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“I’ve certainly been there myself”

So says Sunny of Pickled Politics, of Alex Lotorto. 

Alex Lotoro is an undergrad who travelled from Muhlenberg College to “democratically decide on a consensus area” in the NYC caff. 

And of course he’s right. Many of have had an Alex Lotoro moment: one which makes us justly embarrassed.

The event which makes me me flush pink with shame happened in my second year at university. Some 13 year old kids came to the door of my student house, collecting money for their school. I gave them 50p. About an hour later, the police came to my door, to warn me that some children had been scamming cash, door to door, claiming to be raising money from charity. They’d caught the kids and were looking for the victims, to return the money to them.  Had I seen them.

Had I, heck!

No WAY was I co-operating with the fascist pigs, and turning grass. 

“Nope, they haven’t been here” I told the officers, closing the door on them.

“Fuck da police! No justice – no peace” I thought in my head.

A minute or two later, it occurred to me that, actually, I’d been ripped off by two little scrotes to the tune of 50p and been rude to the people who had offered to give it back to me.  That, I concluded, made me a twat.

In my defence, I should explain that I was being taught Criminology by a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, who had explained the class nature of the criminal justice system to me. So in my mind, I was in fact engaged in a sort of revolutionary struggle. Do you see?

That moment of realisation comes to most people. 

Here’s the moment it happened to friend of mine, the blogger Lucky Jim. Lucky Jim was one of those squatting a £22.5 million property in Mayfair.

I find myself at odds with the strident leftist politics of the younger of my fellow squatters, though I went on the same marches and read the same books when I was their age. It seems all their opinions go together – you know exactly what they’ll be for and what they’ll be against.

Maybe I just feel bad that I stopped caring about anything and grew steadily more right-wing, if not on foreign policy then certainly regarding domestic issues. Far from advocating class war, I support the monarchy and the aristocracy and am just sorry not to have a Mayfair house of my own. I like living round the corner from Heywood Hill Books and the former residences of Nancy Mitford and Beau Brummell.

I feel drawn to shock my idealistic comrades. I tell them I’m setting up a group called Bombs Not Squats, and make a point of buying the Daily Mail and putting on a tweed jacket to read it. I’m actually starting to believe Britain is being over-run by 7’2″ tall Pakistani ladies claiming benefits, that deer should be culled because they’re vandals with antlers, and that the 100 Watt lightbulb is worth fighting for.

Despite this, the last month or two has been the happiest I can remember, and I am very fond of everyone I’m living with.

Is that moment of realisation really about stopping “caring about anything”? I don’t think so. I don’t mind squatting hugely, although  I certainly wasn’t too upset when the anti-Nando squatters were moved on. I’ve spent many a merry evening in squats, in the company of a selection of stoned and vaguely mentally unstable friends. Its just that I’m now less convinced that the struggle for decent housing requires the creation of an impromptu arts venue, offering body painting workshops and a didgeridoo masterclasses. 

 

Come on, let’s hear your stories.

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