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!