I read this article recently in "Socialism or your money back" which is a collection of historical articles from the 'Socialist Standard', the party paper of the SPGB. I was struck by the similarities to today's riots and but for a couple of alterations to the names could have been written this week.
Hope you find it as interesting as I did.
An unfinished text, written in 2006 (originally entitled "1981 & All That"), intended to be about the riots of 1981, but only the bit about the uprising in the St.Paul's district of Bristol was completed. For obvious reasons, I've decided to put this now in the library.
The introduction gives a flavour of the pessimistic feel of 5 years ago. The last 5 or 6 months since Millbank has changed that, but there's still a long way to go (and a fairly short time to do it) for the new social movements to re-learn the strengths and weaknesses of past movements in order to go beyond them - and this time without a significantly "definitive" defeat and retreat.
Charlie looks back at his youthful experiences as a militant hippy factory worker and shop steward in 1970s & 80s northern England. Part 2 deals with his involvement in the long-running Silentnight bedding factory strike; the dispute began in late July 1985 - a few months after the ending of the 1984-85 Miners Strike - and by the time it finally ended in April 1987 it had become the UK's "longest-running continuous strike in trade union history". The Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, visited Silentnight owner Tom Clarke to show support and dubbed him "Mr Wonderful".
Written by a young Frenchman just after he left Class War (CW) and published in the one-off Flamethrower insurrectional anarchist magazine. The 1986 article was influenced by the optimism of the times; the recent nationwide waves of intense rioting in 1981and 1985, the recently ended year-long Miners Strike, the then-ongoing printers strike at Wapping (the TNT lorries mentioned were scab delivery vehicles) etc. Few could see the dramatic downturn in class struggle that was soon to begin ...
(The AFA Affair referred to was an alleged attempt by the anti-fascist Searchlight group to smear CW with false claims that they had links to fascist organisations.)
Article drawing parallels between the struggles of the late 1960s and late 1980s in Berkeley, California.