I read the review of Ian Bone’s Bash the Rich (March Socialist Standard) with interest as a few years back I had a couple of pints with the author in a pub in Bristol. And until recently he could be found selling the excellent community news-and-scandal sheet The Bristolian in that same fair city.
Indeed, one of the most interesting sections in his “confessions” deals with his involvement in a similar publication in Swansea during the late 1970s called Alarm. Populist, pro-working class publications are evidently what he does best, and the mother of them all of course turned out to be Class War.
Here’s my “confession” . . . I always had a bit of a soft spot for CW. Their political positions (such as they were) were always closer to the Socialist Party’s than most anarchists and any lefties. And the paper in its heyday was something to behold. But - and it’s a big but - their avowed methods were, and are, different from ours in the extreme. Bone quotes a comrade of his criticising elitist violence (as opposed to political mob violence) by stating ‘petrol bombs are far more democratic than dynamite’. OK then, but isn’t democratic political action even more democratic still? And, of course, CW famously developed a veritable obsession with the “middle class” that they saw as standing between us and the ruling class.
As his memoirs end abruptly around 1985 we can presumably await further fond rememberings, no doubt featuring tales of the anti-Poll Tax conflict of the early 1990s. Until then, Ian, if you’re reading this, where on Earth did the bloody Bristolian vanish to?
BEN MALCOLM, Bath.
Nice, 'cos I thought Ben had disappeared off the map, and it's always heartening to see one of the nineties - 1990s, that is, we aren't all old commie curmudgeons - contingent still plugging away.
I'd love to read the Bone biog but I baulked at the twenty dollar price tag in Bluestockings bookstore. Christ, you need a chargecard at Seers these days to buy into the revolution.
I'll have to settle for a re-read of Paddy Shannon's excellent article, Class War No More?, from the October 1997 Socialist Standard.