Dan sez, "From the editor of 'Fight Back! A reader on the winter of (UK) protest', a new piece of long-form journalism called 'Kettled Youth', about youth protests, activism, and the perverse UK police tactic of kettling (probably the most comprehensive exploration of kettling so far – looking at its history, packed with first-hand reportage, but also its symbolic impact in radicalising an entire generation of young people). This ebook is published (today) by Random House, who have commissioned a whole series of long-form journalistic essays on the UK and Arab Spring uprisings, under the banner The Summer of Unrest (also featured Mehdi Hasan, Peter Beaumont, and Tom Chatfield). Here's an interview I did this morning about Kettled Youth for Dazed Digital."
DD: Are protests like the ones in March 'useful', can they have a long standing impact?
Dan Hancox: They're vital – vanguards are great for smashing through the lines of the kettle, but this has to turn into a mass anti-cuts movement, especially one with people who are older than 25 in it (I'm 30, cough cough). The impact and importance of 26 March for me was summed up perfectly in the front page of The Daily Mirror, lest we forget, the only tabloid in the country that dares to stick up for its mostly working-class readers, rather than turn them against one another. It depicted the incredible numbers of ordinary people who were angry enough to come out and protest against the government's plans of austerity, cuts and privatisation – again, before the cuts have even hit. The headline ran Your Big Society has spoken, Mr Cameron. In contrast to a Tory government destroying the welfare state without a mandate, that is what democracy looks like.
DD: What are the main issues to march against now?
Dan Hancox: The same they were before – the perfect storm of a generation fucked over before they've even left school, an arrogant, brittle Tory government using a financial crisis caused by the rich to further benefit the rich while punishing the poor and the vulnerable, and the total public degradation of an entire elite – from the richest bankers still drawing multi-million pound bonuses, to the corrupt upper ranks of the police, to the Murdoch press, to the vast majority of Westminster. If 2011 was an Agatha Christie novel it would be called The Neoliberal Ecology Crack'd From Side To Side.