Charles Radcliffe (Belfast (Ireland), 07.12.1941 – Bournemouth (England), 10.07.2021.) started as a peace campaigner in the Committee of 100, became the editor of a revolutionary magazine, and subsequently a drug smuggler. Though not widely known Charles Radcliffe is perhaps one of the quintessential ’sixties figures.
He started by sitting down with the Committee of 100, then became the editor of Rebel Worker 6 with renowned American surrealists and anarchists Franklin and Penelope Rosemont. Heatwave, praised by American commentator Bill Not Bored and many others followed shortly afterwards. Jon Savage in England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock (Faber and Faber, 1991) said of Heatwave: “In The Seeds of Social Destruction Charles Radcliffe laid the foundation for the next twenty years of sub-cultural theory.”
The second edition of Heatwave he edited with Chris Gray. The editorial stated: “All that we can see anywhere is a grotesque travesty of human life, half nightmare and half burlesque: a degraded labour we never chose in order to create an empty passive leisure we never wanted. Life has been reduced to living death.”
He joined the Situationist International with Chris Gray in 1966. He met Guy Debord. Chris Gray was a very close friend as was Murray Bookchin (author of The Ecology of Freedom). He resigned from the Situationist International in 1967 after a year. (He was one of the few members to do so: most were expelled!)
In 1967 even Playboy magazine joined in advertising Heatwave albeit inaccurately: “in London, members of the Industrial Workers of the World have joined with the Resurgence Youth Movement to start a similar magazine for revolution Heatwave.”
Finally, totally disillusioned with situationist politics and, to a lesser extent with all politics, he started dealing cannabis. Tom Vague summarised: “Charlie Radcliffe makes a dashing escape from the SI (Situationist International) to have the most dodgy post-situ career of them all. His post-SI CV reads; journalist at Robert Maxwell’s Pergamon Press, associate of Howard Marks, journalist for Alan Marcuson’s Fiends (sic!) and ‘political advisor’ to the Jefferson Airplane.”
Imprisoned in Belgium in 1969 he joined Friends on release in 1970 and worked for nearly two years as an underground press journalist, finally becoming co-editor.
“But in London, members of the Industrial Workers of the World have joined with Resurgence Youth Movement to start a similar magazine for revolution HEATWAVE” —- Playboy
“Charlie Radcliffe makes dashing escape from the SI to have the most dodgy post-situ career of them all his post-situ CV reads; journalist at Robert Maxwell’s Pergamon Press, associate of Howard Marks, journalist for Alan Marcuson’s Fiends (sic) and ‘political advisor’ to the Jefferson Airplane”— Tom Vague, journalist and author of King Mob Echo.
“ ‘Nothing can stop me! I’m the Hulk! I’m the strongest there is!’ says a comic book hero on the page Radcliffe devotes to past issues of The Rebel Worker and to future issues of his own zine. ‘Careful? Ya never get to be a comic book hero by bein’ careful’, says another. And, of course, he is right.” — Bill not Bored blogsite, New York.
“In ‘The Seeds of Destruction’, Charles Radcliffe laid the foundation for the next twenty years of subcultural theory.” —-Jon Savage, journalist and author of England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock.