ordsall 13

The difference between the gang on the Ordsall estate which became Ordsall Class War and the other gangs mentioned was that the Ordsall gang consciously decided to become political. I think it was Sean Keating who described it ‘the year a criminal gang became political’ and at its heart were Ken and Sean Keating. I can’t recall in modern times of any similar transformation.
The day after the Poll Tax Riot Strangeways prison erupted. The police got the fire brigade to train their hoses on the mutineers on the roof. The Ordsall mob cut the hoses and warned the fire brigade they would be attacked like the cops whenever they entered Ordsall. They stopped. Day after day you could Hear Ken with his megaphone urging the mutineers on.

The political theory that grabbed Ordsall Class War was ‘The catechism of a revolutionary’ by Sergei Nechaev. It suited their all or nothing approach….they brought it to a CW conference to be adopted as CW’s constitution. If anyone can tell me of a gang reading and adopting anything similar I’d like to fucking know about it. And they walked the walk:

The Manchester police unveiled a flash new Ford Cosworth high speed police car to local tv at lunchtime. After being lured onto Ordsall the drivers were attacked by a baseball bat wielding mob who triumphally drove round the estate before torching it for the benefit of local telly.

‘On the Ordsall Estate in Salford (near Manchester), in the space of several days in the first week of July, fires were started at a council neighbourhood office, a housing office, a careers office, a Department of Health office, a MacDonald’s restaraunt, and several other buildings. Shots were fired at police vehicles and a petrol bomb thrown at a police station. Also in Salford, eight people in balaclavas attacked a police car that they had lured into an ambush by setting off an alarm. Local youths complained of police violence, with one saying: “There’s people who can’t pay for electricity. And they’re at home in bed, in the dark, and the door’s kicked in and all they can see is big torches coming up the stairs and the Bill [the police] is saying ‘Stay where you are or you’ll get your heads blown off'”. Another said: “It’s just like Belfast. The police don’t relate to the kids. Why are they dragging them in, beating them up?”

It was with this background that they came to the Communities of resistance Class war conference that year and linked up with others from riot hit areas….Hartcliffe, Blackbird leys amongst others. Ken Keating died last year but his commitment and revolutionary intransigence lives on in his family, friends and comrades. His tribute – the temporary autonomous zone that was Ordsall in 1992. All Hail.



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  1. Ha! I remember the incident with the Ford Cosworth very well, it sent a wave of euphoria across Manchester and Salford!!!! good fun!

  2. brillo….around that time.91/2.there was a demolition of a working class housing estate in dundee .on the roofs there was welsh slate that the contractor thought he was just gonna walk away with ..a.parantly wesh slate is worth a few bob.the local gang was not gonna have it.and and they pelted the busesthat went thro that area with bricksetc until the drivers refused to drive that particular route..a deal was done and the welsh slate got turned into drinking money for the local boy,s..the contracter still got to knock down the houses but for the next couple of weeks the local ruffians and unemployables were seen scrambling all overthe roof tops and were happy to get awell goodwage for there labors..the local pigswere conspicious with there absence and everybody was quids in……………… apart from the poor buggers that worked for the contracter………..sigh..

  3. Durrutti

    Sounds abit like the american group Up Against the Wall motherfuckers. But you prolly knew about them allready…

  4. Dora Kaplan

    This is simplisitc, unfair characterisation of the police. It’s simply ridiculous to claim that ‘people who can’t pay for electricity’ are having their doors ‘kicked in’ and are being threatened with lethal violence.
    The modern police are committed to equal opportunites, and now raid homes when the lights are left on as well. “Were did ya get the fucking money for that key meter, you unemployed cunt,’ they ask. Then they threaten to ‘blow your head off.’
    Get your facts right, Ian.

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