Friday, September 26, 2008

9 THINGS I HATE ABOUT ANTI-NAZI MARCHES IN LONDON

It's a bright, sunny day in London, and you're marching down High Holborn in a display of solidarity against the BNP: cos after all, brothers and sisters, whatever our many differences, none of us like fascists. Fancy thinking Hitler was handsome, and willingly listening to dreary 'ZOG runs the world' conspiracy theories from a bunch of struck-off doctors, disgraced vicars and alcoholic accountants! In beige suits, no less! But, as you turn the corner, hearts blazing with proletarian (and student) ((and middle class white liberal)) cheer, something is seriously up. Suddenly, this march isn't so great anymore! You'd be better off down the pub!

Yep, like a lot of recognised 'good' things in life, anti-nazi demos are subject to rank spatters of cringeworthy shitness. Personally, I might even go on one again, providing the following nine horrors curl up and die; 'til then though, here's what to watch out for. And Lindsey German didn't even make the shitlist!

1) GERIATRIC TODDLERS

I'm not gonna say something glib like "this lot actually make me want to JOIN the BNP! LOL!", but this category's as close as it gets. Now, if you thought Arthur Scargill was being a bit of a 'slob' that time he popped down the picket line in a baseball cap, anorak and trainers during "the Miners'", or that my dad's old mate, 'Mad Dog' (that's Colonel Gadaffi to you, cupcake), shouldn't have worn his shades indoors, chew on this: what do you make of 55-year olds who wear tye-dye bandannas, vests, shorts and sandals (or those fucking 'jellies')? Especially when they twirl around like adult babies on bad acid, blow a whistle in your lugs all afternoon and think the whole point of the demo's to defend their rights to dress like cunts and listen to Hawkwind? But no, quicker than you can say Not even the dog that pisseth on the Walls of Babylon shall escape Jah wrath, a bunch of them pop up on every anti-fash march, like it's the Stonehenge Festival Revue.

Listen, you probably think I'm being ageist: BOLLOCKS. If Bob Crow can be bothered to throw on a suit, so can they. Can you imagine Jack Dash slepping around in 'jellies' and a bandanna? I'm not even asking Balwinder Rana to chop off that Michael Landon abomination on his bonce - but he could do up a few of the buttons on his denim shirt for a start. Is a bit of decorum too much to ask? Put it this way, druid: if the BNP attack, we're throwing you in their first direction first. Oh, and stop hitting on student girls, they're not interested.

2) MEGAPHONES

At left-wing demos, megaphones are the equivalent of the conch in "Lord of the Flies"; they signify pack dominance, remarkable when you consider that's one of the many feudalist flaws socialism's meant to expunge...like an iron, prole fist wresting weeds from an allotment spud patch. Show me a leftie who'll relinquish the grip on his/her megaphone, and I'll give you an undercover Redwatch photographer.

Unfortunately, at most ANL demos, everybody's too busy shouting "NAR-SEE SCUM! OFF OUR STREETS!", so you can't hear a bloody word the megaphonist's spitting. It's not so much the megaphones I object to: at least they contribute to a sort of atmosphere. But the people gobbing off through them are up their own arses. Seriously! Try this trick - ask a megaphone ranter if you can borrow her/his little toy for a brief announcement, and see what happens. "Actually, we paid for this, and if Workers' Power can't afford theirs, they shouldn't be ponceing off the SWP...the batteries cost money, y'know! Ask someone from Respect...".

Next time you go on a demo, piss them all off, the pompous prigs. Bring your own megaphones and just talk to your mates across the crowd. See how long it takes before someone calls a steward (SEE LATER) to restore order.

3) MINSTRELS

Loki, Jesus and Allah playing strip poker on the Eurostar: how annoying are these wanks? Yes, there's always one, always one sensitive type in a fleece, who has to bring his fucking acoustic guitar along and play it when you've all reached Trafalgar Square, and are struggling to hear what Lindsey German's on about(cos her megaphone battery's run flat).

I don't go around with a ghetto blaster, loaded with 'Sperm Count' by the Nocturnal Emissions, and blast it in random strangers' faces on the tube (as tempting as it feels whenever a load of South Africans get on). So why do we have to suffer some drip strumming his plank, like he's Country Cunting Joe McDonald, and previewing his repertoire of DIY 'anti-nazi classics'? What used to REALLY piss me off about this was that, whenever you told them to fuck off, some foxy girl would leap to his defence ('his', cos I've NEVER met a girl who carries an acoustic around, to that gender's eternal credit), saying, "Leave him alone! This song's really good! You're just jealous!"

Altogether now:

"Black and white, we are all the same
You took my job? It's not you I blame
I blame this system of capitalism
And the racists who create this schism

Look into my eyes -are they blue?
Or brown? Or green? - explain the hue
Like a dog born in a horse's stable
We must learn to reject all labels

1,2,3,4
Kick Nick Griffin out the door
5, 6,7,8
Organise and smash race hate
A black man's black, a white man's white
A Shia is not a Shi'ite"


You get the drift. This machine kills fascists? Despite my limited appreciation of physics, I'd say a nazi's more likely to go down if you hit him with a Flying V than the flimsy wooden universal instrument of born-again Christians, music teachers and CAMRA bores. But what the fuck would I know? I only had a Zenta with two strings.

4) HOME MADE BANNERS

You know how some football fans try to make up their own chants? Or how some people try and construct a joke from scratch? Nobody ever gets to meet the shadowy cabuls who generate REAL jokes or football chants. Nobody. Who actually sat down, in 1986, minutes after the 'Challenger' shuttle disaster, and came up with, What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts? And yet, in the 24-hour period after 'Challenger' became 'Fireball XL5', I heard this gag over a dozen times, from as many different people. The Sick Jokes Committee (like the Department of Urban Myths) is just one of the many pre-internet mysteries still beyond the ken of most historians. You don't just make up a classic 'joke' like that, in your bedroom, and then spread it, meme-style, across the Earth, like a typhoon of sizzling rocket fuel - it takes military precision, and the possible involvement of a higher power.

It's a bit like banners and placards at anti-nazi demos. Just do the world a favour, and pick up one of the 'Keep Britain Tidy' designs with the bloke dumping the swastika / celtic cross in the bin. They're printed properly and look quite neat. If you must, pick up an SWP one. They'll be happy to dish a placard out to you (they're all ending up in a pile in Trafalgar Square by the end of the march anyway). Just please don't bring along your own shitty home made designs. Nobody wants to stroll behind six people wielding a bedsheet with dubious yellow stains and "SMASH RACISM", scrawled in pink highlighter pen, across its width. Admittedly, you get this kind of thing more at anti-war demos (normally with a crap cartoon of Dubya, looking more like Charles Shaar Murray, and 'NO 1 TERRORIST' written in biro underneath).

5) ANGRY NERDS

OK, this needs a bit of explaining. You know how when there's no fascists in sight, and everyone's feeling a bit of the old carnival spirit and wondering when the old men with grey mullets sprouting out of their bandannas are going to stop blowing their 'tin whistles against the nazis' - and then you see some kid going mental in the middle of the crowd? Really screwing his/her face up, going red in the chops, screaming blue murder about all the things they're going to the BNP when they catch up with them? "Nazi SCUM!" they roar, limbs akimbo with the adrenaline shakes, willing to sell their souls for a crack on the megaphone?

I mean! They're surrounded by 10,000 people who feel the same way as they do. Why are they going apeshit? OK, no doubt some BTi reader's starting to get pee'd off this far in, but take it from someone who's had abuse from dickheads (both white and Asian) for kissing a Muslim girl in public: there's more appropriate times to go ballistic than on a demo where THE BNP HAVEN'T EVEN TURNED UP.

Off on a bit of a tangent here: perfect example of an angry nerd was at the Lewisham '77 30-year anniversary event held last year at Goldsmiths College. OK, there were some good speakers. Ace writer but rubbish deejay Leslie Lyrix gave a very concise and interesting presentation about growing up in the area at the time. Martin Lux (aka Wright), ex-Class War and seasoned fash-basher, even had the old academic biddies giggling in their uncomfortable seats with his passionate oratory. I think Balwinder Rana had permed his chest hair especially for the event, though it might have just been the light. Anyway, it was all going OK, until the panel offered questions to the audience.

Now, the event was tagged 'Lewisham '77' - so what kind of questions might you've expected from the attendees? Maybe something about lessons learned from combating the NF 30 years ago, or some follow-ups on Paul Gilroy's comments on the meanings we attach to 'identity'? No, some angry nerd who didn't look wholly unlike serial killer Denis Nilsen had turned up, so we had to spend 10 minutes listening to him SCREECH like a banshee about...Iraq. Yes, thanks, we know the war's sick, but this isn't the 'Iraq '03' Saturday afternoon conference. But, man did he rant - I'd hate to see how he'd react if anyone spilled his G&T. Whipping himself into a frenzy, he RAGED, SEETHED and HOWLED his bile across the room. I don't think much of SWP stalwarts like Ted Parker, but it wasn't his - or our - bleeding fault about Iraq. But there you go - it could have been an interesting debate, but one seething oaf had to fuck it up, and all due to his desire to be seen gnashing and wailing - when the real target for his frustrations was nowhere in sight.

Oh, word of warning - don't get too close to angry nerds as the demo's winding down. There's always one who shouts 'PIGS!' at the cops in a futile, token display of resistance (normally to impress someone else). The cops take great delight in fucking these people around down the station (not always physically, but have you ever spent a night in a cell? Every minute lasts half an hour, they always wake you up at 5am and spit in your plastic cup of instant decaff - if you're lucky enough to get one), so don't get nicked alongside the angry nerd and have your time wasted for absolutely nothing.

6) GET 'EM! MERCHANTS

These cunts seriously piss me off. In fact, they're the worst of the lot. The BNP deserve to have their heads shredded through the gutter, but let's take a quick reality check: if you're surrounded by old bill and you're caught assaulting the fash, you're looking at the possibility of a prison sentence. OK, so that's the risk, up to you how, when and if you take it.

But you sometimes get lone blokes (always blokes) trying to shove you from behind, putting their arms round you, saying, "COME ON! LET'S FUCKING STORM THEM!" and trying to shove you either towards the fash or the cops. I'd seriously advise you lose these wankers like a bad smell - possibly the smell of bacon? Fuck it, why aren't they throwing themselves forward? Why are they on their own? Why have they decided to pick you as their aggro-buddy for the day?

7) VICARS

'Nuff said! Where were they when the RAF were knocking the Luftwaffe out of the clouds? Getting friendly with Mrs Brady when her husband was taking out the nazis. About right!

8) BLOKES WITH 'THE EXPLOITED' PAINTED ON THE BACKS OF THEIR LEATHER JACKETS

Dunno about you, but I never liked the Exploited much. OK, I liked the 'Army Life' EP, which I bought for a quid from some market stall when I was at school - partly cos, despite the fact that my mentally ill ma could hear me blaspheming a mile away, she never cottoned on to the lyrics of 'Fuck the Mods' when I used to spin it right under her nose. And I couldn't wait to experience my first speed comedown after I heard 'Crashed Out', which makes the whole ritual sound quite fun, instead of the freezing cold wet towel of paranoid exhaustion it really is. Unfortunately, after this inspired 7", they ditched their denim skinhead image and spent the rest of their career dressed like a bunch of 45-year old labourers who'd togged themselves up as "t'punks" to raise money for Comic Relief. Fishnet t-shirts don't look remotely good on man, woman, child or beast...

But... the Exploited? There's always an Exploited fan on anti-nazi demos. Maybe it's the same bloke, with a different haircut each time. Never figured this one out, to be honest. This was the same band that started off one of their songs with the announcement, Newsflash...Yorkshire Ripper, 13...Womens' Lib, Zero..., followed by a really contrived 'evil' cackle. Right on. Oh, they did a song called 'Fuck the USA', but this was probably less a condemnation of American foreign policy and more a whinge cos they couldn't get visas to go on tour over there.

9) STEWARDS

"Sorry, can you move over there?

No, there.

Hang on, matey, what's that on your jacket?

Are you joking?

I don't care, take it off.

Take it off, we don't want that sort of thing here.

I don't care, that is a fascist symbol. Take it off or I'm going to ask the police to remove you.

Simon! Simon...we've got a problem.

No, I'm going to ask the police right now...you shouldn't be here...Simon! Where's...

Hey you, why have you got a megaphone?

You're not authorised to use that, turn it off now!

Simon! No, turn it off...hey, no, I said you can't wear that, I'm going to get the police to have you removed.

No, I don't want to know, you're off this march, that's blatantly offensive.

Turn that thing off, you're not entitled to use a loudhailer without authorisation from the organisers!

Yes Simon, tell the officer he's wearing a fascist symbol. Eh...a little castle, two hammers crossed over it. WHUFC underneath. He won't take it off, tell the police it's urgent.

Oh, for fuck's sake, Soho Sex Workers Against Fascism are back. Why do they always end up behind us? Watch your arses, lads, they're not all birds! Eh, Sime?"
Comments:
Well none of them are quite as bad as getting the shit punched out of you by the NF in Southend but you have all the annoyances I feel banged to rights.
 
i've never even been on Eurostar...
 
To be honest none of this is as bad as having to go to Southend...
 
Having come from that corner of Essex, I have to agree.
 
I'd say definitely 'the smell of bacon' in my experience.
 
This is brilliant stuff, the last 'anti-Nazi' protest I was on, June 21st this year with no members of the far right anywhere near it, was painfully embarassing to attend.

I did try patiently to explain that the 'Naaasee scum' weren't on our streets, having abandoned street confrontations years ago, but it was hopeless.
 
"I only had a Zenta with two strings."

I'd like to sign you to my label.
 
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