Shunned by ‘academia’, largely ignored by those who put themselves of pedestals of importance in the capital, delibratley written out of some recent ‘histories’ by ‘anarchist historians’ !, treat with ‘aghast’ that local ‘radical celebrity’s’ were not ‘consulted’ during the writing, brushed off from local Labour History society’s radar’s, even blatantly ignored by certain ‘important evangelic sects’ or the ‘vanguard’ that claim to be local anarchists etc etc etc blah blah blah..not as though we care about such things in our daily struggle to survive life itself.
It is both humbling and inspiring to read the kind words expressed from, in our opinion, those at the forefront of the struggle that matters, those who are on our ‘wave length’, those who belong and are from where we belong and are from. Those who we wrote the book Anarchism In North East England 1882-1992 for – our history, our untold story.
As the following letter shows, perhaps our book is reaching people in areas that others fear to tread or dare to go, with their self important excuses for ‘working class history’, or ego inflated ramblings…
Wow, what a book!
Hi, I’ve just finished reading the Tyneside Anarchist Archive book and what a pleasure it was. To know the flame of anarchism has burned in the north east for over a century is incredibly heart warming and inspiring, from Kropotkin to the West End insurrection!
It’s not possible for me to cover everything, but I must say the stuff from the mid 80s to early 90s is particularly fascinating as that’s when I was growing up as a kid on an isolated council estate in Hull called Bransholme. It’s a fascinating time in working class history as I reckon it was when we were at our most boisterous and powerful, particularly in the wake of the poll tax riots that ultimately got rid of Thatcher.
My estate had “no go areas” like many others, and to a degree they were autonomous, with a powerful hatred of police. I liked the point the book makes about ram raiding being an actual profession for kids like me from that time.(1) My local shops were reportedly the most ram raided in the Britain. When serious poverty, heroin, defunded services, geographic isolation, police harassment and zero opportunities (not even a town hall in which to play ping pong with the vicar!) met with easily nickable cars and vulnerable local shops, a profession was born!
But I digress. Thank you for compiling this important book. Knowing that we have such a rich history to draw from is vital. It also highlights the men and women that fought hard to achieve the victories we have today (that are being attacked by the neolibs). I’ll no doubt be referring to it often in the future!
Bransholme is/was the largest estate of its kind (built in 1967/8), and by the late 80s early 90s it was a pretty mad place. I grew up in that time and it shaped me, my personality and my politics completely. In those violent poverty conditions you learn the hated of the state from an early age (no matter what gov is in charge), so it’s an easy path to anarchism. I reckon this is why a lot of people on the estate don’t vote, cos they know through experience party politics is a load of shit!
I’ve attached a photo of the local shops that were reportedly the most ram-raided in the country.
Anarchism in North East England, 1882 – 1992. Available now from numerous ‘outlets’ including Active Distribution, PM Press, AK Press, Freedom Press / Bookshop, Five Leaves Bookshop, Amorphous Pieces, Ebay, Amazon ! etc etc etc
(1) This comment refers to a footnote in the book which delves into the comment that was used round about the time of the Tyneside riots (in this particular context)… “grafting”, and explains “All in a nights ‘work’! The act of stealing a car to go ram raiding was actually called ‘Grafting’ by Gateshead (& other local) ‘youths’, who seen it as , admittedly an exciting and dangerous, ‘chore’, ‘work’, or ‘graft’ – something that had to be done to survive.”
in local dialect …. ‘am gannin oot choring the neet’ would roughly translate as ‘Iam going to work this evening, its such a chore’ !!!!