The election and its aftermath

This was the 14th election of my lifetime. The earliest I can recall with any clarity was 1979, when I was a sixth form politics student and Thatcher came to power. By the next one, 1983, I was old enough to vote but didn’t, as by then I had been an anarchist for several years.

1979 marked the beginning of 18 long years of Tory ascendency and when Blair came to power in 1997 it felt like a watershed to many. Stories of people dancing in the streets in the early hours are not apocryphal. Nevertheless New Labour was pretty awful – especially for political activists.

Blair & Co. were very popular for about 10 years but first the Iraq War, then the economic crash of 2008, ruined that and the ConDem coalition took over from 2010. They have ruthlessly pursued their austerity agenda, targeting the poorest and most vulnerable in society while the rich have never had it so good.

2015 was different in that it was the first social media election. Facebook and Twitter were around five years ago but they were far less popular then. This time they became the platforms on which a bitter feud between Green Party and Labour Party supporters was played out every day of the campaign.

With the shock result came the blame game. Those who voted Green were told they had let in the Tories while me and others who didn’t participate in the farce of parliamentary democracy were roundly condemned as just as responsible for the all the bad things that will occur over the next five years as the perpetrators themselves.

Someone on Facebook said the only way I could earn redemption for not voting Labour was by going to the cull zones when the badger massacre starts this summer. A ludicrous idea if you think about it because my vote would have made not a jot of difference. Equally I could ask the Labour voters whether they would have become anti-vivisection campaigners had Labour been elected.

There is a long history of animal rights groups turning into cheerleaders for Labour when elections roll around. In the eighties and nineties campaigns like Putting Animals Into Politics, Mobilisation for Laboratory Animals and Manifesto for Animals tried to get Labour elected and failed. They were run by national organisations like the BUAV, League Against Cruel Sports, Compassion in World Farming, etc, and were generally ignored or condemned by activists as an expensive waste of money.

It’s a shame, therefore, that  the grassroots chose to get mixed up in this sorry mess this time. The main culprit was Cull the Tories whose strategy spectacularly backfired. As the results rolled in they were forced to confront the disaster on Facebook: “Every household in Cardiff North was leafletted by “stop the cull” activists, but the tories have held onto it”. Oh dear!

The result has seen collective hand-wringing on the left, followed by deep reflection for Labour and its supporters. But for revolutionaries it has been a dismal few days as well. Although an anarchist, I have definitely not been gloating or saying “I told you so!”. That over 11 million people voted for a party that has heaped so much misery and suffering on ordinary people.

Labour believes it lost because it was too left-wing and didn’t attract the “aspirational” middle classes. In fact as I spelled out in my post on Labour and the working class last week, the party was far from being left wing or even social democratic in the conventional sense.Unfortunately the promised post on Labour and animals never got published due to another problem with’s servers.

In the end the Tories won because the electorate – in England – didn’t warm to their “austerity-lite” package of further cuts to public spending and benefits and because they were blamed for the crash in the first place. Miliband’s tactic of putting clear-red water between him and New Labour backfired.

It’s obvious that Labour has failed and will now quickly revert to a slightly less rabid version of the Tories. In any case we’re stuck with the latter until at least 2020 by which time Labour could have morphed into something as bad or even worse than Blair’s brigade. We will have to organise to resist the onslaught of further cuts and austerity ourselves.

Although I would never fall into the trap of saying “things have to get worse before they get better”, perhaps another five years of cuts, social cleansing, benefit sanctions, badger culls, etc , can concentrate the minds of those on the left who aren’t content with the “lesser of the two evils” option and want to radically shake things up.

The signs so far are promising. Within a day of the election result there was a 2,000 strong demo outside Downing Street. People are angry at the prospect of the Tories and fighting back. As Johnny Void said on his blog:

What recent events show is that the days of boring A to B marches, with routes agreed in advance with police and heavy stewarding, are clearly no longer what people want. If thousands are prepared to take to the streets then that should be the only mandate necessary. Fuck asking permission, there is no law anyway that says you have to go crawling to the authorities before you can hold a static demonstration. And if that demonstration is so strong it can take the streets then there is fuck all anyone can do to stop it.

Many more protests are being organised across the country with big ones called for in London on 30 May by UK Uncut and 20 June by the People’s Assembly. Martin Wright of Class War, speaking on Ian Bone’s blog, reckons there will be a “summer of turmoil”. Who knows? He could be right.

But the fightback isn’t just about mass shows of defiance. In March 2011 about 100,000 people marched against austerity and there was black bloc disorder in central London. It didn’t bring down the government.

According to So, the government got in… on, there is no single blueprint for creating a mass movement “that effectively resists the attacks we face as a class…We need to pick winnable battles, draw more people in by showing that our methods work, and escalate as our numbers grow.”

And for the animal rights movement it consists of doing what it has always done best, organising locally and getting activists out onto the streets. It was heartening to see the latest British Heartless Foundation day of action on Saturday 9 May, just two days after the election.

As says:

So, with the voting done, the only effective thing we can do is build up resistance from the ground. Otherwise, in five years’ time, we’ll still have nothing else but the desperate, futile hope that Labour aren’t as bad. And make no mistake – that’s a sure sign of a broken movement.

Why Labour can’t be trusted: 1) the working class

“Inequality at levels not seen under Macmillan, Heath, Thatcher or Major. Real cuts in the incomes for those at the bottom of the pile. No progress in reducing child or pensioner poverty. A record number of working-age adults without children living below the breadline.”

So began Larry Elliot of The Guardian’s attack on rising inequality and poverty in Britain. You would think he was talking about the coalition’s record during the past five years but in fact the article was published in May 2009 after 12 years of Labour government. He goes on to say that Labour “inherited one of the west’s most unequal societies from the Conservatives in 1997 and, far from reversing the trend, it has allowed the gulf between rich and poor to widen.”

It’s sometimes assumed that Tony Blair’s version of Labour was a blip or a deviation from the true Labour Party. During the long 13 years of New Labour you’d hear people describing themselves as “Old Labour” and lamenting the party of the past.

New Labour wasn’t a blip, it was the culmination of everything the party had been heading towards ever since it was founded in 1900. That we can’t trust Labour isn’t due merely to what happened from 1997-2010 – undeniably bad though that was – it is a reflection of its whole sorry history.

Labour’s past is the story of conscripting working class men into armies and sending abroad to die, rearmament, using the police and army to break strikes, compensating and doing deals with company bosses while workers lose their jobs, freezing or even cutting wages, and reducing public spending on health and education (some of the first anti-cuts protests were against the Labour government of the seventies) while spending billions on nuclear weapons and waging war.

That’s all I want to say about Labour’s past here because I want to deal with the present and the impending election. Click on the libcom link at the end of this article to find out more.

Given what is already known about Labour, nothing should come as a surprise but the proposals in its manifesto are genuinely shocking. Benefits will be scrapped completely for 18-21 year olds and replaced by some form of mass YTS or workfare scheme.  All those over 25 and out of work for two years will be forced into the Compulsory Jobs Guarantee (CJG) programme, or lose their benefits.

This has been described as workfare plus a sandwich scheme. In an analysis of the scheme that appeared on his blog last year, Johnny Void said ne believed many people in these new compulsory jobs could be worse off than on current Tory workfare schemes.

The jobs will be only 25 hours per week and those over 21 would receive only about £160, meaning they will have little more than they get on the dole after paying rent and even less once travel expenses are deducted.

It gets even worse, however, as those on CJG no longer be classed as unemployed – handily for the government – and therefore could no longer be eligible for Council Tax Support, the scheme introduced by the Tories to replace Council Tax Benefit by handing control to local authorities to help the poorest pay local taxes.

Those on the CJG will also face mandatory training for 10 hours a week. Labour hasn’t specified exactly how this will be implemented but a press release put out last year suggested employers would be given an extra £500 to provide it. Those on the scheme would have to work an extra 10 hours without wages under the guise of it being “work experience”. This means participants would five hours a week more to work than those on current workfare.

Labour has said it will keep the notorious Work Capability Assessment (not really a surprise as it was introduced by the party) and introduce an additional “work support programme” for disabled people who can work. This could be a euphemism for a type of workfare. There are no plans to halt the closure of the Independent Living Fund, scrap or even reduce benefit sanctions, reverse the appalling reforms to Council Tax benefit mentioned above, and Universal Credit will only be “paused and reviewed”.

Shockingly, Labour not only endorses the benefit cap but intends to investigate the possibility of lowering it in some areas. That means more social cleansing for families in certain places. And total social security spending will be capped as part of each spending review. Child benefits will be cut in real terms, some pensioners will lose winter fuel allowance and the age we receive pensions will be raised which will entail more people working till they die.

The key to Labour’s election campaign is balancing the books. This is apparent from the first page of the manifesto where the first commitment is cutting the deficit every year and getting the national debt falling “as soon as possible” in the next parliament. On the same page it also talks about tough spending decisions, and boasts that it will cap social security spending and rises in child benefit for two years.

This is the same old Labour Party, doing what it has done throughout its history: attacking the living standards and welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, instead of taking the struggle to the bosses, the rich and privileged

As Johnny Void says:

“This is the fucking Labour Party in 2015.  Every bit as intent on punishing the poorest as the Tories.  If the Labour Party wins next month then don’t be ordinary, don’t be young, don’t fall ill and don’t be old.  Because Ed Miliband could not give anymore of a shit about the poor than Iain Duncan Smith.”

Tomorrow I will explain why Labour can’t be trusted on animal protection

Flashback: 31 March 1990 – the Poll Tax Riot

Exactly 25 years ago today, the biggest and most famous of all poll tax riots occurred in London. On a mild, sunny afternoon 200,000 people marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square to protest against the iniquitous tax.

A large group of protesters were penned in when police blocked the top and bottom of Whitehall. After several heavy-handed arrests, a series of scuffles broke out as people tried to break through police lines and march to Trafalgar Square.

Serious rioting began when mounted police attacked crowds in Trafalgar Square. Police vans came under attack after they were driven at demonstrators to disperse them. Builder’s cabins in the square were set on fire, as were parts of the South African Embassy nearby.

Fighting spilled out into the busy streets of the West End and continued into the night. Numerous shops, car showrooms and expensive restaurants and clubs – including Stringfellows – were attacked. Hundreds were reported injured, including many police officers, and 339 demonstrators were arrested.

In context:  The community charge – or poll tax as it became known – was the flagship policy of the Thatcher government. Everyone was liable to pay, regardless of income.  One of its instigators, environment minister Nicholas Ridley, bragged that a dustman would pay the same as a duke.

The tax was widely unpopular, especially when tax rates set by local councils were much higher than initially predicted.  By the end of 1989 there were 1000 Anti-Poll Tax Unions throughout Britain. The APTUs encouraged non-payment, and organised protests and resistance to bailiffs.

As councils held meetings to set their poll tax rates in spring 1990, a series of demonstrations turned into riots. These occurred in London boroughs such as Lambeth and Hackney and in other towns and cities as well. This set the mood for the national march.

What happened next: The riot was widely condemned not only by the Tories but also by Labour and even by the far left Militant Tendency who’d organised the march.

As well as those detained on the day, more than 100 were arrested afterwards due to video and photographic evidence. The Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign offered unconditional support and video footage it acquired from the police helped get people off trumped up charges.

The popular press had a field day and published “wanted” photos of the protesters. One iconic image showed a masked woman confronting a riot cop. In May the Daily Mail revealed the identity of “Britain’s most wanted poll tax rioter” as 21-year-old Lorraine Vivian after her mother recognised her. She was imprisoned for one year.

During 1990 the poll tax grew in unpopularity and more and more people said “can’t pay, won’t pay”. Margaret Thatcher resigned in November 1990 and her successor John Major announced its replacement by the council tax, which took some account of ability to pay.

An interesting footnote is the link between the anti-poll tax movement and animal rights, which was going through a militant phase of its own.  Police said 37 of those arrested “had some form of links” with AR, including one person who was found in possession of incendiary devices after his home was raided.

In March 1991 a rally to mark the anniversary of the riot went ahead as a ”victory parade” instead of a protest. Although rioting in London had received the most attention, it was widespread resistance and non-payment that defeated the state

The general election: (1) what anarchists do instead of voting

It couldn’t possibly have failed to escape the attention of anyone living in the UK that a general election is due soon. In fact it’s almost exactly two month’s away and all the parties and the press are beside themselves with excitement. Social media is full of it too with many of my Facebook friends discussing who they should vote for.

This is a blog about anarchism and animal rights and over the next few weeks I will be making the case that it’s futile to expect meaningful change to come out of the election. In particular I’m going to be dismantling the view that we should vote Labour in order to improve the lot of animals and indeed ourselves.

But to get the ball rolling I’d like to make some points from the latest special election edition of the Anarchist Federation bulletin, “Resistance”, entitled Angry not Apathetic. It’s available on the web and can also be downloaded as a pdf.

The main argument put forward is not don’t vote and do nothing, it’s organise “with our neighbours, workmates, other people we have shared interests with, and others who don’t have the privileges that some people have.” This is how we can bring about real change, not by putting a X on a ballot paper every five years.

Labour was founded as the party of the trade union movement but throughout its history it has “continually regulated workers under capitalism” and “what remains of the dwindling trade union movement is essentially shackled by harsh restrictive anti-union laws and a totally compliant TUC leadership.”

Many left wing voters opted for the Lib Dems at the last election, especially due to their pledge to abolish tuition fees. As is usually the case with politicians they reneged on that and have propped up the Tories for the last five years. Now in 2015 the Green Party is presented as the radical alternative but experience of them in power in Brighton has led to one worker there calling them: “F***ing Tories on bikes!”

Despite trumpeting calls for the living wage, they joined forces with the Tories on Brighton council in attempting to impose a “pay modernisation” scheme on low-paid workers, meaning some faced a paycut of up to £4,000 a year. Another example of a leftwing party failing to live up to expectations is happening right now in Greece where Syriza “will now be the political wing of the repressive state apparatus.”

Women are continually told they have to vote because of the suffragettes, thus:

voting is turned into an issue of conformity rather than conscience, in direct opposition to who suffragettes were and what they fought for. They never intended their campaigning to stop with getting the vote. Many continued fighting when their leaders were co-opted. They weren’t satisfied, and they didn’t intend us to be. 

Finally the bulletin looks at the new poster boy revolutionary, Russell Brand. Although he claims to believe in many of the things that anarchists do, he “is not qualified to be the spokesperson of the revolution”, especially as his ideas around violence and the state are very naive. It’s all very well talking about the power of “Love” but he disagrees with the need to defend the revolution: “We should use as little violence as possible, but we have to defend the gains we make.”

There’s a lot more that anarchists have to say on elections, parliamentary democracy vs direct democracy and the like and much of it can be found on the web. But “What Anarchists Do Instead of Voting” is a good place to start as an introduction to class struggle anti-authoritarian politics.

Next up, why political parties won’t bring about animal rights.

Bye, bye Beatroot

Spent a few days in London over the past week (which is why this is the first post for a while) and went to Beatroot twice with friends. This small and inexpensive vegetarian/vegan cafe is something of an insitution amongst political activists and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been there after a demo in central London.

Sadly I won’t be going again as come April, it will be closing down – another victim of the gentrification of Soho. The building it’s part of is being turned into a luxury hotel. As well as a row of mainly independent shops, including a music and video exchange that’s been there as long as I can recall, above them there are council flats. What is going to happen to the tenants? Are they being told they will have to move out of the area to make way for the super-rich?

I lived in London for the first 48 years of my life and every time I return I can see how much it’s changing – for the worst! Working class communities are suffering due to the incessant spread of the wealthy elite who’re colonizing the city and imposing sky-high rents to rake in their greedy profits.

Fortunately there has been resistance too. While I was in London there was a week of action called by the Radical Housing Network which included a Block the Budget mass action at City Hall when Boris Jonson’s £1.8 billion budget was voted on. Recently there’s been loads of publicity over the Focus E15 Mums, the victory for the tenants of the New Era Housing Estate in Hackney and a big picket of a conference on selling off council housing which forced it to shut its doors.

This is definitely one area where class politics and animal rights and environmental activism converge. If the ruling class gets its way and London becomes a no-go area for ordinary people, what will happen to campaigns like the one against the fur trade?

The struggle will go on but sadly it appears it’s already too late for Beatroot and other independent shops in Berwick Street, W1, not to mention the fruit and veg market there too. There are still good vegan eateries left in London but you may have to travel a little further in future to the likes of Black Cat cafe in Hackney or Kabaret in Wood Green.

Hunters still getting away with murder!

Last August and early into the new fox hunting season, a sab was ridden down and seriously injured by Mark Doggrell of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt in Dorset. The attack happened during an evening cubbing and pony club meet, where children aged from 7 to 14 were present. The woman spent two weeks in hospital for injuries including seven broken ribs, a collapsed lung and trauma to her shoulder. 

Doggrell was arrested and investigated for causing grevious bodily harm but last week the CPS decided not to bring any charges, citing insufficient evidence. Whilst on bail for this attack he was also charged with assault for breaking a fellow hunter’s nose at their hunt ball.

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt saboteurs Association, stated: “We are disappointed, but not surprised, that no charges have been brought against Mark Doggrell. Historically the police and criminal justice system have allowed acts of violence on hunt saboteurs to go unpunished whilst the saboteurs themselves are prosecuted seemingly at the whim of the hunts.

The announcement coincided with the anniversary of the death of Mike Hill (pictured). He was killed whilst sabbing the Cheshire beagles on 9 February 1991, aged just 18, crushed between a truck and trailer driven by Alan Summersgill. Afterwards an angry group attacked Summersgill’s house and some people were gaoled but he was never charged with any offence, even driving without due care or attention.

Two years later another young man named Tom Worby died on his first sab, crushed under the wheels of a van belonging to the Cambridgeshire Fox Hunt. The driver was huntsman Alan Ball but he too faced no charges. Since then many sabs have been seriously injured, including one named Steve Christmas who nearly died in 2000.

These attacks receive scant coverage, unlike that afforded to the rare instances of saboteurs fighting back. Two weeks ago the joint master of the Tedworth Hunt in Wiltshire was beaten to the ground and required hospital treatment. His injuries weren’t serious – a few broken teeth – but according to the Daily Mail police said they were treating it as a serious incident of ABH and potential public disorder and described it as “a totally unacceptable assault involving a group of men and women wearing balaclavas.”
Some of you reading this might find it hard to believe that saboteurs are still being attacked and hunters getting away with it when hunting with dogs is supposed to have been banned since 2005. In fact it’s the 10th anniversary of the Hunting Act on 18 February. Shouldn’t it be hunt scum themselves who are facing the full force of the law?!
Yesterday the BBC website published an article called Did hunting disappear?  in which Hunt Saboteurs Association is quoted as saying: “Most hunts are carrying on as they did before. The police have never known much about hunting other than how to try to protect it, so we never had much faith in them changing sides”
The problem is the police don’t want to enforce the law and neither do the CPS. It’s left to hunt monitors to follow hunts and try to record their wrongdoing but they too can get attacked. Due to judicial inaction, the RSPCA have spent millions prosecuting hunts themselves. But even on the rare occasions when they are successful, those guilty are let off with a slap to the wrist. In 2013 Nicholas Bycroft of the Crawley & Horsham Hunt admitted illegally hunting a fox and received a 12 month conditional discharge, £150 costs and £15 victim surcharge.
There’s never been a better example of how class loyalty trumps the so-called rule of law than the Hunting Act. The hunts, the police, the judges and the politicians really are all in it together. While the public remain opposed to hunting with hounds, few realise how toothless the law has become. Labour Party supporters the League Against Cruel Sports continue to peddle the myth that it’s a “very successful and popular piece of legislation” despite having to admit “there are plenty of ways in which the pro-hunt groups… (are) contradicting the spirit and intent of the law.”
As usual it will be left to hunt sabs to go out into the field to confront the vicious and violent hunting fraternity. Just days after Doggrell was let off, his hunt was at it again, using quad bikes to block in a sab landrover before smashing the windows, throttling the driver and damaging equipment in the vehicle. They even placed a home made ‘stinger’ type device under the vehicles tyres in order to puncture them.
Some of you may recall that back in the eighties Class War used to publish a photo of an “Hospitalised copper of the month” in the pages of its newspaper, much to the annoyance of those who accused it of pandering to hooliganism. The group pointed out this was a response to the left’s usual portrayal of itself as a victim of oppression and injustice.
Perhaps its time we saw a similar mentality amongst the anti-bloodsports movement but that is highly unlikely. People who go out to stop animals being torn to pieces are compassionate and caring individuals who usually baulk at the prospect of violence. Unlike those they are up against.

An anti-capitalist critique of animal exploitation

Unlike the UK where the grassroots AR movement has moved towards a reformist, pro-party politics stance in recent years, across the water in the rest of Europe there have been groups determined to develop an anti-capitalist critique of animal exploitation.

A group called Tierbefreiung-Hamburg (Animal Liberation Hamburg) produced a leaflet called Humans, animals and nature in the crisis: On the need for an anti-capitalist critique of animal exploitation for a workshop at the International AR Gathering in Poland in 2012.

It’s refreshing because instead of starting from a theoretical basis about an imagined, idealized world, it dissects the financial crisis and austerity of the last seven years and then links that to the wider issues of our relations with animals: “The imprisonment of animals that is ever-present in our society, their merciless exploitation and seemingly perpetual slaughter are also linked inseparably to an economic system that is aimed solely at use and profit.”

It then talks about the attacks on welfare and workers’ rights – “all aimed at securing the interests of finance and recasting more and more areas of life along economic lines” – before looking at the domination of nature and the ecological crisis – Fukishima, climate change, and the industrialised slaughter of animals as “some examples of the devastating consequences of capitalist appropriation of nature.”

Animals, its says, “are the main victims of nature domination…encaged and murdered in their billions, so their labour power can be exploited and their dead bodies exchanged as commodities.” This is underpinned by the ideology of speciesism, which is a “type of false consciousness about animals” that appears natural and unchangeable and hides “the historical development and social creation of the exploitation.”

The embodiment of this system is the slaughterhouse where “capitalist principles of production are realised” and industrialised killing becomes a rationalised, goal driven process where there are human as well as non-human victims – “abattoir workers on minimum wages labour under precarious conditions and at constant risk to their health.”

How can capitalism and the “authoritarian politics of the crisis regimes” can be overcome? The pamphlet concludes that a first step would be the collectivization of key industries like finance, housing and especially food production. Then the building of “the participation of people in decision-making processes that are actually democratic” which can challenge the “daily barbarity of capitalism”. At the heart of this will be a rejection of violence towards animals and the acceptance of a vegan way of living.

Finally the importance of joined up struggles – or to use the latest buzzword – intersectionality – is emphasized. Single issue struggles will fail and only shared goals and strategies will be able to build ” strong resistance against the attempts to rescue an economic system that is only geared towards exploitation and is not based around needs.”

Overall very well thought through and well worth reading. It’s rare to find a piece of writing that emanates from the animal rights movement which also reaches out to embrace ideas of class and economic exploitation.

The text as it appears on the website is here:

Here is a pdf version:



Hunting Act: 10 years old on 18th November and nobody noticed

Did you know the Hunting Act was 10 years old on Tuesday? I’m usually good with dates but it passed me by completely until I read the article below. The Act actually became law in February 2005 – and eight out of 10 people want it to continue – but it’s full of loopholes and crucially the police and CPS are reluctant to enforce it. Moreover when a prosecution is successful the penalty is so lenient as to be ridiculous. The fact no-one is talking about the anniversary shows how toothless it is and how for most hunts it’s just business as usual.

The article “A decade on from the ban, fox hunting is still thriving” appears on the website Left Foot Forward, which supports the Labour Party. As such it takes a liberal view of the rule of law and says: “If we send the message that police and politicians can turn a blind eye to illegal behaviour simply because they don’t like the law, the entire justice system is undermined.”

What anarchists believe is it shows is that the “justice system ” is really an “injustice system” and there is one law for the rich and powerful and another for the rest of us. From an animal liberation perspective it also proves how the attempt to legislate for animal welfare is doomed in a speciesist society.

So on two counts the Hunting Act was deeply flawed and bound to fail, despite being trumpeted as a great breakthrough for wild animals by reformist organizations like the League Against Cruel Sports and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The reality is the people saving foxes are the brave activists who go out sabbing and monitoring the hunts – using direct action – not mealy mouthed politicians or their cronies.

Is hunting the solution to London’s toff problem?

A theme I’ve touched on before is the ruling class’ belief in their destiny to lord it over us, including the right to kill whatever moves on this earth. Whether it’s fox hunting, grouse shooting or the badger cull, they love nothing more than slaughtering wild animals, preferably if there’s some sort of chase involved first and they can dress up in ridiculous costumes, ride on horseback, blow horns and do other stupid stuff like that.

It used to be the case they could get away with doing it whenever they pleased. Vast swathes of land owned by the monarch or aristocracy were their hunting grounds and beware commoners who intruded there. Nowadays the “born to rule” excuse is not one the elite can openly use (that’s not to say they don’t still believe it of course as proven by their unguarded comments). Instead they try to ascribe a dubious necessity to their blood lust. Killing animals is required in order to control their numbers, or stop them being a pest.

In the past few years urban foxes have been sensationalised and demonized in the tabloids as presenting a danger to humans. In one story last year a sleeping baby was supposed to have had his finger nearly bitten off by a fox which entered through the back door of a house in Bromley, south east London. This attack was during February and the door was open due to the council not having repaired it.

A similar incident occurred in 2010 when twin baby girls were bitten by a fox in Hackney. Again the back door was left open. Thankfully such attacks are extremely rare despite the increase in the numbers of urban foxes due to people not disposing of food waste properly. In fact you’re far more likely to be bitten by a dog than a fox, with the number of victims estimated at 200,000 per year, yet you never hear politicians calling for a canine cull.

No, they know that would be electoral suicide. However Tory twats like Boris Johnson are only to happy to advocate fox hunting because its a bloodsport they love. Earlier this year the brainless mayor said he’s been tempted to use an air rifle to shoot the animals and event went as far as saying: “I’m pro-liberty and individual freedom. If people want to get together to form the fox hounds of Islington I’m all for it.”

This says it all. Parts of London are turning into a playground for the rich with working class people being forced out of boroughs like Islington due to high rents, lack of social housing and the bedroom tax. Such is the arrogance of the ruling class it’s fantasizing about imposing its favourite countryside pursuits onto the urban landscape.

Some will say this was just an off the cuff remark made by an upper class buffoon during a twitter Q&A, yet it shows clearly how the minds of these people work: a pack of foxhounds chasing a fox across Finsbury Park bayed on by mounted redcoats – it’s a Tory wet dream!

The biggest problem in London by far isn’t foxes or any other legged animal, it’s the two legged kind who think they have a right to rule over the rest of us. I’d like to reiterate my support for toff hunting as a solution for London’s growing problems caused by Tory vermin like Johnson and the rest of his pals. Leave the foxes alone!



Saturday 18 October – London rocks to the revolutionary beat!!

There promises to be a hive of radical activity in London this weekend. Saturday the 18th will see the one and only London Anarchist Bookfair at Queen Mary College from 10am-7pm – the biggest anarcho get together anywhere with the usual mix of stalls, meetings, workshops, films, children’s activities, cabaret and most important of all thousands of people. There’ll also be Veggies supplying delicious vegan food outside the entrance from 10am-4pm.

Also happening that day is a big march in the centre of town pitifully called Britain Needs a Pay Rise. It’s organised by the reformist TUC – which is working with the bosses to extend unpaid labour workfare schemes – but promises to be shook up by a Class War black bloc with the more promising moniker Britain Needs a Revolution Not a Pay Rise and assembling at Trafalgar Square from 11am.

After the Bookfair, Class War have called another demo outside the ‘Poor Doors’ segregated yuppie block at 1 Commercial Street, E1, at 7pm. Lively pickets have been going on at this building every Wednesday evening for 12 weeks and with added numbers from the Bookfair, this looks like being very interesting indeed.

There will also be a number of after parties. Freedom Bookshop will be hosting a Post Bookfair Soiree from 7pm, while Class War are holding a Rave Against the Rich all nighter from 10am. Then there’s the official Anarchist Bookfair After Party which promises loads of DJs and bands and kicks off at 9pm.

Phew! What a day it’ll be and I’m glad I’ll be there.

And for a roundup of everything that’s happening: