Tuesday, 27 January 2015

'Punk attitude, riot grrrl aesthetic, queer feminist rage'...* Interested? Meet 'Not Right'

Photo by Liz Ewbank.

 
In October 2014 activists, academics and left wing, feminist punk band Not Right released 'Your Turn' an album dealing with political, social, cultural and gender issues. The album was described by punx.co.uk as 'uncompromising' and a 'reality check' with echoes of Crass and Action Pact (1) so I was excited when they kindly agreed to an interview. 

You are all academics -what made you decide to form a punk band?

Snowy:
Kirsty told me to. At Rock It March 2011, I bumped into Kirsty and at some point she asked ‘Do you play in a ska band?’
‘Yes’
‘So you’ve got a decent sense of rhythm?’
‘Yeah’
‘Great you can play drums in my new band’.
That’s my band genesis story. I borrowed a pair of sticks from a colleague who didn’t play anymore – booked a couple of practice sessions and tried to ignore the embarrassment of ‘Oh no everyone will hear me fuck up’. After that I was(n't) ready for our first band practice!

Kirsty:
For me the final push to form a band (after a decade of wanting to but not acting on it) actually came from my academic work. I was halfway through my research, for a PhD focused on the Dutch punk scene, and was back home for a few months. My research was the first thing that really demystified the ‘being in a band’ thing and made me feel I could maybe give it a go. Years of being into punk hadn’t really done that for me. The lack of a local scene meant that most bands I saw live were big commercial bands; those punks were no different from any other distant rock star. And I didn’t see many other women on stage, certainly not shy women like me. But I suddenly realised that it really didn’t matter that I couldn’t play and never wanted to do so on stage – I could still get in a practice room and just have fun. So I sought out two other friends who also couldn’t play their instruments so there was a level playing field and we could just work things out as we went. 

Ruth:
I've always wanted to be in a band! As I got older a lot of my friends started playing guitar and forming bands, but I felt they were all more talented than me. Instead I started to run gigs, and later started to DJ. In the end, I finally joined a band because Kirsty encouraged me to. The idea of us all basically starting from the same place and learning together was really appealing. 
We happened to all know one another as postgraduates because we'd all been students at the same university for a long time. The band has basically continued alongside our studies.  I don't see the two as in any way contradictory - after all, most musicians have day jobs.  And punk is a powerful outlet for self-expression outside of the mundane world of work. 

Your lyrics deal with a range of political and social issues from social media to male dominance of children's culture to education cuts -where would you place yourself politically?

Snowy: 
Somewhere left of centre. I think I'm to the right of the other two though. I don't really think about where I fall on a political axis too often. Maybe I should.

Kirsty:
The band’s lyrics are mostly written by Ruth but always okay’d by the rest of the band – but this doesn’t mean we all agree on everything politically, and we often end up having long rambling political debates! It’s really difficult for me to position my own personal politics in a straight-forward way. I don’t tend to label myself and I certainly don’t align myself with any of the political parties that ‘represent’ us. I tend to draw differentially on anarchist, socialist, and intersectional feminist ideas when constructing my own approach.

Ruth:
I think all three of us have somewhat different political views and approaches. The way we organise the band basically enables us to remain autonomous as individuals, but act  collectively as a band.  We're all left-of-centre and broadly believe in stuff like the public provision of services  (e.g. healthcare), individual freedom from state surveillance and interference, an intersectional approach to liberation politics (taking into account feminism, anti-racism,  class politics, LGBT rights, disabled rights and so on) - I suppose we're most likely to differ on ideas around implementation, the role of political parties and suchlike. But that's not a  particularly exciting theme for a song. Ultimately most our songs - being punk songs! - are oppositional. We oppose the things we  think are bad in the world, rather than necessarily advocating a solution (with occasional  exceptions, such as 'Intersectionality Song'). But we're all activists outside of the band too to one extent or another, so that's where you're more likely to find us fighting for something.

How have government cuts affected the areas you are involved in-education and the arts?

Kirsty:
The DIY punk scene tends to try and operate outside the realm of government supported arts, but there’s a definite issue with the loss of/lack of support for vital things like venues and practice rooms. With more of these closing/being forced to charge for the use of them, the higher the costs are for those in bands/promoters. This then prices people out at a time when not many people have cash to spare.

Snowy: 
There've been a fair number of smaller promoter hiatuses in my hometown caused by venues closing down or cutting back on live music to stave off closing down. Then a short delay before somewhere new can be found to put bands on. The larger nights tend to be run in-house by one of the larger places, who play it safer with what they put on (plenty of tribute acts!). 

Ruth:
At the same time, there has been an upsurge in DIY venues recently, which is really positive. In one (horrible) sense it's a bit like Cameron's "Big Society" in action, except these venues also act as a launchpad for performers and campaigns that pretty much oppose everything the Tories stand for. So, that's quite cool.

Kirsty:
In higher education the cuts are causing all manner of problems. Large swathes of research and teaching roles have become casualised as the universities attempt to cut costs. Those that have achieved permanent jobs find themselves in unsafe positions, forced to ‘prove their worth' constantly and with ever increasing demands on their time. Morale is low and universities have shifted from institutions for learning and blue-skies research to ‘result orientated research’. 

Ruth:
Kirsty and I have found ourselves earning less than the minimum wage whilst teaching undergraduate students who are paying £9000 a year for the privilege. This, of course, hasn't stopped the men at the top pocketing hundreds of thousands of pounds. There's a big funding problem with universities thanks to the cuts, but that hasn't stopped a small number of people making a huge amount of money from exploiting academics and students alike.

Snowy:
Studying in the sciences I may have a different perspective to the others as funding for science has been slightly more protected. There are no undergraduates in my department, so I’m not really in touch with the way government cuts have affected them. I also don’t apply for research grants myself so I don’t directly see the effects of the lower amount of funding for research proposals and the increased competition to secure them.

As a female fronted overtly feminist punk band what sort of response have you had  from audiences? The lyrics to 'Never Back Down' (2) seem to suggest that you have had to deal with some difficult situations!

Ruth:
We actually tend to have a pretty good response from audiences! I think this is partly luck,  and partly the audiences we're more likely to play to, since we get asked to perform at a lot of feminist and queer events. Regardless of whether we're playing one of these events or a more "mainstream" punk night, the people who remain in the room (we usually  manage to offend someone!) tend to be pretty engaged and interested in what we have to say. We know other bands like ours who have had a pretty bad time at some gigs though. 

Snowy:
Most of our audiences have been amazing and I think it’s easy for the effect of the negative gigs to be overstated when we write songs about them. Not that the songs shouldn’t be written. I agree with Ruth that there’s some selection bias in the responses we have had because just due to the types of people who tend to book us will be sort of predisposed to our music. Not to the point where we’ve just playing into an echo chamber though, and even the more neutral gigs we’ve played have tended to be more ‘accepting/friendly’ – places like the Adam and Eve in Birmingham. Sure, half the room might’ve left…

Ruth
That was amazing

Snowy 
But that’s fine, they just take themselves away. 

Ruth:
They weren’t being dicks about it.

Kirsty:
'Never Back Down' is specifically about a gig we played for Love Music Hate Homophobia at Coventry Students’ Union. One of the other bands felt it appropriate to made rape jokes during our set. We told them where to go – as did security. But not without also giving us a telling off for standing our ground.

Ruth:
In a sense, that wasn't so bad to deal with - we were at the front and had amplified instruments and microphones, so were in a pretty good position to shout them down. The biggest problem was probably the attitude of the venue, who cut our set short (we hear they also weren't keen on our song "Tory Scum" - what a pity) and then tried to tell us off for causing trouble. We had none of it! On another occasion we had guys heckling us, we didn't even get a chance to respond  because a woman immediately leapt onto the stage, grabbed the a microphone and had a go at them. That was pretty awesome.

Kirsty:
However, mostly we get an overwhelmingly positive response from our audiences and we’ve met so many lovely people at gigs. We’ve never been subject to the ‘Is your boyfriend in the band?’ syndrome which afflicts so many other female musicians.

If we construct ourselves from the cultural resources available to us, what resources and role models have you drawn on to resist a patriarchal, sexist society?

Snowy:
I don’t know. A lot of friends are my role models and I’m lucky enough to have that kind of circle of friends. On a facetious level – general grumpiness. If the patriarchal society does something I can generally assume that I don’t like it. Work out why not afterwards. 

Ruth:
A good way to deal with this is probably to carry on enjoying and being inspired by things,  whilst acknowledging and criticising/calling out their flaws where relevant. There's a  really good blog post about that here: http://www.socialjusticeleague.net/2011/09/how-to-be-a-fan-of-problematic-things/
With that in mind, I've found the following things/people/bands to be massively helpful in  shaping my personal politics and approach to playing in a punk band: - the riot grrrl movement - intersectional feminism - Bikini Kill - Crass - Manic Street Preachers - Karren Ablaze! (zine creator, singer and writer) - Sandy Stone (trans academic and activist) - Leslie Feinberg (RIP - revolutionary communist and trans activist) - Art Brut

You organise 'Revolt-a DIY Riot Grrrl Ruckus' in Coventry-what's that all about!

Kirsty:
This was actually another thing that has its origins in PhD research – between my research on punk, and fellow organiser Michelle’s research on feminist zines, and Ruth’s many years of putting on DIY gigs, it seemed like a good idea to try and put something on that would represent all of this. Revolt is very much about the creative community in the UK at the moment; providing a platform for amazing performers of all levels of experience, and a safe space for people to come and enjoy and contribute to the feminist DIY punk community. We’ve released a couple of compilations of bands who have performed and at the last few events we’ve even started producing the ‘Revolt zine’ – we put out pens and paper and invite attendees to contribute a drawing/piece of writing which we then put all together, photocopy and hand out at the next event. Everyone has the ability to get involved!

Ruth:
One of the main things we think about when booking performers for Revolt is offering a  platform for women, basically because women are massively underrepresented in  underground music scenes. There are small riot grrrl and queer punk scenes in places like  London, Brighton and Leeds with loads of amazing women performing all the time, but we  basically had nothing like this in our area. We spend quite a lot of time in Coventry and it's the nearest large city to the three of us who run it, so it was the obvious place to host an event. We use Revolt to offer gigs to loads of awesome out-of-town bands with a broadly similar  politics and approach to Not Right, but it goes beyond that - we've managed to build an awesome little community of people who support the event, and we aim to encourage  everyone (but particularly other women!) to go away and form their own amazing  projects.

Snowy:
It is amazing how successful it’s been right from the first one. 

In a presentation 'Trans Music Isn't: Deconstructing DIY Identity' (3) you conclude (I think)  that while there are plenty of Trans musicians there isn't a Trans music scene-is that due to positive reasons, for instance diversity of musical styles/ integration of both musicians and listeners into wider musical scenes or is it more problematic?

Ruth:
This stemmed from a small research project that myself and Kirsty did. I think there is a trans music scene, it’s just so open and diverse and inclusive that it doesn’t bother defining itself as such. I suppose this means that someone who doesn’t realise what they’re walking into might turn up to one of these events and suddenly realise that the bill is full of trans performers and the person running around organising it is trans and think “…hang on a minute”. It kind of reflects how the term “trans” is intentionally open and incorporates all kinds of different experiences of gender, whereas older labels like “transsexual” and “transvestite” were a lot more restrictive. 

You also produce a 'zine 'Not Right' -can you tell us about that, are 'zines a significant feature of the Riot Grrrl movement?

Kirsty:
Definitely! The voice of anyone who isn’t a straight white cis man is so often left out of the mainstream and zines are another medium through which more people can communicate with each other. We’re able to talk about more and different things from the topics that make it into our lyrics and our zines often feature contributions from friends. I love the immediacy and physicality that comes with zines and the amount of care that people have often put into creating them. And you don’t need anything other than a pen, paper and a library photocopier to make your own.

Snowy:
I think most of my involvement with the zine is the three of us thinking we should put out another zine. It gets to the deadline and I think ‘Oh shit I have nothing’ – I’ve done little bits here and there – a QR code, a cover page. Embarrassingly I think Bean Counters was my first inside contribution. I feel quite guilty that I don’t contribute more.  

Kirsty:
I’ve not done much either.

Ruth:
I just write lots and lots of shit and that doesn’t mean that the other two don’t do much. Kirsty has written a collection of pieces and Snowy contributed a lot to the artwork and stuff!

Snowy:
 I’ve sat down and tried to write a piece on Debate Club Wanker a few times but I can’t even write an intro that I like. It’s such a wanker of a song.

What current bands and writers interest and excite you?

Ruth: 
Against Me!, Sleater-Kinney, Cat Bear Tree, My Therapist Says Hot Damn!, Big Joanie, Bad Vibes, We Are A Communist, Deathsex Bloodbath, anarchistwood, The Ethical Debating Society, Husbands N Knives, Jesus & His Judgemental Father, Beauty Pageant, Slum of Legs, CN Lester. Loads more!
 I don’t normally follow particular writers but I suppose I really like stuff by Roz Kaveney, Julia Serano, Stephanie Phillips, Tori Truslow and Laurie Penny. 

Snowy:
I don’t think I have any punk answers! 
Musically I’m listening a hell of a lot to the Sonic Boom Six self-titled album, it’s great to listen to when you’re focusing on it rather than as background music. The People’s String Foundation also gets a lot of playtime at the moment. After the gig we played in Nottingham in August I really got into Onsind’s album Anaesthesiology. 

Ruth:
The Tuts sang Pok√©mon City Limits from that album at Boris Johnson recently, it was amazing. “Never trust a Tory, they’ll betray you when it matters…”

Snowy:
It’s been a while since I’ve found something that I’ve heard and thought immediately “I’ve got to listen to everything that these people have done”.


Massive thanks to Not Right for their time and thoughtfulness, you can find out more about them at notrightpunk.com or on their Facebook page.

Bibliography.

*  http://notrightpunk.com/about/

(1) http://www.punx.co.uk/not-right-your-turn

(2) http://notrightpunk.com/lyrics/never-back-down/

(3) Ruth Pearce and Kirsty Lohman- Trans Music Isn't  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdoeNNJesnY

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Capitalism's Hierarchy 2015

Here is a photo montage attempt at updating the IWW 'Pyramid of Capitalist System' (1911) for the UK in 2015. (The photo is a bit askew!)

 
 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

How about nowish?

After 35 years of neoliberal economics working class Britain is not doing well.  A recently published report shows that in 2011 nine out of the ten poorest regions in North West EU countries were in Britain (1). The figures for 2009-10 in the UNICEF report 'Child well-being in rich countries-a comparative overview' puts Britain fourteenth out of the twenty nine 'most advanced economies' (2). That doesn't sound too bad until you realise that is pretty much last place out of NW European countries with a similar post WWII experience. Also reported this summer was that out of the twenty eight EU countries the UK comes in twenty sixth in terms of loneliness- that is not having someone you could turn to and rely on in a crisis (3). After three decades of what Harvey termed the economics of class war (4) the British working class is atomised, alienated, lonely, precarious and increasingly skint. We live in an ill society that generates ill people. Studies show that individuals are happier within societies that are more equal — wide disparities of income and wealth create societies that are less happy and more ill at ease. The UK has high rates of inequality, one of the consequences being the prevalence of mental illness and the use of anti-depressants. In a society marked by inequality, exploitation and environmental degradation people are struggling with unease and alienation and a lack of an alternative to ‘what is’.
Since the industrial revolution of the mid 1700s capitalism has concentrated power in the hands of the owners of the means of production — factories, land, mines, distribution — and has separated the vast majority of people from those means. Power and wealth have been and are accrued by an elite while the rest of us hope to pay our bills. This plus the commodification of the necessities of life -food, shelter, heating etc — means that the working class are forced to sell their labour, whether mental or physical, in order to survive above destitution. Within capitalism the wealth of the few and the exploitation of the many is linked, the worker spends her day adding value to the assets of the company, at the end of the day that work/added value is taken by the company who then gives the worker a wage that is less than the value they have generated pocketing the difference. They pay enough to keep the workforce functional-unless they can get the government to subsidise those wages via Working Family Tax Credit etc- as they need their labour and thus each day the shareholders/boss/company gets richer while the worker struggles on, hoping they might win the lottery or looking forward to the next weekend.
Capitalism is exploitative, oppressive, alienating and instrumentalist. The worker is alienated from their work, having to carry out tasks assigned to them, the benefit of that work being largely accrued by someone else; from their colleagues who they are taught to see as competitors, as threat; from themselves as they wonder how they ended up doing this, being this. And the worker functions as an instrument, a means to someone else’s ends. In post industrial work there has been a change, industrial capitalism demanded the worker's body but was often uninterested in their mind or ‘soul’, their thoughts, relational skills, communication abilities, however post industrial work wants those aspects as well. 21st century work often demands all of the worker leaving her with little to construct a meaningful life outside of work. In industrial work there was a chance to find meaning, community in unions, political/social clubs etc but often the modern worker is drained of all energies and goes home to watch TV and get ready for tomorrow. As this goes on the only place of meaning in her life becomes work, the very place that incapacitates her for anything else (5).
Since the 1980s neoliberal capitalism has dominated UK politics, an ideology of free markets, small state provision (for the workers, though not for corporations), individualisation, privatisation and a continual dismantling of workers rights and protections, concessions gained since the Second World War. In short class war waged by the rich to cite Atari Teenage Riot (6). Neoliberal capitalism and politics have reconfigured institutions (governments, schools etc), individuals and society into it’s own image. Brought up in a commodification environment that promotes work and individualised consumption as the highest goal people have been reduced to objects, women especially valued according to their physicality-and make of handbag. Capitalism’s most brazen trick is to try and pass itself off as natural, or ‘god ordained’ in a bygone era, attempting to convince us that this is how it is meant to be, that no other world is possible. The Situationists wrote about this in 1950s/60s referring to it as ‘the spectacle’ (7) — how advanced industrial societies are represented to themselves by the elite, so effectively that the oppressed internalise those values, those views. Society and culture dominated by a seamless representation of a capitalist version of the world via the media, state and corporations (7), where any dissent is marginalised or co-opted. Gramsci referred to something similar as 'cultural hegemony' (8).
And over this society that is a material expression of capitalist interests exists the state, hierarchical, coercive, serving the interests of the political and corporate elite. The capitalist state is a capitalist construction expressing capitalist’s interests, configuring society to the interests of capital. Between 1945 and the 70s there was a respite from the state/corporate amalgam as unions and the Labour Party gained concessions for the working class but since the 1980s the state has re-assumed its historic role of enforcing capitalist interests. Where there has been resistance, as in the Miner’s Strike of 1980s, the coercive nature of the state has come to the fore, undisguised and brutal. The state’s authority rests ultimately on the use, or threat, of force, it is normally structured and bureaucratic but if it has to be more violent to achieve it’s ends it will be. The modern capitalist state is inherently hierarchical, coercive, patriarchal and militaristic.
As individuals we are ‘socialised’ by the societies and cultures we are reared in, we imbibe their values and embody their world views. We listen to their fairy tales of royalty, hierarchy and the sinister ‘other’ both as children and adults and believe them. We take the norms of our societies and believe them to be nature, believing this is how it is meant to be rather than seeing them as top down constructs, the result of class war that has been waged particularly ruthlessly by the rich over the last 30 years.
Capitalism and the nation state system have been responsible for the misery and deaths of countless millions over the last 300 years. The state communist system proved little different to capitalism perpetuating the same old patterns of hierarchy, instrumentalism, elitism and coercion. However throughout history there has been another way of organising society, economics and politics that has been glimpsed, sometimes poorly, sometimes more fully explored; anarchism. Anarchy is a word often used by the media to describe disorder, violence and chaos and the Sex Pistols did it no favours either! Anarchism has been misrepresented by many people for various reasons. There have been violent anarchist who in the 1800s believed in ‘propaganda by deed’, the idea that the assassination of a leading industrialist or politician would stir the working class to revolution, they were wrong, and it enabled the state to represent anarchists as violent and to crack down on non existent global anarchist networks (9).
However anarchism did not go away and has hung around waiting its time-which should be about now!
Anarchism is the belief that communities of people are capable of self organisation for the common good and don’t need to be told what to do by bosses of whatever kind and that in fact being socialised to look to a parental figure to always adjudicate or direct holds people back from maturity. In an anarchist community all people are equal there is no hierarchy, no patriarchy, no racism. All people take part in making decisions about those things that affect the community, the decision being reached by discussion that concludes when every one has agreed or is at least happy not to block the consensus.
The means of production — land, machinery, natural resources, distribution — are held by the community there is no private ownership of the means of production and people organise and work in co-operatives of equals. Obviously some people have certain skills and abilities and that would not be neglected but certain roles would not bestow special status on anyone, all valid work is of equal worth. Production would be primarily on the basis of need, consumption also, the maxim ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their need’ is appropriate here.
Because production would be organised on the basis of people’s needs not profit there would be more leisure time available for people to explore their creativity. An anarchist community should be a place of creativity, arts, crafts and relationships. Communities would be voluntary associations of willing participants whose concern would be for the common good knowing that their own well being and the well being of others is intricately linked.
Lots of anarchists are federalists, realising that autonomy is different from independence they favour local or regional councils made up of recallable representatives from different communities. These councils could resolve difficulties or coordinate actions to do with production etc.
Syndicalist anarchists would see anarchism as applicable to the function based, spread out world of industrial work as well as geographical communities.
Some anarchists have been preoccupied with individual freedom while others see it as the only reliable path to social justice and equality as its structures preclude anyone from accumulating wealth or power. Over time people brought up in anarchism would be socialised into a different way of being, of co-operation and collaboration and of seeing people as equals to be worked with rather than as objects to be used.
Obviously production in an anarchist economy would use less natural resources and energy due to holding many goods collectively and producing primarily on the basis of need this would stop the rapid exhaustion of the earth’s resources and with the decentralisation of energy production slow global warming
In an anarchist community where things are held collectively, everyone’s needs are met and status goods are irrelevant so crimes of appropriation would fall, however in instances of violent crime a period of supervision or even exile may be appropriate, disciplining action would have to be agreed by the community and be victim centred aimed at healing, restitution and rehabilitation.
So how do we get there from here? The classic anarchist answer is to begin ‘building the new in the shell of the old’, to disregard the structures and powers that be and to do something better instead. Capitalism according to John Holloway is a verb, it is something we do rather than it existing independent of us (10). It will end when we stop doing it! Some think there would be a period of conflict, that the powerful are not going to allow the source of their wealth and power-the working class- to turn away and reconstruct society without a struggle. However anarchists have nothing to gain by the use of violence because 1. not enough people would be prepared to get involved; 2. there is no point taking on the capitalist state at it’s point of strength; 3. your means must be consistent with your aims, if they are not you won’t hit the ends you were aiming for, ends are shaped by means; 4. if you believe it is acceptable to use violence to achieve your objective you have to cede the same right to your opponent.

The online learning site 'Futurelearn' (11) runs a course called 'The Secret Power of Brands' (12) which includes the idea of a Venn diagram in which one circle contains the felt needs of your target group, the other circle your organisation's attributes-in the overlap of the two circles are the aspects of your organisation that meets those felt needs, the aspects that the organisation needs to communicate (12). Obviously this is to do with businesses but is transposable to other spheres. In an online article 'The Left Can Win' Pablo Inglesias of the Spanish Podemos party-that emerged from the Indignados movement- makes the point that the Left needs to communicate in a language that people understand about things that people are bothered about, that there has to be a tie up between what we are talking about and what people are experiencing or we are irrelevant while having the correct analysis (13).We need to disrupt the top down dominant discourses that people read and hear by listening to people and talking with them about the things that matter to them in a way that alerts people to the misleading, elite-serving, disempowering narratives they have been given and instead empowers people to engage and create change. 

A recent 'Red Pepper' article/interview with another Podemos member Eduardo Maura comments that the Left needs to have a better grasp of "class compositions and identities" (14) which are far more complex and fragmented than before the neoliberal era, and to have a better understanding of people's lived experiences so that it can communicate effectively (14). Podemos seems to have managed to embed itself in local communities with many local branches as well as using social media/ the internet extensively in order to enable involvement and participation in discussion and decision making for as many people as possible (14). This model of a movement with multiple access points so that people with busy fragmented lives can get involved in the way they can manage has to be taken seriously as for many people an initial involvement that includes conferences, reading lengthy books and protests may be a bit too much. The above examples are peculiar to time and place, in circumstances different to our own but they do give us clues as to how anarchism could engage more effectively with the world around us- exploring how anarchism answers the felt needs people have, listening to people and their concerns and then trying to give them a better analysis of the causes of their problems in a language they understand, having a localised and online movement that has multiple points of access so that people can learn, understand more clearly, engage and participate in a way they can manage. It will almost certainly be a bit messy and include mistakes but the need for a clearer, more effective communication of anarchist politics is paramount.    

 Many people in the industrialised world are experiencing alienation, lack of community, purpose and fulfilment-they know something is wrong with their lives, with the way we are organised but they are distracted and anesthetised by TV and the tabloid press which keeps them away from alternative narratives and visions. What is needed is the propagation of an anarchist alternative and an example of what it looks like in practice so it can be seen and experienced.
The future is not necessarily anarchist, it could be even more authoritarian capitalism or environmental meltdown but if we want to avoid these two then the working class are going to have to decide to change our direction, to find ways of discussing and exploring how we can move towards a more equal, just and free tomorrow. The challenge for anarchists is how to facilitate this, a mass movement towards a just, equitable society-how to move out and engage in a project of coordinated education and activism.

.
Bibliography:

(1) Rickman, D. (2014) 'Are 9 of the poorest region in northern Europe really in the UK?  http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/are-9-of-the-poorest-regions-in-northern-europe-really-in-the-uk--eJ0axHCqmx

(2)'Child well-being in rich countries-a comparative overview'  UNICEF UK  https://www.unicef.org.uk/Images/.../Report%20card%20briefing2b.pdf

(3) Bingham, J. 'Britain the loneliness capital of Europe' . 18-6-14.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/wellbeing/10909524/Britain-the-loneliness-capital-of-Europe.html

(4) Harvey, D. (2005 ) ‘A Brief History of Neoliberalism’, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York.

(5) Berardi, F. (2009) ‘The Soul at Work’, Semiotext(e), Los Angeles.

(6) Atari Teenage Riot, ‘Black Flag’ on ‘Is this Hyperreal?’ Digital Hardcore, 2010.

(7) Debord, G. (1968) 'The Society of the Spectacle'. Black and Red, USA.


(8) Thomas, M. (ed)(2012) ‘Antonio Gramsci: Working-Class Revolutionary’, Workers’  Liberty, London

(9) Butterworth, A. (2010) ‘The World that Never Was. A true story of dreamers, schemers, anarchists and dreamers’. The Bodley Head, London.

(10) Holloway J. (2010), ‘Crack Capitalism’ Pluto Press, London and New York.


(11) www.futurelearn.com

(12) 'The Secret Power of Brands' UEA https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/the-secret-power-of-brands

(13) Inglesias, P. (2014) 'The Left Can Win' 12-9-2014 https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/12/pablo-iglesias-podemos-left-speech/

(14) Dolan, A. (2014) 'Si se puede' in Red Pepper, Issue 199, Dec/Jan 2015, Socialist Newspaper (Publications), London