Anarchist Hunting At Camden Market
Ratting out people who want to bring down the state because the government told us to.
Last week, a police station in west London sent out a leaflet asking people to rat out anyone who looked like they might be an anarchist. On the one hand, their anxiety was wholly understandable – Belgravia's a harmonious place; a glorious idyll where all London's super-rich can meet to exchange nasal "yahs" and champagne blowjobs free from the farmyard mewlings of rowdy povos.
Nonetheless, parts of me remained wracked with doubt. I couldn't help but feel that, if you really wanted to smoke out people keen on collapsing the state, Kensington and Sloane Square might not make for ideal hunting grounds. So I went to Camden Market, that notorious incubator of class hate, to peer into the faces of trainee Queen-killers as they shopped for Misfits t-shirts and fake hash on their school holidays.
VICE: Are you an anarchist?
Lucy: What's an anarchist? I'm just shopping.
What are you shopping for?
I wanted to get an Amy Winehouse t-shirt and a new hat.
Yeah, the one you're wearing is pretty bourgeoisie. What's the most anarchic thing you've done today?
Bunked off school.
I thought it was the school holidays?
Come on, redeem yourself. What's the most anarchic phrase you can think of?
"Fuck it, you only live once!"
That's more like it, kid. Do you have a message for the government?
Please can you make our school better and give us more money so we can get to school cheaper.
Smash the state!
VICE: What does that say on your t-shirt? Bojiri?
Oh, Gojira. They're that band with the horrible, triggered drums, right?
Whatever. Their drums are great.
So what are you doing in Camden today?
I just bought some dread wax.
Are you going back to your squat now?
I don't live in a squat.
Are you an anarchist?
What do you think of all the other anarchists out in Camden today? If they held the Queen down for you, would you stamp on her face?
Most anarchists are retarded. I'm not an anarchist, but I do think we've needed a revolution for a long time now. There's got to be some kind of system in place, but the one we've got now is not the right one.
Are there any anarchists you do admire? Who's the best anarchist in the world?
Thatcher. Minimal taxes, minimal government interference. That's kind of the heart of anarchy, right? I'm not saying she was good or anything, but in terms of traditional anarchist beliefs, like, she was.
Thatcher?! How old are you?
24. How old did you think I was?
Not that old.
VICE: Do you hate the government?
Annabelle: Yeah, the government are all arseholes and they should all die.
Stirring stuff. And how do you intend to bring down the state?
Well, my mum was friends with this guy who was our neighbourhood government person, and she helped petition against the government with him, because they're racist.
Who's racist, your mum and her friend?
No, the government! Near where we live they're changing the names of roads and stuff. It's not really fair, 'cause there's loads of Muslims and they were gonna, like, call one of the streets Banglatown!
Do you think anarchism goes hand-in-hand with anti-racism?
Yeah, Martin Luther King's my favourite.
VICE: Hey, what's up. You've got all the insignia. You an anarchist?
Lara: Sort of, yeah. In the brain.
What are you doing in Camden today?
Just shopping, looking around. Daydreaming about certain people...
Pippa Middleton, but hanging from a bit of old rope?
Who? No, just certain people who are important to me.
That doesn't sound very rebellious.
Sorry. I've been to plenty of demonstrations before.
What message were you trying to send to the government?
TO FUCKING GROW UP!
Who's the best anarchist in the world?
I've got a lot of respect for Patti Smith.
VICE: You're not on your school holidays.
Are you teaching all the other kids how to be anarchists?
Well, I have got lots of punk rock friends and a bunch of skinhead friends, so I'm qualified I guess. I've lived a pretty anarchic life. I once grew half a field of marijuana in Florida.
Really? What happened?
It got burnt down and I got deported.
Have you had any run-ins with police since you've been in Camden?
Last year the police beat me up and broke my arms. They accused me of being a drug dealer from the Virgin Islands, but I'm not, I'm from Manchester. They asked to search me, but when I said "No", twelve of them jumped me. I heard a 'snap snap' – it was my arms!
'Snap snap' is never a good noise for arms to make.
Fuck 'em, the police are a bunch of assholes. As far as the new government goes, I don't see nothing changing, just more people coming back in pine boxes with flags draped over 'em.
What do you think of the police's attempts to criminalise anarchism and anarchists?
They won't stop it. My mates are still going to every demonstration, because they hate the government. They hate the police, too; they say "You've done this, you've done that, but you're all a bunch of paedophiles. You're the biggest paedophile ring going!"
Shhhhh, not so loud.
VICE: And what do you do with your life, pretty boy?
Sacha: I'm squatting right now in Hampstead.
So are you an anarchist?
Really? You look like one. Isn't your tattoo a protest against the endless cycle of state-on-citizen oppression?
No, I just really like bikes.
Emily, 12, and her shy sister.
VICE: I'm looking for anarchists. Are you an anarchist?
Emily: Sort of, yeah, you could say that!
What are you doing in Camden today?
Shopping with my mum and my sister.
What's the most anarchic phrase you can think of?
Probably "Child of Hell". It's the name of one of the songs I wrote.
You're in a band?
That's pretty rad. Do you have a message for the government?
I absolutely detest David Cameron, I actually wrote a letter around the time of the royal wedding.
What did you say in the letter?
Just about liberties and global warming and stuff. I hate to think there are people out there now making global warming worse when they could be helping to prevent it.
It does seem rather a slippery slope we find ourselves on, what with all those greenhouse gases and CFC cans and that.
Who's your favourite anarchist?
Conclusive evidence, if ever any were needed, that anyone who looks even vaguely like an anarchist should be reported to police at once.
WORDS: VALENTINA MUNTONI
PHOTOS (OTHER THAN TOP): JIM CLARKE