notes From the Borderland.[6] As well as numerous articles in the Notes From the Borderland magazine [7] he also published a booklet Searchlight for Beginners in 1996.[8]

The British anarchist website has a number of articles alleging that Searchlight pursues an anti-left-wing agenda.[9][10]


The veracity of some of Searchlight’s claims has been called into question in court, occasionally resulting in legal damages, most notably in the cases involving libertarian writer Alexander Baron.[11][12]

Charitable status

At the insistence of the British National Party, Searchlight and the associated Searchlight Educational Trust were investigated by the British Charity Commission of England and Wales as a result of a complaint that claimed that the Educational Trust had been engaging in political activity incompatible with its charitable status.

The Commission's report stated that, in its opinion, the Searchlight Educational Trust had gone beyond the Commission's guidelines on political activities, and found there was a need for a greater distinction between the public activities of Searchlight Magazine and the educational trust. No action was taken as the charity agreed to follow the Commission's recommendations.[13] Searchlight is now divided into three main bodies; Searchlight magazine, the monthly anti-fascist and anti-racist magazine, Searchlight Information Services, a research and investigatory body which briefs governments, politicians, journalists and the police, and finally Searchlight Educational Trust, a charity devoted to teaching the dangers of racism and fascism.[14]

Relations with other anti-fascist groups

The magazine has hostile relations with some other anti-fascist groups in Britain. The magazine group was original part of the steering committee of Unite Against Fascism, but resigned their position after differences over tactics.[15]

Despite this however, Searchlight magazine maintains friendly relationships with other groups, such as Australia's FightDemBack and some other groups.


Searchlight relies for its material on those involved in the far-right. This includes a range of infiltrators, defectors and casual informers.

Its most famous defectors have been Ray Hill[16] and Sonia Hochfelder. Infiltrators have included Peter Rushton.[17] Most of its material, however, comes from informers,for example Alan Harvey,[18] who do so because of feuds with their fellow right-wingers and not from any conviction of Searchlight's cause.


In the early years of the 21st century, Searchlight launched two interlinked anti-BNP and anti-racism campaigns, Stop the BNP and Hope not Hate. Hope not Hate has received endorsement and national publicity from the Daily Mirror newspaper, and revolves around an annual two week bus tour in the run-up to local elections.[19][20]

See also

Further reading

  • White Noise by Nick Lowles, 96 pages (November 13, 1998), Publisher: Searchlight Magazine Ltd. ISBN 0-9522038-3-9.
  • Searchlight for Beginners by Larry O'Hara, 30 pages (June 1996), Publisher: Phoenix Press. ISBN 0-948984-33-3.
  • From Cable Street to Oldham-70 Years of Community Resistance edited by Nick Lowles, 165 pages (October 2007), Publisher: Searchlight Magazine Ltd. ISBN 0-9522038-7-1.


  1. ^ Searchlight and the State
  2. ^ David Renton, “The Anti-Nazi League as social movement” Paper at the New Socialist Approaches to History seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, 6th June 2005
  3. ^ Arcadia Books
  4. ^ First published in the New Statesman 15th February 1980, reproduced in Lobster Magazine issue 24 December 1992
  5. ^ Jewish Chronicle 23 October 1987
  6. ^
  7. ^ for example Issues 2 p32-33 & p34-43 (1998); 3 p14-38(2000); 4 p11-13 & 18-19(2001); 5 p16-19 & p54-55 (2003); 6 p11-39 & p43-47 (2004)
  8. ^ Online Version of Searchlight for Beginners
  9. ^ Libcom website
  10. ^ Libcom website
  11. ^ Alexander Baron Alexander Baron v.Gerry Gable and Others: Summary of One of the Libel Actions of the Decade (and Related Legal Actions) ITMA, ISBN-10: 1871473195 (1997)
  12. ^ The Independent 22 June 1996
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^
  15. ^ Silver, Steve (July 2005). "Letter of resignation to UAF". Searchlight. Retrieved 2008-12-10.  
  16. ^ R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror- Inside Europe’s Neo-Nazi Network, London: Collins, 1988
  17. ^ 'Gerry's Helpers'
  18. ^ Hugh Muir's Diary, The Guardian 19 August 2008
  19. ^ Ross Wynne-Jones (2008-04-30). "Our two-week grand tour to beat racism". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  20. ^ Nick Lowles (2008-04-17). "Hope not Hate bus tour 2008: The day before". Searchlight. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  

External links

Public statements

Anti-fascist criticism of Searchlight

Right-wing criticism of Searchlight


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