London: Report back from anti-gentrification fuck parade

Last Saturday over a thousand people came together at the ‘Fuck Parade’ to resist gentrification and the social cleansing in London’s East End. It was a beautiful expression of feeling put into action.

It kicked off under Shoreditch High Street arches with three or so massive music rigs, fire breathing and buzzing energy. A couple of hundred at first, mostly anarchists, squatters and social housing eviction resistors. The solid bloc continued to grow, as the informal march went through the streets chanting with flares and flash grenades, holding space and blocking roads, picking up more and more local people off the street and out of the estates as it passed. At points the demo was around a thousand people.

As the march hit the famous hipster cereal cafe the windows went in and it got a dose of red paint. The staff got the shutters down but not before a smoke bomb had gone in and the street outside got christened with cornflakes.

On from there a number of upmarket Estate agents got smashed up and kicked in with boots and flying metal street furniture. As riot cops tried to keep up with the bloc and occasionally try to cut it off or snatch people, they were very obviously outnumbered and the crowd weren’t having any of it, with missiles flying, confrontations and very physical scuffles breaking out continuously, leading to a decent amount of pighats flying about…

There was a “hipster cop pig” effigy set alight, bins pulled into the road and put on fire, which was helpfully much exacerbated by the clueless cops who struggled with the burning effigy spreading the fire.

De-arresting was fearless, as at one point almost fifty people swarmed to try and take back one of their own, driving riotcops with shields and batons back off the road.

The bloc held solid for the best part of the demo with police unable to penetrate it, impotent and overwhelmed by numbers they clearly hadn’t anticipated, given the local strength of feeling.

Cop vans with arrestees were surrounded and unable to move, and the rear doors of one van were forced open in an attempt to liberate arrestees, with the crowd demanding “give them back they dont belong to you!”. The cops were properly riled and even began turning on each other when one of the riotcops lost it and started screaming that his colleague was a “fat stupid cunt”.

The solidarity was beautiful as the crowd protected each other, refused police access to blocs, picked each other up if we hit the floor and totally had each others backs. In the middle of what might have looked like total chaos, when an ambulance was seeking to pass  the road, the entire crowd simultaniously stopped and waved it through, immediately reforming to retake the road once it had passed.

The crowd went on to split into three or so roaming blocs, each finding its own action and celebrations before diffusing into the night.

Much has subsequently been made in the mainstream press of the hipster wanker cereal cafe getting smashed. But for those who were there that was just one aspect of many, seemingly no more pertinent a target at the time than the Estate agents, which got an even better thrashing but were almost entirely written out of the “official” narrative. Similarly, participants were misrepresented as a bunch of middle class whiteboys, when in fact it was very predominantly working class and diverse in terms of age, gender, race, ability and experience. This rewriting of history and identity is arguably its own type of state/media violence. Either they just dont want to see us, or perhaps we are so invisible to them they can no longer see us at all?

Alongside somesuch pure bollocks made up by the press, there’s predictably been all types of liberal middle class whining in the mainstream media about direct action, the “right” to ineffective protest, and the human right to expensive cereal. The point lost on them all is that the Fuck Parade exists precisely to offend the parasitic classes and class traitors. It is precisely the fact that Fuck Parade has made no apologies for itself and sets its own terms that has so far been its strength.

[Via Rabble by a random anarchist who was in the mob, October 2nd 2015]

Ignore The Fucking Hipsters Crying Into Their Cornflakes, Long Live The Fucking Fuck Parade

Rarely has there been a more open display of arrogant entitlement than the alliance of pampered hipsters and Tory scum who have lined up across the media to attack yesterday’s anti-gentrification protest in Shoreditch.  From ‘High Society Darlings’ in The Independent to the usual spittle-flecked tirades in The Telegraph, the establishment are united in their revulsion that working class people could not only organise themselves, but took a step beyond the usual stale political marches and petitions that we are supposed to use to air our grievances.

By all sensible accounts last night’s Fuck Parade – organised by Class War and named after similar anti-gentrification protests in Berlin – was a huge success.  Hundreds of people took to the streets for a party and protest that has lit up the debate about gentrifcation in London.  At one point an estate agent’s window was shattered, whilst some paint and cornflakes were thrown at the daft Cereal Killer Cafe – an emblem of the hipster invasion of East London where bowls of cereal can cost the best part of a fiver.  And it is a fucking invasion as posh flats and trust-funded small businesses spread across London like a virus, with every last brick turned into an investment opportunity.

Some of those new local business owners have suggested that to complain about this is a bit like racism – raising the ghost of Oswald Mosley to smear the protesters.  The owners of the cereal cafe have even complained that the protest was a hate crime.  Have you ever heard anything so fucking vile?  To the cosseted middle classes racism, and even fascism,  are just things to be re-appropriated for their benefit when their privilege comes under attack.  How the poor hipsters have suffered due to a bit of paint on a window and some loud music and shouting.  It’s like Nazi Germany all over again, only this time the victims are posh white people who run businesses.  They are no different to the UKIP pub bores dribbling into their pints about the global conspiracy against the straight white middle-class male.

The harsh reality is that, according to the government’s homelessness statistics, at least 259 children were made homeless in Hackney in the last quarter.  This is what gentrification does to people.  That’s 259 young lives destroyed by soaring rents and housing shortages.  And that’s just those who were classed as officially homeless and so eligible for help from the local council.  Hundreds of thousands of kids are growing up in social housing who will have nowhere to live when they are older.  A crisis is taking place in the lives of London’s poorest residents who will never share in the middle class Disneyland that is being created in the wake of social cleansing.

None of this is our fault plead the hipsters, why not blame the council.  And the council blames the property developers, who in turn, say they are just providing the homes and business spaces that people want – like the people who run the Cereal Killer Cafe.  No-one is to blame, and yet everyone’s making a buck.  Except the poor, the collateral damage in this profit driven frenzy that is destroying the city.

So fuck small businesses.  Today’s hipster entrepreneur is the Richard Branson of tomorrow – and it would have done no harm if that cunt had been nipped in the bud early.  That doesn’t mean you should fall out with your local off licence, you’ll never get anything on tick that way.  There are many businesses that we have little choice but to use and that may be run by people that give something back to the community that provides their lifestyle.  These kinds of businesses are also falling victim to gentrification.  But to pretend that the interests of business and the people who work for them are the same is horseshit.  That is why the Tory Party styles itself as the party of small business people and acts as they do.  Every current attack on the poor is being carried out not just for the benefit of the super rich, but also the gentrifiers of Shoreditch and their pop up monstrosities.  If the new business class don’t like that they could try and do something about it.  But instead they seek to profit from it.

Of course these hipsters have decided that last night was all about them.  Everything always is.  But the Fuck Parade is clearly about more than a bit of paint on a cafe’s window.  As long time East End resident Martin Lux has said, Saturday night was a continuation of the near thousand year old tradition of the London mob.  Hundreds of people joined a protest that didn’t ask for permission and took to the streets with the mixture of carnival and defiance that has defined popular protests in London.  An anti-gentrification movement with real teeth – but that is also fun to be a part of – is what the city desperately needs.  So ignore the fucking hipsters crying into their cornflakes, and long live the fucking Fuck Parade!

[From Johnny Void‘s blog via Rabble, October 2nd 2015]

UPDATE:  Class War have now released a statement (on Facebook) about the events of Saturday night.