Class War on Wonga

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UK activist group Class War’s ‘WAR ON wonga’ campaign is viewed via Boltanski and Chiapello’s (2005 [1999]) critique of capitalism, namely as a form of social critique. Wonga has emerged as UK’s leading payday loan company since it was founded in 2007, and should be recognized as a product of the culture of financialization. Class War’s campaign is a response to the linkage between inequality and entrepreneurial capitalism. As an example of entrepreneurial capitalism, the possibility of free enterprise, Wonga’s self-description as an ‘innovative digital company’ makes directly wealthy the founding entrepreneurs and their current venture capital partners. Yet the economic success of Wonga also represents a growing inequality in a society of unprecedented wealth. Given the UK perspective, the long shadow of Thatcher informs the paper, as does the criminalization of debt during the Victorian period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Visual Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Activist Practices
  • Boltanski and Chiapello
  • Capitalism
  • Class War
  • Financialization
  • Payday Lending
  • Venture Capital
  • Wonga

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