Class War

I always like photographing protests by Class War. Although they are a small group (though sometimes quite large numbers join with them them) their protests are often very effective in raising issues, and are often unpredictable. The protests are always interesting, both because many of them have interesting views which they share freely and often amusingly, but also because of a sense of theatre.

Generally too there is some visual interest which a photographer can work with, with some excellent banners and posters. And they believe in having fun with their serious politics.

Their confrontational style also tends to make for good pictures, though at Croydon Box Park this was somewhat mollified by the owner coming down and having a serious talk with them, agreeing with much of what they were saying about the gentrification of Croydon and inviting them to come and have a talk later. Though there was more of a confrontation later when they spotted the BBC developers’ apologist Mark Eaton making his way into a meeting.

The heavy showers also dampened the atmosphere a little, sending us all into a nearby bus shelter. Later the large banner with its quotation from US anarchist Lucy Parsons showed its worth as those holding it carried it held over their heads to keep off some driving rain.

I had my own small confrontation too. As I note in the caption for the picture above, “The only possible response when someone says ‘You can’t photograph me’ is to photograph them.”

A week later I met up with Class War again, this time protesting against architect Patrik Schumaker of Zaha Hadid Architects, who had talked at a conference in Berlin about getting rid of social housing and public space in cities. The posters from Class War carried what was apparently a quotation from his presentation, “We must destroy Affordable Housing and remove the unproductive from the capital to make way for my people who generate value

It was a chilling sentence, with clear similarities to the thinking and actions of the Nazis, and brought condemnation from a wide range of those concerned with human rights and equality, and housing campaigners in particular.

Schumaker’s views were not shared by all architects, and Class War received a message of support from one of those working under Schumaker. Not surprisingly their attempts to make contact with him through the entry phone at the gate and an invitation to come out and discuss the issue were met with no success.  There were extra security guards at the entrances, and even Lisa McKenzie couldn’t charm her way in.

Joining Class War in the protest were others from the London Anarchist Federation and the Revolutionary Communist Group, who also favour a similar kind of direct action and often cooperate at protests.

More text and pictures:

Class War Croydon ‘Snouts in the trough’
Class War protest ‘Fascist Architect’


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