Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wake Up to Anarchy!

Twenty years ago, I’d been working in a diecasting factory in Ancoats for going on three years and had decided that my life was pretty much over. Fucked, I thought, despite the fact that I was still living at home and earning decent money for the first time in my life. Fortunately, I had a few acquaintances around me motivated by a similar need to resist despair and united by a dark, dry humour, so we decided to pool our resources and do something positive while we still had the time, energy, and opportunity. Calling ourselves Timperley Village Anarchist Militia, a tribute not to Buenaventura Durutti but the less well known Tufnell Park Anarchist Militia, whom I’d encountered at an anarchist picnic on Parliament Hill organized by good friends of mine, we put together the magazine you see above, now featured in the punk exhibition in Manchester mentioned below.

Digging out a copy of the magazine from my attic last night and perusing it over a can of cider (the only way!), I was struck by just how strident, intemperate and filled with rage it was, and we were, but also how very funny parts of it were (a piece on trainspotting that I’ll post sometime next week) and, more surprisingly, how astute we sometimes were. There’s nary a mention of Marx, Bakunin, Proudhon or (imagine!) Castoriadis. Yet, when I read the lead article for the first time in 15 years, I was astonished to find myself, all that time ago, arguing about the necessity for creating links between the countercultural anarchist movement (squatting, pro-Situ, anti-work) and the class-struggle anarchist organizations in order to support grassroots autonomous working-class struggles engaged in direct action. How prescient of me, (he said with ridiculous immodesty) given that exactly what I was arguing for came to fruition in a very small way 10 years later, when Reclaim the Streets and ravers joined with the Liverpool Dockers in common cause as a result of the Criminal Justice Act.

They say the brightest flame burns the shortest time. That’s a most apt analogy for Timperley Village Anarchist. Although we survived a letter from the solicitors of Greg Dyke’s TV-AM, which was just starting up (the coincidence of the initials was too good an opportunity to pass up, and hence our slogan, the title of this posting), we couldn’t survive the intervention of my old man, who found 500 copies of Issue No. 2 under my bed and burned the lot.

The magazine was resurrected by one of our number as TV-AM in the Class War stable of magazines, but I don’t think it lasted for more than a few issues. The rest of us moved on, conscious that maybe we could actually do something to make a difference to our own lives, maybe even to others, and there were many, many changes, challenges, disasters, and triumphs in the subsequent years.

But that’s another story.


Martin said...

I thought the better motto was "Go to work on a pig!".

John said...

Yes, with a copper's face and helmet replacing TV-AM's signature egg and egg-cup.

Stuart, that's a brilliant link. Thanks very much. I don't know Chris Knight, but then I wasn't directly involved in RTS. Nevertheless, I couldn't agree more with what he has to say there.

Let's not forget, "revolution is the festival of the oppressed"!

griff said...

we couldn’t survive the intervention of my old man, who found 500 copies of Issue No. 2 under my bed and burned the lot.

he was probably pissed off that you didn't have any porn under there.


"what? the pipers?"

John said...

For non-Brummie speakers:

"If yow're gooin down the shops, get us the daily piper."