I have to admit I was extremely cool about the idea of the Fuck Parade when I first heard about. Class War were engaged in a general election campaign, and as one of the “oxymoronic” candidates I was self centered enough to think it was a total distraction. The idea of focusing on a street party days before election night itself seemed ridiculous. Why couldn’t the organisers just support the candidates? Part of my issue with it was that I didn’t really have a clue what one was so my selfishness and ignorance were preventing me from seeing the wider picture. I’m happy to say I was wrong. Fighting elections is something I will write about at length another time but Class War is all about direct action and having fun with it and that’s what the Fuck Parade provides.
The Circled A Radio Show recently interviewed one of the intrepid organisers of the Fuck Parade and it’s worth listening to. They give the full story so far but from my perspective I can write about the first one from first hand experience, the other two I witnessed through accounts from others and the media, particularly the last one with the buzz around the Cereal Killer Cafe “riot”. it’s also worth noting that Class War and the Fuck Parade are not the same thing. The two should not be taken to mean the same people. It may have started as a Class War thing but it’s now gained a life of its own. I haven’t been involved with organising it so there are others better placed than me to explain how it works if they wish to; this is just one perspective.
As the road got blocked police numbers started to increase. Moving became inevitable if we wanted to prevent kettling so off we went. For hours the protest loudly blared its way through the streets, blocking Tower Bridge (possibly not for the first time that day). The group ended up in Soho some time later and partied in the street there before things died down. The media ignored this Fuck Parade. A week before a general election and one of the parties standing candidates had clogged up the roads of the capital during rush hour. Barely anyone knew.
Elections are times when the broadcasters and media in general have special rules regarding political coverage. It actually focuses the attention on the main parties if anything but is regarded by the establishment as giving everyone a chance to be heard. Ironically the coverage for Class War exploded after the election, following several incidents including the third Fuck Parade. The first incident was the riot in Whitehall two days after the election itself which prompted the Daily Mail to claim that Class War were organising a “Summer of Thuggery”. It’s nice of them to provide ideas innit. There was some coverage of the second Fuck Parade in Camden and then all hell broke loose with the third Fuck Parade and that damned cafe.
Imagine the sight of major liberal newspaper columnists writing and getting published the suggestion that the protesters had chosen the wrong target! Were they inciting people to smash the property of banks and estate agents? That’s what it looked like. The wrong target! This is important because the tacit acknowledgement in that phrase is that the Fuck Parade had hit on something. The implication is that the Fuck Parade is right, even if the minority in the crowd chose the wrong target.
As a result gentrification, and specifically its harmful affects are finally on the agenda. Prior to the Fuck Parade gentrification was always written about or shown from the point of view of those doing the gentrifying. Finally we’re seeing things from the point of view of the dispossessed. This is a huge shift in mainstream culture which needs to be bolstered and built upon.