Simon Chapman, A Very Distinguished Fucking Anarchist

simon

Over the last couple of days the strangest thought has plagued me.  Two simple ugly words have kept emerging, only for me to lock them out and ridicule them as bizarre.  Simon’s dead.  Just to write it down feels like treachery.  Part of me looks forward to seeing him, to sharing a drink and dispelling this nonsense.  He’d say something wry, and witty and that would be that.  He was good like that.  Was.  Sometimes the shittiest word to ever have to use about a friend.

As part of a (temporary, and self-imposed) exile from all politics, I didn’t know his health had deteriorated so much.  We weren’t the kind of friends who lived out of each other’s pockets.  There are many who were closer to him than me and I wish them all my love.  But for almost 15 years he was always there.  At crap protests and good ones, festivals and parties, we’d find each other and we’d usually end up drinking together.  We shared a love of getting proper twatted and so we did that a lot.

The London anarchist movement would have looked very different without Simon Chapman.  From the Movement Against The Monarchy to the Wombles, to May Day, several squatted social centres and finally Class War, Simon was an active presence both on the streets and behind the scenes.  Countless flyers were produced by him over the years. He helped organise dozens of gigs, parties, campaigns and demonstrations and I was lucky enough to work with him on several of them.   Up until very recently he was still updating the Class War website.

It was the streets where his heart lay though and he was no passive peaceful protester.  He got nicked all the time when he was younger.  He fucking hated capitalism, was never afraid to get his hands dirty and despised the police.  And he had good reason.

In 2003 Simon was arrested during a vicious police tear gas attack at a particularly fruity anti-capitalist protest in Thessaloniki, Greece.  It was claimed he was carrying petrol bombs in his rucksack and he was held on remand with charges hanging over him that could have seen him spend the next 20 years in prison.  Six other people were arrested and charged in similiar circumstances.  All denied the allegations against them.  Photographic evidence soon emerged that showed the rucksack the police claimed Simon was carrying was not the rucksack he was arrested with.  It was a transparent fit up.

The treatment of those arrested was obscene.  All were beaten savagely following their arrest.    For the first few days of his incarceration Simon was left virtually blind after the police smashed his glasses.  He couldn’t see a fucking thing without his glasses.  Despite these abuses the UK’s Labour government did not lift a finger to help.  Neither did any other state.  So the prisoners took the only action left available to them and began a hunger strike.

A militant Europe-wide campaign fast emerged demanding that all seven prisoners be released.  Greek embassies were picketed across the continent and in some cases attacked and occupied.  In Barcelona the Metro system was shut down during an international day of action in solidarity with the prisoners.  In the UK a relentless campaign targeted the Greek Embassy and Tourist Board.   Parts of Athen’s University were repeatedly occupied, whilst fierce demonstrations throughout Greece resulted in more arrests.

In the end Simon didn’t eat for almost seven weeks. All the hunger-strikers were repeatedly hospitalised, such was the strain on their health. In the final days the prisoners stopped accepting fluids.  By now the solidarity campaign was at fever pitch as the risk that someone might die grew ever closer.  Mainstream media across Europe began to take an interest, lured by sensationalism and smelling blood.  Faced with international embarrassment, and concerned about creating seven martyrs who would shine a light on the corrupt Greek police, all the prisoners were released on November 6th 2003 and the charges against them dropped.  Simon came home.

Then, five years later, the bastards came for him again.  After repeated appeals from the Greek state prosecutor the charges against four of the original seven were re-instated.  In 2008 Simon was found guilty of a string of exotic sounding and terrifying charges including Distinguished Riot  and the creation, possession and explosion of bombs.  He was sentenced in his absence to eight and a half years in prison.

Under the threat of a European Police Warrant, which was likely to see him dragged from his home by our own filth and handed over to the Greek authorities, Simon was forced to return to Thessaloniki in 2010 to appeal the conviction.  In the ensuing trial the police evidence was repeatedly demolished by the defence teams.  The case ended in humiliation for the Prosecutor with all charges  thrown out for all four defendants except for a hastily cobbled together guilty verdict of “minor defiance of authority”.  This misdemeanor was enough to justify the time those accused had spent in prison, although the six month sentence was suspended and Simon once again returned home.

Simon was much, much more than just one of the Thessaloniki Seven.  But I suspect none who knew him well would deny the shadow these events cast over his life, and the impact they had on his health.  Of course our own state also put the boot in, subjecting him to years of benefit cuts, Atos assessments and at the mercy of London’s fucked private sector rental market.

Throughout all this Simon stayed strong, never stopping fighting, or laughing and never losing his faith that a better world would one day be possible.  He was kind, and clever and both ruefully cynical and enthusiastically hopeful at the same time.  He was also more than just an anarchist.  As well as raising his fist, he also raised his daughter who he regularly spoke of with loving pride*.  His loss will leave a big hole in many lives.  The last thing he would want is tears, but he will get them.

For myself, if you find me hassling you to come and find an off-licence with me at some boring, stale protest then sorry, but it’s because Simon isn’t there anymore.  And those are hard words to write, to accept as real.  I will fucking miss you mate.  I’m sorry I didn’t see you whilst you were so sick but glad my last memories of you are happy ones.  At least the bastards will never take you alive again. Rest well Simon, you deserve it.   Love and rage.

Johnny Void x

*If you’d like to contribute to a fund for Simon’s daughter please contact Freedom Bookshop.

The above pic was sent to me by someone, I hope whoever took it doesn’t mind me using it.

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56 responses to “Simon Chapman, A Very Distinguished Fucking Anarchist

  1. What an amazing tribute. I am sad for you and all his friends and, of course, his daughter.

  2. Yay, welcome back Johnny! We were all starting to get worried. Swineherd & Reynolds kept your seat warm but to hardly the same standard. Rave on, good buddy!

    • paultheswineherd

      timfrom – Yes, many thanks my mate – your comments are very much appreciated. Geoff Reynolds and myself (and others!) have done all that we can – and I can assure you that we are going to put a LOT more on here in the future – THE SYSTEM AS WE KNOW IS NOW IS ENTIRELY WRONG and as I have said below – THIS WAR IS STILL ONGOING – AND WE WILL WIN IT!

  3. PS: Sorry about your mate Simon.

  4. A beautiful tribute to your pal Simon and a reminder that we are what we connect to, both good and evil. Love and rage Johnny.

  5. Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    Another true person gone – Blessings Johnny.

    I don`t hold back on the genocide & ethnic cleansing that is going on in the UK by the Tory government. The Tories are going to toppled by following Trump into war. Theresa May is still in hiding after meeting with Donald Duck Trump. If the UK follow the USA the UK will break in many ways !!!

    Since most of the Civil Service is contracted out to American Corporate Companies that run the IT Britain is held to ransom !!! The UK sold out to genocide for profit at the cost of 40,000 lives lost since 2010 by the DWP.

    Denial is the saving force for the Tories, but is it really saving the Tories or digging holes deeper so they can hide the bodies.

    People getting sectioned because the DWP feel that a sanction is not enough. money is no object to prove the Tories point of propaganda to fool the masses. Rupert Murdoch runs the Tories & the UK press sucking up to Trump who will be impeached along with Theresa May & the Dodgy Dave murder crew. Criminals getting away with pre meditated murder on the sick, poor & disabled.

    Blessings Johnny.

  6. Thanks Jonny. I loved him. I will come to that offie with you any fucking time you like.
    Fisheye xxx

  7. respect sorry for your loss, and the worlds loss at this incredible fighting spirit….. thank you for this beautiful tribute, rest in power, yn gadarn.

  8. paultheswineherd

    Hi Johnny Void – Really pleased to see that you are on here and that you are okay. All of us on here were very worried that something awful had happened to you – so I am sure that I can speak for everyone in that we are very glad to see you back!
    Of course, this does not in any way detract from the news that your good friend has passed away. I personally did not know him – but nevertheless, your article is to be commended and is a fine and very lasting tribute to him.
    Many years ago I can just remember this situation occurring in Greece’s Thessaloniki, but personally, on my own part it is very hazy – but it only just goes to show that ‘the more that the years go by’, so one unfortunately forgets.
    Anyway – as I said – we are so pleased to see you back – but above all else: – WE MUST STILL OPPOSE THE TORIES, OPPOSE THE WCA, OPPOSE THE DWP, OPPOSE CAPITA, OPPOSE MAXIMUS, OPPOSE ATOS AND ALL OF THEIR DESPICAPLE ‘HCP’S – ALL OF THE BASTARDS – THE FUCKING LOT OF THEM!
    THE SHOCKING TREATMENT OF THE POOR, THE VULNERABLE, THE SICK AND THE DISABLED, AS WELL AS THOSE ONLY ‘JUST ABLE TO WORK’ IS AN ABSOLUTE AND ONGOING DISGRACE.
    DPAC & BLACK TRIANGLE ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT IN BRINGING TO THE NOTICE OF THE U.N. THE DISGRACEFUL TREATMENT OF THE SICK AND DISABLED OF BRITAIN BY A TORY ADMINISTRATION THAT DOES NOT CARE ABOUT ANYONE – BUT THEMSELVES AND THEIR ‘MONEY’ AND THEIR ‘EXPENSES’ – THE FUCKERS SHOULD SURELY ANSWER FOR ALL OF THIS BEFORE NOT TOO LONG.
    BUT ALSO – WE MUST CONFRONT AND OPPOSE THE BBC (THE NOW TORY FOGHORN!) – NOT ONCE IN THE BAFTAS MENTIONING ‘I, DANIEL BLAKE’ ONCE. THIS IS DISGRACEFUL – I (AND MANY OTHERS) PAY THEIR TV LICENCE – FOR WHAT – TO SEE ‘JONATHON DIMBLEBY’ TALK UP THE TORIES ON ‘QUESTION TIME’ (Admitting that his son went to University with Jacob Rees Mogg!).
    AN OFFICIAL COMPLAINT SHOULD BE LAUNCHED WITH REGARD TO THE BBC ‘DELETION’ OF ANY REFERENCE TO ‘I, DANIEL BLAKE’ AND ‘KEN LOACH’S AWARD’ FOR THE ‘BEST BRITISH FILM’.
    WE ARE ALSO GOING TO HAVE TO OPPOSE ‘RUPERT MURDOCH’S’ MEDIA – THE NEWSPAPERS WHICH COMPRISE THE ‘SCUM’, THE DAILY ‘FAIL’ AND UKIP’S ‘DAILY EXPRESS.
    THE WAR HAS STARTED – THE WAR IS NOT WON – BUT THE BATTLE IS STILL ONGOING – AND ULTIMATELY – IT CAN BE WON!
    BUT: – WE MUST ALL STICK TOGETHER – AND WE WILL!

  9. This was very heartfelt, thank you for writing it.

    How do you feel about the fact that he died of alcoholism? Celebrating someone who died on the drink by drinking some more seems sad to me. There are many good, strong ways to go – but drinking too much seems like an unfortunate way to go.

    If you’re drinking a lot, please don’t be next!

  10. Good to see you back Johnny. Sorry about your mate…. Take good care of yourself and hope to read more from you……. x

  11. Pingback: Obituary: Simon Chapman, A Very Distinguished Fucking Anarchist | Freedom News

  12. Utterly devastated. I am also struggling with the booze, like he was, and will freely admit I was totally head-over-heels for the lovely Simon at one point. A witty, kind and splendid chap who was taken by something that was ultimately beyond his power to fight. I wish I could have helped him more. x

  13. Pingback: INGLATERRA: SIMON CHAPMAN, UN MUY DISTINGUIDO ANARQUISTA

  14. Simon Chapman RIP

    ffs Stepping and GEOFF – this post is a memorial to the late Simon Chapman. With your incessant off-topic posting you are doing the on-line equivalent of pissing on the dead guy’s grave. Show some restraint and respect ffs!

      • The fact that they know no restraint (or self-awareness) is the reason most people don’t bother commenting on this site any more. Except them. Which is a shame…

        • Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

          So fuck the disabled because the non disabled are saying something.

          The unemployed now seeing the disabled as the Tories.

          What a shame – the slander, the roll over & die trying to beat the Tories with Poll A Tricks.

          More crappy news stories !!!!

          Next it will be good Stepping & Geoff are dead.

  15. Jobseekers forced onto the streets under cruel Tory benefit sanctions regime

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    Jobseekers have been forced onto the streets under the Tories ’ cruel benefit sanctions regime, a devastating report has warned.

    Tough rules which see claimants punished for missing just one job centre appointment are inconsistent and have become a postcode lottery, the Public Accounts Committee found.

    Sanctions “have increased in severity in recent years and can have serious consequences”, say MPs as they urge officials to launch a review.

    Committee chairwoman, Labour MP, Meg Hillier said: “Benefit sanctions have been used as a blunt instrument by Government.

    “Sanctions and exemptions are being applied inconsistently, with little understanding of why.”

    Jobseekers can be slapped with sanctions which can see their handouts withdrawn for a variety of “offences”.
    Job seekers have been slapped with sanctions (Photo: Getty)

    They include turning down positions, missing appointments and failing to look for work.

    A typical sanction lasts four weeks and means a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant loses around £300.

    The benefit is worth up to £73.10 a week.

    The Department for Work and Pensions imposed 400,000 sanctions on benefit claimants in 2015, the most recent statistic available.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/jobseekers-forced-onto-streets-under-9858386

  16. Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    It is called pissing up the Tories grave.

  17. Welfare reform is killing people, but the Tory press don’t want you to know
    Rising numbers of deaths all linked to the ongoing welfare reforms remain unreported.

    Mo Stewart Last updated Feb 22, 2017

    The manipulation of the British public is not difficult to achieve when the entire national press and media resist alerting the nation to the realities behind the ongoing welfare reforms.

    The future demolition of the UK welfare state was planned long ago by a previous Tory government, and the 2008 banking crisis was simply the excuse needed to permit the demolition of the welfare state to begin.

    Introduced in the UK by Thatcher, toxic neoliberal politics has swept the world where cash, not care, is deemed to be a virtue and the driver of national success, regardless of human consequences.

    What remains unreported are the rising numbers of deaths all linked to the ongoing welfare reforms, numbering in excess of 100,000 chronically sick and disabled people since January 2011, as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) once again refuse to publish the updated mortality totals.

    see more/

    http://www.welfareweekly.com/welfare-reform-is-killing-people-but-the-tory-press-doesnt-want-you-to-know/

  18. I tried to access the johnny void website at the library but it was blocked. The reason on screen stated pornography.

  19. Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    Allowing DWP barristers to sit as benefits appeal judges ‘is unquestionably wrong’

    DNS – 23rd Feb 2017

    A system that allows barristers who are paid by DWP to prosecute benefit fraud cases to also sit as judges on tribunals that decide social security appeals is “unquestionably wrong” and a “direct conflict of interest”, say welfare rights experts.

    The concerns were raised this week after Disability News Service (DNS) was told about one judge who had prosecuted two high-profile cases of benefit fraud in 2012 and 2013, even though she had been appointed as a part-time social security tribunal judge in 2011.

    It is likely that the barrister prosecuted many more cases for DWP, as most trials are not covered by the media.

    Read More:
    http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/allowing-dwp-barristers-to-sit-as-benefits-appeal-judges-is-unquestionably-wrong/

  20. I’m utterly disgusted at these trolls who are using the comments on this post to bang their own drums and take up reams and teams of space with their rants. The internet is vast. There are plenty of other pages you could use to despatch these posts.

    The post johnny made is a memorial to a friend of ours who died far too young. This space should / could be for his friends to share thought about the person they’ve lost, but you’ve taken it and pissed all over it. Johnny’s actually asked for comments to be on topic here and you’ve ignored him.
    Your lack of respect for the writer (whose blog you’ve hijacked), for Simon, and for all of his friends and family is just beyond belief.
    Take a step back, take a look at yourselves. And if you can’t see the need for respect. Don’t come back.

  21. Sorry I wasn’t on the case about this earlier. It’s quite a lot of work to deal with shit like this especially on a barely functional laptop. Both now banned permanently. Back soon x

    • Out of interest, who got banned from the site?

      • Reynolds & Stepping, I imagine. They’ve certainly gone quiet since.

        • Shirlleynott got what she deserved, but Stepping?, GEOFF? for crying out loud!

          • Between them they’d basically hijacked the site and persisted in boring us all to death with their extended diatribes even after being asked nicely by Simon’s grieving friends not to. Geoff & Stepping’s now-deleted response, was to stick two fingers up to them and their grief, so they can’t really be surprised at Johnny’s reaction. Their verbal diahorrea had got long past tolerance-levels for a site that isn’t specifically disability-oriented, to the extent that everyone else, often with interesting perspectives, had been driven away, to the detriment of the level of debate as a whole. Sadly, their thick skins, tunnel-vision and crass insensitivity did for them and did a PR disservice to the disabled community while they were at it.

            What’s wrong with the DPAC site for such specialised concerns, where you can bang on till the end of time to an audience who can relate to you?

  22. Pingback: Grieving/disassociation | Fleabite

  23. Welcome back Johnny. We’ve missed you.

  24. If Reynolds and Paultheswineherd are banned then this blog is dead.

  25. Simon would want the fight to go on. He would be proud to have people posting what he believed in, in a blog in his memory. The other places you can post in here are bogged down and it takes ages to load the whole page on a mobile phone.

    Anyway back to lurking.

  26. the cosmic joker

    why has this blog been quiet for a while. it usually is a most vibrant place to visit

  27. I feel that I have been kicked in the teeth. In a time when it has never been more important to hold the Tories to account – when they are continuing to kick the poor, the sick, the disabled and the low paid of Britain.
    It looks as though myself (Paultheswineherd), Geoff Reynolds and Stepping Razor may well have been banned from contributing to this blog.
    The newspapers also need to be held to account, but alas, this may well now not be the case. We have been putting on all sorts of stories and newspaper references for years and years now – but, it all it seems amounts to nowt! And this is a real shame.
    By not being able to contribute, it will not help anyone, either in the past, now, or in the future.
    Unless there is a release of this complete ban, then, I for one will not be contributing anything to this blog any more.

  28. Yes – It is me! (Paultheswineherd), but I am using a different computer!

  29. So! – “Very many Newspaper References” – but now – I (may) not be allowed to report them on here! If I was allowed to do so, then of course I would!
    But, – the ban would have to be released first!
    Unless the ban on Geoff Reynolds and Stepping Razor is going to be released, then I am DEFINITELY not prepared to post anything else on here!

  30. Yes Paul! I am moving on now! This is my last post here. When I questioned whether a blog for anarchists should behave like a censor would on the BBC my post was removed. Hypocrisy much I think. So point proved, I’m off for good byeeee!

  31. I enjoyed reading all the posts by you guys and I got great advice and learned a lot. I hope I find you all on another blog as I like to know whats coming next in the sick mad world of the tories. It’s a damn shame it’s ended this way.

    • TruthTeller & Cephalus,
      Yes, and a big thank you for your kind thoughts. I too, had some posts removed, as, I note did Geoff Reynolds and Stepping Razor also.
      It is indeed a terrible shame that it should all end this way.
      As I see it, – I (and Geoff Reynolds & Stepping Razor also) were trying to perform a kind of ‘public service’ to try to help the many poor unfortunates who were continually being hit, time and time again, by totally needless Tory cuts (which were born of Tory ideology ONLY – Britain is a RICH country (despite the so-called ‘deficit’).
      To try to help and advise people (through the more ‘trustworthy’ media – that is all that we were trying to do!
      I myself (especially through Geoff) found out a lot about the ‘law’ as regards what the DWP/Private Companies etc. can and cannot due legally.
      All of this has been noted and will be used in the future, should myself or my family and friends be confronted with the abomination that is ‘Universal Credit’ or JSA in particular.
      However, at the moment it certainly seems that the ban may not be lifted. If it is, then all well and good – hopefully we should then continue as normal!
      I do not at this time, think that this is going to happen.
      However, all is not lost!
      I am going to continue to endeavour to try to contribute to other sites, including hopefully DPAC amongst others.
      I hope to meet up with yourselves before too long. on other, (more agreeable and more friendly!) disability (and also Anti-Tory political sites)
      So, it is from me – Bye for now (but not for ever!) – paultheswineherd

  32. In addition – to be only fair to Johnny Void, – then I am prepared to give it up until midnight on 31st March (13 days time). If the ban on Geoff Reynolds and Stepping Razor is not lifted up until then, then I will not be prepared to post ANYTHING else on this site from 31st March onwards.

  33. Cheers mate. I will certainly look out for you all. Geoff has put up with so much shit especially and to get banned in here is a fucking sick joke. If Johnny never wanted posts in this blog post he should have made another one but as i said before it’s what Simon would have wanted. I think Johnny has been posted missing a lot lately and maybe has some shit going on. I hope you are well johnny. It was a blast.

    • Cephalus – Yes, thank you for that and I look forward to speaking with you (and others) on some of the other blogs before too long!
      As I see it – if Johnny Void really meant that there should be no further posts (other than to Simon), then he should have made this abundantly clear at the very BEGINNING of this article and I am sure that we would have all abided by his wishes. I did not personally know Simon, but I would have thought that he would have been fully in agreeance in all of what we have been doing on here over the last few years.
      But, – he did not and we all continued regardless (rightfully or not!).
      Obviously there has been a misunderstanding with regard to this and if he would be kind enough to respond, then I am sure that we could continue as normal. (With the beginning of the next article).
      I do not know exactly what is going on with Johhny Void – but I wish him well nevertheless.
      I, personally see things as very much ‘black and white’ – if you are good to people – then people should be good to you!
      BUT – so far, there has been no explanation – so – as I said before – if no release to the ban to Geoff Reynolds & Stepping Razor is received before 31/03/17 – then I, for one am totally gone from here forever!
      It is a pity – but it is what it is – and this is where we are at this present time!

  34. Oh so now people are bleating on about them being banned. Like they could do no wrong and it’s another great injustice, waily waily woe what awful injustice!

    I asked them to take a step back and allow some space for people who knew the person who is the subject of this OBITUARY to have a conversation about it, and got flamed response. They gave me a bunch of personal insults, including saying that I know nothing about welfare reforms (given I’m subjected to them myself that’s an even bigger insult!) And this is because what, because I asked them to show some respect for the grieving friends of Simon and take their off-topic rants elsewhere. And eventually the blog owner – who DID make it clear that he wanted comments to be on-topic – was able to respond, and he’s done what he sees as the best way to deal with them, given he can’t moderate it every single day.

    If you really think that’s a huge problem, and want to leave in protest, well, what can I say but goodbye and good riddance. If that’s the sum total of your capabilities when it comes to nuanced thought processes and respect for others, the space will do well to get shut of you.

  35. the cosmic joker

    what some may consider to be self indulgent rants, others have come to regard as an incisive and trenchant commentary upon the tireless evil and casual brutality of a government that simply does not care. i for one shall miss mr reynold’s relentless pursuit of the facts that the supplicant press refuse to disclose to the brain dead british public.

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