Went to a fascinating talk at Housmans where Terry Liddle spoke about Dan Chatterton as well as revealing an erudite knowledge of all socialist personalities in general.. We talked about the fact that John Quail’s part history of the English anarchists ‘The slow burning fuse’ is long out of print and might it get republished? Then we asked what has happened to John Quail’s long promised history of the Solidarity group which I  for one would dearly love to read. Seeing as Terry was so knowledeable I  chanced my arm on a long held query ‘ Do you know anything about Ernie Stanton of the South London Solidarity group’ I asked.’Oh yes’ chortled Terry ‘he burned down the offices of the company building the Thamesmead estate’ I should quickly add that I do know that Ernie is dead so I’m not landing him in the shit here. I knew Ernie was a onstruction worker ‘cos he wrote some great stuff about working on various sites especially Kingsnorth power station. Terry said that Ernie had been sacked from the Thamesmead site and gone back and burned down the employers huts on site.That would certainly seem to fit Ernie’s bolshy temperament as expressed in his writing. Does anyone out there have any memories of Ernie Stanton or any copies of the South London Solidarity mag which he produced and which I could take a look at?


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8 responses to “ERNIE STANTON?

  1. seagreens

    Does anyone have a copy of Quail’s ‘The Slow Burning Fuse’ I could borrow?

    I’ve been putting together a history of English Anarchism and haven’t come across this book before.

    At risk of being called a “neo patriot” (WTF) I think that English anarchists can get a lot of mileage from the fact that England has a very proud libertarian heritage. One of the earliest recorded positive uses of the word anarchy was used by Thomas Rainsborough during the Putney Debates of 1647 (200 years before Proudhon declared himself an anarchist) and William Godwin wrote what remains one of the most advanced works of anarchist philosophy some 50 years before the birth of Kropotkin.

    This is not to say that these ideas are better or worse simply because they’re ‘home-grown’, but there is a rich vein of libertarian philosophy which is all too often ignored or overshadowed.

    Kind regards,

    • Ashe

      No need to be apologetic for identifying the British tradition in anarchism. Godwin gave voice to ideas that were widespread at the time, within the Corresponding Societies. Several 19th century anarchists like Chatterton, Cuddon, Dan Harrigan and E T Craig were all active in the Chartist movement before the emergence of an organised anarchist movement in the 1880s.

      Not only does British anarchism have its roots in our history – there is also a tradition of English revolutionaries using the symbols of anarchism long before they became adopted by the movement. For example, the first recorded incident of the use of the black flag I can trace is when the people of Oxford ransacked the university in 1355. It has been flown on many other occasions, by striking weavers in Spitalfields in the 18th century, and during the 19th century by Scottish victims of the highland clearances during pitched battles with bailiffs trying to evict them from their homes, and in England by rebels during the Swing revolt .

  2. Eric Blair

    It is only available on Amazon:
    An incredible book that every anarchist in the uk should read. I heard a rumour that Freedom Press wanted to re-publish it but were having problems contacting Quail.
    It is a crime that this book is not readily available. There is also a copy in the library at Larc (London Action Resource Centre) in Whitechapel.

    • seagreens

      Cheers Eric,

      I managed to order a copy at a reasonable rate before only the rip-off sellers were left – one guy’s charging £40! At that price I’d have had to sell my copy of Ian’s ‘Anarchist’ to pay for it 😉

      We really need to try and contact Quail or the original publishers and get works like this more readily available, anyone got any ideas?..

      Failing that it’s always worth bearing in mind that, at its original extortionate price of 3 guineas, Godwin’s ‘Political Justice’ only became widely available thanks to the pirate publishers of the time 😉


  3. diggersam

    hey. the real history of britain and england is four most effective tool against the edl and the like. if we ever want to go on the offensive it is with this kind of history we strike at the taproot of patriotism-the falsification of history. oh and the first few chapters of the SBF are available on lib com. leeds university library has a copy not suprisingly seeing as he was a student there, but it’s on loan to someone till feb of next year! rest assured leeds class was will be doing readings as soon as we can get a copy.

  4. A

    I think some EDL know their history:

    and are using it for the present

  5. Barbara Nash ak Roberts

    I knew Ernie Stanton !968/9 era where he was responsible for much of my political education, during various student occupations and the London Squatting Campaign.

    I have many good memories of Ernie I’d be happy to share.
    I’m now in Llandrindod Wells in Powys, and continue to be active, but bits of me are ageing faster than my brain.

    When did Ernie die?
    The last I heard of him was that he was doing some work with Alex Comfort. I gathered he was blacklisted in the late sixties.
    I once met his mother in Stratford. I think he wanted to impress her(she thought he was a minor version of Hitler) by knowing a Benenden Scholar(me).

    Keep fighting.
    Do contact me.
    Barbara Nash

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