'Hijacked by Anarchists!'

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cobbler
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Mar 27 2011 15:33

I'll stick my neck out and say that I don't think the greatest part of the violence achieves much, and is probably counter productive.

I carried the red and black flag yesterday, though made a point of not dressing in black, and was asked loads of times what the flag stood for. Each time I was able to talk to one more person about anarchist ideals and aims. But when they go home and see the flag as synonymous with black clad people smashing windows and other acts of violence then a lot of the sympathy will be gone.

The same has already been true with members of my family who know my political views and allegiances: all they want to talk about is the violence.

I know that simply walking from point A to point B waving banners and making noise achieves nothing much except perhaps a raising of awareness, and there's definitely a case for taking the fight directly to the capitalists' front door, but I think we need to be wiser how we do this.

Every act which is carried out is an act of propaganda, some of it favourable, some of it not. Closing shops and banks down, blockading them, postering their windows or daubing some slogans on them are all good actions. But when it comes to images of smashing windows or setting about a parked police van, I think we all we gain is a loss of sympathy.

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jef costello
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Mar 27 2011 15:36
union_activist wrote:
--- Its not necessarily a fixed one, I agree. At times, anger spills into trouble and that just happens. But this was different. It was orchestrated by a body that was literally separate from the march up to the point they decided to infiltrate. If you want to be part of a mass movement, why did all the red and black lot pile into Piccadilly Circus from Shaftesbury Avenue. Why keep yourselves away from the masses?
Quote:
--- The route was one that is normally used. There were no circles. Bottlenecks occur when you have 300,000 people worming their way through narrow streets. Is everything a conspiracy to you lot?

Why do we take that route? Why do we need to? I did have to walk around in a circle after being guided down a bottleneck, don't tell me it didn't happen because I was there. We should have marched along The Strand rather than being messed around in side side streets.

Quote:
--- No it doesn't. This is exactly my point. The story started as "hundreds of thousands demonstrate against the cuts" but then changed to "rioters battle with police in Piccadilly". These actions actually diverted attention from the real issues. The actions of the 'smashers' was a gift to the media, they were a massive help to a right wing press looking to marginalise protest and dissen

t.
And what would that story have achieved? I went on the Iraq war marches, which achieved nothing.

Quote:
--- Yes, they do. I mean, they clearly don't change government policy. But that's not their point. They show that people aren't prepared to take things. They set agendas. They demonstrate to the wider public that dissent is out there and you can join us. Opposition to the cuts is a mainstream notion and we can use this massive demo as a platform to enhance all our local campaigns. That is, or should be, the message. Its one that 'the masses' for want of a better word respond to rather than "come and join us throwing paint at hotels".

Come and join what?

Quote:
--- A big mistake, in my book. The trade union movement should have been making clear what their alternative is. Not the Labour Party's. Again, we let the media change the story to "what is Ed Miliband's alternative" ... it was our demo, not his.

Considering the unions' role in controlling dissent for the Labour Party it was hardly surprising.

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Awesome Dude
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Mar 27 2011 16:01
RedEd wrote:
blackrainbow wrote:
The TUC leadership want to sink the prospect of effective street protests (like the student demos) they cant control.

How were the student demos effective? They took a lot of effort) to achieve very little, if anything. There have been some effective student actions, but they have been within given universities because that is a level at which students can plausibly take direct action.

Do you seriously mean to say that the student demos of last year didn't significantly change the heavily media supported ruling class social consensus that 'we are all in this together'? The kids did a lot better than any of us could ever have imagined (they stormed and occupied the ruling parties HQ and these were British students known to be some of the most docile in all of Europe). The stench of working class defeat since the ruin of the miners 25 odd years ago has been eating away at working class self confidence when confronting the ruling class. The students for a brief moment showed the whole class the type of spirit and mentality required to confront the bastards.

RedEd wrote:
I think there is some prospect of some of the TUC unions being of some value in defending, for example, the NHS, so I wouldn't totally give up on Unison etc.

Are you kidding me?

RedEd wrote:
Also, the situation in Egypt was different. The unions were beholden to the ruling party and state, here they are beholden to an opposition party and the state, so they still have some utility, but only in as much as labour is better than the Tories, i.e. not much

The bourgeoisie exercises power collectively as a class. It doesn't matter one bit weather the unions are beholden to a loyal opposition or the ruling party.

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RedEd
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Mar 27 2011 15:57
jef costello wrote:
And what would that story have achieved? I went on the Iraq war marches, which achieved nothing.

Of course not, because there was never any danger that the protesters would then go away and do anything that would make the Iraq war hurt the Labour party in particular or the government and capital in general. In the Iraq situation the demos were a high point because the only way Labour could have there minds changed was by threats through the conventional channels of elections and the like, since there was no chance of mass direct action against the war. However, in this case, there is a real chance of mass direct action against the cuts and their effects in society, so the demo is not a futile culmination of essentially liberal politics, but potentially a part of movement building for working class action. The Iraq war marches are very different, or at least have the potential to be.

Working class anti-war movements include strikes at transport hubs, mutinees and so on. Without these, obviously big marches mean nothing except as battles between factions of capital grabbing support from sections of the working class. But we do have strikes and community action at a low level already, and can build more, and these are the hallmarks of working class economic political action, so the context is totally different. Of course the possibility of co-option by Labour looms large, but at the moment this kind of thing is not, in my opinion, moribund liberal politics where as the Iraq demos always were (though admitidly still worth taking part in).

union_activist
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Mar 27 2011 16:00
jef costello wrote:
Why do we take that route? Why do we need to? I did have to walk around in a circle after being guided down a bottleneck, don't tell me it didn't happen because I was there. We should have marched along The Strand rather than being messed around in side side streets.

Embankment, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street, Picadilly, Hyde Park.

Yes, loads of side streets there, mate.

You might be aware that some of those main roads are joined together by slightly narrower ones though, Cockspur Street being one. Perhaps the TUC/Metropolitan Police joined forces to design the road lay out too. All bit of the big trade union fascist conspiracy I guess.

gypsy
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Mar 27 2011 16:06
union_activist wrote:
jef costello wrote:
Why do we take that route? Why do we need to? I did have to walk around in a circle after being guided down a bottleneck, don't tell me it didn't happen because I was there. We should have marched along The Strand rather than being messed around in side side streets.

Embankment, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street, Picadilly, Hyde Park.

Yes, loads of side streets there, mate.

You might be aware that some of those main roads are joined together by slightly narrower ones though, Cockspur Street being one. Perhaps the TUC/Metropolitan Police joined forces to design the road lay out too. All bit of the big trade union fascist conspiracy I guess.

Seems like you signed up/registered here to troll. Read a bit about anarchist critiques of mainstream trade unions and then come back to us.

Fish
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Mar 27 2011 16:15

I also think the violence does nothing positive. Changes are NOT being made because of violence, they may well not be made because of a peaceful march either but one thing I am sure of - the Tories will just dig their heels in further and clamp down on such behaviour at protests. Bystanders are also VERY unlikely to want to know why you're smashing things up too, they're likely to want to get out! I know you'll say that's because people are being governed and controlled and so on but that is exactly the point. To overthrow the governmnet you will need more people to support anarchy than what we currently have. If people are being conditioned to be governed they will not be able to justify actions of violence because it goes against what they have been conditioned to think. Anarchy is not viewed as a free-thinking political movement but as a chaotic group wanting to cause trouble so I don't see either how the violence has achieved anything except wasting more money on the clean up process, police, incarceration, creating more laws to control people, hardening protest laws and making a very good argument for capitalism. That's a really sad thing. It seems to have been a very counterproductive day for anti-capitalists.

slothjabber
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Mar 29 2011 18:55

That's good. I don't agree, however, I think we were allowed to organise two futile forms of protest - one, a boring same-old march from A to B, and two, a little set-piece 'drama' of revolutionary 'violence' (of course, I don't really see it as violence) that will be used to scare people with 'thuggery'.

I'm unconvinced that any groups managed to do anything very useful. perhaps it's just the come-down from being hyped up yesterday, and the lack of sleep, but I'm thinking today that were outmanoeuvred and allowed the political initiative to be lost.

EDIT: When I posted this, I thought I was replying to something Auto had said. Now I don't seem to be, entirely, unless Auto you've changed your name and moved the red'n'black.

Harrison
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Mar 27 2011 16:21
cobbler wrote:
I'll stick my neck out and say that I don't think the greatest part of the violence achieves much, and is probably counter productive.

I carried the red and black flag yesterday, though made a point of not dressing in black, and was asked loads of times what the flag stood for. Each time I was able to talk to one more person about anarchist ideals and aims. But when they go home and see the flag as synonymous with black clad people smashing windows and other acts of violence then a lot of the sympathy will be gone.

The same has already been true with members of my family who know my political views and allegiances: all they want to talk about is the violence.

I know that simply walking from point A to point B waving banners and making noise achieves nothing much except perhaps a raising of awareness, and there's definitely a case for taking the fight directly to the capitalists' front door, but I think we need to be wiser how we do this.

this is what i agree with.
also, i think its necessary to only engage in massive property destruction during a potentially revolutionary moment. violence has its place, but only in the actual massive attempt to overthrow the state, and this will not be done by a 300 people, but by the bulk of the working class.
first thing is to persuade the great majority of people of the validity of our politics --- leave it up to them whether they want to smash property.

its got to a stage where anarchist means to a lot of people: 'person who likes to destroy stuff', and this is only partly the medias fault.

cobbler wrote:
Every act which is carried out is an act of propaganda, some of it favourable, some of it not. Closing shops and banks down, blockading them, postering their windows or daubing some slogans on them are all good actions. But when it comes to images of smashing windows or setting about a parked police van, I think we all we gain is a loss of sympathy.

absolutely, couldn't agree more.
some acts do actually attract people, most don't.

has anyone noticed that anarchists (compared to trots etc) tend to be viewed much more favourably during periods of massive state repression? i think this is to do with the one-size-fits-all level of militancy, which works well during revolutionary crises, but not so much at other times.

Samotnaf
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Mar 27 2011 16:20

union activist has clearly not bothered to read this well-anticipated critique of the predictable responses to yesterday, written before the demonstration, otherwise s/he wouldn't have come out with the previously posted attitudes/platitudes:

Quote:
I've been a trade union activist for over 20 years. I had a tear in my eye as I watched fellow working people and union members turning up in such huge numbers making their opposition to the government clear.

You made pseudo-opposition to the govt. clear - tamely listening to crap from Milliband. The tear in your eye should have been from the fact that far too few people are not prepared to take on ruling class violence the way the miners did 27 years ago. If you think that fighting things so that the rulers' media gives you approval then you don't realise what you're up against and you're heading for a defeat that will give you the moral high ground in the tearful eyes of the Labour Party and TUC leaders that you feel ok about following from A to B, but you'll be buried under that moral high ground.

Quote:
It was a demo. It was supposed to set an agenda and make the public aware that we're not going to accept the cuts. It wasn't a revolutionary moment.

Set an agenda that's acceptable to Labour and the TUC? I think such tame acquiescence makes "the public" (that amorphous lot of people remaining spectators of their own misery as much as everybody elses') aware that you're going to go through the motions of not accepting the cuts but not do anything serious to oppose them. You don't want to make clear to yourself that opposition to the cuts is going to have to become revolutionary (ie self-directed, class conscious violence on the scale of Physical Force Chartism, the Great Unrest of 1910 to 1913, the riots of '81 and the miners' strike and the Poll tax riots - and go beyond the separations and limitations that weakened them). In the absence of an explosion of class hatred that would terrify the dominant society, making

Quote:
gigantic pricks of themselves by such predictable and irrelevant acts of violence that were utterly meaningless in the bigger picture. Throwing paint and smoke bombs at the Ritz

is better than the outraged passivity you advocate.

Quote:
What it did do however was enable the media to focus on the violence and avoid the issues in question.

In 1992 over 200,000 marched in the pouring rain against the closure of the pits in a ritualised demonstration of impotence that had the support of most of the media and even part of the Tory party. They still closed the pits. Millbank was opposed by the media - but it inspired the beginning of a movement. Do you want to kill off this movement with platitudes like "those nasty anarchists made us look bad on the telly". If you want to fight the rulers you fight to win, not for some politically acceptable fashion show. The media are part of the enemy. Until you occupy the Daily Mail offices, Wapping or the BBC, worrying about how good the arguments are presented by the enemy means that the enemy has totally defined the field of battle and you're about as dangerous as someone worrying about how their hairstyle looks on camera.

Quote:
And, yes, they would have covered it well without the violence. The media have been all over the unions and TUC who organised the march for weeks in advance of this. But now they're ignoring us in the trade union movement and giving all the attention to the perpetrators of violence.

Poor thing - jilted by the enemy. The trade union movement hasn't contributed to an opposition to the ruling class for a helluva long time; it should be called the trade union stagnant.

Quote:
Oh and they also managed to scare the shit out of some familes and kids that got caught in the crush outside Fortnums in the process.

When the poll tax riot hit the west end in 1990 there were families that were also scared - but there were some who liked what happened. If you think you can have any kind of movement that has the chance of winning without sometimes scaring people, then you'd be better off rolling over and dying. Strikes scare people, almost all forms of revolt from below scare people. Families get scared by the crush during Christmas shopping as well. All this "let's have a nice family atmosphere" assumes that families just want a demonstration the way they might want to watch Eastenders on the telly. All you've shown in your condemnation is that you're basically on the side of the image presented by the media of people who express their anger and don't just fall asleep listening to reactionary speeches by the Tories Unofficial Cops.

Now it might be that there are better ways of doing things than attacking the Ritz but you haven't even begun to suggest any.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 27 2011 16:30

What a turgid, boring debate with all the leftist/bourgeois dead horses being flogged. Lots of misinformation here - specifically abotu the blocs 'infiltrating' the march, as if 500 anarchos didn't walk up from Kennington alongside local anti-cuts groups (which we're also active in).

However, before people demonise 'the anarchists' (although a certain level of critical discussion is probably a worthwhile tasks), we should look at the proposed alternative: following the TUC. Unfortunately, the TUC has become a right wing, socially conservative organisation. The only alternative to the cuts agenda that their mouthpiece on here can offer is 'using marches to build a movement'. Yesterday's demo was called in October and it is ALL the union inertia (opposite of movement) have spoken about since. Before the demo, the TUC were building for the demo, now after the demo, they're building...what? I mean, I'd say they were preparing another TUC demo but that's hardly likely is it? Meanwhile, they ignored the student movement and left the UCU high and dry.

As for yesterday's demo, we see Barber and Prentis queuing up to condemn us (just like Porter back in November) with their solution being represented by fucking Miliband (if you've been a union activist for '20 years', that means you're old enough to remember 1997-2010 right?) telling the marchers that "some cuts are necessary".

I think people are just gonna have to accept that the anarchist approach to unions - seeing them as limited, corrupt and useless - is actually closer to any sort of common perception of them than the leftist one (THE AEGIS OF THE MOVEMENT!). Only 20% of the British working class is even in a union, and many of them are far from prepared to do anything within it.

GuyDeBord's Optician
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Mar 27 2011 16:31

That's quite a can of worms I've opened...

My point was that perhaps this is an opportunity to clarify and express anarchism viz a viz the 'smashing windows, throwing bombs' bullshit which the media trots out...or against that 'Letter from some Mutualists' which popped up in the Graun last year.

I personally believe attacking buildings and the police does very little good when considered against the possible consequences; arrest, loss of respect from fellow workers etc although I don't consider it 'immoral' at all.

MT
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Mar 27 2011 16:34
Quote:
I'd agree that big marches achieve nothing in themselves. However, they do get loads of people talking to each other, feeling like they're not the only ones who hate the government, feeling like their not the only one's who think labour are a shit alternative, talking about what can happen next and so on. That is powerful. Obviously if everyone just goes home and does nothing (such as with Iraq) then marches mean nothing, but if they go home and are more willing to strike or to oppose their local school getting turned into an academy or whatever, that's great. When half the talk on the bus home is 'those fuckers are making us look bad' there's less time for 'what are we going to do about our local school?' and the tone of the conversation will be less militant. The marches act as big displays of class unity and a chance for people (including many who weren't there themselves) to galvinise themselves as workers against this government and, to an extent, capital. That's a not enough, but it is good.

This is essential problem of any demo. When the demo provides no "what next" debate or when the thoughts are limited to "when the next demo takes place?" it may very well end up with demoralization of thousands of those people who first come and experience the unity feeling. But really how can this be overcome? Most probably only by the presence of such ideas among the members of the crowd (mainly by leaflets, I guess). I may have read the thread very fast but what was the "revolutionary" presence of the workers giving proposals for "what next" in some reasonable way not only with dull and unrealistic slogans? I mean what constructive aspects do you see in the demo? But perhaps I should ask in another thread as this is about violence and I am afraid that emotions may be more intensive debating this matter here than reason (judging from my own experiences;)).

Fish
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Mar 27 2011 16:44

Just a question - why do you think that people still vote Conservative if previous riot attempts (such as poll tax 1990) have been so successful and why have they not already joined an anarchist movement?

I know activists who have been involved with anarchism for over 30 years and they still haven't overthrown government and yet the Lib Dems who formed in 1988 are indeed in government? The power of debate in my opinion. They are excellent public speakers who know that people will look for issues that they feel passionate about and they 'promise' to improve them. I am sure that is why I live in a Conservative area. They are the only party here that supports Grammar school education and people here think that Grammar School education is good because they went to a Grammar School too (something I don't agree with by the way). Anyway, my point being is that people listen to them because they play to the people. I think if you want people to support anarchist ideas and get rid of the government you need to give them a reason to rather than a reason NOT to.

I would not be surprised if any attempts of public protest are made illegal now after yesterday and I would also be surprised if the majority of people then side with anti-capitalists because of it! We shall see!

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RedEd
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Mar 27 2011 16:44
blackrainbow wrote:
RedEd wrote:
blackrainbow wrote:
The TUC leadership want to sink the prospect of effective street protests (like the student demos) they cant control.

How were the student demos effective? They took a lot of effort) to achieve very little, if anything. There have been some effective student actions, but they have been within given universities because that is a level at which students can plausibly take direct action.

Do you seriously mean to say that the student demos of last year didn't significantly change the heavily media supported ruling class social consensus that 'we are all in this together'? The kids did a lot better than any of us could ever have imagined (they stormed and occupied the ruling parties HQ and these were British students known to be some of the most docile in all of Europe). The stench of working class defeat since the ruin of the miners 25 odd years ago has been eating away at working class self confidence when confronting the ruling class. The students for a brief moment showed the whole class the type of spirit and mentality required to confront the bastards.

RedEd wrote:
I think there is some prospect of some of the TUC unions being of some value in defending, for example, the NHS, so I wouldn't totally give up on Unison etc.

Are you kidding me?

RedEd wrote:
Also, the situation in Egypt was different. The unions were beholden to the ruling party and state, here they are beholden to an opposition party and the state, so they still have some utility, but only in as much as labour is better than the Tories, i.e. not much

The bourgeoisie exercises power collectively as a class. It doesn't matter one bit weather the unions are beholden to a loyal opposition or the ruling party.

On the point about students. If you are saying they were useful to raise the level of consciousness in the country then you may be right. I don't know. I think as the details of the cuts came out and they started to bite, that happened regardless of what we got up to (I am a student, and was involved in all that, though at 25 I'm no longer a "kid"). What they were absolutely not effective at was stopping the cuts or for that matter raising the general level of militancy amongst most students, as is evident from the round of elections that have taken place in student unions around the country in the last month. We'll have to see what happens at the NUS conference to see if we were totally ineffective though.

As for unions like unison being of some use, I see no reason to think that unions can't deliver some defense in the face of the worse excesses of capital. That, to me, seems fantasist. Obviously they won't take things forward, but are you seriously saying a Unison national strike would be meaningless?

As to the final point, it seems pretty obvious to me that the ruling class has divisions in it, and saying they exercise power collectively seems a little bit simplistic at best and cospiricist at worst. Some sectors of capital are less rabidly opposed to the gains of the working class than others due to their self interest. Whether you like it or not, while one sector of capital can still make concessions to them, they'll go with that. Which takes me back to the point about the unions. The unions can still defend people a little here, a little there, and people will go with that up to the point where the need to be organizing outside the unions to defend themselves.

Harrison
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Mar 27 2011 17:06

Guys, this thread is being infiltrated/trolled by various non-radicals who have signed up to Libcom only very recently

BUT some of us are seriously debating whether property destruction is always a good thing

union_activist
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Mar 27 2011 17:15
gypsy wrote:
Seems like you signed up/registered here to troll. Read a bit about anarchist critiques of mainstream trade unions and then come back to us.

I registered on here today to debate some of what I witnessed yesterday with anarchists, some of whom I expect supported the violence that took place.

Given that this was a trade union organised and funded event, I think that's only fair.

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RedEd
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Mar 27 2011 17:16
Harrison Myers wrote:
Guys, this thread is being infiltrated/trolled by various non-radicals who have signed up to Libcom only very recently

BUT some of us are seriously debating whether property destruction is always a good thing

I hope that no one here thinks that property destruction is always a good thing! But seriously, although 'union-activist' seems not to be an anarchist, they don't seem to be here to wind people up, and we really ought to be able to have sensible debates with more moderate trade unionists rather than calling them trolls.

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Mar 27 2011 17:29
union_activist wrote:
gypsy wrote:
Seems like you signed up/registered here to troll. Read a bit about anarchist critiques of mainstream trade unions and then come back to us.

I registered on here today to debate some of what I witnessed yesterday with anarchists, some of whom I expect supported the violence that took place.

Given that this was a trade union organised and funded event, I think that's only fair.

I agree it's absolutely fair enough and you're more than welcome to contribute to discussions. Will comment more myself later (more to this RedEd character who's using colour to differentiate himself from Original/BestEd wink ) but am a bit tied up at the minute..

union_activist
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Mar 27 2011 17:29

@ samotnaf

You talk to me about platitudes and then come out with Tories Unofficial Cops. Stick to some tangible arguments instead of trite bollocks like that.

The point about yesterday's demo was to deliver a massive turn out that set an agenda for the rest of the country. To show that we're not prepared to accept the cuts and that there is an achievable alternative. The unions have made their programme clear and have been organising and, yes, funding events the length and breadth of the country for months now. The march aimed to give that national movement some impetus and momentum.

The fact that we managed to mobilise 300,000 (as opposed to your 300) was a huge statement to the rest of the country. Now, all those that were not there tend to get their information filtered through the media. Its owned by the ruling class and is therefore inherently biased. But it can work. Although, not if a tiny minority of unaccountable and unrepresentative people decide to change the focus by their own posturing and violent actions.

But of course the demo wasn't about to change things. Action in communities and workplaces up and down the land will help do that. And I can tell you that smashing windows will play no part at all in any of the successful local campaigns against cuts.

@ Caiman del Barrio

I'm not a mouthpiece of the TUC as such. But I'm closer to their position and those of UNISON. They have a very clear programme for fighting the cuts. It doesn't involve paintbombs.

Now tell me, what is your plan? And while we're at, tell me what percentage of the British working class is aligned with any anarchist group? Ah, right.

The reason why the demo was planned for March, in agreement with all the unions, was that this was when the impact of the cuts would be fully realised and when momentum would be most gained. Its called strategy.

petey
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Mar 27 2011 17:47
Harrison Myers wrote:
its necessary to only engage in massive property destruction during a potentially revolutionary moment. violence has its place, but only in the actual massive attempt to overthrow the state, and this will not be done by a 300 people, but by the bulk of the working class

that sums it up well, though i'd prefer massive property expropriation to destruction.

also,

RedEd wrote:
'union-activist' seems not to be an anarchist, they don't seem to be here to wind people up, and we really ought to be able to have sensible debates with more moderate trade unionists rather than calling them trolls.

i rather like u_a's pepper in responding to some of the pontificators

union_activist
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Mar 27 2011 17:54

@ samotnaf

Also, I was thinking through your comparisons to the miners' strike or the riots in 81. I don't think there is one. In both cases the violence was a genuine outburst of rage (and self-defence) from the very people involved in losing their jobs and communities.

If there was a case where violence erupts on a picket line outside a closing hospital or a community centre, then fair play. Social change and bottom up organisation can involve trouble, that's clear.

But yesterday was a pre-meditated bout of violence conducted by a small group that had separated itself from the mass of people engaged in the mobilisation. It was adventurist activity by an unrepresentative margin. That wouldn't normally bother me only that the unrepresentative margin grabs all the attention and diverts the focus away from the mass mobilisation and the objectives that mobilisation is trying to meet, i.e. raise the game, build momentum and profile for the anti-cuts movment that is emerging in every community of the country.

I guess the Poll Tax riots have some kind of comparison. I recall that was begun by similar groups but in that instance plenty joined in from the main march. Yesterday, I saw little appetite for that. And even then, its hard to say just how much value the violence in the Poll Tax march added to the more large scale non-payment and civil disobedience that was taking place around the country.

Fish
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Mar 27 2011 18:02

While on the debate of whether the violence worked, here are some thoughts posted by other people:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1370053/TUC-anti-spending-cuts-protest-200-arrested-500k-march-cut.html

Several make comments along the lines of - the "anarchists" being vermin who live off other peoples benefits and they should be flogged or hung up by ropes on trees!

I really do think the violence is widening the 'class' gap rather than closing it and therefore being really counterproductive so I really do have to say that I don't think this is the way to get things done. Let's be free thinking and get together to find a new way of tackling this rather than throwing insults! A revolution can only succeed if the masses agree and at the moment 300 people engaging in this activity is certainly NOT the masses! I know there will always be the opinion that this is the ONLY way but I think if it carries on more people will start to dissassociate from calling themselves anarchists. Of course this is just my opinion and others will disagree.

Samotnaf
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Mar 27 2011 18:10
Quote:
You talk to me about platitudes and then come out with Tories Unofficial Cops. Stick to some tangible arguments instead of trite bollocks like that.

Since 1926 the TUC has "sold out" every struggle that it could. And when I say "sold out" I imply that they were ever on the side of independent class struggle, which they clearly weren't. They have always supported the State, even if, say during the miners' strike, they pretend to oppose this or that govt. UNISON has sold out almost every struggle since they were formed - I think in 1993 - when they immediately sold out the nurses at UCH.

Quote:
we managed to mobilise 300,000 (as opposed to your 300)

They are not "my" 300 - for one thing I have never called myself an anarchist. Besides, I wasn't there (I live in another part of the world). But more importantly, I obviously don't possess them, yet you clearly want to possess the 300,000 because you 'mobilised' them (like an army) and paid for the demo out of your funds (whose funds exactly? and who pays for that creep Brendan Barber - salary over £100,000 p.a.? or UNISON's Prentis, over 90,000 pa?). You might lie to yourself that your actions will change things (as if these types of passive demos have ever changed anything), but you haven't at all responded to what I said about the miners' demos in autumn 1992, a "tangible argument" which you have tangibly not argued with.

I am totally in favour of "unrepresentative" people: representing class struggle is the enemy of genuine class struggle, struggling for ourselves, not in order to represent others.

no1
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Joined: 3-12-07
Mar 27 2011 18:11

Let's be clear: breaking window is not violence, it is property destruction. Violence is what the cops did in Trafalgar Sq last night. Hurting human beings and breaking things are completely different things and should not be conflated.
http://www.fitwatch.org.uk/2011/03/27/serious-violence-by-police-at-protest-party/

GuyDeBord's Optician
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Joined: 15-11-10
Mar 27 2011 18:26

Uh, perhaps the Lib Dems are 'successful' for the same reason other poltical parties are; a loose alignment with the demands of factions of the ruling-class, not 'winning the national argument' or any such liberal bollocks. For a start, we've been winning the arguments for nigh-on a century and a half. Similaraly, revolutionary organisation is a tremendous demand on people's time and resources, and a often a huge risk to thier livelihoods and persons - putting a tick besides a little yellow bird every five years is hardly a commitment. I know lots of anarchists/libertarian communists. I know very few anarchists who are actually in a Fed. This isn't a criticism of the Feds at all, I just think any revolutionary organisation is quite disheartening and a commitment people aren't willing to make.

I think Anarchists, Libertarian Communists or whatever are a larger section of the workforce than most people believe, but of course we have no illusions about how completely irrelevant we are at the moment.

I think we need to clarify what we, as libertarian communists/anarchists want from the anti-cuts movement. Obviously, we're unlikely to have the world proletrian revolution at some point in the next few years, so I think simply settling for supporting workers in struggle and giving them a sense of their own power, disseminating our ideas within both the left-milleu and the wider working-class and guarding as much of our victories as we can.

Yes, this lacks imagination and it is defensive. I think once we have perhaps the foundations of a mass movement we can expressly call for revolution (although we should never lie about demanding that - and criticise the left-milleu harshly for their reformism).

To this respect, we have to link-up with other organisations. Obviously the TUC are completely fucking useless, but as is often the case the rank-and-file are generally more millitant. We have to match our tactics to thebattles of today; smashing a few windows doesn't abolish the present conditions, but it does, concretely alienate people who are otherwise sympathetic and make them think anarchists are complete twats. Later, when these people go on strike, or are on a demo, or in the pub and somebody starts discussing libertarian communist politics they will immediately be defensive. Our PR isn't particularaly stirling as it is.

I think this is far less black-and-white than most black-and-reds would like to think.

PartyBucket's picture
PartyBucket
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Joined: 23-03-08
Mar 27 2011 18:21
Gemfish wrote:
While on the debate of whether the violence worked, here are some thoughts posted by other people:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1370053/TUC-anti-spending-cuts-protest-200-arrested-500k-march-cut.html

Several make comments along the lines of - the "anarchists" being vermin who live off other peoples benefits and they should be flogged or hung up by ropes on trees!

If you're going to start worrying about the opinions of people who get their opinions from the Daily Mail, you might as well give up now. They didnt suddenly form those opinions after yesterdays demo. When you went looking for 'thoughts posted by other people' why did you go straight to the most reactionary rag you could think of?

Spikymike
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Joined: 6-01-07
Mar 27 2011 18:27

I'm sure that there were opportunities for anarchists, libertarian communists and other pro-revolutionary activists to put accross a different perspective during the TUC demo' which given the numbers was greater than usual. As far as I know that opportunity was taken up by many quite apart from the actions against banks and the haunts of the rich in central London, which momentarily at least, gladdened my heart even if 'union_activist' and others found them apparently more worrying than all the destruction which the bosses and the state are inflicting around the world.

The main point is exactly to put accross a different analysis and perspective to the unions and the labour party which is no solution at all, being simply the continuation of the same rotten capitalist system we have suffered for decades under political parties of all pursuasions.

But that different perspective can only be received positively when workers, be they a minority to start with, start to themselves practically break with the capitalist consensus promoted by the likes of the TUC, the Labour Party and their left wing hangers on. There is no way of dumbing down that perspective to suite workers still totally imbued with the propaganda regularly dished out by the parties, the press, the police, churces etc.

'union_activist' needs to have a closer look at exactly how the unions operate in practice to divide up workers and keep us passive in the face of a deteriorating economic crisis which demands so much more.(In the case of UNISON actually persecuting it's own militants and cosying up to labour politicians at every opprtunity).

As for the date chosen for this demo'- I'm sure the timing of various cuts was a factor but the other one was no doubt the impending local elections and a desire to promote the trade union backed Labout Party enemies of our class currently imposing cuts in the 'divide and rule' division of roles between the national and local state apparatus.

'We' don't have a plan to manage capitalism because it cannot be managed in our interests, we only have 'plans' to undermine it as best we can and work towards a more human centred life not dominated by 'the economy' both now and in the future.

For starters take a look at the Junge Linke text 'Jobs,Growth,Justice - an alternative that isn't' in the Library.

gypsy
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Joined: 20-09-09
Mar 27 2011 18:34
union_activist wrote:
gypsy wrote:
Seems like you signed up/registered here to troll. Read a bit about anarchist critiques of mainstream trade unions and then come back to us.

I registered on here today to debate some of what I witnessed yesterday with anarchists, some of whom I expect supported the violence that took place.

Given that this was a trade union organised and funded event, I think that's only fair.

Fair enough. But rather than lecture the people who took part in the non A-B march, it would help if you knew where we were coming from with regards to non revolutionary trade unions rather than dismiss us as ppl who believe in conspiracy theories.

For your information I didn't agree with some of the things the black bloc did, seeing bins knocked down for the sheer hell of it etc. I didn't take part in that and some of their actions have given us a bad name which other posters have pointed out. However I am not going to lose sleep over it and a lot of the people who were masked up were youngsters. Most of the posters on here try to do things in our communities and workplaces( if they can) and believe it or not don't spend our lifes wanking over the black bloc. The coppers that got injured deserved everything they got. I heard a rumour delroy smellie got injured, if so it serves the bastard right.

Rum Lad
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Joined: 16-09-08
Mar 27 2011 18:38

Between the self-satisfying bravado of the black block and the liberal-reformist passivity implicit in the overall tone of the TUC march, I think we have one hell-of-a long way to go.

What was exciting about the student demonstrations in November/December was the dynamism of lots of disparate social strata who were unified together and, in some sense, actually fighting together on the protests. When it was claimed that Millbank was the act of a minority group of anarchists, it was clear to say that that was a load of crap. I really didn't get that feeling yesterday. Every different group was really acting out their pre-ordained social roles and I think every group left feeling like they had achieved something when they really hadn't.

The winners yesterday were the police, the state and the union powers.