Eton? Rifle!

Apparently, there’s a bit of an internets fuss going on about a privileged, Eton-educated, little rich kid ‘musician’ called Frank Turner, who’s been ‘outed’ as a scummy right-wing libertarian who thinks that the BNP are hard left and socialism is dangerous.

I came across him a while back after he appeared to be matey with musicians on ‘the left’ who I’ve got a lot of time for. I didn’t particularly rate what I heard, thought his lyrics were weak and his background decidedly dodgy. Then I read a couple of things he’d said which confirmed that the bloke is, indeed, a dick.

What really concerns me though, is that he’s so wrong about the BNP it would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous. This fool has a pretty large following by all accounts and, if his fans take him at his word, then that’s a massive problem. The BNP are a far-right fascist party, no ifs, no buts. To claim otherwise displays either a profound misunderstanding of politics or, more worryingly, a calculated attempt to tarnish the good work of ‘the left’ (you know, things like fighting for equality, safe working conditions, decent wages, free healthcare etc.) with the taint of fascism.

Today, he’s tried back-peddling furiously with a ‘poor little misunderstood me’ piece on his website. Boo fucking hoo. Keep digging son, we’ll be happy to fill in the hole behind you.

He’s right about one thing though. Socialism is dangerous if you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

Nuts To The Cuts!

The Best Cut

Click for larger printable version

It’s simple. The ongoing and proposed cuts in public services, including education, are nothing but class war. The Tories want everything in private hands, so that they and their capitalist string-pullers can bleed as much as they possibly can from us. The LibDems are happy to collaborate with their dirty work, such is their desperation for a sniff of power. And if they were back in government the Labour Party would screw us the same way they always have, slightly less violently and with a bit more lube. It should come as no surprise to anyone – when you’ve all been to the same schools, sit in the same boardrooms, have shares in the same major businesses and inhabit the same luxurious neighbourhoods, then your political ‘differences’ really are only superficial.

Other people are making the anti-cuts arguments far more eloquently than me (some with a half-brick, some with a sense of humour). But to really help put things into concrete terms, the place to check out is False Economy. Here, you can witness first-hand the very real effects of this vicious assault on individuals, families and communities. You can also add you own information and experiences to the database.

While at first glance it might seem depressing, False Economy sends out a powerful positive message – we are all under attack and we are not alone. Start to build links with others in your workplace and community who are (or soon will be) at the sharp end of the cuts. Learn from what’s happened in the past (Poll Tax anyone?) then plan and organise in whatever way you can. There is space for a whole range of tactics, from the peaceful to the confrontational. The more we vary our responses then the more people we can get involved, and the more difficult it will be for the forces of the state to deal with us.

Putting the wind up Camilla and Charlie was just the start.

We STILL Fuckin’ Hate Thatcher!

Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Programme: In Living Memory
Broadcast date: 12.03.08
Size: 47.3mb

Oh how joyous it was to hear news last week that the old bag was taken ill. Sadly, she seems to have recovered, but it can’t be too long now surely? Apparently, she also has problems with her memory these days. Well, rest assured, I will NEVER forget what this hag did to me and my class. Unfortunately amnesia isn’t terminal, but I hope that she hurries up and dies in a suitably painful and lingering (but not too long) fashion.

Poll Tax Riot

In anticipation of that glorious day to come, here’s an episode of Radio 4’s ‘In Living Memory’ about a glorious day that’s already been – The Poll Tax riot in London on March 31st 1990. It includes interviews with people from both sides who were in the thick of it, as well as some of the politics underlying the whole struggle. Ian Bone (founder of street-fighting anarchist group Class War) recounts his memories of the battle, and a few old punks I know also get to say a word or ten about their take on events.

Up the proles!

Download broadcast

Food For Thought

There was a time when my diet could’ve been classed as traditionally British. Main meals were built around the meat ‘n’ two veg approach, except for Fridays and holidays when we would have fish ‘n’ chips. Milk was drunk by the pint (and from proper glass bottles too!) and eggs found their way onto nearly every plate of food in some guise or another. I was even a fan of the more ‘exotic’ bits of dead animals – I used to watch my Uncle George make brawn from fresh pig’s brain removed from the head by his own fair hands (for those that don’t know, brawn is made from cooking and chopping the brain, then setting it in gelatine ready for slicing and eating, which I readily did), and baked ox tongue was a fave sandwich filler. Although I never got on with liver or kidney as I always found them too strong, almost bitter, in flavour.

I’m telling you all this just to let you know that I never had any squeamishness as such when it came to consuming bits of or things from animals.

Then I heard this band called Crass. They had some friends who were also in bands. And some of the time these bands made the point that the killing of animals for food wasn’t a particularly nice thing. So I did some listening and read the pamphlets that I got at gigs, and decided to do some practical research. This mainly involved sneaking into an abattoir, then sneaking out again a fuck of a lot faster.

Typical image from an abattoir

© Vegetarian / Vegan Society Of Queensland

Although what I’d read and seen on film had begun to raise serious questions about the whole flesh thing, nothing had prepared me for the complete sensual overload that I experienced when I saw what they actually did to animals. The dead pig’s head and scooped-out brain could not convey the Bosch-like nightmare that marked these animals’ final moments of life. I defy anyone who claims that the process is humane to visit one of these places. Unless your definition of humane includes terror, fear, suffering, pain and death, I think you’d find your arguments would crumble pretty quickly.

I was mixing with punks who were exploring the same ideas and turning words into action, and it was enough to convince me that vegetarianism was a necessary part of my simple desire for a nicer world. And it wasn’t long before I took the logical step to veganism. Reading and learning about the way the world functioned, and the possibilities of change, encouraged me to sharpen up my logical arguments too, to make the connections at an ‘intellectual’ as well as an emotional level. The likes of Tom Regan and Richard Ryder played a major role in that, and they’re still making their points today.

And although what I’d seen in that slaughterhouse had appalled me to my very core, I didn’t let that stop me from doing the right thing, even if it involved facing the stark reality of animal suffering head on. And face it I did. Suffice to say that the things I’ve seen and done have removed the blinkers and I couldn’t imagine making myself blind again.

And I’m still a vegan more than 20 years later.

Why am I saying this? I guess it was triggered by recently reading that Pete Boyce, one of the founding members of Antisect, a band that championed animal liberation, was now a bonecruncher again. This was the guy who had written ‘Tortured And Abused’, a devastating attack on animal murder wrapped around the simple refrain ‘Why? Why must I die?’. A song that, according to his own website was ‘from the heart’.

From the heart.

Yeah, right. I have to seriously question that statement. If he’s now crunching bones again, how could it have ever been from the heart? To me, that expression implies something that is an intrinsic part of who you are. Something that, although it may have a degree of elasticity, will be with you for life. Clearly, whatever he was saying back then wasn’t ‘from the heart’.

Amongst the folk I know, the ones who slipped back easily from veganism to flesh eating were those whose beliefs hadn’t been informed by experience. They’d read the leaflets and learnt the words and that was it. No action (apart from a change in diet) followed. They didn’t bother finding out for themselves, didn’t immerse themselves in the reality of what they claimed to believe in, didn’t think but merely followed the herd. Simply playing in a band singing songs doesn’t count. Those of us who were (and continue to be) active, who took the songs as a starting point rather than a conclusion, have maintained our ideals because they really are heartfelt.

Compare what Boyce has done with the attitude of Colin Jerwood from Conflict. Here’s a man who walks the walk he’s talked over the years. A man who’s got stuck in and got his hands dirty because he knows the words don’t mean shit on their own. A man who knows what ‘from the heart’ really means, who’s maintained consistency and integrity in his outlook even as that outlook has changed and evolved over the years. In this short video, Colin talks about why he believes what he does.

I’m not saying that everyone who becomes a veggie or whatever just because of a song or leaflet won’t become committed to that cause and take it to heart for life. But I do think it’s much easier for people to slip back into unthinking, uncritical and passive ways of living when what they claim to believe is only based on words and pictures. It’s much harder to do it if you’ve been in the thick of it.

People change, I can accept that. But if you do change, at least have the bollocks to admit that what you once ‘believed’ was really nothing more than a herd mentality mindset and not ‘from the heart’.

Useful Links:

Animal Liberation Front
Hunt Saboteurs Association
The Vegan Society
Vegetarian / Vegan Society Of Queensland

Hard To Stomach

Masterfoods, the company behind brands such as Mars Bars, Twix and Bounty, have been using rennet from calf stomach in many of their popular chocolate and ice cream products since May 1st (at least in the UK anyway). Many vegetarians eat their products but may not be aware of this change, as Masterfoods don’t seem particularly eager to publicise it.

As a vegan, this doesn’t particularly bother me. What does irk me big time is the fact that the company, in their statement, think that ‘less strict’ vegetarians won’t have a problem with eating part of a calf’s gut.


People who merely give up red meat are not vegetarians. People who eat fish are not vegetarians. People who eat dead baby cow stuff are not vegetarians.

Vegetarians do not eat flesh, fowl or fish or anything that comes from ’em. It’s pretty fuckin’ simple, yet these multi-national idiots still think they can get away with it. A quick straw poll of my veggie mates in fact showed that 100% of ’em thought Masterfoods could fuck right off. The morons from Mars should’ve done their homework a bit better.

Oh yeah – GO VEGAN TOO!

If The Kids Are United

Happy International Workers Day. In 1887, five anarchists were murdered by the American state for nothing more than helping workers to organise. Today marks the day when we celebrate their struggle. Their deaths will never be forgotten and remind us why we must never forgive. In the words of August Spies, one of the martyrs:

The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.

So relax, fiddle your time sheet, skive, slack, phone in sick, throw a spanner in the works, stand together and reclaim your life. It’s YOUR day, do what you can to remind yourself that, if we keep fighting, keep struggling, keep loving and raging, life could be like this every day.

Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
Arise, ye prisoners of want.
For reason in revolt now thunders,
and at last ends the age of cant!
Away with all your superstitions,
Servile masses, arise, arise!
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition,
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction,
On tyrants only we’ll make war!
The soldiers too will take strike action,
They’ll break ranks and fight no more!
And if those cannibals keep trying,
To sacrifice us to their pride,
They soon shall hear the bullets flying,
We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

No saviour from on high delivers,
No faith have we in prince or peer.
Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
E’er the thieves will out with their booty,
And to all give a happier lot.
Each at his forge must do their duty,
And we’ll strike the iron while it’s hot.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.