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How the Communist Party of Great Britain discovered punk rock

11 Comrades in bondage trousers: how the Communist Party of Great Britain discovered punk rock M atthew Worley Speaking in June 1976, Paul Bradshaw, the editor of Challenge, the newspaper produced by the Young Communist League (YCL), surveyed the state of British youth culture.1 Superficially, he reasoned, things did not look good. The youth movements that helped define the 1960s had fragmented; popular music appeared depoliticised. Although glam rock had briefly offered an interesting challenge to masculine stereotypes, and reggae continued to provide a

in Labour and working-class lives
Essays to celebrate the life and work of Chris Wrigley

This book reflects upon the wide range of Chris Wrigley's research and publications in the study of the various aspects of British labour history. It presents a set of themes revolving around the British labour movement and the lives of those connected with it. The book begins with a discussion on biography in the shape of George Howell's work on trade unions and presents Herbert Gladstone's view that the unions emerged from the medieval workers guilds. Chris was also interested in political figures connected with progressivism and the labour movement, which is reflected in the examination of Gladstone's role in the Liberal Party. There is an examination of the Co-operative Party in the north-east of England, the 1911 National Insurance Act, and the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party. The inter-war British labour politics is covered by the disaffiliation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) from the Labour Party and by a study of the Progressive League. British and German working class lives are compared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Female trade unionism is dealt with a focus on Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries (AWCS). The contribution of the Lansburys is brought by an essay on the role of the family members in working-class politics, including women's enfranchisement. The book also deals with the attempt by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) to engage with punk music, and ends with a discussion on the theme of Labour disunity.

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comprised a family who lost a possible home for themselves. In terms of squatter capital, their status as a family meant that the squatting community expected less from them than if they were young single punks, for example, and so they did not lose any capital by this failed action. The members of the kraakspreekuur, and especially the spokesperson, felt the embarrassment of this failure because with planning, they could have easily prevented and avoided such mistakes. Although I never spoke with the spokesperson

in The autonomous life?

feelings about their experiences as squatters. This sharply differed from those of male squatters who tended to narrate their experiences according to plots which centered events that revealed squatter capital, such as their participation in a violent eviction, their managing of a campaign, or their involvement in a social center. Svenke is a punk Swedish squatter with long blond dreadlocks in her late twenties who came to the Netherlands to study in the university. Her entire wardrobe consists of black clothing

in The autonomous life?

through the sitex and opened the doors within minutes. With the noise and the sparks from the motor flexes cutting through the metal, the door breaking was highly performative and, “so cool,” extolled Stijn, a nineteen-year-old squatter who was learning how to be a breaker. Three different living groups resided in the Motorflex houses. Self-identified punks who were referred to by their neighbors simply as “the punks” – both crusty and baby – resided in the two center houses. They shared a living room and

in The autonomous life?
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The economy of unromantic solidarity

-war, apocalyptic nightmare. Dilapidated buildings and trash dominated the scenery and starkly contrasted the neat streets, shiny renovated architecture, and cute cafes that abound in Amsterdam of the 2000s. The filmmakers interviewed Morris at age eighteen, wearing a punk leather jacket, handsome, earnest, and articulately explaining his political motivations to squat with enthusiasm and sincerity. The next time I viewed the same documentary was in 2007, with a group of squatter friends. When Morris appeared on the screen, the

in The autonomous life?
Open Access (free)
The autonomous life?

Every Saturday night for thirty years, the renowned Vrankrijk, a squatters’ social center, has hosted a dance party which attracts a mix of squatters, punks, artists, radical left activists, hippies, university students, and tourists seeking to taste the underground scene in Amsterdam. Located on a beautiful street in the inner city, the building is enormous, standing four-stories tall, its facade covered by colorful murals in stark contrast to the eighteenth-century dollhouse architectural landscape of

in The autonomous life?
Abstract only

his PhD on British communism. Matthew Worley’s essay offers Wrigley.indb 10 08/03/2017 17:45:34 Introduction 11 a fascinating insight into how the CPGB and the Young Communist League sought to engage with punk music at a time when the party was losing member­ship rapidly, in the decade or so before the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Stimulated by the writings of Martin Jacques, and other prominent members of the CPGB, the attempt to embrace the anti-commercial music establishment of the emerging youth culture in the 1970s led to

in Labour and working-class lives

Amsterdam, the son of an architect and a school nurse, both of whom professed leftist politics. He was raised to call them by their first names and dislikes describing his class background, refusing to, as he says, “put himself into a box.” As a fifteen-year-old punk sporting a Mohawk, he became involved in the squatters movement when he read a newspaper article interviewing squatters who were preparing for the eviction of their mansion. Excited, he skipped school to help with the barricading. Having spent half his

in The autonomous life?
When the talking stops

and allegations of corruption over the course of their preparation.60 As a result, a variety of civil society actors, including freedom of expression advocates, campaigners for the abolition of the anti-homosexual legislation, environmental activists and anti-corruption activists, were united in offering opposition to the Sochi Games on economic, environmental and political grounds. Importantly, they were able to gather considerable Western media attention.61 Indeed, media outlets followed one civil society actor with particular relish. Pussy Riot, a disruptive punk

in Sport and diplomacy