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Mark Thomas interview: Taking on authority one small and imaginative step at a time

Political prankster Mark Thomas told Socialist Worker about his mission to carry out 100 Acts of Minor Dissent—and why he loves to see Ukip shown up

Issue No. 2404

Mark Thomas: running out of time to dissent

Mark Thomas: running out of time to dissent (Pic: Steve Ullasthorne)


Comedian Mark Thomas was running out of time. He gave himself a year to commit 100 Acts of Minor Dissent—and had five to go in just five days when he spoke to Socialist Worker.

This has been the theme of his tour this year, culminating in an art exhibition in Sheffield this month and a London gig on Monday 2 June.

 “We had a lovely Nick Clegg pinata in Sheffield,” said Mark. “We demolished it in the Peace Gardens, where he promised no more broken promises. We had loads of Lib Dem promises fall out when he was smashed.”

Mark described an “air of panic” as his year of protest comes to a close. If he doesn’t meet his target, he pledged to donate £1,000 to his worst nightmare—Ukip.

“It’s quite a motivator,” he explained. “I thought you can’t just drift on, you have to have something that can go wrong to motivate you. So I asked myself, what’s the worst that could happen?”

Mark was impressed to see how many Ukip posters have been vandalised.

Combination

“It’s the perfect combination of form and content,” he said. “Every action has a reaction, and I think people have underestimated how pernicious and evil Ukip are.

“They’re not quite the British National Party, but they’re paddling in the shallow end of that same nasty little pool of racism—against immigrants, against Poles, against Romanians.

“People think they’ll split the Tory vote, and then they might not do so well at the general election. But what they will have done is shifted the argument. They are seeding the ground with racism—and that’s a crop David Cameron can harvest.”

Mark hopes his comedy can be subversive about our rulers, and that it can help involve people in taking action themselves.

He produced a sticker for people to label corporate bad behaviour, which he plans to put in the exhibition.

“I’m working with some great artists. I love the interplay, the idea that the show exists outside the boundaries of the theatre,” explained Mark. 

“So if you see a company that’s behaving badly, you put a sticker on it, take a photo and we’ll make it part of the exhibition.”

100 Acts of Minor Dissent, Monday 2 June, Lyttelton Theatre, part of the National Theatre, London SE1
Art of Dissent: Mark Thomas, Tracey Moberly, Greg Matthews and Rikki Blue, 21-28 May, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

markthomasinfo.co.uk


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Tue 20 May 2014, 20:06 BST
Issue No. 2404
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