Trumpton Riots
September 28, 2015 6:30 AM   Subscribe

One of the strangest months in British politics is capped by a anti-gentrification anarchist march through the streets of Shoreditch culminating in an attack on the Cereal Killer Cafe. Take it away, Nigel.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (77 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
My word-replacing plugin for Firefox converts every instance of Trump to Trumpnuts, and makes pieces like this hard to decipher at first glance.
posted by sutt at 6:38 AM on September 28, 2015


Isn't Trumpnutston just off the A329 west of Bracknell?
posted by brokkr at 6:41 AM on September 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


I would have said that the concept of a cereal-only cafe is so twee and precious it should be made into a movie starring a pre-New-Girl Zooey Deschanel, except whoops too late.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:42 AM on September 28, 2015 [23 favorites]


I was part of the Cereal Killer cafe protest – here's why:
During the evening some paint and cornflakes were thrown at the Cereal Killer cafe on Brick Lane, which received a lot of attention, while the issues at the heart of the protest – inequality and social cleansing - were largely ignored...

The cereal cafe was back open on Sunday morning while the destruction caused by gentrification continues.
#FUCKPARADE – What the fuck is to be done?
Paraders threw paint and cereal at the notorious Cereal Killer Cafe, smashed estate agents and kept ahead of the police the entire night...

#fuckparade 3 succeeded in gathering a maintaining a mass of people that didn’t let themselves be broken up by the police, even towards the end of the demonstration the level of militancy and organisation meant that only one arrest took place. It could've been more, attempts were made to arrest others but the police were caught off guard and the fuckparaders worked together to protect those targeted. It is an example of police disorganisation that at one point a police van unrelated to the demonstration was opened and protesters gained access to an occupied transport cell. Aside from this, the demonstration was consistently angry, vibrant and loud, and most importantly attracted a greater number of people than ever before.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:48 AM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I live in London, am a vehement socialist, and hate the way the city is becoming harder and harder to live in as a non-rich person, also I support the right to protest.

However, trashing local (and for fuck's sake, INDEPENDENT) shops that you have decided embody the thing you don't like is fucking stupid and makes you and your cause look like a dick.

From the "I was part of the protest, here's why" article: "The point of the protest wasn’t to damage property or to frighten anyone." Yeah, but, that's what you did. If you're going to take part in something like this, take responsibility for it.
posted by greenish at 6:59 AM on September 28, 2015 [47 favorites]


The Sandwichman once said: "The job of the media is to spin and frame dissent as either trivial or terroristic. In an oligarchy, all dissent is either trivial or it is terror."

In this case, they seem to have decided it's both...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:00 AM on September 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


Fuck them and their £3.50 bowls of cereal. Meh.
posted by Monkeymoo at 7:00 AM on September 28, 2015


I think the cause is just. I work in Shoreditch and live in South London, near Brixton, so have seen the effects of gentrification. I want to live in London and these are the places I can afford to do so, which is more than people who lived there before could afford. I guess I'm part of the problem but I'm conscious of that and I do what I can. I try to shop at the local independent places - the independent off-license, the random home goods shops, etc. But I'm actually okay with 1 of the 5 charity shops being converted to a Patisserie Valerie. It's more of a balance for me. I'll be the first to be pretty pissed off if my local Indian and Chinese takeaways close down for yet another grocery store - there are no less than 6 of them on my high street, between two tube stops, and 3 of them are Sainsbury's.

But I think their targets last night were misdirected and I have sympathy for the cereal bar owners. But there isn't much use in telling anarchists that they're doing it wrong.
posted by like_neon at 7:02 AM on September 28, 2015


The protest was advertised on Facebook as the third Fuck Parade, and was apparently organised by the anarchist group Class War. The event page stated: “Our communities are being ripped apart – by Russian oligarchs, Saudi sheiks, Israeli scumbag property developers, Texan oil-money twats and our own home-grown Eton toffs. Local authorities are coining it in, in a short-sighted race for cash by ‘regenerating’ social housing.

I wish we could get some of that kind of thing going around here, frankly. Our rich hipster district* is quite literally blocks away from the poorest, most abused part of the city and it's surreal to bike through all the blocks of luxury flats and stupid eateries and then bam, you turn the corner and you're in the over-policed and under-served part of town and everyone is poor.


*There ought to be some distinction between people who get labeled "hipsters" who are really just bohemians and the people who, for instance, work in banking and do expensive trendy stuff. I know plenty of people who make, e.g., artisanal pickles but who certainly can't do all the ten dollar bowl of cereal nonsense because they - like everyone else of their general demographic - are working part time gigs and living six to a house.
posted by Frowner at 7:02 AM on September 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


“I’ve lived in Shoreditch for 17 years and it’s appalling what’s been going on. Its our fault, artists like me go to these kind of areas, then the architects follow, the developers, the hipsters etc,” Balduz said.

Artists are sort of the pioneer species of gentrification.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 7:06 AM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


There ought to be some distinction people who get labeled "hipsters" who are really just bohemians and the people who, for instance, work in banking and do expensive trendy stuff.

I believe that distinction is called a "trust fund".
posted by Artw at 7:10 AM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]



...Russian oligarchs, Saudi sheiks, Israeli scumbag property developers, Texan oil-money twats...

So if there's one thing that the far left and far right in England can agree on it's that everything is the fault of foreigners?
posted by gwint at 7:11 AM on September 28, 2015 [14 favorites]


So if there's one thing that the far left and far right in England can agree on it's that everything is the fault of foreigners?

Only if you fail to notice any of the nuance of the arguments. The far left is all about rich foreigners fucking everything up for everyone and the far right is about poor foreigners taking their jerbs.
posted by Talez at 7:21 AM on September 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


...and our own home-grown Eton toffs. Local authorities are coining it in, in a short-sighted race for cash by ‘regenerating’ social housing.

So, no.
posted by Devonian at 7:22 AM on September 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


Only if you fail to notice any of the nuance of the arguments. The far left is all about rich foreigners fucking everything up for everyone and the far right is about poor foreigners taking their jerbs.

So... if there's one thing that the far left and far right in England can agree on, it's that everything is the fault of foreigners?
posted by 2N2222 at 7:23 AM on September 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


So do they make their own cereal, or is it like...Frosted Flakes?
posted by oceanjesse at 7:25 AM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've never seen anyone more fucking hipster than the two owners.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:29 AM on September 28, 2015


So do they make their own cereal, or is it like...Frosted Flakes?

I peeked in a few weeks ago (didn't go in) and it looks kind of... fun? It's certainly not set up to be a cafe for people to go for their regular breakfast. They decorated the walls with rare/vintage cereal boxes (I did not even think that was a thing to collect) and they had quite a lot on offer. They had Frosted Flakes sure, but they also had weird flavors from all over the world. Looks like their website is taking a hit so here's a cached version of their menu.

One thing that struck me was that it felt a bit stuffy (the air, not the atmosphere) and smelled a bit like cardboard (not surprisingly).
posted by like_neon at 7:30 AM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Protests like this are, and have been for the last decade or so, utterly incoherent. Gentrification isn't the fault of the people doing the gentrification, it's the fault of the incentives caused by economic pressures that have led to it. I think rising rental prices driven by a lack of house building and laws being set up to make London an attractive place for foreign investors to buy property to sit there earning money are a serious problem, but I don't think smashing some windows is going to solve either of those issues.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:30 AM on September 28, 2015 [14 favorites]


London's problems are mostly due to the insane housing market. How intimidating an independent shop that hires locals and pays it's taxes (in an area full of Starbucks and in the same borough as the HQs of some of the biggest multinationals on the planet!) is supposed to address that I have no idea.

But then it's Class War from whom you shouldn't expect anything other than self-important posturing and dimwitted bullying ... although I suppose the fact that they've made me feel some slight sympathy towards a couple of Nathan Barleys selling Lucky Charms is an achievement in itself.
posted by sobarel at 7:31 AM on September 28, 2015 [24 favorites]


Given that the restaurant is fifteen minutes away from Liverpool Street, where supposedly all the banks are, why didn't they march there? Oh, then they'd actually actually meet real police resistance.

So I'm annoyed at 3.50 bowls of cereal. I'm annoyed at people who think throwing paint at restaurants that sell 3.50 cereal amount to fighting the man or gentrification. I'm also annoyed at the police, who set back and let it happen, but would have unleashed tear gas and crushed skulls had the protest gotten anywhere near a locus of power.
posted by zabuni at 7:34 AM on September 28, 2015 [23 favorites]


I have complete sympathy for the effects of gentrification in London because of friends who constantly worry about not being able to afford the flats they currently live in because who knows when their landlords decide they'd rather have tenants with posh jobs instead of ones who work at the charity shop. But trashing an independent business is pretty shitty. To me, the markers of gentrification are less hipster artisan businesses and more the waves of Prets/Starbucks/Costas. The latter makes it easier for the former to exist.
posted by Kitteh at 7:35 AM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


So when poor refugees want to move from Syria all the way to Germany it's just fine, but when upper-middle-class "hipsters" start moving within their own country they deserve to be violently driven out? I don't get it. If these protesters think banks' loan and foreclosure policies are encouraging too much gentrification, take it up with the bank, not with the people buying property. I wish there weren't any wars the Syrians needed refuge from, but there are, and it would be wrong for other countries to act like the refugees are responsible for their own situation.
posted by Rangi at 7:37 AM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


I expect the people moving into the area accused of 'gentrifying' it wouldn't live there if they could afford to live somewhere better. I myself am priced out of the area in which I live and can only afford to live in a place I really don't want to; this kind of movement due to the insane housing prices in the UK is gentrification. It is not a bunch of rich people going "Hey this place looks poor lets all move there and posh it up a bit." FFS.

Also as said above far more eloquently, I really don't see how trashing Cereal Killer helps, as pretentious as is may be. The best way to support your local area is to frequent the shops as often as possible that you would like to continue existing and don't give your business to the ones you don't approve of.
posted by diziet at 7:39 AM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Cannon Fodder: "I don't think smashing some windows is going to solve either of those issues."
I agree.

I also think that if the people taking part in this kind of thing thought they had better avenues of influencing those issues, they would be doing so.
posted by brokkr at 7:47 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


That guy taking the video from inside the cafe. His monologue from behind the camera was an endless string of obscenities and it made me wonder what part of Boston he comes from.
posted by three blind mice at 7:51 AM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also think that if the people taking part in this kind of thing thought they had better avenues of influencing those issues, they would be doing so.

I mean, at the very least, getting active in taking control of a political party. Active lobbying of parliament. Forming pressure groups to do so, getting elected at council level, crowd sourcing the support of housing associations.... I'm fairly confident that they haven't availed themselves of all the options which are available to someone who is actively committed to promoting a cause.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:52 AM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


As much as I eyeroll at hipster culture myself, I'm pretty disgusted at the easy and extremely selected targeting of an independent cafe. As noted widely, to get there the protestors had to walk past various chain coffee shops and the like who are notorious for not paying corporate taxes. Did they attack those? No. Did they attack a lone, independent, business, which pays taxes, hires locals and is run by a couple of blokes from Northern Ireland? Yes.

Pathetic. Pathetic and cowardly.

And as for the "exhorbitant £3.50 for a bowl of cereal we don't want that here in our utopian community" rhetoric being spouted by some of the protestors who manage to articulate a whole sentence, online and in the press:

1. £3.50 for breakfast eating out is actually cheap. Many coffee places charge more; even some of the Wetherspoons breakfast options are more expensive. Unless what you want is just a McDonalds everywhere?

2. No-one is forcing you to buy and eat the cereal. It's London. There are, literally, a thousand other options of all prices and types within walking distance; which leads to...

3. Your utopian community sounds like it's just going to be dirt cheap colorless socialist bread, tea and nothing else which "other people" may prefer. Fine if that's what just minority you yourselves want, but you come over as completely anti-diversity, a single knuckle-dragging lobotomized shuffling step away from xenophobia and racism. "We don't want that kind of cafe here" ... oh do fuck off with your "we" and your bricks and torches.

Even though my own politics are to the left of Corbyn, this is one of those occasions where I've ended up embarrassed to be English, in association in any way with the mindset of this mob of cowards.

Yeah; pathetic and cowardly.
posted by Wordshore at 7:57 AM on September 28, 2015 [34 favorites]


From the "I was part of the protest, here's why" article: "The point of the protest wasn’t to damage property or to frighten anyone." Yeah, but, that's what you did.

Intent isn't magic, to coin a phrase.
posted by officer_fred at 7:57 AM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


The cereal cafe is a bit silly, but when you consider the rental cost of the unit, the cost of importing and stocking the large variety of cereals and milks (and the inherent risk of such a large menu) it probably doesn't make very much profit.
Also, it's independently and locally owned and pays it's taxes. The markup on a starbucks is much more significant, and the value extracted from the local economy significantly greater.
The outrage against it is stupid.

I also live in London and am practically a full blown communist. I have a lot of sympathy for the protestors, and in fact probably only one or two dickheads in the crowd decided that the beardy hipsters should be done over, but they've undermined the whole message, and they are way way too late to the party in shoreditch.

The area I live in, Brentford, has a mass of mouldering old riverside factories, long abandoned. The development company Ballymore has somehow got the contract to "Regenerate" the area, which, if they ever get round to it is probably going to mean lots of high rise luxury flats, rising rents in the area, pricing out the locals.
There is a constant ongoing fight with the planners and councillors who seem willing to let Ballymore have a free hand and a lot of very vocal pressure groups trying to get concessions to an actually liveable town.
Because the trouble is, there is a tension at the heart of all of this. We want those factories removed and replaced with locally owned independent shops and affordable socially responsible housing. Ballymore want them removed and replaced with high rise luxury flats and chain shops and restaurants. No one really wants the old ruins to remain. But it's a lot easier to stomp up and down brick lane making noise and fury than it is to meaningfully engage in the million tiny battles of the local planning process.

Especially when your opponents (planners, developers, corrupt officials) get paid to do it and are rewarded with suitcases full of cash and you have to fit the fight around work, and family and living and your reward is maybe your rent goes up £100 a month instead of £400.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:58 AM on September 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


Gentrification is a natural growth of capitalism and reflects a growing spilt between the Haves and Have Nots as high paying jobs move to urban areas, replacing manufacturing economies...Cities such as Boston, london, Berlin, San Francisco, NY all reflect this move and growth...If you are part of this change--ie, moving to gentrified places--you appreciate this; if not, you are resentful of a change that will not be stopped.
posted by Postroad at 8:23 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Agreed, these idiots have focused on the wrong targets completely.

And, the gentrification wave forces don't crest on independently-owned businesses, however hipster. Eventually commercial rental rates will rise and it will only be corporate chains who will sign leases. Locals will be wistful about the £3.50 cereal guys by that point, who will be gone.

I'm in London as well, and am familiar with the Brentford situation. I'm in Shepherd's Bush, which has definitely had this for a few years now.

Guardian - the Hipsters aren't the problem
posted by C.A.S. at 8:34 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Considering their next target is the Jack The Ripper museum, I don't think their real target is gentrification.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:36 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Only if you fail to notice any of the nuance of the arguments. The far left is all about rich foreigners fucking everything up for everyone and the far right is about poor foreigners taking their jerbs.

while its true that the left and the right choose to designate different groups as Other, I think its legitimate to draw attention to the fact that they are both designating some outsider group as Other, who must be prevented from entering into "our space" because they will change it and alter its constitution.

Right: the outsiders will take our jobs, and our hospital places.
Left: the outsiders will take our homes, and our cafes.
posted by mary8nne at 8:39 AM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I understand them choosing this target. Starbucks and Costa are just part of the furniture now, it's hard to get people riled up about them. A shop that charges £4.50 for a bowl of breakfast cereal literally a street away from children who don't get any cereal at all? Yep, fuck that.

It's not quite Marie Antoinette eating a cake in the face of a starving French peasant, but it's also not the most sensitive location in the world.
posted by bonaldi at 8:41 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


not the most sensitive location in the world

The shop probably couldn't afford the rents of a neighborhood where such a shop would be more sensitive. That's kind of the point right?

Does anyone know/remember what was in that shop before the cereal guys came in?
posted by like_neon at 8:47 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


A shop that charges £4.50 for a bowl of breakfast cereal literally a street away from children who don't get any cereal at all?

Nope. It's a shop which pays its taxes, rather than avoids them at corporate level like the ...

Starbucks and Costa

... and those taxes are collected by the government which, if it was competent and ethical, should spend them to make sure there are no more

children who don't get any cereal at all

The child is hungry because of the failure of its own government, not because of a coincidental nearby cafe.
posted by Wordshore at 8:51 AM on September 28, 2015 [27 favorites]


In addition to paying tax, It's also locally owned and pays local staff, that money stays in that local economy.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:55 AM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've been keeping tabs on this thread about this story and then I run across this one in the Grauniad, so a hipster cereal cafe is the problem, eh?
posted by Kitteh at 8:55 AM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


They're not anarchists they are a bunch of trendy lefties, a species I came to despise as poseurs when I was at college. This 'protest' exemplifies the intellectual laziness, political confusion and idiocy at the heart of the British left wing. The Tories have got no worries if their opposition are clowns like this.
posted by epo at 8:57 AM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


> During the evening some paint and cornflakes were thrown at the Cereal Killer cafe on Brick Lane, which received a lot of attention, while the issues at the heart of the protest – inequality and social cleansing - were largely ignored...

Well then you shouldn't have thrown the paint and cornflakes, should you?

> Even though my own politics are to the left of Corbyn, this is one of those occasions where I've ended up embarrassed to be English, in association in any way with the mindset of this mob of cowards.

I'll fix that for me:

Even though my own politics are solidly anarchist, this is one of those occasions where I've ended up embarrassed to acknowledge that, in association in any way with the mindset of this mob of cowards.
posted by languagehat at 9:13 AM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


When I visited London two and a bit years ago, we stayed on the edge of Shoreditch in a 2 bedroom flat owned by two doctors, both of whom were working weekend side jobs and letting out their guest room to make ends meet. How the hell is that kind of real estate pricing sustainable for anyone except oil barons?
posted by thecjm at 9:21 AM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Want to prefix this by affirming that the protestors were dicks, in case it isn't clear. But to be all bewildered at the choice of target is inane.

Nope. It's a shop which pays its taxes, rather than avoids them at corporate level like the ...

It's sweet seeing all soi-disant socialists rocking up to the thread treating "pays its taxes" as fully exculpatory. Capitalism is just fine, so long as it's the sweet cuddly mom and pop brother and brother kind.

The child is hungry because of the failure of its own government, not because of a coincidental nearby cafe.

I didn't say anything about fault. I'm talking about optics, for want of a better word. The beggar isn't a beggar because of the Bullingdon Club member, the Bullingdon Club member is still a twat for burning a £50 note in front of him.

If he gets a bloody nose because of it, I'm not going to be surprised, even though I don't condone punching.
posted by bonaldi at 9:30 AM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


"They're not anarchists they are a bunch of trendy lefties, a species I came to despise as poseurs when I was at college. This 'protest' exemplifies the intellectual laziness, political confusion and idiocy at the heart of the British left wing. The Tories have got no worries if their opposition are clowns like this."

So they're...... hipster lefties?
posted by I-baLL at 9:33 AM on September 28, 2015


Yeah, to me this feels like reacting to "Let them eat cake" by attacking the cake shop. It's not the parts of the system that actually cause the problems, but it's still a highly visible node in that system that can be perceived as part of the problems.
posted by cadge at 9:37 AM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am past being annoyed by this kind of behaviour. I identify as an anarchist, but I am turned off by ideological tribalism of this kind. It strikes me as petty vindictiveness, a kind of catharsis that uses ideology as an excuse.

I mean, it's self evident that these shop owners are far from the cause of the problems. But they are a visible, easy scapegoat. Much like the London riots of 2011, the victims ended up being predominantly small businesses and local people. But expecting people like these to have a well formed ideological basis for their actions is fundamentally misunderstanding them. They are not wrong to feel the way they do, but they are misguided.

It's like with toddlers. They throw tantrums from time to time. The precipitating incident is unimportant - in fact, it is usually comically petty. Toddlers can't articulate why they are angry either, but that doesn't mean their feelings are wrong. They are reaction to something.

That's what this feels like to me. People are deeply angry. They act up in a variety of ways. They rarely conform to a predetermined script. More often they are wrongheaded and counterproductive.

But you ignore them at your peril. Because people in that state are easily lead. Left or right, it doesn't matter. Hitler and Stalin both knew it, as did (and do) others.

I used to think that the rich and powerful ought to be afraid. But now I'm beginning to realise that they will be fine. When it really kicks off, the poor will simply kill each other instead, like they always have.
posted by Acey at 9:38 AM on September 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


Someone pointed out that attacking the cereal cafe is more about symbolism and convenience, than it being a more legitimate target than any other place.

Why not attack a pub where a pint costs 3x as much as if you pour it at home, or a restaurant where the food (including overhead such as rent and labor cost) costs 3x as much as if you made it at home? We're more used to such places, and so they stand out less as hated symbols of gentrification.

Unfortunately, the nature of the cereal cafe, as a 'cute' and 'quirky' publicity magnet, also makes it a magnet for less welcome forms of attention such as anti-gentrification protests.
posted by theorique at 9:51 AM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Guardian comments section has been getting really out of hand lately.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:17 AM on September 28, 2015


Kristallnacht might be SOOOOOO 1938 but maybe you "anarchists" should read up on it. Looking in the mirror.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:25 AM on September 28, 2015


#NOTALLWINDOWS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:13 AM on September 28, 2015


It's sweet seeing all soi-disant socialists rocking up to the thread treating "pays its taxes" as fully exculpatory. Capitalism is just fine, so long as it's the sweet cuddly mom and pop brother and brother kind.

Yep—never mind that "independent businesses" (or, as they used to be called, businesses) pay less, offer fewer benefits, and are much less likely to have employees who are protected by a union than larger organizations—to the cultists of smallness they derive virtue from their size alone.

Apparently now being a "socialist" means cheerleading for the petite bourgeoisie against the grand, and devil take the hindmost actual working class of wage laborers. (At least on MetaFilter.)
posted by enn at 11:28 AM on September 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


London is full, absolutely full, of poor boroughs and estates right next door to some of the most monied places in the country. Take a walk round Chelsea Bridge, or Notting Hill, or Hammersmith, or Earls Court and you'll see council estates butting up against swanky houses with rollers outside. This is integral to London. Shoreditch is no different. It's monied, desirable areas have been so for what, 10 years now? The whole Old Street, Shoreditch, Brick Lane area had been getting more and more expensive for the 20 years I've lived in London. There is affordable housing if you want it, but it's not in fucking Shoreditch and hasn't been for years.

Shoreditch now is Islington of 20, 25 years ago. These fucknuts seem to want to stop all development because they can't live where they want to. Ask any of the home owners who've lived there for 20 years what their thoughts on "gentrification ” are. Ask them whether they're willing to accept a cereal cafe in the neighbourhood in exchange for increase in house prices they're now sat on.

Cities change. That's what they do. It's not pretty, it won't be done in everyone's best interest but the alternative of no change is worse. I did live in Tower Hamlets, got priced out and now live in Waltham Forest. Two of the poorest areas in the country. Not just London. The country. Any developments are welcomed with open arms.
posted by fatfrank at 11:30 AM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


in fact probably only one or two dickheads in the crowd decided that the beardy hipsters rootless cosmopolitans should be done over ...
posted by octobersurprise at 12:16 PM on September 28, 2015


enn: Yep—never mind that "independent businesses" (or, as they used to be called, businesses) pay less, offer fewer benefits, and are much less likely to have employees who are protected by a union than larger organizations—to the cultists of smallness they derive virtue from their size alone.

I think the distinction they are making is that organisations like starbucks are taking advantage of EU tax law to avoid paying virtually any tax in the UK despite their size here. This has been extremely controversial here for a while. They paid £20M last year after paying practically nothing for the preceding 15 years.
posted by biffa at 12:31 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just for the record, my favoriting this FPP is based solely on the Half Man Half Biscuit reference and should not be taken as endorsing vandalism.
posted by whuppy at 12:42 PM on September 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kristallnacht might be SOOOOOO 1938 but maybe you "anarchists" should read up on it. Looking in the mirror.

in fact probably only one or two dickheads in the crowd decided that the beardy hipsters rootless cosmopolitans should be done over ...

Jesus. Listen to yourselves.
posted by Gerald Bostock at 1:31 PM on September 28, 2015


Interesting how the Guarniad, the Standard, Vice, and this thread are all focused on a twee cereal shop being vandalized. What else happened? Who organized this? What do they have to say about it? What do other participants have to say? All I've got on hand for this comment is a youtube clip but I'll bet there's a much more informative discussion to be had than just about the cereal shop.
posted by 3urypteris at 1:34 PM on September 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Jesus. Listen to yourselves.

Come on, it's at least as clever as vandalizing cereal shops.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:46 PM on September 28, 2015


Considering their next target is the Jack The Ripper museum, I don't think their real target is gentrification.

You mean the one that initially billed itself as “the only dedicated resource in the East End to women’s history” in a bait-and-switch to get council approval? It's a shame they didn't get around to torching it.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:06 PM on September 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


You mean the one that initially billed itself as “the only dedicated resource in the East End to women’s history” in a bait-and-switch to get council approval? It's a shame they didn't get around to torching it.

I feel like if there's one lesson socialists should take from the twentieth century it's that violent agitation can have extremely negative long term consequences (not to mention the short term ones).
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:21 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]



I feel like if there's one lesson socialists should take from the twentieth century it's that violent agitation can have extremely negative long term consequences (not to mention the short term ones).


I'm going to leave it to someone less exhausted than me to decisively rebut this, but no - it's called a class war because it's a war.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:56 PM on September 28, 2015


While I fully support every internet commenter's right to declare war on what ails them, I admit I don't find it much more convincing coming from the left than I do from the right.

That's just me, tho, cursed by a lack of revolutionary fervor.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:35 PM on September 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Do you want a violent revolution?"
"Yeah, why not?" (at 2:13)

Between this video and their Facebook page this Class War group reminds me of PETA, mistaking "no publicity is bad publicity" for a strategy rather than a tactic.
posted by 3urypteris at 5:25 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


> I'm going to leave it to someone less exhausted than me to decisively rebut this, but no - it's called a class war because it's a war.

Wow, some people learned absolutely nothing from the twentieth century.
posted by languagehat at 5:29 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


"'Do you want a violent revolution?' ... 'Yeah, why not?'"

It's a good try, but he's no Marlon Brando.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:36 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


One problem is that property owners are literally-and-metaphorically invested in gentrification; the more twee cereal shops and the fewer poor people around, the better the property owners do. This is because twee cereal shops and other similar unique amenities attract people who are willing to pay more for rent, and who are willing to pay more for property when they buy it. Meanwhile, the presence of poor people drives down rent, and so should be discouraged, at least from the perspective of a property owner. This is regardless of how long any given poor person has been there, or the value (both social and monetary) of the personal networks any given poor person has built up in that area by dint of living in that area. the ideal is to hit a sort of tipping point where there's enough nice amenities and few enough poor people to spark off the feedback loop wherein high rents push out poor people which results in higher property values which results in higher rents, which pushes out more undesirables, which results in higher property values, and so on and so on.

Meanwhile, the incentives for people living in that neighborhood are different. They are instead incentivized to stop that feedback loop by any means necessary. To do less would be a betrayal of themselves and their families — there's simply too much to lose. In the process of stopping or slowing the start of the feedback loop that will result in ordinary people losing their homes and neighborhoods, twee cereal shops and the like may get cut in the crossfire, even though the owners of the twee cereal shops or whatever aren't mustache-twirling villains.

As a way to resolve this tension, wherein the interests of residents and the interests of the landlords who own the neighborhood are directly opposed, I propose land reform. By this I mean the transfer of ownership over property to the people who actually reside in that property. It doesn't matter by what means this transfer occurs — perhaps the government can pay off the landlords, perhaps new legislative entities controlled by residents and whose dictates are enforced by organized armed force is necessary.

Either way is fine.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:37 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't know, the whole situation is deeply messed in several orthogonal ways. The protestors are obviously counterproductive and misguided at the least, but I find it hard to condemn them even as I say that when Corbyn — who has done everything you're purportedly supposed to do when you want to influence the country — has been so ridiculously demonised in the past month.
posted by lucidium at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2015


The protestors are obviously counterproductive and misguided at the least

if they're counterproductive and misguided, the counterproductive misguidedness is not an artifact of their aims or tactics, but instead in their broader strategy. violence deployed against small businesses is not in and of itself inherently bad as a tactic -- it's ridiculous to imply that it is. politics isn't a friendly game, especially in times where the ruling classes are making a bid for total control over your city. it's only misguided when it is treated as an end or an accomplishment in and of itself.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:45 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it may be an artifact of them being morons.
posted by Artw at 8:05 PM on September 28, 2015


new legislative entities controlled by residents and whose dictates are enforced by organized armed force

If by "organized armed force" we mean the state, isn't that what councils are in England? (not a UK native here but that's the impression I've gotten)
posted by 3urypteris at 10:22 PM on September 28, 2015


violence deployed against small businesses is not in and of itself inherently bad as a tactic -- it's ridiculous to imply that it is.

Nope, nope. Violence against small businesses is an inherently bad tactic. And I mean bad as in morally bad here, but also almost always strategically bad.

The one thing that destroying small businesses might get you is to inspire fear in the population. Which is terrific if you happen to be a ruling dictatorship, as fear tends to bring people together into the blissful arms of higher security. It's not so good if your a tiny revolutionary group who wants to inspire change. Look, one might be able to overthrow a government violently, it's obviously been done before, although not in Britain for a rather long time, but I suspect circumstances would have to get a lot worse for the general population before you'd be able to do such a thing (not to mention the sheer concentration of military power the central government holds). But if you can't acheive a violent revolution, then you'll need to create a political one, and you don't win sympathy for a political revolution by throwing bricks through the windows of shops.

I will always favour non violent revolution, because the thing is about violent revolution is that it's driven by the side with the weapons. There's a reason that the leaders of revolutions end up either being displaced by or becoming brutal dictators, and that's because their method of victory was based on might not right, essentially. If you say that the thing that determines who rules is the person with the biggest stick, then you lead to violent political instability. That's not really the lessons of the last century, that's the lessons of the Roman Republic, the French revolution, and, in fact, the whole of human history.

The idea that we go yay when anti fascists throw rocks and boo when fascists do is so fundamentally absurd I really didn't think I'd need to attack it on metafilter.

If you're saying that we as a population need to understand this anger and deal with it's root causes, I've got a little more sympathy, but I would have had more when there were nationwide riots, rather than a few hundred idiots in pig masks. And hey, the popular reaction to a large scale riot was not a massive political reorganisation, but instead a harsh judicial crackdown. Funny that.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:25 AM on September 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


Kristallnacht might be SOOOOOO 1938 but maybe you "anarchists" should read up on it. Looking in the mirror.

Comparing throwing some ceral and paint filled balloons (as inapt it may be) to the November Pogrom?

Really???
posted by ojemine at 2:13 AM on September 29, 2015


Guardian reporter saying on twitter that 'leader of the anti-gentrification protests says plan is to go UK-wide & target more independent businesses... Because, they say, got more press with 2 paint bombs at cereal cafe than 10 months of protests at property developer'

Can't see any evidence of the latter unless it was under a different name / organisation.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:19 AM on September 29, 2015


....so they're specifically protesting independent businesses?

That's mind-boggling.

Well, I guess there's nothing else to protest in England.
posted by I-baLL at 9:05 PM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


What this was was a group of outsiders coming into a neighbourhood and trashing one of the local businesses simply because they didn't like the way the owners looked and what they sold and that they weren't in the group the outsiders thought should be there. I see no difference between the way Class War behaved and the way the BNP used to behave with their threatening marches.

And they couldn't have done a better job embedding the Cereal Cafe into the local community if they'd tried.

Yes, gentrification is a problem. And I've marched on demonstrations with Class War a few times. But this was ridiculous and undermines any legitimacy they may have had to the point that until I saw Occupy London and the founder of Class War saying that you can't make an omlette without smashing a few bowls of cereal I thought it might be an undercover cop. (That said, the comparisons to Krystallnacht are utterly risible).
posted by Francis at 3:24 AM on September 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Class War accuses Cereal Killer Cafe owners of ‘milking publicity'

While I was a uni I used to know someone who was in the Socialist Workers Party... and even he thought Class War was a bunch of idiots, that the other trots would laugh at them at demos and treated its newspaper as a comic.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:15 AM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


" ... We’d be mad to go for Pret a Manger and Foxtons. A broken window at Foxtons isn’t going to get any publicity at all, whereas we’ve seen what happens with independent shops. We’d be stupid not to.”
And if all the independent shops should be chased out, then it will be that much easier for the nationals and multi-nationals to buy up what's left. This must be a new iteration of the old "things must get worse before they get better."

comparisons to Krystallnacht are utterly risible

Well, yeah. There was a little intent behind Krystallnacht. The Fuck Parade OTOH—
“No, it’s just what happened. The way the Fuck Parade works, people are there and then they wander off. It’s 1,000 or so anarchists and other people – it’s very hard to tell them to do anything. We just happened to be going past it.
—sounds more like the proverbial bull in a china shop.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:36 AM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


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