Class War: To be or not to be? TO BE!

Class War as a federation officially ‘folded’ in 2010, a few years before a massive upturn in political activity. Class War began in the early 1980’s as a newspaper collective thingy but in 1985 became a federation and as I said folded as an organisation in 2010. This could not have came at a worse time because just after it folded, the Millbank (Conservative Party HQ) was stormed and trashed, rioting in Whitehall which resulted in young ‘uns giving the police the run around and ending with the trashing of a police van, rioting in Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square which resulted in places such as the Treasury etc. being given a right old battering…and this was just the tail end of 2010!

In 2011 we had another student demo in January (Largely uneventful), a very successful black bloc which rampaged across the West End on 26th March trashing banks, posh shops, even the Ritz Hotel got their own version of 60 Minute Makeover (Also there was an occupation of Fortnum and Mason by people unrelated to the black bloc) with rioting lasting into the night accompanied by scuffles in Trafalgar Square. Then there was of course the total hammering that the police took in Stoke’s Croft, Bristol which resulted in heavy rioting a month or two on from 26th March, June saw a national and inaffective 1 day strike by teachers and some public sector workers (Including the scab union the ATL) and best and most importantly of all, the uprising of August 2011. This was much, MUCH better as it involved the working-class on an even bigger and mass scale than what had gone on in the rest of 2011 and the previous year. Of course some things happened which were not good but overall the uprising was such a massive explosion of class anger and hatred it wipes out any fucking lefty (Or other) shit analysis which came after it.

The uprising began in Tottenham, London but over the next week had spread throughout the city and to other cities too. Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, minor incident in the North-East where a police station had their windows done, a copper was injured and police vehicles burned etc. It spread like wildfire! Of course in the aftermath there was massive amounts of condemnation from the left towards the rioters (Even some ‘anarchists’ included) and for me it was more obvious than ever that there were just too many who masturbated to the idea of uprising but when one happened right here on our doorsteps they shit themselves big time. Unfortunately only a few of us spoke up in support and/or actually took part. Violent confrontations with fascists are increasingly coming back onto the agenda too.

Apart from the spikey stuff we have the bedroom tax, continuing austerity measures, rise of right-wing populism and a general inpotency of the left. We also had the death of that horrible fucker Margaret Thatcher and the highly successful party in Trafalgar Square that Saturday after she died (One of the best days of my life). We also have the scumbags from the UK Border Agency worming their way around our streets and increasing social control and police presence in our communities (Which is not a good thing).

So what does all of this have to do with Class War?

Well, one of the things Class War initially set out to do was make the connection between general working-class people and the politics but not in a dry and boring way. Also worthy of note was that it had great success in marginalising the middle-class left. For this they were hated by the left but so fuck? What does that matter? What matters is how Class War related to the class not how it fared with the left.

So what is Class War?

Class War was the most successful (Dare I say) left newspaper ever in the U.K. (At least circulation wise) and was also an organisation. It done a better job of relating to and agitating in and amongst the working-class than any pseudo-intellectual middle-class lefty outfit ever did or could ever dream of. In reality Class War folded but never died. It organised beyond itself especially in and around the miners’ strike of 1984-1985, the riots of the 1980’s, police brutality and indiscriminate raids, the Poll Tax revolt, the Criminal Justice Bill, participation in Anti-Fascist Action, against ID cards at football, gentrification, Stop the City, Bash the Rich, prison work, Reclaim the Streets and spawning groups such as Movement Against the Monarchy and Men Against Sexist Shit. This is all to name a few. Class War is alive and well in it’s veteran activists, in our schools, sincere anarchist groups, in colleges, in estates, in our youth clubs, in the streets etc. because class war is more than just a group or newspaper, it’s an attitude, it’s sheer class pride, unity and anger. It’s the boiling hatred when we see yuppies prance about like the arse holes they are, when we see the police, when we see some scum bag smack and crack dealer dealing to other working-class people, when we see racists and fascists rampaging in our communities, when we see reactionary ideas infecting the minds of other working-class people amd when we see and hear lefties telling us our position in society as if we don’t already fucking know.

It was said that Class War “became a stereotype of itself” and that it “dealt in sterotypes” but this is bullshit! Class War dealt (And deals) in the politics of reality, something which fascists and lefties alike are so far removed from. Class War took on issues and politics which were relevant to our class and in a way which was direct, humorous and fun. The politics to us (Working-class people) are not so much politics but the realities of every day life, no other group or tradition to my knowledge took this on as well as Class War did/has if at all. The left and do-nothing anarchists hated Class War for all of the right reasons, because Class War showed them up for exactly what they were and still are.

I was never in the Class War Federation but I know many people who were. Although I was never in Class War as a federation, I firmly put myself in that tradition. I say that I am Class War and proud of it because Class War has continued despite the fold in 2010. It’s veteran activists are still active, new people are coming through including many of whom were radicalised by working-class street level anti-fascism and the riots of August 2011. For me no other tradition relates to me and other working-class people I know in the way that Class War does. I read their texts from back in the day and instead of reading some boring, triumphalist, victimhood bullshit which oozes from the left, I find exactly what myself, my family, my friends, my workmates, my girlfriend and some of my other comrades are thinking and feeling which is unrelentless and unapologetic class pride, unity, hatred and anger.

Personally speaking, Class War has entered into electoral politics (As the Class War Party) and anyone who knows me will know my great distrust and dislike of electoral politics. Having said that though, whether it is, for lack of a better term, a “stunt” or whether it is something more than that, I see something good coming out of it. Beyond the elections I would like to see Class War reestablish itself as both a newspaper and also as either a federation as it was OR as a formal network of already existing groups and structures for example ALARM, Manchester Anti-Capitalist Action, Leeds Anti-Fascist Network, North-East Anarchists, Wessex Solidarity etc. We are hear, there and everywhere so let’s get it moving and make this year and every year after it ours because the time has never been as relevant for Class War as it is now!

By the way, go to the new round of Rock Against the Rich gigs that are coming up because if you don’t, the next trendy lefty I see gets it!

Class War ’til I die (Even then I’ll be haunting the middle and upper class)!

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