“A Brief History of Riots: 1977”, By Art Practice chair Allan Desouza

Art Practice Chair Allan Desouza has written a very compelling article for Art Practical, on the rise of punk and white riots in 1970’s Britain.

The opening paragraphs:

“The year 1977 was a pivotal one for British politics, for punk, and for me. It was the Silver Jubilee of the accession of “Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”—to use just one of her many baroque titles. The Sex Pistols honored her with the song “God Save the Queen.” Derek Jarman followed up with his cinematic paean to punk, Jubilee. In contrast to all the pomp and circumstance of the Silver Jubilee and the Queen’s call for national unity, The Clash released its first single, “White Riot.” A new hole was being ripped in England’s nostalgic mourning for its lost “green and pleasant land.”2

“I was part of the first generation from the former colonies (the aforementioned “other Realms and Territories”) to have largely grown up in England and was entering its colleges and universities as British students. This was a coming of age of new communities fighting for their rights of citizenship, forming new identifications, and transforming the social landscape with different kinds of bodies and hybrid cultural manifestations. We had few delusions of England’s green and pleasant.”