Confessions Of A Non-Violent Revolutionary: Bean Stew, Blisters, Blockades and Benders – The True Story of a Peace Activist in Thatcher’s Britain

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CLAIRVIEW BOOKS, Apr 14, 2020 - Political Science - 192 pages

Britain in the 1980s – strikes, the dole, IRA bombings, CND demos, poll tax riots, vegetarian food, radical feminism and an international build-up of weapons guaranteeing ‘mutually-assured destruction’.


Rejecting the privileges that life offers him, Chris Savory seeks to redress wider injustices in society by rejecting future wealth, power and status to follow his ideals. He throws himself into political struggle – living in poverty, sleeping in tents and on floors, braving the mud and cold, surviving on bean stews and wholemeal bread – to the general disapproval of respectable society. His aim? To bring about a non-violent revolution, disarmament and an eco-feminist-socialist utopia!


Oxford University in 1980 opens up a world of opportunity, but the threat of imminent nuclear war pushes Chris to make life-changing decisions. Alienated by the casual superiority of his peers, he abandons essay-writing and sherry with the Dean to embark on a constant round of organising and protesting – peace-camps, marches, illegal direct actions, communes and anarchist street theatre. The triumph of Thatcherism and the defeat of progressive politics leaves him feeling despair, anger and isolation. But having given everything to fight the system, how can he re-enter mainstream society?


At the heart of this memoir is a deeply honest and heartfelt human story, spiced with humour and colourful details of the 1980s’ counterculture. In an age of climate crisis and Extinction Rebellion, Confessions Of A Non-Violent Revolutionary is a thought-provoking and engaging record of a previous wave of mass civil disobedience and an opportunity to learn lessons from the recent history of grassroots political struggle.

 

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Contents

Foreword
1
Preface
2
Bike Ride to Freedom
4
Brave New World?
9
On the Eve of Destruction
14
Gathering Greens
24
Class Struggle
33
Greenham Common
38
Stand Up People Make Your Choice
97
Stand Down Margaret
103
Festivals Friendship and Failure
106
The Great Escape
112
Come With Us
117
Work Dole and Gender Roles
122
The Enemy Within
130
Bender in a Bender and Tarzans Fence
138

To the Heart of the Beast?
43
The World Peace March
53
Blockade the Bombmakers
67
Aint Gonna Study War No More
73
You Cant Kill the Spirit
79
Loneliness and Love
85
A Second Helping of Greens
89
These Boots Were Made for Walking
142
Caught RedHanded
150
From Street Theatre to Terrorism
159
Is There an Alternative?
166
A New Jerusalem?
174
Epilogue
180
Copyright

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About the author (2020)

CHRIS SAVORY has spent his whole adult life trying to make the world a better place through protest, local politics, education, community campaigns and volunteering for social enterprises. He was born in 1961 in Kitwe, Northern Rhodesia. He arrived in England aged two and has subsequently lived in Kent, Essex, Paris, Oxfordshire, Missouri, Yorkshire, Berwickshire, Herefordshire, Dorset and South-West London. Chris is married with two adult stepchildren. He loves his ukulele, choirs, watching football, rivers, soft toys, marmalade, the seaside, beer, country music and London. He struggles with chronic depression, exhaustion and joint pains.

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