Tag Archives: The Press

Persons Unknown

Over the past few weeks Class War and LSE’s Lisa Mckenzie in particular have been taking a lot of stick for their choice of target and tactics.  For months Class War and the Women’s Death Brigade have been standing up against the relocation of young teenage mothers by supporting E15 Mums’ campaign, opposing Poor Doors, challenging Gay Pride’s for profit associations with big business and international banking,  and exposing the dodgy deals and marketing of working class women’s bodies for profit at the Jack the Ripper Museum in Cable St.  All pretty straight forward.  Not everyone likes the shouty, irreverent style of the brigade, but its pretty hard to defend kicking out teenage mums, humiliating social housing tenants, censoring gay activists in the name of Pride, or possible shonky negotiations for planning permission.  But then Class War went too far.  They went for the hipster – and the infamous Cereal Killer Café.  Jokes were made on Radio 4 quizzes. Newspapers dug around in activist’s private lives and recreational choices for a few exposes.  Friends of mine argued that these were the wrong targets and the wrong tactics.  I’m not going to get into analysis of cultural capital and bearded entitlement (but honestly doesn’t your face take up enough space already?). But I found it difficult to see the cereal café as the biggest victim in the struggle around austerity.

Fair enough, the other side of that coin is that the bearded cereal sellers might not be your biggest problem either.  In fact you might not have heard about all the grassroots activism that Class War and the Fuck Parade had been doing if they hadn’t annoyed Shoreditch. [disclaimer – I am gluten and lactose free so cereal prices are never going to be my biggest issue]  But the issue of personal taste, and personal tactics really isn’t the problem anymore.  The truth is, it doesn’t matter what your personal political style is.  It doesn’t matter how your particular political form and content sit together.  Because whether you like it or not, whether we like each other’s style or not, we really are all in it together. If we didn’t know that already, the CPS have just made it very clear.

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Maybe I’d be better off writing a ‘tell-all’ biography of Princess Diana

I’ve just parked up a chapter on Princess Diana that will eventually end up in my new book about the 1980s.  I’ve been writing the chapter for a long time and I’m not sure I’ve finished it – but it is definitely not getting any better for now  so I better leave it alone.  I’ve read more books on Diana in the last couple of months than I ever dreamed likely.  The more I worked through the pile of unauthorised biographies and memoirs, the more the lines between the two sorts of books began to blur.  It became harder to tell when people were writing about Diana, and when they were writing about themselves.  I should also add, the more I read the less of an idea of what she was ‘really like’ I had. Although to be honest that wasn’t what I was looking for and it isn’t really what I’m interested in.  What I’m interested in is how and why these books sell the idea of the Real Diana. Whilst academic approaches have tended to displace the Real Diana, by analysing what she signified and why people cared about her.  Popular biographies and memoirs market their access to the ‘real woman’ underneath; who she was.

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