Lumpen Project newsletter Jan 2020

What We’re Up To

I don’t even remember the last time we wrote to you, I think it was November, anyway this will be the last Chav Solidarity newsletter from now on it’ll be called something different, might be called Lumpen Project, might be something else we’re having chats, trying to find something that works better.

So, what has been happening.

1) On the Chav Solidarity front, the book tour is pretty much over. Over 60 events in 50 towns and cities over the course of 12 months was enough. I did a couple in Norfolk in January to wrap it up. Whilst I’m still up for doing some I won’t be making much of an effort to sort it out. Some bookfairs here and there, but my energy is going to be getting the next book “Tracksuits, Trauma and Class Traitors” ready for September. “Chav Solidarity” is currently being translated into Italian ready for the Spring, Spanish for later in the year, and in the last week there’s been conversations about French and Arabic translations. Which is all fucking weird, but pretty exciting.

2) As you can see by the image at the top “Lumpen: A journal for poor and working class writing” has it’s 2nd issue out, been out for 3 days now. It’s pretty great. Funny, angry, unapologetic, circumspect, irritable, thoughtful, all the things you want in a journal, except for the references and pointless waffle. We sold out of issue 1, and are having to do another print run. But as we keep telling people, we need you to keep pushing this, you are our many marketing tools, if you like the journal, if you want the journal to continue, you gotta tell your friends, family, neighbours, strangers and colleagues all about it. Flood social media with pictures of you reading it with a bottle of White lightning between ya legs. Do what needs to be done. Thanks.

3) The Class workshops have been banging on. We’ve started the year with 2 day workshops in Brighton and Sheffield, in March we’ll be in Birmingham you can get your tickets and find out more here.

There’s going to be another in Leeds on the 18th and 19th of April so keep a look out for that. In the works are workshops in Oxford, London, Manchester and Amsterdam.

We know there’s some criticism of the workshop, mainly but not solely from class reductionist white men who believe that class is purely about the means of production and nothing else, we read those criticisms, smile, wave and move on. Class is embodied, it is reproduced, it’s an emotional and psychological experience, it’s plays out in our communities, with our social circles, our organisations and it’s gendered and racialised, as well as intersecting with a whole host of other oppressive structures. These workshops aim to delve into the dirty painful grey areas, the bits we’re not sure about it, the bits that cause is pain. And yeah we do talk about redistribution of wealth within our pockets of resistance and anti-capitalist communities, shoot us if ya dare.

4) That’s really all for now. It is as ever a pleasure being in contact with ya, and if you want to write for the journal then drop us a line at, if you want a Chav Solidarity reading/event in your neck of the woods drop us a line at, and if you wanna chat about workshops either of those emails will do.

All the best

The Lumpen Collective

‘Reclaiming Pride’ Presentation and discussion, Bournemouth 5th March 2020


Popular talk from 2019 Bookfair presented by Paul Haw at The Four Horsemen Pub 77-79 Commercial Rd Bournemouth Dorset BH2 5RT. Suggested donation £4 on the door. 7 for 7:30 p.m. 5th March 2020. Discussion afterwards. facebook event

Paul is a volunteer youth worker, campaigner on LGBTQ+ and disability issues, and Branch Secretary of Dorset IWW.

Pdf version A3

Movie Review: 1917

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement

Drama comes from giving somebody a task then putting obstacles in his/her way. This fundamental aspect of storytelling is understood in ‘1917’ a new movie about the experiences of a soldier in World War 1.

Its April of that year and in a reversal of Saving Private Ryan, a single soldier is sent to rescue a group. A disastrous attack is being planned and the chosen Tommy must cross no-mans-land to deliver a message calling it off. The added incentive, in this case, being that his own brother is among the battalion in danger. He takes another soldier with him and they set out on the mission together. That’s the story.

There is no character development as you might get in other Ur-quest narratives. Here the growth is not internal, it’s simply a matter of geography. In case that is seen as shallow, Director Sam Mendes employs a few techniques to help us empathise. The most obvious one is a pseudo-single take that repeatedly places the camera behind the protagonists at either waist level or shoulder height to give us the feeling of being along with them for the ride. This also works by using the standard horror movie approach of not showing us what the imminent danger is immediately but visually drip-feeding us until we get the big reveal. Likewise, the overbearing soundtrack that shouts out how we are meant to feel, instead of letting us work that out. Another is tracking shots to give an additional sense of propulsion. It is manipulative but only in the sense that any constructed artwork is a manipulation. Since it is well executed, it works to overcome the inherent weaknesses of the scenario.

Mendes has a strong visual sense both in terms of compositions and pallete. He is capable of finding a strange lyricism in the every day (remember the plastic bag in American Beauty?). Here he takes the two leads and pushes them through an abandoned dugout. They overcome literal obstacles following an explosion and come out from the actual underworld and cross over into a figurative styx -like underworld. The obvious and traditional way (the classic example being All Quiet on the Western Front) to go at this point would be to throw a one-sided array of World War1 signifiers at us (rats, mud, rotting corpses, barbed wire, rain) to let us know war is hell. All of those feature but Mendes reaches deeper to a less obvious set of imagery. Without wishing to spoil anything, this includes languid views of cherry blossoms in a desserted farmhouse and later a river, an airplane crash, the blood draining from a soldiers face, a severly bombed-out village at night, a fire, and a soldier singing a gospel song. All of these are exquisitely framed and look beautiful yet the collective result is one that adds a kind of morbid creepiness to the feel of proceedings. The metaphysical implications of the protagonists crossing the suggestively named no-mans-land and then being placed in an often dream-like environment is admittedly hard to quantify but it is there, and is far more effective than the simplistic techniques already mentioned.

The story rolls along to its conclusion with the audience still largely onboard. That being the intention, the mission of the film-makers is successful. It is technically well made and acted and to the extent this can be said to honour the memories of those who died, it is also successful. However, you may not necessarily learn much about World War 1 from this movie or why so many workers in uniform went out to kill other workers on behalf of King and Country. Perhaps by keeping the subject of this war in the limelight by existing at all, ‘1917’ might cause a few viewers to take sufficient interest in the topic to use it as a springboard to do just that. Hope so.