Bean Stew, Blisters, Blockades and Benders
The True Story of a Peace Activist in Thatcher’s Britain
‘...Insights into how individual action can play a role in avoiding Armageddon.’ – Billy Bragg
‘Terrific – thoroughly engaging and a real page-turner … wonderfully evocative, thought-provoking and a fascinating window into a world which until recently seemed almost old-fashioned, but now has a particular resonance in our re-politicized age.’ – Jason Webster, author of Violencia
‘Intriguing – a fascinating and racy record of a life which will find many resonances in its readers. Particularly striking is its sense of journey through idealism, disillusion, and the yet remaining conviction that the struggle is not lost.’ – Harvey Gillman, author of A Light that is Shining
Britain in the 1980s – strikes, the dole, IRA bombings, CND demos, poll tax riots, vegetarian food, radical feminism and an international build-up of weapons guaranteeing ‘mutually-assured destruction’.
Rejecting the privileges that life offers him, Chris Savory seeks to redress wider injustices in society by rejecting future wealth, power and status to follow his ideals. He throws himself into political struggle – living in poverty, sleeping in tents and on floors, braving the mud and cold, surviving on bean stews and wholemeal bread – to the general disapproval of respectable society. His aim? To bring about a non-violent revolution, disarmament and an eco-feminist-socialist utopia!
Oxford University in 1980 opens up a world of opportunity, but the threat of imminent nuclear war pushes Chris to make life-changing decisions. Alienated by the casual superiority of his peers, he abandons essay-writing and sherry with the Dean to embark on a constant round of organising and protesting – peace-camps, marches, illegal direct actions, communes and anarchist street theatre. The triumph of Thatcherism and the defeat of progressive politics leaves him feeling despair, anger and isolation. But having given everything to fight the system, how can he re-enter mainstream society?
At the heart of this memoir is a deeply honest and heartfelt human story, spiced with humour and colourful details of the 1980s’ counterculture. In an age of climate crisis and Extinction Rebellion, Confessions Of A Non-Violent Revolutionary is a thought-provoking and engaging record of a previous wave of mass civil disobedience and an opportunity to learn lessons from the recent history of grassroots political struggle.
CHRIS SAVORY has spent his whole adult life trying to make the world a better place through protest, local politics, education, community campaigns and volunteering for social enterprises. He was born in 1961 in Kitwe, Northern Rhodesia. He arrived in England aged two and has subsequently lived in Kent, Essex, Paris, Oxfordshire, Missouri, Yorkshire, Berwickshire, Herefordshire, Dorset and South-West London. Chris is married with two adult stepchildren. He loves his ukulele, choirs, watching football, rivers, soft toys, marmalade, the seaside, beer, country music and London. He struggles with chronic depression, exhaustion and joint pains.
Published in the UK by Clairview Books, 14 April 2020
£12.99; 192pp; 23.5 x 15.5 cm; paperback; ISBN 9781912992140