Bash the rich?
One of the more moronic tabloids once featured Ian Bone on its front page as THE MOST EVIL MAN IN BRITAIN. That would be going it a bit given all the competition from elsewhere. If, however, there were to be some contest to find the most obnoxious man in Britain, Bone would certainly poll heavily.
In case you’ve never heard of him, he is perhaps the elder statesman of the anarchist movement in Britain. He’s equally at home savaging liberals and Marxists as well as conservatives and fascists. If his writings are anything to go by, the one group of people he despises above all others would be the Socialist Workers Party. The SWP nowadays is an increasingly dysfunctional religious cult masquerading as a political party, and is currently riven by splits and accusations of sexual misconduct. Bone has always, however, been highly critical of the party’s blinkered ideology, authoritarianism and its (often risible) attempts to hijack every oppositional cause going. Back in the 1980s, the story goes, some leftists claimed he was a fascist, presumably because they simply could not grasp how anyone wiv a working clarse accent who was being so horrid to Marxists could possibly be anything else.
It’s worth noting all this at the moment in the wake of Mrs Thatcher’s death. The Daily Mail and other papers are going on about how disgraceful it is that her passing is being celebrated by “left-wingers”. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I know what a “left winger” looks like anymore. The Labour Party and trades unions are fully absorbed into the establishment, while the old-school Marxist left is sliding into genteel and dribbling irrelevance. Hardcore opposition these days generally comes from people operating outside of formal political movements, whether it’s the coalition of activists around campaigns like UKUncut, or from people who style themselves anarchists.
Elderly troublemaker Ian Bone is one of the leading lights of the anarchist movement. He’s also important because he has written the best book ever about life on the fringe of British politics in recent decades.
Bash the Rich, is now available as an e-book. It’s a fantastic, foul-mouthed and funny read all about his own personal journey in search of a meaningful political creed. The son of domestic servants, Bone grew up with an abiding hatred of “toffs”. Studying at Swansea University he began his quest, at various times getting involved with extreme Welsh nationalists, all manner of leftie groups, animal rights campaigners and more. The section on his flirtation with feminism and male guilt and ending up single-handedly running a creche with dozens of kids for a whole weekend is worth the cover price all on its own.
Eventually he arrives at anarchism, becoming one of the leading lights of Class War. But let him tell you the rest. You may disagree with his politics, you may get cross at his line on political violence, you may find his views and actions laudable or obnoxious, but the book will also have you laughing like a drain. It will also leave you with more insights into the thinking and behaviour of Britain’s radical and leftist political fringe over recent decades than any number of academic tomes.
Ian Bone’s blog is at http://ianbone.wordpress.com
Filed under: Uncategorized | 5 Comments