'Hijacked by Anarchists!'

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crows
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Mar 28 2011 16:35
Alf wrote:
The problem is that a huge amount of energy is being directed towards action of this type.

Well then you'll be pleased to hear that the problem is imaginary.

axiom
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Mar 28 2011 16:39

As we streamed through the various streets of Soho, fire crackers exploding, paint bombs impacting on windows, graffiti going up (tax the rich)ffs! There was no attempt to communicate with the workers in the street or shops.
Do red and black flags have any meaning? So what if the black bloc consider themselves to be anarchist? If you're on the street on a Saturday afternoon and 200 people charge past you wearing masks what are you going to think?

It was a bit of a high but two days later — I'm not impressed.

Form over content?

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Mar 28 2011 16:54

I'll rephrase what I implied about people being afraid of criticising black bloc ideology because as JK says elsewhere it's not a good idea to read intentions into others' posts. We have a political disagreement about the content of black bloc ideology and its influence within the anarchist movement. As I said, this disagreement runs through the anarchist movement itself in various ways. Some libertarian comrades have in my opinion made some very salient criticisms of it in this thread. Others, not so much.
When I talked about the large amount of energy being misdirected, I was not referring to the radical workers' bloc, but to the attacks on the symbols of wealth and the tax dodgers, which was not the work of the bloc, whether or not some individuals from it took part in it.

gypsy
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Mar 28 2011 16:47
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Another excellent post from Alf on yet another excellent thread on Libcom.

Either ban the ICC or delete the forums. Seriously.

Caiman, I have seen worse posts on this thread tbf. I don't think everything Alf says is following the ICC line.

Samotnaf
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Mar 28 2011 16:47

Could someone tell me what the book block did on Saturday? They seemed significant in December, but haven't heard anything about them this time.

Mike Harman
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Mar 28 2011 17:10

re: Top Shop impact.
One large clothes retailer with several branches in Tokyo (same initials as Her Majesty) brings in about £40-60k on any day of the week for each branch. I'd imagine Top Shop on Oxford Street does more than that on a Saturday.

axiom
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Mar 28 2011 17:43

Perhaps it would be consistent to not only attack symbols of capital and the police but also take on reactionary organisations such as the SWP? Why not turn over a few SWP stalls and chuck paint and firecrackers at TUC officials too? Or maybe they are not as bad?

Matt_efc
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Mar 28 2011 18:03

I think the UK uncut response to this will be interesting. So far they seem indignant at being arrested and theres definate rumblings of unrest with The Labour comments today. If not simply to read the winds of the liberal left and the newly partially radicalised people involved.

I think the criticism of the "violence" has been quite calm really. Its the standard fare that we expect every time, but there doesnt seem to have been a much wider reaction either way, at least not that I can tell yet. It almost seems like a tacit acceptance that this is part of the discourse for the moment - which is obviously why the state is getting a bit nervous. Its early days and I'm still trying to sort out in my own head what went on on saturday and I think theres something to be had in the discussion of black blocs, but as a tactical one. I do think that there is the idea that a major confrontation is a sucess and while I dont think its a failure inherrently equally its not a sucess inherrently, the value of it comes from the context and while this might seem to be repeating well versed arguments there is a danger of seeing it as an end.

There have been a couple of points raised about picket defences etc... and thats they type of thing I think we need to be thinking about. As class struggle anarchists and communists we dont have control over the "blac block" its not ours, some of us may be sympathetic, others obviously are not, but its seems fairly obvious to me that that kind of action could be easily modified for working class action and that is surely where the debate should be had. I have to admit I did have a little shudder when I saw the Macdonalds had been smashed, not out of sympathy or anything like that, but out of a kind of deja vu, but it wasnt enough to detract from the rest of the things that were going on, some of it genuine positive action.

Edit: Having just read Brighton SF's letter to UKuncut I think thats a really positive step. Well written, a good example of comradeship and solidarity. Thats just added another thing to the mixer

Rum Lad
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Mar 28 2011 18:22
Samotnaf wrote:
Could someone tell me what the book block did on Saturday? They seemed significant in December, but haven't heard anything about them this time.

The people involved decided it would be better to focus their energies elsewhere.

raw
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Mar 28 2011 18:43
axiom wrote:
As we streamed through the various streets of Soho, fire crackers exploding, paint bombs impacting on windows, graffiti going up (tax the rich)ffs! There was no attempt to communicate with the workers in the street or shops.
Do red and black flags have any meaning? So what if the black bloc consider themselves to be anarchist? If you're on the street on a Saturday afternoon and 200 people charge past you wearing masks what are you going to think?

It was a bit of a high but two days later — I'm not impressed.

Form over content?

What leftist planet are you living on? "No attempts to communicate to workers" ?? And what do you suggest people do? Walk around with a megaphone shouting in their ears or handing them 2,000 word essay on why they should fight capitalism?!!

The black bloc was pure propaganda of the deed - it attracted hundreds and hundreds of newly radicalised youths, has probably exposed anarchist ideas and the red/black flag far further than anything in the past 10 years. I mean most of Libcom ( and a sizeable number of the people that post hear ) wouldn't have gravitated towards anarchism, if it wasn't for these spectacular actions in the first place - so why bite the hand that feeds. What this does leave us now is for those that have been their done that is to think carefully how all this energy and militancy can be harnessed and how things like strikes can be supported by economic blockades. People in the black bloc on March 26th are hungry for ideas that work, so people should try and develop some rather than stand on the sidelines moaning

rata
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Mar 28 2011 18:45
axiom wrote:
Perhaps it would be consistent to not only attack symbols of capital and the police but also take on reactionary organisations such as the SWP? Why not turn over a few SWP stalls and chuck paint and firecrackers at TUC officials too? Or maybe they are not as bad?

SWP is not in power in Britain, are they? I really don't understand this kind of comments. Comparing aspirations and potential of somebody with de facto position of somebody else is just ridiculous.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 28 2011 18:56

http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=a-letter-to-uk-uncutters-from-the-violent-minority

Yorkie Bar
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Mar 28 2011 18:56

The SWP gave me a free carton of juice on the day, I appreciated that.

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Mar 28 2011 19:30
axiom wrote:
Perhaps it would be consistent to not only attack symbols of capital and the police but also take on reactionary organisations such as the SWP? Why not turn over a few SWP stalls and chuck paint and firecrackers at TUC officials too? Or maybe they are not as bad?

They are arguably worse. The Fight Against Fascism Begins With the Fight...

slothjabber
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Mar 28 2011 20:01

Some guy shouted that me on Saturday.

In fact, what he shouted was 'mumble mumble fascism mumble mumble against BOLSHEVISM - OTTO ROOL' so it took me a couple of seconds to work out what the fuck he was saying.

I said 'yeah!'. I didn't say "I think it's pronounced more like 'Rurleh'."

For my part, I think we parted friends.

eccarius
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Mar 28 2011 20:26

http://www.thehobgoblin.co.uk/index.htm

'Huge Mobilization in London Against Cutbacks Shows Both Promise and Contradictions'

EXTRACT: Roving groups belonging to the thousand-strong contingent of "Black Bloc" anarchists (also known as the "Ninjas") foiled attempts by the police to "kettle" them as they dispersed and moved rapidly through side streets towards their designated “targets.” However, the ill-inspired plan to "Turn Trafalgar Square into Tahrir Square" that evening fizzled and ended with a thousand or so young people being kettled in the square by a huge contingent of police, who made over a hundred arrests. The anarchist groups, who are unfortunately unconcerned about the alienating effect of their actions on public opinion, may well have to reflect on the high price to be paid in prosecutions, resulting in fines and incarcerations – not to mention increased police surveillance and infiltration by the agent-provocateurs of the secret state whose antics in non-violent protest groups have already been widely exposed in the media.

Most of the "nonviolent direct action" protestors were unhappy about masked anarchists muscling in on their actions and causing damage to premises. UKUncut insist that their protests were "supplementary" to the mass TUC action rather than a challenge to it.

raw
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Mar 28 2011 21:00
eccarius wrote:
http://www.thehobgoblin.co.uk/index.htm

'Huge Mobilization in London Against Cutbacks Shows Both Promise and Contradictions'

EXTRACT: Roving groups belonging to the thousand-strong contingent of "Black Bloc" anarchists (also known as the "Ninjas") foiled attempts by the police to "kettle" them as they dispersed and moved rapidly through side streets towards their designated “targets.” However, the ill-inspired plan to "Turn Trafalgar Square into Tahrir Square" that evening fizzled and ended with a thousand or so young people being kettled in the square by a huge contingent of police, who made over a hundred arrests. The anarchist groups, who are unfortunately unconcerned about the alienating effect of their actions on public opinion, may well have to reflect on the high price to be paid in prosecutions, resulting in fines and incarcerations – not to mention increased police surveillance and infiltration by the agent-provocateurs of the secret state whose antics in non-violent protest groups have already been widely exposed in the media.

Most of the "nonviolent direct action" protestors were unhappy about masked anarchists muscling in on their actions and causing damage to premises. UKUncut insist that their protests were "supplementary" to the mass TUC action rather than a challenge to it.

What rubbish. Another person looking in from the outside, without any knowledge of what happened, just projecting a assumption on the events.

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Mar 28 2011 21:17

This is brilliant:

Quote:
Anarchist protest hijacked by TUC

Anarchist protesters expressed disappointment last night after their protest in central London was hijacked by elements from the TUC.

Protesters advocating militant direct action against businesses accused of tax-dodging were dismayed when TUC stewards in pink bibs broke away and directed crowds into Hyde Park.

A huge anti-cuts march set off from Victoria Embankment at around midday, and marchers attacked the Ritz and Fortnam and Mason’s, but by mid-afternoon most protesters had been diverted from action and were standing around on some grass doing nothing. This course of action was widely denounced as counterproductive by organisers.

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Mar 28 2011 22:26

Oh FFS! What a lot of whinging and hand-wringing! The Black Bloc directly targetted symbols of rampant, destructive, thieving capital. They were ALIVE and living and DOING!. Not shuffling along in an orderly manner like a column of worker ants, stupified by their own obediance and passivity, to end up standing like cattle in a field and listening to the hypocritical, nasal droning of a millionaire Millipede.

Why should anyone give a fuck/f*ck (?) about their 'media image' and what it 'means' to people, it was'nt a PR exercise, it was an exercise in LIVING with immediacy and passion, and many, many people understand this, just as they understood Millbank.

The pigs lost it, and the TUC were as irrelevent as they set out to be.

And I'm a trade union member too, for what it's worth (and it is'nt ), and it is populated by ignorant, cowardly, clueless shitty overseers...!

Harrison
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Mar 28 2011 22:39

i like the idea that people would like to discuss property destruction / black bloc as a tactical issue and not a moral one.
i think the militancy/excitement/spectacular aspect of the black bloc does actually kind of make an impact which attracted a lot of younger protesters excited by the militancy. it does blow away the cobwebs from what people think protest is (swappie chanting etc)

i do however think it would much much better to strengthen the strand of protest that doesn't bloc up, but aims more to make contact with others and motivate the masses into action and autonomy (not just recruiting like SWP), just as Alf said the Radical Workers Bloc and Militant Workers Bloc were intended for.

tbh i love the sight of seeing 100 or so red&black flags and banners, and it still looks pretty militant without their bearers smashing stuff

Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Another excellent post from Alf on yet another excellent thread on Libcom.

Either ban the ICC or delete the forums. Seriously.

ICC members are fine when they are polite and rational (like Alf), although i don't always agree with them - but i do agree with Alf on this occasion.
and it is far better to engage with their members in discussion than ban them.

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Mar 28 2011 22:38
crows wrote:
RedEd wrote:
You know, amazingly, most students haven't read the left communist/anarchist critique of unionism. All the most politically active students vote in student elections

I'm not talking about a left communist critique of unionism though, just the fact that far from having student union elections as the pinnacle of their ambitions, many of the students involved in the recent occupations, days of action etc. see them as a bit of an irrelevance. So using them as a barometer of student militancy is just daft.

Your second claim here is just false.

I would agree that few lefty activist/radical liberal students (i.e. the occupiers) see union elections as the pinnacle of their actions. But from what I can glean as a student with some contacts with students at other unis, these people at least take the time to vote in SU elections, and some run in them as well. Again, I've met no one who sees SU elections as an irrelevance, including students who are members of the Commune and the AF (as well as the SP, AWL, etc.). As I noted, SUs can provide material assistance to struggles, even if they don't do much by themselves. Even the most anti-organisational types I know have been actively campaigning for trot candidates on the basis that they will give more money and other types of assistance to direct action in the unis. My uni may be a weird exception, but from what I've heard it's not. And I think people here are right to try and exploit the SU for all its worth. Hundreds of pounds for coaches, teach ins etc., like a few of us managed to get out of them in the last year, is not irrelevant. And the experience of official SU support for an occupation meaning quite a few more people turn up is not a rare one, as far as I can gather.

As for my claim that all the most politically active students vote in elections, I'm basing that off talking to people who are student 'activists' in my own uni and reading student political blogs etc. I've not met one person who, for example, occupied and didn't intend to vote. I'm not saying that people pin their hopes on their SUs and the NUS, but activist students have pretty much all been voting in the recent round of elections as far as I can tell, and the result has been not much.

livil
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Mar 28 2011 22:44

So what is the impact of this march in london on capitalism?

a few broken windows and unusable ATM? a lost day of buisness for Topshop?
a bit aclean up on monday morning and it is back to buisiness as normal , a few MPs will voice their concern sitting on their benches ,yeah naye ... all forgotten very quick.

is there going to be any actions taken right to the heart ?? something with long lasting effect buisiness and politicians will need to adress imediately ?

who cares about a march uin central london that ends up nicely gathered in a park ?
NO ONE

get the same of amount of people to start a march at 8am in the square mile and the impact will be a lot different
, stop any workers getting into Lloyds tower , cordon off the london exchange and stop it trading for 1 day . this is the kind of action that will hurt the system where it is the most vulnerable .
paint bombs on 3 hsbc cash machine ? lol .
peacefull sit down at the main entrance of hsbc headquarters that stop brokers and bankers to trade for 1 day ? this will be taken seriously .

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Mar 28 2011 22:51
Incubus wrote:
Oh FFS! What a lot of whinging and hand-wringing! The Black Bloc directly targetted symbols of rampant, destructive, thieving capital. They were ALIVE and living and DOING!. Not shuffling along in an orderly manner like a column of worker ants, stupified by their own obediance and passivity, to end up standing like cattle in a field and listening to the hypocritical, nasal droning of a millionaire Millipede.

Why should anyone give a fuck/f*ck (?) about their 'media image' and what it 'means' to people, it was'nt a PR exercise, it was an exercise in LIVING with immediacy and passion, and many, many people understand this, just as they understood Millbank.

The pigs lost it, and the TUC were as irrelevent as they set out to be.

And I'm a trade union member too, for what it's worth (and it is'nt ), and it is populated by ignorant, cowardly, clueless shitty overseers...!

Look, no doubt you are a free-spirit unfettered by the chains of capital and so on. But as I understand it (and maybe I'm wrong) libcom is about furthering the class struggle with the ultimate aim of creating libertarian communism. I think it's great if people unleashed their primal desires or whatever for an afternoon, but let's talk about what this means in terms of the mass movement for international communism, not the clique movement for a insurrectionist afternoon.

livil
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Mar 28 2011 23:09
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
You don't stop capitalism by targeting finance, you stop it by not going to work.

i really hope that is a joke otherwise i am sorry i did hurt your feeling ,
capitalism wont be stopped , even the chinese are capitalist .sorry to breack the news !

right type of action that stop the money cogs turning will make sure that the system is more egalitarian and that it profits to everybody not just the top of the food chain.

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Mar 28 2011 23:54
livil wrote:
So what is the impact of this march in london on capitalism?

Well, in the best case scenario, this demo will have meant that many of the more class conscious members of the working class will be both more confident and more able to go out and advocate for working class direct action against capital in their workplaces and communities. If that doesn't happen, the march was a failure. And I should own up to being influenced by Rosa Luxembourg's The Mass Strike on this point (http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1906/mass-strike/index.htm).

Maybe I am mistaken, but I saw this march as, in part, a huge movement of working people getting together to assert that their interests as workers was separate from the aims of this government. That is against capital. I await an argument that going out to smash bank windows is more against capital than that.

Our bus into London went into Canary Warf. As we drove in some one shouted 'This is where your money's gone!' and the whole bus said yeah, with a few 'burn it down's. That's class consciousness, not a few students sitting in fourtnam and masons demanding they pay a fair amount of tax to the bourgeois government.

(these comments are not directed at livil, but inspired by their comment)

eccarius
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Mar 28 2011 23:57

RAW: "What rubbish. Another person looking in from the outside, without any knowledge of what happened, just projecting a assumption on the events."

Outside of what? The anarchist goldfish bowl?
.

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Mar 29 2011 01:56

This thread is depressing. You're all talking like Leninists.

Unless your activism is focused on actions that will help, rather than actions that will make you feel good, then nobody is going to take you seriously.

Does anybody here really believe that the black-blocs have any impact on political culture beyond Daily Mail headlines?

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Mar 29 2011 03:48
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
You don't stop capitalism by targeting finance, you stop it by not going to work.

I agree with this.

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Mar 29 2011 03:49
eccarius wrote:
RAW: "What rubbish. Another person looking in from the outside, without any knowledge of what happened, just projecting a assumption on the events."

Outside of what? The anarchist goldfish bowl?
.

More trolls?

Samotnaf
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Mar 29 2011 04:07

blackrainbow:

Quote:
We've lost a lot of well placed liberal 'friends' (like the guardian who publicly defended some of the student violence and anarchists last year but are now going to silently condone that anyone arrested for 'violence' gets hanged by the courts).

Well - you got that wrong. Here's one of your well-placed 'friendly' liberal recuperators that you're so anxious to get to represent (some of ) your opinions in The Grauniad yesterday: Protesters can't disown the 'violent minority'.