I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside.
is an attitude of mind, a form of consciousness, a form
of believing. Call it what you will. It has its institutions
in the IMF and the WTO and the World Bank. It's army is
NATO. Its cabinet is the G7 meeting of the seven most industrialised
nations. It is a One World Government run by, and on behalf
of the Party of the Ultra Rich......
It all began, for me, in Margate, Kent, at an Anti-Nazi
League demonstration called in opposition to a National
Front march. My first protest.
actually it wasn't my first protest at all. I've done a
lot of protests in my time, like a lot of people my age.
CND marches, anti-apartheid rallies, the Poll Tax protests,
the Miner's strike, a road protest or two. But all that
was a long time ago. There comes a time when a veteran protester
has to hang up his Doc Marten's, slip on his slippers and
settle down to the good life in front of the box. I mean,
I'd done my noisy bit. CND may never have persuaded NATO
to give up it's Nuclear offensive capabilities, but the
anti-apartheid movement had certainly played its part in
the downfall of apartheid South Africa. I was one of the
many millions of assorted political persuasions who regularly
lent their feeble voices to the resounding chants of the
eighties. "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out!"
we would cry, emboldened by the presence of so many of our
peers, enjoying the camaraderie, the closeness, the raucous,
rebellious, carnival jollity of life on the march. London
was all ours for a day. For a succession of days.
who wants to know what the atmosphere on a large march is
like: imagine a crucial football match, the play offs for
the second division, say. Now imagine your side is playing.
Now imagine that your side has just scored the winning goal,
in the last minute of the game. Imagine the roar that goes
up, the roar of raw humanity. And then the march from the
ground to the station where all the special trains are waiting.
That's it: the cat calls and chants, the blare of trumpets,
the colourful costumes (your colours, your team), the feeling
of belonging, of being part of something greater than yourself,
all heading in the same direction, banners blazing, the
feeling that you are all, young and old, black and white,
Christan, Moslem or Jew, on the same side, the right side,
the winning side. That's the feeling.
I remember one march in the eighties, either CND or anti-apartheid,
I can't remember now. I was with a few friends. It was massive,
maybe a half million people. My friends and I joined the
march about half way along and marched for half an hour
or more before going to the pub. We spent two hours in the
pub, getting drunk, and then when we went out, the march
was still passing by. That's one huge football match.
Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out!" we sang as we joined
the tail end.
remember any other slogans. The "Maggie!" chant
did us for the lot. It served to rid the world of apartheid.
"Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out!" It was
a barrier against the nuclear threat. "Maggie, Maggie,
Maggie, out, out, out!" It kept the Miner's in their
bitter struggle for more than a year. "Maggie, out!
Maggie, out!" Finally, and to everyone's consternation,
it served to oust the woman herself, when the Nation's outrage
over the Poll Tax took it's toll on the unswerving woman's
popularity. Finally even the Tory party agreed with us.
"Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out!" they
joined in, sneakily, behind her back, before politely telling
her to her face that she would have to go. And then she
was gone, in a welter of tears, in the back of a black limo,
and it was over. Another good slogan lost.
some friends and I revived it briefly later, during a road
protest in our town. One of our company was on remand and
was likely to be jailed, the first person to be caught breaking
the notorious Criminal Justice Act. This was in 1994. His
name was Iggy. So we marched to the courthouse through the
streets of this medieval cathedral city, crying, "Iggy,
Iggy, Iggy, out, out, out!" People were looking at
us as if we were nuts. It was a slogan gone ironical, chanted
entirely for our own amusement.
Yes, I'd done my bit. Maybe I'd not been at the forefront
of CND, but I'd collected for the Miners on the streets
of our town. I belonged to a club, with a spare back room,
and we began to put on benefits for a number of causes.
Our anti-apartheid money went directly to the ANC. We gave
money to the Nicaraguan Solidarity Campaign, to the Miners,
to the James Connolly Society (an IRA front, as we later
found out). We had a "Russian Night" where we
fed people Borsch and invited the Communist Party to attend.
They were wonderful people: earnest, sincere, intense old
men, with beards and waistcoats. We sang the Red Flag and
the International, once, twice, a dozen times (such rousing
songs) and put "Glasnost" and a hammer and sickle
on our noticeboard outside.
was my total, absolute and unswerving commitment to the
International Proletarian Struggle for World Revolution
and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (such ringing phrases
demand capital letters), such was my undying commitment
to the overthrow of capitalism, that I even vaguely (for
about ten minutes) considered joining the Communist Party.
The trouble was in deciding which Communist Party, exactly,
I should join. There were about two dozen by this time,
each one resolutely declaring itself to be the one, true
and only vanguard party of the working class. There was
the CPGB (Communist Party of Great Britain), the CPGB [M-L]
(the Communist Party of Great Britain [Marxist-Leninist])
and the New Communist Party (this one distinguishing itself
by being made up entirely of Old Communist supporters of
the Soviet Union). Then there was the Morning Star group,
which went on to form the CPB (Communist Party of Britain),
the Democratic Left (the rump of the CPGB in the eighties),
the Straight Left (who retained the CPGB name), the RCPB
(Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain) and the RCPB
[M-L]) (Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain [Marxist-Leninist]).
Finally there was the B&ICO (The Britain and Ireland
Communist Organisation), which, having an unusual number
of members of northern Irish background, used Stalin's work
as a basis for arguing the Two Nations Theory re. Ireland
- i.e. north and south Ireland were two distinct nations
and should stay that way. They also managed in a similar
convoluted way to support Thatcher's war with Argentina
over the Falklands. No matter what the position, they would
try and find a "Marxist" way of supporting it.
If they weren't actually conceived by some joker in MI5
then they ought to have been.
this is not speak of the numerous Trotskyite factions, the
RCP, the SWP, the Militant Tendency (the Revolutionary Socialist
League), the WRP, the IMG, the Sparticists etc. etc. etc.
to choose from. Like trying to pick out tins of soup in
end I joined the Labour Party instead. Which would be a
joke if I could think of a punchline.
I continued the struggle. Firstly with the Poll Tax protests.
Our little group marched to London by way of Rochester,
following the line of the original peasant's revolt. It
took three days. We made it on to the front page of the
Morning Star. We marched glumly through the empty Kent countryside
till we came to a sleepy village, and then shouted and sloganed
our way through that. It took a while to realise that, actually,
the villages were empty too, this being commuter country.
A few startled dogs were impressed, however. Maybe I even
imagined myself to be Wat Tyler for a time (there's a Tyler
Hill nearby where we started our march), except that I didn't
really want to be executed. We made it to the main march
in London, singing songs we'd made up along the way, then
I did a quick shifty slip when I saw the police horses gathering
and knew that there was a riot on its way. Got the train
home with two of my friends.
The Police horses are always brought out when they want
to engineer a riot, in case you don't know. The police are
trained experts on crowd control. They're also trained experts
on how to get a crowd out of control if they want. Police
horses work every time.
there was the Criminal Justice Act of 1994, which was aimed
at suppressing the lifestyle choises of New Age Travellers,
ravers, squatters and road-protesters. My lot, basically.
And you can check this out if you want: my name is one of
three registered with the Metropolitan Police as responsible
for the march and rally against the Criminal Justice Bill
(as it was) on May 1st 1994, in the name of the Advance
party. I'd like to think that this latest round of protest
(which began on that day) has some of me in it.
was an auspicious day. Brilliantly sunny, we managed to
gather maybe ten thousand people for a march from Hyde Park
to Trafalgar Square, where, to the music of the Rinky Dink
bicycle-powered, mobile sound system, we ekkied and drank
and danced in the fountains for hours. Such fun!
aren't all revolutions like this? And somewhere in everyone's
mind that day, an idea was formed. Maybe they could be.
Maybe the revolution is a party in the street.
as I say, all that was years ago. There's something a little
unseemly, perhaps, in the sight of a middle aged man with
a beer-belly pretending he's all at one with the revolutionary
youth. There comes a time when dignity demands some patient
reserve. We can't all be fired-up with indignation at all
the injustices of the world all the time. Or, if we are,
there are other ways of going about curing them. Like becoming
a bar-room philosopher, maybe. The revolution can wait till
something brought me back. Something was calling me.
It's part of the dark charm of this vile, violent world
we live in that so many of us can be so disengaged. We live,
those of us in the West, in comfort and with the illusion
of security. We've stopped noticing how hurt the rest of
the World really is, how hurt and confused humanity is.
We hear stories of massacres, of torture, of great simmering
hatred, and it hurts to look, it hurts to think. And anyway,
that's over there, in another country. Those are other human
beings. What can any of us do? What's the point of a march
and rally through the streets of London over massacres in
East Timor, or racial hatred and ethnic cleansing in the
former Yugoslavia? What has that got to do with us?
questions, hardly any answers.
work to do, hardly any time.
the problem is, of course, in trying to identify the culprits.
Is is something abstract and obscure, like "human nature"
or capitalism? Despite my years hanging round on the perifery
of left politics, despite having chanted the stirring indignant
poetry of the Communist Manifesto to everyone, and reading,
and being entirely unable to absorb, about two thirds of
the first volume of Capital, I still had no idea what capitalism
actually was. It's some sort of a system, isn't it? Something
to do with money? It makes some people very rich, and...
er.... some other people poor.
that level of political analysis at my disposal, it's a
wonder I never stood for Parliament. Parliament is full
of people with the same level of political sophistication
So, lacking any political analysis I can only tell you what
this. Capitalism is an attitude of mind, a form of consciousness,
a form of believing. Call it what you will. It has its institutions
in the IMF and the WTO and the World Bank. It's army is
NATO. Its cabinet is the G7 meeting of the seven most industrialised
nations. It is a One World Government run by, and on behalf
of the Party of the Ultra Rich. It meets in secret to discuss
its plans, and no one else is consulted. Its specific goal,
its long term plan is to own everything. To do this, it
creates separation, it creates lack, it creates need, it
creates desire. The need and the lack, the separation and
the desire are all part of the same system. It recreates
its processes in everyone, as a mindset, re-inforced by
fear, and it rewards people's compliance by giving them
money. Buying into the money system is buying into a process
of abstract death. The power resides, not in people, not
in living, breathing, walking, talking, laughing. crying
beings of flesh and blood and bone, but in a number of abstract
entities called corporations. The corporations are administered
by living beings, who come and go, who live and die in the
normal way, but the corporations go on forever. They are,
to use a phrase I picked up from Noam Chomsky on the Internet,
"Immortal Corporate Persons".
This is what he wrote to me in e-mail as a reply to a letter
I had sent him, asking him what he meant:
term Immortal Corporate Persons is, I'm afraid, even technically
accurate. The decision to treat corporate entities as immortal
persons - and later, to identify the board of directors
with the corporation - has very close resemblances to the
history of fascism and Communism. Similar intellectual origins
even. A topic that ought to be studied closely some day.
The decision was reached outside the public domain. Virtually
no legislation. Mostly radical judicial activism."
Corporate Persons. It's a chilling phrase. It reminds me
of the Emperor in Rome, or the Pharoah of Ancient Egypt:
god-like beings with the power of life-and-death over the
populace, institutions rather than individuals, passing
on the rights of the institution from Father to Son, so
remote, so abstracted from the normal thoughts and feelings
of normal human beings that they don't care if others live
or die. Indeed, their position of unquestionable power makes
them cruel beyond imagination, actually delighting in the
fear and suffering they bring, cold and absolute in their
control. Inhuman. Insane.
I heard a good story about the Pharoah. No subject in Egypt
was allowed to look at him on pain of death. So, of course,
in the minds of the populace, the Pharoah had god-like dimensions.
Indeed, he was god, the personification of the natural order.
His statues were immense. No Egyptian could think about
him otherwise. It was the Pharoah's job, by ritual magic
and by sacrifice, to ensure that the waters of the Nile
rose every year to flood the plain, to make it rich with
life-giving nutrients. And then one year the Nile didn't
flood. Instead it shrank. And again the next year. And again
and again and again, over a succession of years, until all
the stored grain was used up, and the population was desperate.
And then they looked at the dreaded Pharoah, and instead
of this god-like being of impossible height and power, they
saw a scrawny, wizened human being, painted like a whore,
dolled-up like a statue, vain and unwholesome, wetting his
pathetic little pants at what he knew was about to happen...
power resides in these Immortal Corporate Persons, in this
secret army of abstract beings, with no life of their own,
and no feelings, what about us? Who are we?
cattle to be milked, to be made profit from, and then discarded.
No more. Like citizens of ancient Rome or of Egypt, we are
enthralled by the logic of their institutions, in fear of
their divine wrath. They make images of themselves, like
vast gods. Coca Cola, they call themselves, or MacDonalds
or Nike. They put on such friendly masks to hide their sneers
and their insanity. We believe them when they tell us that
it is they who make the Nile flow, or the Empire prosper:
when they tell us that globalisation is inevitable, that
poverty and want are inevitable, that the world-economic
system is like a tide that cannot be reversed, that it is
a force of Nature, not the work of men.
Empire Never Ended, as Philip K. Dick used to say.
it time that we looked at their faces?
- and this is strange - we wouldn't mind the people who
benefit from this system if their access to exclusive possessions
didn't mean starvation for others. They're sad bastards
anyway. Not one of them has ever bought me a drink, or made
a joke I could laugh at. We wouldn't resent their private
jets, if we could move about the world freely, on our feet.
We could accept their palaces and private mansions hidden
behind high walls and razor wire, with security cameras
and armed guards, if our own sort just had roofs. We wouldn't
care about their private swimming pools, if poor people
had access to clean water even, and maybe a public swimming
pool within walking distance for fun and recreation, and
ice-cream for the kids; if the dispossessed of the Third
World had food in their bellies and clothing, and dignity
and social justice and freedom from repression. Dignity
and ice-cream. It will be our first minimum demand when
we write the manifesto for the future.
now we come to the hard bit, the unimaginable bit, the
reason all the rest of us, the ordinary folk, cannot even
contemplate their deeds or understand their reasons or their
motivations. The Terror.
tells us we fought the Second World War against Fascism.
And we did. Except that Fascism was never defeated.
Fascism is the use of violence to impose political will.
It is still here. It is the political weapon of the Party
of the Ultra Rich in their ongoing war against the people.
when poor people anywhere rise up to challenge the forces
of greed and dispossession, it's the Fascists they reel
I often think that the world is made up of 1% capitalists,
and 1% psychopaths, with the rest of in between. The psychopaths
and the capitalists have one thing in common: they cannot
feel. They do not love, except themselves. And the capitalists
employ the psychopaths to keep the world awash with blood,
to remind us of our fragility and our pain. And so the Death
Squads roam, fuelled by blood-lust and hatred, through the
streets of Rio de Janeiro, through the mountains of Mexico,
through the steamy swamps of the Niger Delta. Wherever there
is a demand for social justice, for life, for dignity, the
State Terrorist Police begin the murder. The knock at the
door. The disappearance. The Militias pour out firing their
weapons, while the Army looks on in blank-eyed indifference,
while people's homes are fired, and the terrified occupants
run screaming into the mountains for shelter. That'll teach
'em. They won't be asking for democracy again in a hurry.
can I put my feet up and watch the box, knowing all this.
can any of us?
in the West, of course, we do things differently.
in the United Kingdom, for example, we have the problem
of the Kosovar Albanians, poor people running from a war
that was not their fault - a war engineered by the West
to keep an independent and sovereign nation in line. If
you think the West intervened in Kosovo to halt a humanitarian
crisis, answer me this: why was there more killing, more
death, more violence after the bombing? And why, then, did
we not intervene in Turkey - a NATO country - to stop the
slaughter of Kurds, which was going on at the same time?
The answer is that we did. We intervened to make that particular
slaughter that much worse.
So some of the Kosovar Albanians come to Britain. They speak
a strange language, they wear strange clothes. They are
sometimes loud on trains. The youngsters hang around in
gangs. Their mothers and fathers are not allowed any money,
only vouchers for food. The other things in life (this is
a capitalist country, remember), the ordinary pleasures
the rest of us take for granted - beer, cigarettes, a night
out at the cinema, smart clothes - can only be acquired
by getting money somehow: by begging, or by other more dubious
pursuits. And now we have heaps of beggars on our streets.
out come the Fascists to make a noise, to remind us that
they are still here.
say, it all started with a protest, in Margate, Kent, in
early April 2000, about 25 miles from my home. The dark
shadow of Fascism has called me back into the fray.
Just another sunny day in this cheerfully run-down
sea-side town. Bev and I (she's training to be a Church
of England Priest) go for a cup of tea on the balcony of
an octagonal cafe on the promenade overlooking the beach.
A cool breeze means we have to keep our coats on. There's
a few other protester types in and around the cafe. You
can tell by their shaved heads and crombies, the ear-piercings,
the air of knowing superiority: the Socialist Worker's Party
are in town. Still in the same costumes I remember from
years back. A whole new generation, but they look exactly
the same. Everything about them speaks their state of mind.
The intensity of debate, huddled over a cup of tea, the
mystical/elemental truths of Marxist Leninist theory dressed
up as hard-nosed political realism: dreams of the barricades
and armed insurrection between drags on a roll-up. What
romantic young man, the fires of indignation still burning
in his heart, hasn't thought like this from time to time?
Revolutionary fighters for justice, guerrilla theorists
of the Class War, all of them, every one, imagining that
he might be Che Guevara one day. Che Guevara in crombie
and Doctor Marten boots. I like them. I've always liked
them. I like the way they call each other comrade and even
- for a while - believe it. Comrade is one of my favourite
trouble with the SWP is that it draws the youth into it,
and then burns them out. Afterwards they get jobs down the
bank and a mortgage, a couple of kids, and they're just
like the rest of us.
Margate is full of its own kind of garish frivolity, all
the fruit machines in the amusement arcades on the front
chiming out their jingles: all the light, the colour, the
happy screams of kids on the switch back rides in Dreamland;
people strolling arm in arm along the promenade engrossed
in quiet conversation, or just taking in the sights. There's
a trendy vicar who keeps passing us, in mirror shades, making
a show of his dog collar. And up ahead, the Anti-Nazi League
banners are starting to gather, and, on the opposite side
of the road, the Union Jacks and George Crosses of the National
Front supporters. We spend some time on "our"
side of the road, meaning, we're with the Anti-Nazi League
and the SWP, but, after a while I suggest we move over.
I want to hear the conversations on the other side. We've
got our stickers on. Mine says, Black and White Unite and
Fight, while Bev's says, Smash The National Front. So we
take the stickers off, and then we're just a middle-aged
couple strolling across the road to get a hot-dog. I decide
that my hot-dog will serve as a magical talisman of protection.
a couple of brave young women on that side too, trying to
hand out stickers, but no one wants them, and a gaggle of
shaven heads in a shop doorway, looking serious but mean.
The differences between the shaved heads of the NF and the
shaved heads of the SWP are subtle, but noticeable. It's
odd how they ape each other. I mean, the hair cut is the
same, but there's just a touch more detail in the accoutrements:
an extra earring here or there, a badge or two. I'd say
that the SWP are a little more stylish, but that's probably
my prejudice. I'm impressed for all that, at the enduring
quality of the skinhead style, born on the football fields
and council estates of England, when hippie was the fashionable
norm, with its odd mix of rude-boy cool and Mod aggressiveness.
Fighting clothes. And I'm pointing all this out to Bev as
we move on up the line towards the centre of action.
to add, at this point, that the vast majority of working
class people - for whom the skinhead style is merely a convenient
haircut - are neither fascist not communist. Most of them
couldn't give a damn either way.
my imagination, or does this side bristle? I wield my magic
hot-dog to ward off the air of crackling violence. No one
would dare come near me with this in my hand.
then we're standing there, watching and listening near a
road barrier, and there's three blokes looking at us through
the corners of their eye. "Plain clothes policemen,"
says Bev, and we move away again.
now another observation. The National Front will be coming
from the station ahead. They will pass down the road with
Union Jacks on the right, and Anti-Nazi League banners on
the left. Somehow we've all ended up in our proper places
in this radical melodrama.
on the other side - the sunnier side, I feel - we're approached
by one of the organisers who wants us to sign a petition
against Fascism. "Well all right," I say, "I
can't argue with that. But I can't see it making much difference.
Who's going to listen?" He invites me to an SWP branch
meeting in the town. Someone from the local rag is interviewing
an old Jewish man about the holocaust. He is very quiet
and dignified as he speaks. Someone else sells me a copy
of Searchlight, the radical anti-fascist magazine. All of
this goes on for a very long time. The Anti-Apartheid Rally
started at one o'clock. The Fascists won't be here till
and I take another walk, to find a pub. All the pubs are
all this political activism can be very wearing at times.
end, though, the National Front turn up. We can hear them
up by the station, chants and banners streaming in the wind,
and the atmosphere begins to heat up. A woman comes up,
whispering frantically. "Pass it on, we're going to
block the road, stop them getting through."
are they marching to, exactly?"
the clock tower."
about five hundred yards.
now they're moving in a tight-knit gaggle, police vans in
front and behind, surrounded by riot police, with a Union
Jack, a Welsh Dragon, and several George Crosses, singing
Rule Britannia. There's about a hundred and fifty of them.
And, on the other side of the road, about a hundred and
fifty of their supporters, and on our side about the same
number of ANL, with, another hundred and fifty or so ranged
across the road now, stopping the march moving forward.
says, "they make me so angry."
"why? This is a National Front national rally, and
they can only get a hundred and fifty to come. That's pathetic."
fascinated. Fascinated in the way you can be fascinated
by a peculiar disfigurement. Unpleasant, but you can't take
your eyes off it. They're like an organism that's risen
out of the subliminal sea full of all the despicable deposits
of human hate. They're huddled together in this strange
lump, all legs and arms and ears, like some many-headed,
many legged, mutant being, heads severely shaved, with the
ideologues (older men in smart suits with grey hair) under
the banner in the front, and when they're not singing Rule
Britannia they're shouting threats and abuse at the opposition.
"Kill the reds, kill the reds, kill the fucking reds!"
are hemmed in by riot police, shields and batons at the
ready. The Nazis are trying to be chummy with the cops,
calling them "officer" and the like, but the cops
just look away. It wouldn't do to be seen being friendly
with any Nazis.
young woman keeps leaping into the road, screaming "Nazi
scum!" at them. The police keep shovelling her back.
And then she's pushing forward again into the road, leaning
her trunk forward and dangling her arms: "Nazi scum!
fuck yourself," someone shouts back at her.
up, yer ugly," she replies.
you stay on the pavement please," says the policeman.
yes, sorry," she says, before leaning back into the
road and starting again: "Nazi scum! Nazi scum!"
and I are both from Birmingham, so we're ashamed to learn
that most of them are Brummies too. There's a large George's
Cross at the back, with Birmingham City Skins scrawled across
in black letters.
else shouts, "go away, we don't want you round here,
this isn't your town. Why don't you go back to Birmingham?"
This woman has acne. One of the Nazis notices. "Er
look, spots!" he says. Such is the nature of the political
else, a burly fellow with a square cut chin, like a 60's
comic Batman, is winding up one of the NF people my making
a little waving motion with his hand and looking him in
the eye. He's saying, "come on then, if you think you're
so hard." He is doing this repeatedly while his NF
opposite number is getting in a frenzy. A policeman notices
and tells him to pack it up. But there's no law against
looking at someone, and the little waving motion, low down,
from his hip, is subtle but unmistakeable. "Come on,
come on, I could take you out any time."
NF are here to protest the presence of asylum seekers in
the town. They have a banner which says, "Asylum Seekers
Are Becoming A Flood." By coincidence, the day before
the Minister of State for the Home Department, Barbra Roche,
in a parliamentary written reply, revealed the cost of the
"Dreadful Burden" of what we as individuals have
to pay to support asylum seekers. The total cost per individual
for supporting asylum seekers in 1999-2000 was: 19 pence
it's stalemate at the front. The police vans are inching
forward, but making very little headway. A high ranking
officer with a megaphone arrives and asks people to clear
out of the way.
police move forward, shields and batons raised.
gets his shirt ripped.
line gets broken but then reforms a few yards further down
the road. And on and on like this. Every inch, every yard
being fought for.
three slogans are: "the National Front are a Nazi front,
smash the National Front", "Black and White unite
and fight" - this one being singularly inappropriate,
having nothing to do with Kosovar Albanians (but then, I
don't think any one could come up with a rhyme for Kosovar
Albanians) - and the last one: "Police protect the
Nazis," said in a sort of nyer, nyer kids chant.
"Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out," but people
were giving me funny looks.
then the best line. Someone is standing on the pavement,
looking at the sad spectacle of all these jobless Brummies,
with their harder than hard stance, their childish aggression,
like a confused fit of pique, having to stand so close to
each other to gain a sense of identity, having very little
else in their lives, and he says, "Hey look everybody"
- pointing at them and laughing - "that's the Master
Race!" Everyone laughs with him.
notices that one of the NF supporters on the other side
has a kid on his shoulders. She's being encouraged to scream
hate abuse at the commies.
also both noticed that the police look exactly like the
Roman battalions, and that they use the same tactical moves.
The whole thing begins to take on a timeless air, as if
this was a war being fought out in eternity. It's even more
appropriate, as this is Mars Gate, an old Roman port and
Empire Never Ended.
struggle goes on, inch by painful inch, down the parade
of this out-of-season seaside town, until it gets to within
about 20 yards of the clock tower, when the police decide
that a tactical retreat is in order. A cheer goes up from
the ANL front line. The NF never made it to their final
destination. We've turned them back in their track. It is,
at least, a symbolic victory.
and I go for sausage and chips in a cafe. Then the pub across
the road opens up, and we go for that pint I've been waiting
for for so long. I'm gagging.
pub is full of middle-aged leather boys, the Margate chapter
of the Celtic Warriors, dressed in neat leathers, with their
hair tied back in pony tails. One of them smokes a pipe.
And it crosses my mind, for a second, that, had they been
real Celtic Warriors, as opposed to a Motor Cycle Chapter
merely bearing the name, it should have been them fighting
the Roman Battalions instead of the Class Warriors of the