Sunday 7 February 2016

Eminent Domain: Barrow

Barrow is seated at his desk gazing out across the city, the day dissolving, night settling in soft, sooty layers, blunting the edges of the vast concrete bunkers across the river. The window is open and from the street gardens and rooftop farms, the re-wilded parks the scent of flowers and ripe summer fruits, vegetables, spices, grasses, herbs, come swelling through the room.

He takes a deep breath, this burnished, sap rich, pollen heavy dusk. Rose is waiting  for him back at the hotel. He squints, tries to make out their room, to see if the light is on. Imagines her reclining on the bed, grey skirt tight, a stark white blouse, smoking a cigarette, ice-blue eyes crinkled at the edge as she scans another manuscript. Perhaps she is not there at all but in some other room with some other  lover, showering away the sweat and soured sweetness of the afternoon.

The end of a short day, all his days growing shorter. The past pulls at him, tugs his guts. He is that age. They tell him that this is merely the andropause, his testosterone levels dipping, that he should go and get a shot of something, exercise more, take supplements, keep his  mood elevated, his focus sharp.  And yet he almost welcomes the melancholy, a spiked, blueish-purple  surge he has found himself, perhaps, beginning to savour.  

And today’s date? Of course, this is why your mood has shifted, why those thoughts are creeping in, why loss and pain and the cold, lapping edge of grief are at you,  Barrow, old boy. It was today they died. And yet every year somehow it takes you by surprise.

He takes in another lungful of sweet night air, releases it slowly, the cracked leather chair creaking beneath him. Almost time. Barrow would rather not have his session today, he has had this hour, at Frith’s gentle but implacable insistence, once a week for twenty five years now, not a single one missed. What more can he have to say, to reflect on?

The soft chime, exactly on 6 of an incoming video call and there up on the screen the old man is smiling patiently out. Good evening Doctor, he says. Perhaps he continues out of sympathy for, solidarity with Frith, not to let this relationship, if that’s the word, lapse. Odd to have watched Frith age, though at forty when Barrow was a mere twenty he had already seemed old.

Well, he said. I have been thinking, and he was aware suddenly of the dream he had had the night before, as though Frith’s mere presence, the owlish, inquisitive gaze had summoned the memory, about my parents.

Frith nodded.

I dreamed of them, actually he said and paused allowing himself to remember.

I dreamed they were still alive. Had never died. He rotated in his chair and looked out of the window again, sun almost gone now, the horizon a band of hammered brass. We were in the old house, in Deptford. The kitchen. As it was I suppose. My mother was explaining to us, the door open on to the garden, we had a little garden then, they loved it, spent many hours there, toiling over making things grow, live. As if, he said, that having three children of their own weren’t enough life for them. The dog, the cat. My father, always bringing people back to the house.

But in the dream, he was distracted by the details of the case, the open pages on the desk and swivelled around a little more. They were explaining to me that they had decided to step back from political activity, from agitation, as we used to say, that they felt too great a responsibility to John and Andrea and I and that for all their convictions their children had to come first. I was arguing against them, with all the stridency of youth and yet, he paused. That was the opposite of what happened at the time, I wanted them to be less openly opposed to the State, to its agents, formal and informal once they clearly became targets. Wanted them to step back. I was frightened, I suppose. A boy. My siblings were committed, only I argued against it. And then to be the only one to  survive.

But Doctor, we have been over this many times.

He remembers again jumping down from the window into the blanket stretched taught below, the neighbours upturned faces. That moment on the ledge, the fear, the desire to stay and die with them, smoke billowing out around him, the crackling heat, his back on one side shrivelling as the half melted lamp stand fell against it, so it was the pain, the revulsion at the stench of his own charred flesh that finally galvanized him, made him  jump, jump and live, a reflex, beyond his conscious control, that made him perhaps a traitor to himself, so that he sometimes imagines that half of him is still caught up there, half way out of the open window, his back burning, the dizzying drop down into the street before him, suspended between two fears, and all of this has been a fantasy, a dream of a world that is yet to be.

In the dream my mother was saying to me, when you are older you’ll understand, you’ll understand, and I had a sense that they were right, that I was a fool and I felt relief that they were deciding to step back. And when I woke I was happy, comforted to think that they were still here, and that I would be able to see them.

In this moment of waking doctor I supposed that the world was not what it is now, that the Autarchy had not happened, that we were still a country in which exploitation reigned and yet for all that I was relieved that at least these few people I had loved were still alive. I kept my eyes closed a little longer Doctor than usual, did not want to enter this world, this better world they were prepared to die for and did, and never saw. Nor did I wish, doctor to return to the stream of my own history, swelling in a great, dark bottleneck at my back. For a moment doctor, I really felt myself to be between two worlds and believed I might awake into either of them. Would I rather live in this better world, with the loss of my loved ones and the things I have done, the blood on my hands doctor, the lives I took, how that weighs on me, or a world with greater oppression, lesser freedom in which my loved ones were still with me, struggling, in which my hands were clean?

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Eminent Domain: Rose/Crane.

Crane buzzes her in. She takes the lift to the thirteenth floor, new shoes too tight still. Has she dressed up to impress him? He looks older by a few years than the  photos that are circulating, has lost most of his hair, a few clumps  sticking up on top, grown longish at the side over his  big ears, his  face thin still, though getting slack around the jaw, baggy around the eyes.  He has a  paunch, thin legs, thin arms, well over six foot and stooped.
He ushers her in. She re-read a few articles on him on her way over, though she was fairly  familiar with his case anyway, he was briefly famous, twenty or more years ago, bemused in documentaries or on TV shows, his case written up in newspapers and studied in journals, then forgotten about.  Now he has re-emerged with this novel, Resolution Way.

Tea, he asks, or something else? I have some juice somewhere, no alcohol I am afraid. She  accepts some tea and takes a seat on the leather sofa. The flat is sparse, she might even say spartan, bare walls, plain floorboards, no shelves nor ornaments nor books. Just the  computer on a desk in the far corner, a wooden chair, the sofa, the square grey rug. In search of  some relief from the  plainness she  gazes out of the  window to the concrete  balconies opposite, the  plants, the vines, and creepers crawling over them, jewelled with grapes and gooseberries, green tomatoes, summer fruit.

After a few minutes he returns with the tea things. He has put a pair of thick-framed glasses on. They must be the same age, yet he reminds her of her grandfather.

To  what do I owe this pleasure? Crane asks with a sympathetic smile

It was best to be frank. Well, I was curious more than anything. This book you have written, some of the studies that have been done on you, and so on. I have meant to pay a visit since the 90s actually, ever since I became  aware  of  your case. I suppose  the book galvanized that intention.

Ah he said, adopted a mock-theatrical tone. You still speak in the old ways. The book. Its popularity is a little mystifying. Do you like the book? he asked then rushed onward to cover up her answer. I am not sure I do, I am grateful for the opportunity to write and be read, something I have here that I would never have had back there, if i had stayed. None of this, he swept his arm out to indicate the bare apartment.

It has been found significant, Rose said. You have made your contribution.

Crane turned away from the window, his eyes trembling in the lowering light. Yes I have, haven’t I, he said eagerly. I have given, haven’t I?. Yes. That was all I wanted to do, but it was so hard for me there, so many barriers.

Well, Rose said I remember the old world too. Not so different from your world perhaps.

I fear, sometimes when I am waking up, eyes still closed that I will awaken into that world, that this has all been a dream, these thirty years since I went stumbling off the road in the dark, weak with hunger, felt myself beginning to drain away, the night crushing in on me, hearing my own breathing, my own distant screaming and then the rush, the shattering and the sense of being flung, finally, terminally, expelled you might say from one world and into this.

This world, Crane says, standing with his back to her, gazing out over the city, seems to me  impossible. How  has your world become this?

Haven’t you read up on our history, Mr Crane, she asked?

He turned, I have, oh, I have. It makes no sense to me of course, a man with my condition. A condition so advanced now. The books all seem to contradict each other, to be histories of completely different countries, different worlds and so I have concluded that I have simply died and gone to heaven.

He ran his hand up over his forehead, the head in which eighty percent of the brain has been slowly eaten away, morsel by morsel, drip by drip. How can it be that he still functions, more than functions, even if he is prone to delusions, ecstasies of confusions, incapable of maintaining a clear, coherent sense of events, thoroughly convinced of the reality of the world claimed to once live in?

She had joked with the students yesterday saying perhaps it is as Descartes said, the soul enters the body through the pineal gland and animates us, as long as that remains intact there is life, thought. She imagined it was all, perhaps, some great conceptual joke, some game that was being played, a performance piece orchestrated long ago and that soon enough the true author of the  work, an arch-prankster, a wit, a satirist, one of the old guard, McFairlaine most probably, would reveal themselves, explain how they had found a willing actor, fabricated Crane’s non-biography and medical records, taught him his eccentric manners of speech and forms of thought and let him loose upon the world to make his claims, to summon something enigmatic, something impossible, uncertain, haunted into the world.

Eighty percent gone, all his abilities migrating over time to the thin outer layer of his brain, spreading in a densely trembling net across its surface, still intact for the moment, but the water levels were rising, isolating more and more areas, the faculties crowding onto the last few, grey overburdened islets, the overlap, the babble and deepening confusion of time and place, memory, sight and sound, a polyphony of coloured voices ringing in his ears until one day he would sit silent, mouth agape in this  bare room in which time had slowed and stuttered to halt, a palimpsest of  impossibly fine, overlaid moments sifting kaleidoscopically past his unblinking eyes.

Does this seem to be heaven to you, Mr Crane?

He smiled. It does, yes. No hunger, no fruitless work. Comradeship. Nature. The music! Though I miss the people I knew there, he said.

Well, even heaven has its discontents. She lit another cigarette.

I tried to tell their story at least he said. I thought that might ease their suffering in invisible, unknowable ways. I imagined I might reach across the divide between worlds and rest a hand on their shoulder.

Yet you have been here now as long as you were ever there.

He nodded. I was young in that world. I formed attachments. I had parents. I fell in love.

And has love eluded you here?

Well, he said. Love here is so general. So Universal. My love was formed elsewhere, has proven to be stubbornly particular.

A weak thrill went through her. Yes, she knew that too, with her morbid attachments.. Here she was, on the pretext of discussing his book, her intentions plain. Here was someone even more wounded than Barrow, but lost too and dying, growing daily more enfeebled.

She could imagine nothing more erotic than holding a dying man in her arms.

I had a dream, she said, in which Crane was standing at the window of his flat exactly as he was the night I went to visit him, his head was huge and open on one side, cross-sectioned. There was the outer shell of his brain, a thin, greyish layer outlined in black, outlined again by the brittle boundary of his skull, the centre empty. I stepped up onto the table next to him, climbed inside his head and curled up, but it was cold, uncomfortable and so I shifted position, rolled forward and realized I could see out through his eyes. The city he was gazing on was not this one, this London, it was dark and there were distant fires burning, helicopters buzzing through the night, some landmarks I recognized, old seats of power and prestige that we have razed, new skyscrapers made of chrome and  glass, citadels ringed at the base with fences, dogs, men with guns.

Something, someone was calling to me and I knew I had another self there, understood that my own life, all its volatility, my moods, the voices, thoughts, ideas, memories that assailed me didn’t come up from some hidden depth within me but were the ways that other versions of the same self, in those other worlds, impinged invisibly on mine. I determined to go and meet myself, stood up and found I was in  a cave, the caves I was taken to see as a child, patterns worn in the limestone by the slow, persistent drip, the stalactites and huge dark lakes where shoals of tiny, translucent fish flashed and angled.  The tunnels lead on to deeper caves where the air was colder, the water darker still, the shapes more elaborate, the colours wilder. And so I set off. Perhaps if one was brave, pushed on one might emerge, on the other side, in some other world perhaps, Crane’s world.

And so I came to a foot tunnel, dank light and dull enamel tiles greyed with age, I could have been thousands of leagues beneath the sea, my footsteps echoing and the concrete underfoot uneven and stained. I knew, in the way one knows things in dreams, Doctor, that it came out on the other side of the Thames, came up, not in this word, but in that one, the world Crane claims to have come from, the world he wrote about. And I set off to find myself there, running, almost frantic, along the darkened riverbank. I felt,
You felt.

Hunted. In terrible danger, but compelled to know, and thrilled that at last I would be reunited with myself. That I would be able to take myself in my own arms and that I would be able to be an object of love for myself.


I know, she says, but this was not the child, the child I lost I am sure of that, this was a world in which so many, all of them were, the only word I can think of is benighted, and. She felt some tremor in Frink, almost imperceptible, and paused for a moment anticipating the slip, the pun, the double meaning, he might have caught.

I felt I had to know how and why we lived that way, what these other, human possibilities were. The terrors. The joys.


Oh all of us she said, all of us, you too, we were all there, ourselves but completely different in almost every way. Souls existed and were material things and took shapes and were iterated and reiterated across an infinite number of worlds. And when I awoke and saw Barrow was there in bed beside me I didn’t recognize him, not just for a second or so but for the best part of a minute as I lay there with my heart racing, trying to understand where I was, trying to make sense of his face.

Friday 12 December 2014

Eminent Domain 2


The funeral  took place on a Saturday, a beautiful, mild April day and afterwards a group of friends and associates returned to the family home to eat and continue to extend consolations. For Julia Tyler this was all, in a way, and in a way she felt conflicted about obviously, Manna from heaven. All these ancient Communists shuffling around, with their grim, craggy faces, hairy ears and impenetrable northern accents. Despite her years of studying and listening there was still something in a seventy seven years old ex-miners voice at full tilt that she found hard to process.

She feels bad about being so pleased to be there, especially given the tragic circumstances, but in a way she couldn't have hoped for more from her first week in Britain. Out of respect for the family they are staying at a hotel in the centre of Birmingham near the famous Bullring and she has already taken about three hundred photos of it from every angle on her phone. She’d send them to her mom except that she can't get access to US infospace at the moment or at least hasn't found a provider that will allow her to send information between the two, well she almost said worlds to herself, perhaps sphere would be be a better word, countries perhaps, to speak in the old way.

The older men are drinking and one she half recognizes from books on the period of the British Autarchy from 77 to 82, but exceptionally wizened now, is asking her a series of polite questions about America and her interest in Britain and the Post-Capitalist world, how had the arrangements to visit gone? Smoothly he hoped. She had  explained, suspecting that he was having as much trouble understanding her as she was him that it had been reasonably easy, she was a phd student in European History and it was accepted that as such she would visit the area, perhaps spend many years here, though yes of course that meant a lifetime of surveillance both overt and covert, carried with it a degree of danger, that one would always be viewed as a potential subversive, a possible domestic extremist. And why Britain and not Russia? he asked. Russia’s the place you want to be. Marvelous what they've achieved.

I have kind of a romantic interest in Britain she explained with a laugh and gestured across to David, who nodded back at them both.

The old man chuckled. How was she dealing with the locals, could she understand them?

Two countries divided by a common language? she asked.

He smiled. The divisions are bit more than those of a common language these days lass, he said.

Oh yes of course, she said, oh my god, of course. She actually blushed slightly and wondered whether she might not have a shot of the vodka that was going around. She was in danger of embarrassing herself, ridiculously, getting all fangirly over some British Communist pensioners. Calm down Julia. Keep it cool. Don’t be the hysterical American.

Can I get you a drink? she asked the gentleman. Aye he said, I will have another. She pressed through the group around the table and got the vodka, poured herself a large one. It was tough, Britain generally being so dry and the horrible warm beers. All of Europe really, even Russia they said had strict controls on the alcohol supply and now one of the highest levels of longevity in the world, up there with Japan and achieved partly through studying the Japanese diet and collaborating with nutrition specialists at the University of Tokyo. Meanwhile back home they were in the throes of an obesity and meth epidemic.

Though actually they had the Japanese to thank for the meth too. Andrew caught her at the table. How’s it going he asked quietly, his hand touching her lightly on the elbow. Well I worry I am making a fool of myself, she said.

Don’t worry, we all worry about that. Remember me in San Francisco. It was a shock.

Oh my god! Suddenly she realised who she had been talking to. Is that Charlesworth? she asked, her voice down low. David glanced over and nodded. The first head of the Republican Workers’ Committee of 79.

She took a sip of the vodka. Really? Charlesworth? I asked him what he did and he said he was an ex-miner,old trade unionist and supporter of the workers’ cause.

David leant in, adopted an exaggerated Yorkshire accent .He’s no airs n graces that un.

Yes, there was no denying that America had come as a shock to him, as an exchange student he was granted every courtesy of course and was the object of much discreet and some less than discrete even openly hostile questioning as a representative of the British state. At one point Amy took him out on a drive past the Windsor family’s massive estate in California, He had seen photographs of course. the attempt to recreate features of the ancestral piles and palaces that had been raised to the ground, to remodel the vast estates that had been reclaimed and returned to the commons. Private property. He was astounded and offended by the grotesque, wasteful excessive luxury of some homes and the squalor and dilapidation of others, by the obvious colour and ethnicity bar, by the levels of obesity and drug addiction, by the scale and frenzy of the consumption and he immediately pined for the starkness and simplicity, the radical equality and the sobriety of the North and Scotland, of his old university town Aberdeen. He felt that he had stepped back into the past, he had read about in numerous histories of the States, back to the gilded age, as though America, instead of progressing, instead of pushing forward on some of its gains after the second world war had collapsed back in on itself, imploded, a wormhole sucking in technology and resources out of the future, the endless phones, computer tablets, 3D vast TVs, the desperate dependence on oil, the dirty technology the tar-sands and natural gas, the nuclear power stations, the monumentalism of the buildings, the craziness of the cultures’ nihilism, its glorying in destruction and ruin, in death. All the feverish nightmare forms of Capitalist left not just to run its course but elevated to a religion.

Strangest of all of course was the appearance of money and the whole bizarre, barbarous ritual of standing in a line and handing over pieces of paper in exchange for goods, pieces of paper one received from an employer in return for “selling” ones labour time. extraordinary to think that such a system still existed in the twenty first century and in one of the most powerful nations on earth, and he supposed that Anne of course was experiencing equal difficulty with the European system in which there was neither compulsory work nor money, nor private property. Picking her up from Birmingham international, the austerity and functionalism that to him seemed beautiful would strike her as severe, cold, too visually plain, the peoples’ dress and manner, sober, yet for him there was a glamour here far beyond the childlike obsession with shiny things and outsized, cartoonish commodities.

They were from such different cultures, had taken as peoples, as nations such different paths and yet, here they were, in love.

Wednesday 15 October 2014


When she arrives at The Enclave, Derren Jones is talking about the inconclusive, finally ambiguous Spanish pre-Crisis social movement Pinchar la Burbuja, inspiration for their own Burst the Bubble campaigns after which Andrew Gillingham will be talking about the crisis of the Seventies and the series of overlapping unresolved crises that have been circling the world since the dot com collapse of 1999. They are in Enclave 4, the art space down on Resolution Way. After the meeting they will assemble at the station, summoning forth, from phones and across networks of friends and fellow activists, sympathetic groups, a wildcat demonstration, point of protest, the Shard.

There are a lot of familiar faces, some people she knows through Laura, others she sees all the time, standing around outside the Bird's Nest, or drinking Flat Whites in Kwofee, but dare not speak to yet, sure they are too smart for her. Lewis skulks around at the back of the room waiting for Laura, her hood up, looking scowly, feeling excited, awkward, enthused, ashamed, exposed.

She wants to go on the Demo, but she has promised her mum she will be back in the flat at 10:30 to answer the land line. She doesn't mind, she wants her mum to go and have fun, to relax and in the end it was the only way she could get her to agree. I will be home safe and sound, no I won't sneak out later. Just go, go.

A nu-step remix of Hot Money by The Derivatives has come on and a couple of drunk girls next to her start ironically twerking and laughing, passing a bottle of Lambrini back and forth. This is why some people don't like this crowd, these art-kids, some people think they are the problem. but she knows, of course there are some idiots everywhere, everyone acknowledges that, these are the people, these are the people among whom she belongs

She wanders about looking at the paintings, picking up fliers, fiddling with her phone. Laura assures her she is on her way. People around her are talking, saying many things she doesn't understand or half understands. She skulks and eavesdrops, swigs nervously at a carton of black coffee.

….every life is a series of unresolved overlapping crisis, why would the aggregate effect of our lives not be chaos...

Yes well that's the kind of liberal humanist line isn't it, all of this is due to incompetence or unintended consequences no-one can possibly control or foresee.

Yet, y’know, there are these remarkably stable continuities in terms of land and wealth, in terms of ownership of resources, class position, power, generation after generation, amazing consistency and stability in the creation and maintenance of structures and institutions that allow for such continuities.

There's a very beautiful, tall pale boy with a coronet of jet-black tumbling glossy curls and heavy stubble wearing a very baggy blue Nylon blouse, top button fastened, talking animatedly to a shorter Asian guy with a mullet, holding a can of Stella. She loops their way pretending to look at the paintings. These are the guys with the weekly net radio show, aren't they? The one's whose friends John and Jo do Left- Wing Workouts.

It's a banal observation, a theoretical commonplace that the formula for money and that of desire are virtually identical, money’s aim is more money, desires aim is not its object but more desire, this isomorphism is central to the way in which finance Capital specifically and liberal capitalist world views are inter-constitutive as long as you are a desiring subject, that is to say a capitalist subject, that’s all that matters

Isn't it more that post capitalist mean a post desiring subject.

Someone else leans in. What is with the Post-capitalist meme anyway. It's an article of faith that post-capitalist must somehow be better than capitalist, it's just historical materialism 2.0

Jake groans at the already antique use of 2.0.

But seriously why can't post capitalist just be worse? Why must it be more egalitarian or more democratic?

She loops away again. Someone is talking about Lizzie Borden's Born in Flames. Another the role of women within Nepalese Communist groups. The floor is sticky, her coffee carton drained.

She heads toward the door to get a breath of fresh air. There’s a guy there she recognizes, in his mid-forties with steely gray hair, a suit and a nervous manner talking to two women in their twenties dressed in what she can only think of as some kind of Sixties style militant Sci-Fi boiler-suits. One of them she knows is Jessica Durham, a lecturer at Goldsmiths, she has seen her speak a few times and has a massive crush on her that she angrily denies to Laura, though Laura probably has one on her too.

The other girl, young maybe her lover, with a sharp face and very soft blond hair. looks nervous and seems brittle and edgy, all her energy focused on saying brilliant, unforgettable things.

Just out through the doorway, there's another group, looking grim and tetchy, texting away. There’s Dan she nods, he smiles and nods quickly back, looks distracted. Already several people have been arrested, dawn raids or pinched on public transport, in supermarkets, swiping their claimant card or passing one of the million chipped bins, windows, lamposts that grid the city, swept up either under the massively expanded powers of the USG’s Welfare Enforcement Division or in straight busts by the Met. No-one knows where they are now, in cells somewhere, detention centers, holding- pens, being deprived of sleep and food, lent on, intimidated. It’s only a few months since the last hard stop fiasco left Lewisham shopping centre gutted and the police station across the road pocked with flying bricks, and so the crackdown continues. Water cannon, rubber bullets, expanded powers to detain, reclassification of the term terrorists, the legal redefinition of the idea of violence, the extravagant sentencing.

The latest mayoral campaign poster has the incumbent in a black and white poster posing at a a window and peeping through the blinds, holding a taser, a parody of the famous image of Malcolm X and the later recreation by KRS-One.

Keeping London open for business. By all means necessary.

Someone behind her is saying the point is that reclassification of laws is not a discursive practice and therefore can’t be countered by one, it’s a recomposition of the relationship of power, access to space, freedom of movement, political agency. we are not fighting fire with fire, that’s the mistake i think, to fail to understand the legal framework.

Lewis leans against the rail and looks up and down Resolution Way.

maybe you should write a book on it, give another fucking paper on the need to understand the problem more fully.

actually the voice says I am I am focusing on performatives and how we can

Where is she?

Isn't the problem that the requirement for theoretical novelty for a niche and brand is the logic of biopoltics. If we just say, ok it has all been said basically, we are all, I mean academics, out of a job. But we want to be out of a job right, we want everyone out of a job, the problem is we can't conceive of ourselves as non-productive subjects, we can't defy the demand to produce the new, in more and more contrived, inessential increments.

Lewis checks the time on her phone

So we should just abandon thought?

And suddenly Laura has arrived, sashayed in out of nowhere on stiletto heels, sidled up beside her.

She runs her hand up Lewis’s back, says hello gorgeous.

No that's not what I am saying at all, I am saying we should aim at our own abolition. And if we are too invested in our position we must accept that others, less so, will abolish us.

She looks spectacular, she’s late but it was worth it. Sorry I'm late, took ages getting ready.

Stay using the mesh network. I don't trust that guy . I think he's a Jake. No not Jake! A cop, A fed. Five-O.

Laura kisses her, her lips taste of nothing but her own delicious lips, her hair smells uniquely of Laura herself. Lewis goes up on tip toe. Lauras’ breasts push against her throat and her whole sublime heft strains against the black satin suit she is wearing. She grips at Lewis’ arms through her tracksuit top feels the knotted muscle, runs a hand over her shaved head and gazes into her eyes.

If the state is so useless, so impotent why have the right spent so much time and money trying to co-opt it,

You are so fucking hot, Lewis says and runs a hand up between her legs, watches Laura's nostrils flare, a smile tickle at the corners of her mouth as her knuckles bump softly to a stop. Laura squeezes a little on her Lewis' fist with her thighs and bites her lip.

Well equally if protest is so useless why do they spend so much time trying to ban it

Oh my stars, she is ridiculously hot. That eye makeup and the insanely thick false eyelashes. She moves her hand. Not here, not here. But really. She wants to breathe her in, be enveloped by her, to both be subsumed and to incorporate her on some atomic level. Flesh of my flesh, molecular integration, any sense of separation or remove, and distance dissipated.

Yes but that's an atavism, a kind of formal game played out between the state and the public, it’s there for the right to keep their voters onside, in fact you play into the rights agenda by protesting

but we also make it visible to the left

Visibility is in some ways the problem. the spectacle.

Lewis is half tempted to just pop back to the empty flat right now but suddenly the buzz in the room subsides and a series of Presi slides are being projected against the far wall, images taken from property websites Yourhome, Zoopla, Rightmove , others from what is increasingly being called the Shadow Housing Sector, a nice euphemism, the boy in the sky-blue blouse, standing at the front of the slowly assembling crowd says, for slum housing: more specifically he wants to address the overlap between the two and the increasing discursive legitimation in the popular press of price gouging, overcrowding and the construction of ad-hoc and improvised “accommodation” in gardens, abandoned sites, garages, jerry built extensions, the accelerating subdivision of existing housing stock into smaller and smaller spaces, into capsule and, informally, “coffin” accommodation, the government's restriction of planning and tenancy laws in order to prolong the housing crisis from which they and their supporters benefit. He concludes with a critique of the Alter-housing movement, the wigwams and Yurts and wagons snuck away in outlying fields or sympathetic friends gardens as mirroring the logic of rentier capitalism under the guise of libertarian Leftism and concludes by explaining that their own Burst the Bubble campaign differs from the Spanish Pinchar la Burbuja in that the latter attempted to collapse the bubble from below by mass refusal to take on mortgages, whereas they see the necessity of making property itself subject to attacks to send a clear message that property is not a global asset class and that any attempt to use it as such will be met with concentrated attempts to occupy, confiscate or radically devalue that asset.

By any means necessary? Some one in the crowd asks, to laughter.

Burn baby burn someone else shouts out. They are all mindful of the undercover police who are certainly in the room, all mindful of the comrades given seven years for unfurling a sign saying “this property is condemned” on one of the new Hypervillages in the process of being constructed by Singaporean magnate Jensen Foo, photographing it along with a number of activists in balaclavas brandishing petrol bombs and comedy dynamite and clock bombs posing on the only half constructed seventeenth floor of Three Bridges Tower, studios starting from six hundred and fifty thousand pounds. They hacked into Throwbridge's Singapore Property portal and posted the images up over the original pictures of the development. 

The list of charges was insanely long, including the newly implemented Threats against Property and Violence against Property, the existing terrorist classification being extended to those who would “subvert or seek to prevent through means of intimidation the lawful transaction of business.” Housing terrorists. Reification at its purest, someone shouts when the recent conviction gets mentioned. People are property, property is a person.
The final image left hanging up on the screen is an advertisement for the new build around London Bridge. The slogan: Shard apartments, not shared apartments, because you were meant to be apart. A picture of a benignly clean cut young couple gazing down onto a crowded street and across to what looks like a crumbling Victorian slum.