Thursday, 18 August 2011

Alternatives to the riots?

The recent riots that started in Tottenham, North London and spread first to other parts of London and then around the whole country have drawn widespread condemnation from most of the country and, rather disappointingly, the majority of my friends. I am looking here to put forward an alternative response that, hopefully, they won't dismiss in a knee-jerk fashion. The main problem is that people miss things that the state are doing and the reasons for them; they miss the hidden (and sometimes not especially well-hidden) bias in every single news article, and they take as gospel everything they read in the bourgeois newspapers. Every article you read in the newspapers attempts to brainwash you to condemn all young people (and immigrants) and view them as the cause of the problems we all face in our everyday lives, thus taking the blame away from the real source of the problem, the system that keeps them all in their privileged positions, capitalism. Without capitalism, you would have no disillusioned youth, as the young people of almost the entire world are as angry as they are because there is no prosperity, no jobs, and violent protests are the only way to express these emotions.

"Why?" I hear you ask. Well imagine this: in response to their situation, working people, predominantly the young, go on a march against the government. They have a very good day out, shout a lot and wave banners, but what will really come of this? Exactly the same as came out of the anti Iraq-war protests- absolutely nothing. OK, scenario two: in response to their situation, the youth of this country go to the ballot box and vote out the Tory government. So Labour come back in- the second XI of the ruling class. The cuts are slower, but still happen, and unemployment still rises, all to save the system of capitalism. So what, I ask you, is left for the working class masses of this country to do? Can you still not see why people are drawn to rioting, however unproductive these particular riots have been in a political sense?

Another major problem comes when people suggest that the only 'legitimate' protest is peaceful. The reason the state supports and fosters this viewpoint is that they don't feel threatened by it and the reason for this is that peaceful protest doesn't make the blindest bit of difference. The only protests that usher in real change are ones that leave the location they are held in ruins. I say that with no blood-lust or sick joy, simply the pragmatic knowledge that the ruling class does not care about our feelings; the privileged top tier of society does not bat and eyelid when the majority of working people are coming dangerously close to poverty, they do not take notice when we feel angry at our situation and show it peacefully. The only way to get them to take notice is to actually threaten their position on the highest rung of the socio-economic scale, and only direct action can achieve that. I am not an anarchist, but when the time comes for a real revolution, violent protests/rioting will be part of it, mark my words.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Review of Saturday's London Protests

Yesterday afternoon, myself and many others- 3000 if you believe the BBC; 12,000+ if you take account of the viewpoints of those without concerted agendas- took to the streets of London to protest against the Con-Dem government’s ideological destruction of the public sector. Manchester also saw protests, but I am going to talk about those in London, considering that I have first hand experience of what happened. The most important occurrence- or rather non-occurrence was that, at no point in the day did we get kettled. And guess what, there was NO VIOLENCE WHATSOEVER! Those two facts are not coincidental- at previous demos the police have deliberately incited violent reactions, using illegal tactics that intentionally violate the basic human rights of all the people there. This time, they didn’t kettle and none of the protesters smashed anything up, because the police didn’t change the mood of the demonstration from the original joviality to one of fury and frustration.

I, for one, have a mixed response to this. I have said on many occasions that walking around in the streets shouting will simply be ignored by the fascists we have in power; look at the anti-war demonstrations for a prime example of that. Direct action (as seen recently in Egypt) is the only way to bring down a government, and I personally worry that if the demonstrations in March are as peaceful as the one that took place on Saturday, we won’t be able to stop the cuts and the lives of an entire generation- students and otherwise- will be ruined. However, what I would like to point out is the media reporting of yesterday’s events- or rather the lack of, therein. The news merely pointed out that there had been demonstrations and said that there was violence at the one in Manchester (where there HAD been police kettling protesters- surprise surprise!). It was like the protest in London didn’t happen. The reason for this lack of reporting is obvious; they had no sensationalised story to feed the brainwashed public that reflected upon the students in the way the state wants them to be viewed- as mindless vandals. The government (and state media) do all they can to present the information in this light and, yesterday, we gave them no opportunity to.

This brings me on to another question- why did the police not kettle Saturday’s demonstrators? Have they seen the error of their ways? Do they realise that collective punishment and illegal arrest violates both the EU and UN’s conventions on human rights? Somehow I severely doubt it. We already know that kettling is not a response to violence but an attempt to incite it from previously peaceful demonstrators. It is my opinion that, contrastingly, the police didn’t kettle protesters today in order to do exactly the same thing. Hoping that the people on the demo would take heed of events in Egypt, smash up property and give the police, media and government an opportunity to say to the public “See? ‘Containment’ is necessary- look what happens when we don’t do it!”. This would give them the opportunity, at the massive demonstrations in March, to repress the population to previously unseen extents, using all the tactics that Theresa May imagines in her wildest dreams: police dogs, water cannons, rubber bullets, even full ammunition. They might even get the opportunity to ban the future demos and general strike, with public support- something the Tories are immensely eager to do (after all, why should the PEASENTS have any power to ensure the quality of their own lives? They should just remain obedient to their betters and their false Gods!) The one immensely positive thing about the peaceful nature of yesterday was that it didn’t give the media this opportunity; not that the police will be as fair-minded in March in any case, especially as the state broadcaster that is the BBC completely ignored how Saturday went.

Some may say that the police are in a no-win situation- if they kettle us, people criticise them and now they haven’t done so, I’m doing the same. But considering that such ‘containment’ has the aim of going against the police’s job of keeping public order, do they really deserve the benefit of the doubt?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Advice for anyone going to London on Saturday

Now, I'm no protesting expert (though one day I hope to be!) but I felt I should offer my two cent's worth on how anyone who has decided to make their way to London on Saturday to defend the welfare state, protect everyone's right to a free education and to protest against the imperialistic, capitalist state, can remain safe from the police's brutal tactics. This isn't going to be a long rant, just a few short tips that all of us need to take heed of in the interests of the movement and of our own safety. If anyone has anything to add, feel free to leave a comment on here or on my blog's Facebook group.

Wear black- Don't wear anything particularly distinctive; you don't want to give the police any way to identify you after the event, whether you are going out to engage in direct action or not- believe me, they will look for any excuse to find something to arrest you for, whether you've done something wrong or not. We want it to be a sea of black, so no-one can be identified.

Cover your face- Ditto to the above reason, wear a scarf around your face. Don't get sucked in to police and media propaganda which claims that only those who want to riot cover their faces. It is our right to our anonymity- not their right to demand to know who we are on a whim. We are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

Prepare for all conditions- Unless you are immensely lucky, you will be kettled for 7, 8 or 9 hours, so dress for the cold and the wet. We will be doing more standing around than marching.

Giving your details- At previous protests, the police have demanded to see everyone's faces and photograph them before letting them leave kettles. While kettling is illegal, they have the guns and the power (for now!) so it would be unwise to make a martyr out of yourself in this regard; however, one thing they have no right to do (but will still try, mark my words) is get your name and address off you. Legally, you are not obliged to give them it, so don't, no matter how they treat you to try to get that information out of you.

Food and drink- As we will be kettled, it is important not to bring a massive drink (or masses of food- because they will make you need a drink). Only bring limited drink and only drink it when you really need to. If you run out, there will always be people sharing theirs- there have been on every single one of the marches I went on.)

Provocation- The police are looking for any excuse to brutalise and attack us; don't give them an excuse to do that. The fact that they have no right to doesn't matter in the slightest; they will. If a pig acts threateningly, don't rise to it. The whole point of kettling is to get a reaction from the crowd and to change the mood of previously peaceful gatherings; that is their order from above. The media will show footage edited to make it look like the police were responding to attacks rather than attacking first (just like they did in previous student protests and in the poll tax riots etc. etc. etc.) Don't give them ammunition.

I know many people reading this will know all of this, but I just wanted to do whatever I could to help keep people safe on Saturday. Have fun, good luck and let's show this government once again that the people of the world are against their regressive policies.


Sunday, 16 January 2011

We are the People- This World is OURS!

David Cameron announced yesterday that he is considering changing the law to make it more difficult to strike; not exactly a surprise from a disciple of Margaret Thatcher. And, you know what? I hope he does, simply because, at the moment, the government’s attacks on the welfare state and the working man are conducted in a cloak-and-dagger manner, leaving most people believing the cuts are necessary and believing they themselves are free. This idea, however, would definitely engender a reaction from the supposed ‘hard left’ of which Cameron is so afraid, which would hopefully lead to us abandoning our pointless sects and working together for the common good of the movement. We are much more dangerous to the Con-dem coalition when we have the majority of the people on our side and this would surely be the case should Cameron propose to ban industrial action, as it would leave us with no recourse against the government; an even more blatant dictatorship than we have already. Withdrawing our labour is currently the only defence we have from being treated like slaves by our corporate overlords and our bosses, and I can only hope that people begin to cherish and protect it before it is too late.

In other (but related) news, Ed Miliband has proven not once but twice in one single interview that, despite his claims of being ‘socialist’ he couldn’t be further away from representing the interests of the majority. Not only did he describe himself as “appalled” at certain unions’ plans to strike on the day of the royal wedding- an idea that seems intelligent to me, as not only would it would cause the most possible disruption but it would also cause trouble almost specifically to upper class twats and the sort of wittering idiots who hero-worship the unelected royal family simply because they have been born rich. But, no, ‘Red Ed’ (yeah right!) has condemned the proposed strikes- which, in reality, are rather unlikely to actually take place- saying they would be “absolutely the wrong thing for trade unions to do”. Why, Ed? Because they would disrupt the latest in a long line of undemocratic celebrations from a country that has the gall to say it ‘spreads democracy’ around the world? For whom is this democracy meant to benefit? Oh yes, the political class, the rich! Well it’s high time we took back what’s ours and stopped getting our lives ruined by a small minority who tell us to ‘know our place’. Whose streets? Our streets! Or even better, as I heard from watching the video of Charles and Camilla’s car being attacked by utter heroes, “Whose Regent Street? Our Regent Street!” Classic.

On a related note, why are the people expected to revel in the ‘joy’ of two very rich, pampered people getting married? Doesn’t anyone else find that patronising? As if being in their shadow should be an honour and we should wait for some of the wealth to ‘trickle down’ (it somehow never does). It’s disgusting! How did this become the norm? As far as I’m concerned, I want as much disruption as possible to take place when people are ‘celebrating’ the royal wedding- tube strike, attacking Camilla again, bomb scare, I truly couldn't care less. Miliband has also revealed that he doesn’t know the slightest thing about strike action; he described it as a “last resort”, for “when the ballot box has failed”. What do you call this situation then, Ed? The Ballot box has failed us; false democracy has failed us, leaving us with no option but to engage in direct action and, ultimately, revolution. When millions rise up, what can 10,000 coppers do? Nothing! We are the people- this world is OURS!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Why the Police are to Blame for the Recent Student Violence

Some of the responses to the rioting in London over November and December 2010 showed up quite how ill-informed some of the British population are about both what went on at those protests and about the damaging effect of the government removing one’s civil liberties. Let’s start with the former. The bigoted and knee-jerk reactions of some- even those who had previously said they support the students’ cause- was to call those who defaced property a disgrace and advocate the use of some quite barbaric police responses such as water cannons, tasers, vicious dogs and even rubber bullets. But these people don’t realise the can of worms they would be opening by giving the police the rights to enact such measures. Giving the police the lawful right to utilise extreme violence against protesters, by definition, creates a police state; a state where the police have ultimate power- where they are the law. Not where they enforce the law and act as impartial referees, as they should be, but where they are the law. If those advocating harsh replies had actually thought their points of views through, then surely they couldn’t possibly deem that an appropriate response to the conditions we currently face. Are they really willing to give up their basic human right of protest and the right to go wherever they like on public land whenever they wish, just so the police can maintain a totalitarian hold on society and stifle all protest with an iron fist?

This brings me on to my second point. Many of those witnessing the British media’s biased coverage of the protests responded by alleging that the majority were protesting peacefully but an aggressive minority just went out to cause violence and attack police officers. This is wrong on two counts. Firstly, almost all the cases of violence and rioting at these protests were caused by the tactics of the police officers; what started as a peaceful and even jovial protest ended with hatred being poured at coppers all around- and they were all around, because of kettling. Secondly, if everyone protested like these people seem to want them to (i.e. following all police orders, not causing much disruption and certainly not pulling up any political trees) what would that achieve? What did the ‘Not in My Name!’ protests, where no-one did more than chant and walk in line where they were told to by the authorities, accomplish? Nothing tangible whatsoever; British troops were still sent on illegal and immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New ‘Labour’ simply gave lip-service to the views of the majority and still completed the latest task ordered onto this country by America, providing more evidence for the UK being the 51st state. It is also interesting to note that the biased media coverage is a milder form of that which the people had to suffer during Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister, where the British media actually edited footage of the police attacking miners who were protesting, and the miners retaliating, to make it look like it was the other way around. While there were no edited pieces of footage played to my knowledge at the 2010 protests, the newspaper reports falsely made it sound like a group of anarchist were simply going out to attack police officers, who responded in kind.

Kettling is an illegal tactic, officially called ‘containment’, and its supposed effect is to calm down the protesters, which is absurd in the extreme; would you calm down if you had riot police keeping you in a horrendously confined space for seven, eight or nine hours, not letting you eat, drink, move or go to the toilet? No, of course not; it would breed resentment and anger, which is exactly what happened. Even worse, this is exactly what the police want to happen, as it gives them an excuse to use the kind of tactics advocated by more simple minded people (and the delightful Miss Theresa May) to quash protests. In the long run, this allows them to create an atmosphere where people are afraid to protest against the government that is supposed to represent them- a totalitarian state. But we MUST not let that happen. I wouldn’t like to meet the person who remains apathetic, or even positive, towards the police after being made to wet themselves in the middle of a packed group of people in central London; believe me, that happened to some of the protesters, who’s reactions to this are fully justified, as they are being treated like animals- like scum- by yet another arm of the fascist British state, the police. Not only is direct action morally justifiable, it is also the most effective way to make changes. The horrific poll tax was beaten by fighting back against the police, smashing things, burning things and blowing things up. Women acquired the right to vote in a similar manner. Would those criticising the London protesters also have condemned the Suffragettes in a similar manner? Even more shockingly to some, tactics such as covering your face so you can’t be identified are not exclusively the actions of protesters against the establishment. In the 1980’s, where the police were really going out looking for a fight, they took the numbers off their uniform, meaning that they too were free of the risk of being identified. Whatever the police do in the future protests- in January and in March around the time of the upcoming general strike- we must not get put off, we must not give in. We must keep going back and fighting for our basic human rights; the moment that attendance at big protests goes down or these events get more placid, that is when the capitalist state and the police have won.

The reason the government and police can get away with such tactics is because they slip under the radar of the majority of the population and are taken for granted, or even deemed as a positive thing by people who don’t understand their full effects. Take one example aside from kettling and violent police tactics: protests have to follow a pre-assigned route, like some grisly parade, with police on either side, hemming everyone in. That’s normal, right? Of course not! The police are stopping people from entering many plots of public land; why is this viewed as normal, as acceptable? Certainly, it is the rights of population to use public property and go wherever they want to on public land, even within the capitalist system. Yet it has slipped into the consciousness of the British population that it is the police’s right to stop people from going somewhere, just because they feel like it. A similar thing can be said to New Labour’s law of detaining supposed ‘terrorist’ suspects without charge. But that’s OK, isn’t it? Terrorists are a threat to national security! But not only is the term ‘terrorist’ subjective, as one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, but these aren’t proven terrorists, these are people the state has decided, for whatever reason, to brand with that label. Detaining them is as unlawful as holding all those innocent people in Guantanamo Bay. And we all know that the British government’s record at recognising terrorists isn’t the best- take the case of Jean Charles De Menezes, not to mention Harry Stanley, who was shot dead outside an East London Pub after police mistook a table leg he was carrying for a gun. And those are just the tip of the iceberg! I won’t go into this in more detail, as this article is about the student protests, but these are more examples of our basic civil liberties being retracted as this country lurches closer and closer to being a fully fledged police state.

Before Christmas, my friend Paul Saville was detained by police on trumped up charges of affray (in truth, all he did was stroke a police horse). He was denied two of the three meals he has a right to by law, the right to a solicitor and a phone call. The Guardian article about the incident can be found here: This is an example of the police not allowing people their basic human rights. In Nazi Germany, the people had no rights, which was why it became a brutal totalitarian state. We are much nearer to that here than most people think, especially if Theresa May manages to bring water cannons, police dogs and rubber bullets to future protests like she wants to. What we can definitely be certain of is the notion that Britain is a ‘free’ country, hasn’t been accurate for years. To launch a successful revolution, the support of at least one of three groups is required: the police, the army or the overwhelming majority of the population. As the first two are looking increasingly unlikely (though not impossible) the need to educate people and bring them into the burgeoning movement becomes even more pronounced. This goes beyond student politics. This is about our basic human rights. One solution: revolution.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

My response to the General Election- What the Tories have already done

So, the Conservatives are in power, just as I warned. People have not heeded my advice and the Conservatives find themselves in Downing Street, in a pathetically insecure power-sharing agreement with Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. The major result of the General Election was that there really were no winners, hence the hung parliament. People want Labour out- always the way after a three term Government- but when this happened to John Major’s Tories, New Labour stormed to a majority victory. Considering that, on May 6th, Cameron couldn’t even muster up an overall majority; this shows that the public did not see them as a viable alternative. And Nick Clegg, once touted as the Lib Dem leader who would achieve the biggest gains in the party’s recent history, ended up hated by party members, remembered as the leader who sold out and did a deal, not with Labour, whose interests match theirs closely, but of the Tories. He will always be remembered as the Liberal Democrat leader who acted as Cameron’s stooge, propping up a Conservative government that the people really do not want.

However, this is not the worst occurrence since that fateful Friday night, when it was announced that Gordon Brown would be resigning from the post of Prime Minister. They have already shown themselves to be horrifically undemocratic, changing the law from the approval of 50% of MPs being required to trigger a general election, to 55%. Considering that 47% of MPs in the House of Commons are Conservatives, this means that, even if every single MP, from every other party, requested a General Election, this would only amount to 53%, not enough to result in an election. Forget the media’s hysteria about Brown’s supposed clinging on to power, within days of taking office, Cameron has already severely trumped it. William Hague might argue that this achieves ‘stability’, he might point to the 5% pay cut MPs have taken since Cameron took office, but the reality of the situation is that these actions are undemocratic and dictatorial. Add this to the fact that the new Equalities Minister, Theresa May, has an atrocious record on homosexual and transgender rights, and it is fair to suggest that, as in the Johnson Mayoralty of London, this Conservative administration has already made quite a controversial and unwanted splash, less than a week after taking office.

The aforementioned ‘selling out’ of the Liberal Democrats is illustrated perfectly by one particularly agreement they have made with the Conservatives. Traditionally a party against nuclear power and Britain’s nuclear ‘deterrent’ (a contradiction in terms in my opinion), the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, has agreed that nuclear power plants will still be built, so long as public money is not spent in doing it. Not only does this lessen the role of the state in controlling what goes on in this country, allowing private investors (i.e. the rich) a free rein to do what they like, but it also doesn’t address the primary issue. Whether or not it is public money that is used to build the nuclear plants, the fact remains that they will still be being built, something the Lib Dems are supposedly against. Why exactly have they got themselves into this alliance with the Tories, when the Tories are one of the parties it is hardest to equate Lib Dem policies and values with? The protests outside Lib Dem Headquarters illustrated just to what extent the party’s core support (in which I do not count myself) is against the current state of affairs. I would suggest that this is positive, because, the sooner this coalition falls apart, the sooner there will be another general election. Personally, I think that, when that day comes, Labour will win the most seats, but probably not an overall majority; they will then form a much more comfortable coalition with the Liberals, hopefully leading the Tories to another extended spell in the wilderness.

Responses to some stupid Facebook comments

Just a quick article on some of the more amusingly unintelligent comments that surface on all the ‘proud to be English’ Facebook groups.

Firstly, it’s hysterical that, in the ‘If you’re in England, speak English’ groups, the entire population appears to have a ridiculously poor grasp of the language.

“Cumon Dont You Just Hate It Wen foreigners Come To England And Speak Their Own Language!”
Ignoring the awful grammar and the random tendency to Capitalise The First Letter Of Every Word, which meant that it probably took whatever degenerate wrote this about three hours to manage it, this is a recurring theme in groups like this. Personally, I feel such ‘logic’ is deeply flawed. I agree that anyone who goes to live in a particular country should, in an effort to blend in with the locals, learn to speak the language, but I wouldn’t extend that to attempting to stop these people from speaking another language, even in public. The supposed reasons for this leave me in hysterical laughter; usually the reason given is because they might be plotting something. Well, so might someone speaking in code, but we don’t harass everyone on public transport who we don’t fully understand the words of!

THIS is an actual quote: “I'm sick of foreigners talking then laughing, like they're laughing at you and you have know idea what they said”

“remember that we are english by the grace of god,”
No, officially, we are not English at all, there isn’t even a country called England. We are not British by the grace of God either; we are British because we happened, by nothing more than blind chance, to be born here. Or, of course, because we moved here and got a passport. But don’t tell that to the population of those groups, they won’t like it!

“Our current government is more willing to put every other country before that of the English.”
Is this person seriously suggesting that the government elected to look after the interests of this country in particular (a concept that I, incidentally, I am against at any rate) actually looks SPECIFICALLY AFTER THE INTERESTS OF EVERY OTHER COUNTRY INSTEAD? The entire concept is laughable. The reality of the situation is that, instead of just saying ‘f*** everyone else-only the British matter’, this government is, to a small extent, recognising that everyone matters and, in a situation relating to immigration, both sides must make compromises and respect the other.

“Our own skilled unemployed struggle for employment whilst company’s employ foreign labour to replace them.”
Really? Most of the people in these groups cannot even manage to tie their own shoelaces, let alone do something that could cause them to be branded ‘skilled’. Likewise, throwing around the word ‘great’ all the time actually shows their insecurity. I do not feel worthless when I recognise that the place I have been born is no more or less great than any other; the population of this country has, in the past, done positive and negative things for the wider world.

“As Britons, we have our own culture”
Actually, we don’t have one culture; we have many here in Britain. I do not have the same culture as the next person who was born here, and so on and so on… So, the notion that immigrants bring a culture that is foreign and dangerous to ‘our own’ is completely incorrect, because there are many currently present in the first place, so what is the problem with adding a few more?

“If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.”
This quote probably requires one of the shortest responses. It is simply untrue. Aside from the fact that, as I have already illustrated, there is no ‘our culture’, 45% of people in this country officially do not believe in God. We are one of the most atheist (but not yet secular) countries in the world. Any other completely rubbish statements these people see fit to make?

“We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change,”

I was laughing pretty hard when I looked at all these and I hope they gave you a chuckle too. The overriding message to take from this is, before you start bitching about how people do not speak English, learn to speak English yourself. Before you complain that immigrants are ‘taking our jobs’, acquire some skills that make you more qualified to do those jobs than the immigrants. Because, if these people who are more qualified than you are as dreadful as you say they are, what does that make you?