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Bash the Rich: True Life Confessions of an Anarchist in the UK Paperback – 10 Oct 2006
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Bash the Rich: True-life confessions of an anarchist in the UK By Ian Bone TANGENT BOOKS £9.99 Labelled "the most dangerous man in Britain" by the Sunday People in 1984, Class War founder Ian Bone has now produced a book about his days putting the boot into the ruling classes. It isn't subtle, and it isn't any kind of blueprint on how to successfully start a revolution, but it is very funny. People of all kinds of different political persuasion may find this a problem: violent activism reduced to the level of a comic book. On the right, there are still many who'll remember the cover of the Class War newspaper with a picture of Thatcher being brained by a meat cleaver; on the left there have always been humourless "realists" - the kind who've subsequently taken over the Labour Party and weeded out the socialism. But from the first page, where Bone's mother and father are described hurling cow-pats at a Tory MP ("...my dad had scooped the fly-blown dry-crusted cowpat expertly on to his newspaper, raced across the road and squelched it deep into Sir Tufton Bufton's Knight of the Shire patrician grin"), to the lyrics quoted from the song "Tory Funerals" by his band, the Living Legends ("I couldn't care less, I couldn't give a toss / At the sudden death of a factory boss / The ruling class are really hated / All I want... is them cremated"), it's clear that, while Bone may be dangerous, he also knows how to entertain. Did any of it make any difference? Who knows where Britain would be without irritants like Class War picking at the boundaries of state control. Their bigger aim may never be achieved, but some small battles can still be won. Four out of Five stars, Independent on Sunday --Independent on Sunday
Bash the Rich by Ian Bone (Tangent Books, £9.99) IAN Bone has spent his life dedicated to revolutionary politics. Whether on the wilder fringes of Welsh nationalism and the animal liberation movement or founding the infamous Class War newspaper, he has consistently provided ideas, dedicaton and leadership. This political autobiography starts during his childhood growing up in rural Kent. His father, a butler, and the rest of the local society were immersed in a semi-feudal existence only punctured by the irreverent Cockneys visiting for their annual hop-picking outing. The claustrophobia and injustice of life in this setting leaves a bright spark of disobedience in the young Bone, which fully ignites as he moves away to university in Cardiff in the 1960s. Repelled by the antics of the Trostkyist groups, he turns to anarchism, although his politics were a lot more complicated than this simple label. It terms of political strategy and effectiveness, much of the book reads as farce fuelled by alcohol, as countless yarns of smashed windows and fights with the police are told. Of course, this makes lively reading, but there is political content worth noting as Bone imaginatively searches for different approaches to politicise the working class and, in conclusion, notes the limitations of much of his riotous activity. Bash the Rich certainly has the capacity to entertain, shock and make you think. ANDY WALPOLE Morning Star --Morning Star
About the Author
Ian Bone is the leading militant anarchist in the UK. He was born the son of a socialist butler in 1947 and formed a deep hatred of 'the rich' as a result of his family experiences 'in service'. While studying at Swansea University in the 1960s, Bone honed his raw instincts into a an anarchic political philosophy which dismissed all forms of control whether they were enforced by the ruling class elite or the Trotskyist Left. Bone's political agenda worked at street and council estate level in Swansea and he gained notoriety when he founded the Alarm scandal sheet which exposed the 'Swansea Mafia' and led to the convictions of several local councillors for corruption. Alarm became the scandal sheet that the whole of Swansea talked about, but by the early 80s Bone felt the need to take the model to national level. Before he left Swansea for London Bone and Jimmy Grimes produced the first issue of Class War, a paper which advocated violence as the only means of bringing about revolutionary social change. Throughout the turmoil of the miners' strike, Bone and his comrades worked to open up a second front of rioting in the inner cities in order to draw police resources away from the mining strongholds. Their aim was not just to bring down the Thatcher government but to be at the vanguard of a social and political revolution that would overthrow the established order.
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Having also read Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud's Shibboleth: My Revolting Life, it's interesting to note that Crass and the author did in fact cross paths at one point, then fall out. Rimbaud's book is altogether much darker but also more surreal, like the episode where Rimbaud gets people to throw him off a cliff because he's told them he can fly. Bash The Rich does offer some surreal too, though: and if (when) the film gets made, the likes of Bill Shankly, Gregory Peck, Aleister Crowley and Field Marshal Montgomery will be included in the character list. This is a book of unlikely but real connections.
All in all, a decent read. I paid 76p for a second-hand copy of it via Amazon Marketplace. 76p well spent, I reckon.
The book covers the life of Ian up until he packed most things in around 1986 and it's filled with his activities with his socialist parents, his discovery of anarchism after reading a copy of Punch at the dentists, student activism, Alarm and corruption in Swansea and the common factor... drink... LOTS of drink. It's an easy read (making me miss a morning's worth of lectures because I was so engrossed) that flows well and is so full of derision for all the radical politics he admires it is wonderfully self-despising.
Anecdotes are a-plenty in the book, and not hoping to spoil them all, but being chased out of a blokes house with a meatcleaver after urinating on his bike, a meeting with Crass with the ubiquitous lentil soup, flogging newspapers at 10am in the morning on a picket line and my all-time favourite of rushing the stage at the CND meeting. You really can't make this stuff up! There are loads of newspaper cuttings throughout, photos and excerpts from Class War. All-in-all it has everything, but most importantly it's Ian's comedic-chatty-foul-mouthed writing style that makes this colourful history come to life.
As he is always credited with - the most dangerous man in Britain - this book gives a full account of those mad years where the Angry Brigade met punk on a windswept afternoon, drank a LOT of beer and indulged in a riot or two. Cheap, accessible, anecdotal, laugh-out-loud funny and informative all in one go, this book is not to be missed. It probably helps if you have a few drinks whilst reading (probably makes more sense) but grab a copy, a brick and enjoy! It's an excellent read an incitement to either go drinking or burn down some governmental building... or both at once!
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