Our friend, comrade and fellow Fuck Brigader Simon Chapman sadly passed away on 10th February 2017. Simon was an active anarchist for the last 20 years. Here are some words from his old friend and comrade Alessio…
I first met Simon after the J18 Carnival Against Capitalism in London on 18th June 1999 – we became close friends and comrades, involved in organising May Day demonstrations and occupying buildings for social centres.
A few of us including Simon had formed a collective called the WOMBLES, after we spent a week in Prague in September 2000 at a demonstration against the World Bank. That moment really solidified us and our bond grew stronger.
The WOMBLES was to become, due to its uncompromising attitudes, the group the media liked to blame for everything, and the repression that followed – including infiltrations, punitive arrests and trials, eviction of social centres, surveillance and beatings – carried on for many years.
But perhaps the thing that cast Simon in the spotlight was when he was arrested, tortured and imprisoned after the mass riots against the European Union summit in June 2003 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Here away from the relative safety of activist cultures in the UK, Simon and his other comrades were faced with a choice: to languish in prison or to force the hand of the Greek state. It was also a challenge for the Greek anarchist movement outside, and so Simon and the others decided to start a hunger strike for their freedom. During this intense period, huge anarchist demonstrations and actions escalated. As time was running out, with the hunger strike approaching 60 days, the Greek state finally capitulated. It was truly a victory.
That period of ‘summit hopping’ – which started with J18 and continued with through the shutdown of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Seattle on the 30th November 1999, to the London May Days, 26th September 2000 in Prague against the World Bank and IMF and subsequent G8 summits – pretty much ended after Thessaloniki. For many of us who were in our early 20s at the time, it was the moment which formed and conditioned our lives., what we felt was possible and what we felt was needed to be done. It was what brought us into this movement, and those memories are inevitably tied up with meetings and becoming friends with Simon.
I know that this experience, as well his getting married and becoming a father, continued to dominate Simon’s life, with the Greek state consistently reopening the trial – which led to him having to return to Greece in 2011 to face both the same cops that abused him and the system that had so brutally mistreated him. Simon was finally aquitted.
Simon had over the last few years reconnected with his comrades in Class War, having been involved in the original Movement Against the Monarchy (M’AM) in the early 2000s, and used his talent and humorous design skills to produce agit-prop.
He will be sorely missed by all of us. But we ensure to take care and support his young daughter, and keep his memory alive, to celebrate his life. Simon could have had a different life, but he wanted to take the fight against capital and the state; he wanted to bring this brutal system down – and for that alone, we salute him and his rebellious spirit. Alessio
A fund for Simon’s daughter has been set up which will be placed in a trust for when she turns 18.
Simon Chapman Fund
Sort code: 11-04-22
Account number: 10829763