'Hijacked by Anarchists!'

228 posts / 0 new
Last post
eccarius
Offline
Joined: 24-03-09
Mar 29 2011 06:02

blackrainbow, I ain't a troll dummy; I'm just trying to (God forbid) provoke a rational debate. Here's another provocation - from[url= http://platypus1917.org/2010/09/12/the-coming-insurrection-a-reflection-on-resistance-at-the-g20/ ] [/url]

The “concrete” expression of antagonism against the police as a mode of politics is far less simple than it might appear. Marching alongside thousands of others with the synchronicity demanded by protest, under the stern gaze of riot police, sends adrenaline rushing through one’s veins, whether from fear, delight, or the kinky mix of the two that is characteristic of riot porn and its soft-core and hard-core stars. As we look to the police and insist at the top of our lungs, in shared euphoria, that “this is what a police state looks like!” we must, but rarely do, ask ourselves what this pleasure we take in our resistance reveals. On the one hand, it affirms our belief in actionism, that the insurrection is in fact on the horizon. On the other, it suggests an unconscious understanding of our contemporary impotence. The cynicism of ultra-Leftism, though it drastically simplifies the forces of capitalism it seeks to overthrow, is not entirely unwarranted. The possibility of effective political organizing around a shared goal of universal human emancipation may indeed be a hopelessly utopian vision from a past that has eclipsed us. While it is indeed terrifying to admit, the high we feel in confronting the police may be all that is left to experience of the dream of freedom. Despite feverish assertions that action alone propels the Left forward, in reality it may only serve as the formaldehyde embalming the corpse of the project of social emancipation.

However, this recognition is repressed in the protest culture of the Left. Instead, in the name of a lukewarm affinity towards Black Bloc antics, rationalized as defending a “diversity of tactics,” the Left in all its variations adopts a politics of mere resistance that, despite its stridency and apparent radicalism, only affirms its complacency. This form of politics, which measures success by the number of bodies marching or windows smashed, differs only in degree rather than kind from one activist group to another. In all cases it diverts from addressing the overwhelming dilemma at hand, which is not a question of resisting the police, or the fat cats, or the leaders of the world pontificating from convention centers. Rather, it is a question of whether the Left can come to terms with the current crisis of its own state of being, lest the difficulties it faces in changing the world become incorrigible.

Instead of facing this challenge, the Left makes believe that by shattering shop windows and burning police cars, its most violent members are somehow undermining the very foundations of capitalist society. The Left assumes that the actions of protest are, by default, consequential, radicalizing, and moving us closer to an emancipated society. This delusion acts as anesthesia for the pain of living in a world where all that leftists are able to do is symbolically indicate dissatisfaction with inequality, exploitation, and political regression, a world in which the question of what is to be done has become entirely unclear. Rather than taking up the task of clarification of its goals, the Left neurotically demands more action as a solution to its problems. But this is a cop out, a hallucination brought on by hopelessness. Despite a swan-dive in participation—consider the conservative estimates that the 1999 WTO protests had at least 40,000 participants compared to the 10,000 in Toronto—despite the acceleration in global poverty, despite increasing political, social, and economic repression, despite further dismantlement of organized labor accompanied by worldwide unemployment spikes, and despite innumerable other indications that the purported “victories” of protests are illusory, actionism continues on as the default politics of the Left today.

Actionism also characterized the scene when I was first politicized, entering the social milieu of ideologically ambiguous leftism championed by contemporary protest culture. I once shared the sentiments of many of my G20 comrades, that in our protest we were taking the first steps towards a revolutionary situation. However, repetition without results began to make me lose my faith. Critical questions posed from a perspective cognizant of the history and defeats of the Left led me to a place of deep agnosticism about the future of emancipatory politics. This agnosticism, however, is not a surrender. Rather it expresses, as Nietzsche put it, a “pessimism of the strong”—it seeks to distinguish itself from the hyperbolically confident façade of radical politics today, a pretense disguising what is essentially a profound sense of defeat. For, while the Black Bloc’s politics of provocation and the unreflective, undirected, and underachieving activism of the mainstream Left appear meaningfully differentiated, both actually exist as potent symptoms of the same putrid political imagination, distinguished by symbolism as a veneer for futility and a cold, conservative, and dystopic imagination of the future to counteract what is perceived of as the failings of the overly ambitious, naïvely utopian project of human emancipation. Slogans on T-shirts replace the struggle to come to terms with the haunting failures of the Left historically, while giving the finger to the police replaces the attempt to understand the complications and contradictions of capitalism. The juvenile antics of the Black Bloc, the basis of the infantile theoretical perspective of insurrectionists, and the cowardly anti-intellectual predilection of the Left as a whole, all share a refusal to reflect on their impotence in overcoming capitalism.
..

gypsy
Offline
Joined: 20-09-09
Mar 29 2011 06:17
blackrainbow wrote:
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?

I'm surprised how many newbies have joined solely to stick the boot in. Abit strange, almost orchestrated.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Mar 29 2011 06:41

Please note: eccarius joined 2 years ago .

gypsy
Offline
Joined: 20-09-09
Mar 29 2011 07:05
Samotnaf wrote:
Please note: eccarius joined 2 years ago .

oops. embarrassed This is quite an interesting video-

Quote:
Cameron Robertson joined Metropolitan police officers in the Territorial Support Group policing the March for the Alternative protest against government spending cut

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2011/mar/28/march-alternative-police-video?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3486

raw
Offline
Joined: 8-10-03
Mar 29 2011 07:16
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?
.

There was no alternative on March 26th - there was a danger it will be another peaceful march from A to B, and it wasn't and the anarchists in the black bloc ensured that. If only we had managed to do the same during the Iraq war. No doubt people like eccarius would have bleated in on about "alienating the movement".blah blah blah

Yorkie Bar
Offline
Joined: 29-03-09
Mar 29 2011 07:31

I love when people try and veil their liberal moral outrage by positing it as the liberal moral outrage of 'the general public', 'the movement', 'man on the street' etc. Have the guts to defend your own convictions and let everyone else make up their own minds.

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Mar 29 2011 07:34

In response to some of the early garbage in this thread.

eccarius
Offline
Joined: 24-03-09
Mar 29 2011 07:58

RAW: " If only we had managed to do the same during the Iraq war. No doubt people like eccarius would have bleated in on about "alienating the movement.blah blah blah"

YORKIE: " love it when people try and veil their liberal moral outrage by positing it as the liberal moral outrage of 'the general public', 'the movement', 'man on the street' etc. Have the guts to defend your own convictions and let everyone else make up their own minds."

There is nothing revolutionary about contempt for the masses, unless of course, you're a stalinist, a liberal - or something worse.

And RAW, what on earth makes you think that a bit of window-breaking therapy in Oxford Street would have stopped the Iraq War?

Jenre
Offline
Joined: 16-05-07
Mar 29 2011 08:18
livil wrote:
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.

errrr

raw
Offline
Joined: 8-10-03
Mar 29 2011 08:24
eccarius wrote:
And RAW, what on earth makes you think that a bit of window-breaking therapy in Oxford Street would have stopped the Iraq War?

No, only fools like yourself would think that is what is being suggested. The thing about you is that your so familiar with the passivity of the masses, that the masses are purely passive and centre-ground that you forget that people also react to this passivity by taking the action as happened on March 26th. The significance that is lost on many on this thread is that it wasn't just the usual suspects, anarchists have never organised a black bloc that big, the numbers we were swelled by many many new young working class teenagers and students. But I suppose as soon as some acts unlike the "sheep" you are used to they immediately become problematic.

Jenre
Offline
Joined: 16-05-07
Mar 29 2011 08:38
gypsy wrote:
Samotnaf wrote:
Please note: eccarius joined 2 years ago .

oops. embarrassed This is quite an interesting video-

Quote:
Cameron Robertson joined Metropolitan police officers in the Territorial Support Group policing the March for the Alternative protest against government spending cut

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2011/mar/28/march-alternative-police-video?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3486

"HSBC? is that it?"
"yeahh.. it's all kind of capitalist money banks"

TSG looks like a really dull job, to be honest. the cop at the end sounded really disappointed the petrol bombing never kicked off

Malva's picture
Malva
Offline
Joined: 22-03-11
Mar 29 2011 08:49

Perhaps this is slightly off topic but it annoyed me that there are people who are attacking vandalism as being unrelated to working-class action. It occurred to me that on exactly the same day, the 26th of March, in 1886 one of the greatest acts of vandalism in the history of the Walloon workers happened. It was a reaction to a movement begun on the 18th of March in Liège at a commemoration for the Commune. I have translated at account of it from here:

In the morning at Gilly, Quatre-Bras, a massive meeting was held. Three groups of about 700 to 800 men broke off in different directions. The colliery was no longer the only objective. The movement reached the foundries, rolling mills and the steel and glass works. At around midday the whole of the Charleroi bassin was on strike. Military reinforcements from Tournai and Anvers were put in place. In the afternoon all of the glass works in the region, left unprotected by the army, were sacked and burnt to the ground. At its highest point the destruction reached Jumet and the glass works of Eugène Baudoux who had recently installed new machinery. Everything was systematically destroyed. The glassworks, and even the owner's house that was attached to the factory, went up in flames. The fire was the culminating point of the destructive work of this crowd, estimated to be around five thousand strong.
At eleven in the evening, sixty foot soldiers left the gare de Roux. After a warning, two shots were fired at the crowd, killing four and wounding seven. It was the first shooting of this kind in Roux. The next, on Sunday, at around midday in Roux, a group of young workers confronted a platoon of soldiers. They were fired upon, twelve were killed outright and many were wounded.

Awesome Dude's picture
Awesome Dude
Offline
Joined: 31-07-07
Mar 29 2011 10:25
Samotnaf wrote:
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'.

One article doesn't change the overall vindictive tone of 'our liberal friends'. They've had a field day pouring a river of shit all over us. All I was raising was the fact that class struggle in Britain is complicated by a powerful press who are expert at setting favourable ideological conditions for their masters. I'm in agreement with those in the movement who refuse to talk to the bourgeois media (liberal or other wise). Solfed did very well with this effort. Its an excellent attempt to counter act some of the damage caused by 'our liberal friends'.

Samotnaf wrote:
Please note: eccarius joined 2 years ago

Sorry I hadn't noticed that. The tone of eccarius made me think it was one of 'our liberal friends'.

Awesome Dude's picture
Awesome Dude
Offline
Joined: 31-07-07
Mar 29 2011 10:57
eccarius wrote:
The juvenile antics of the Black Bloc, the basis of the infantile theoretical perspective of insurrectionists, and the cowardly anti-intellectual predilection of the Left as a whole, all share a refusal to reflect on their impotence in overcoming capitalism.

I'm curious what those who see the black bloc as alienating offer as a tactical alternative. Depending on the context I sometimes think the black bloc is a good tactic (e.g. when a demo is small and populated with far leftists. It pays to stand out from the 'competition'. As raw articulated it draws in young radicals impressed by its air of militancy). In 'bigger' demonstration filled with people new to A to B marches it simply alienates and puts a line between those who are supposedly the militant vanguard and the rest who should follow the 'example'. In those demos a more open 'radical/militant workers bloc' that distributes appropriate propaganda and actively engages those who are curious might be an appropriate response.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Mar 29 2011 11:40

I love how most of the people slagging off the black bloc are still basically repeating my predicted responses almost to the letter except now that it's clear the left in general hasn't been affected they've moved on to it hurting "the anarchist movement" as though it used to have a reputation as some sort of broadway musical with flags.

Frankly it comes across as little more than fear because all of a sudden we're in the spotlight and have been getting a slagging. But under what circumstances do the above people think anarchism will get a good rap from the state and the media? When we're blockading the economy? When we're striking? When we're calling for the overthrow of the state perhaps? We have always been demonised by capitalists and always will be because our ideas threaten them.

As a movement the sort of things we want to do are inherently going to bring this kind of attention and the fact is if we're ever to get people on our side in challenging the rich's "right" to property we have to challenge and change the public's mindset, not play into the narrative of the media by pretending property destruction is definitely never going to happen and condemning young militants who get involved in that sort of thing.

I say this, incidentally, as someone who personally has no particular interest in smashing windows OR throwing things at cops and who finds adrenaline rushes irritating rather than exhilarating. In conversation with a black bloccer I would stress the need for workplace action and actions which maximise economic trouble for the government while minimising exposure to repression - hitting at the seat of power rather than its trappings.

But I think we need a lot more tactical thinking about how to deal with reality as it stands and a lot less bullshit about how awful it is.

futility index
Offline
Joined: 4-08-07
Mar 29 2011 13:35
Quote:
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

Calling bullshit on this. At points I was handing out SLSF's strike, occupy, blockade leaflet whilst wearing a mask, so I guess I was still perceived as part of the bloc. A lot of people were approaching me and asking to have them and at one point a middle-aged woman walked with us down the road asking questions about our politics and how regularly we have meetings.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Mar 29 2011 14:00
livil wrote:
capitalism wont be stopped , even the chinese are capitalist .sorry to breack the news !
.

Chinese people go on strike too (and riot, and occasionally lynch their managers and local government officials). 'Sorry to breack the news !'

crows's picture
crows
Offline
Joined: 25-05-10
Mar 29 2011 14:53
RedEd wrote:
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

Well then I can only chalk this up to us having been exposed to profoundly different of kinds of student elections. At the institution I have most experience of (one which recently in occupation and from which many students participated in the days of action) it is pretty much unheard of for candidates to run on any kind of political platform. Elections are fought primarily on grounds of personality and it is not uncommon for victorious presidential candidates not to have a single substantive policy. I don't think you will find that this sort of situation is uncommon.

I maintain that the continued lack of success for lefty candidates in student elections is a poor measure of the contribution of recent student occupations/marches etc. to a successful movement to defeat austerity politics. To imply that in general students are no more radicalised now, in the the aftermath of recent struggles, than they were say two years ago seems totally wrong to me, and I think that you have to consider that in the short term the changes brought about by recent struggles the are not necessarily as easily to measure as lefty bums in seat of power.

crows's picture
crows
Offline
Joined: 25-05-10
Mar 29 2011 14:55

(Double post)

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Mar 29 2011 15:57

"I'm curious what those who see the black bloc as alienating offer as a tactical alternative. Depending on the context I sometimes think the black bloc is a good tactic (e.g. when a demo is small and populated with far leftists. It pays to stand out from the 'competition'. As raw articulated it draws in young radicals impressed by its air of militancy). In 'bigger' demonstration filled with people new to A to B marches it simply alienates and puts a line between those who are supposedly the militant vanguard and the rest who should follow the 'example'. In those demos a more open 'radical/militant workers bloc' that distributes appropriate propaganda and actively engages those who are curious might be an appropriate response".

Blackrainbow: For the moment I'll leave aside your suggestion that black blockery would be OK in small demos with a big leftist presence. I agree strongly with the second point regarding radical or militant class struggle blocs. But the more I think about it, the more it seems necessary to conclude that this last particular attempt to create such a bloc has ended in failure - first and foremost because it did not do, or did not do well, what you say would be its primary function: "distributes appropriate propaganda and actively engages those who are curious might be an appropriate response". Whether by previously discussed decision, or on the spur of the moment, both blocs got lost on Oxford Street when the half a million proletarians were elsewhere.

Sir Arthur Stre...
Offline
Joined: 21-01-11
Mar 29 2011 16:02

I'd place Anarchists in around 3rd place in the bourgeois media 'river of shit', behind Jihadists and Paedophiles. Pretty close between us and the paedos of course...

On a side note, all this whinging from UK uncut and friends about how the police lied and weren't vewy nice brings out the right wing moralist in me, What the fuck do you expect?

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Mar 29 2011 16:03
Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling wrote:
I'd place Anarchists in around 3rd place in the bourgeois media 'river of shit', behind Jihadists and Paedophiles. Pretty close between us and the paedos of course...

It was probably even worse from 99-01 though surely? How about the hysteria when Churchill's statue got a mohawk?

And do we ever think the media will 'support' us, or that we want them to? The media roundly condemned Millbank and helped foster a mass movement!

axiom
Offline
Joined: 11-02-11
Mar 29 2011 16:18
futility index wrote:
At points I was handing out SLSF's strike, occupy, blockade leaflet

That's excellent!
Where I was, I didn't see anyone with leaflets or talking to people.

I’m a little taken aback at raw’s use of the label ‘leftist’. What is leftist about wanting to communicate with fellow workers?

raw wrote:
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
Awesome Dude's picture
Awesome Dude
Offline
Joined: 31-07-07
Mar 29 2011 16:25
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
And do we ever think the media will 'support' us, or that we want them to? The media roundly condemned Millbank and helped foster a mass movement!

Wheres Tommy Sheridan when you really need him?

Quote:
The response of the London police, the government, the Labour Party and the labour movement and some of the Marxist and Trotskyist left, notably The Militant Tendency, was to condemn the riot as senseless and to blame anarchists. On ITV News at Ten that evening, Tommy Sheridan of The Fed/Militant Tendency condemned the protesters. The next day, Steve Nally, also a Militant member and Secretary of the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation said that they would "hold and enquiry and name names"[3]. Some anarchists, especially the high-profile Class War organisation and those from the Anarchist 121 Bookshop in Brixton were happy to defend the actions of the crowd in response to the police, and were joined by other sections of the libertarian left in condoning the riot as legitimate self-defence against police attack. According to Danny Burns: "Often attack is the only effective form of defence and, as a movement, we should not be ashamed or defensive about these actions, we should be proud of those who did fight back."[4]

The Trotskyist Socialist Workers' Party (SWP), which was blamed for the violence by some in the media and by Labour MP George Galloway[5], refused to condemn protesters calling the events a "police riot". Pat Stack, then an SWP Central Committee member, told the Times "We did not go on the demonstration with any intention of fighting with the police, but we understand why people are angry and we will not condemn that anger."[6]

In contradiction to what was said at the time by the London police, the government, the Labour Party and the labour movement and most of the Marxist and Trotskyist left, the 1991 police report concluded there was "no evidence that the trouble was orchestrated by left-wing anarchist groups".

Afterwards, the non-aligned Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign was set up, committed to unconditional support for the defendants, and to accountability to the defendants. The Campaign acquired more than 50 hours of police video and these were influential in acquitting many of the 491 defendants, suggesting the police had fabricated or inflated charges.[2]

In March 1991, the police report suggested additional contributing internal police factors: squeezed overtime budgets which led to the initial deployment of only 2,000 men; a lack of riot shields (400 "short" riot shields were available); and erratic or poor-quality radio, with a lag of up to five minutes in the computerised switching of radio messages during the evening West End rioting.

Prime Minister Thatcher was at a conference of the Conservative Party Council in Cheltenham. The Community Charge was the focus of the conference; as coverage of the demonstrations unfolded, speculation developed for the first time about Thatcher's position as leader.

mons
Offline
Joined: 6-01-10
Mar 29 2011 16:29
Quote:
But the more I think about it, the more it seems necessary to conclude that this last particular attempt to create such a bloc has ended in failure - first and foremost because it did not do, or did not do well, what you say would be its primary function: "distributes appropriate propaganda and actively engages those who are curious might be an appropriate response".

I think close to 5000 AF leaflets/posters were distributed, and SolFed distributed loads (I'd guess thousands overall) of Catalyst and a leaflet calling for strikes, blockades, etc. They seem to have all gone down really well. The two things aren't mutually exclusive.
When loads of non-anarchists are rioting, shutting down shops and stuff, it's ridiculous for communists to ignore/condemn them, especially when we're really fucking angry ourselves (and when loads of stuff is being handed out anyway). Equally, as NSSN and IWW found out, holding an alternative 'assembly' (really just a rally) isn't going to exactly capture the moment.
Lots of anarchists didn't go on the breakaway march instead doing what you advocate anyway, so to call it a failure is wrong even by your criteria.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Mar 29 2011 16:31

Withdrawn

Sir Arthur Stre...
Offline
Joined: 21-01-11
Mar 29 2011 16:41
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling wrote:
I'd place Anarchists in around 3rd place in the bourgeois media 'river of shit', behind Jihadists and Paedophiles. Pretty close between us and the paedos of course...

It was probably even worse from 99-01 though surely? How about the hysteria when Churchill's statue got a mohawk?

And do we ever think the media will 'support' us, or that we want them to? The media roundly condemned Millbank and helped foster a mass movement!

I think we should be able to accurately predict what the media will do by now and understand how it has changed. Whether we can, or should, try and manipulate it is another question.

The prevelance of 24hr rolling news, constant live blogs, twitter, youtube etc etc means that anything remotely important gets spammed constantly. It's possible that news has become so saturated in our lives that it looses any lasting impact. It takes something unusual to grab peoples attention, riots in London is one of those things but it could easily become part of the background just like war and natural disaster.

Also 24h news station often struggle to focus on more than 1 news item at once, Witness how the spectacle of Live War in Libya immediately removed Japan from the majority of rolling news broadcasts.

If we don't understand the modern media and it's effects then we will certainly struggle to come to any kind of decision regarding the effect of these kind of actions.

P.S. While I don't have any evidence I know of to back me up but, I reckon the majority of personal opinions are formed if not before the event, then around the first viewing. Obviously opinions can change, but it can take a lot of evidence to do so, not to mention the will to view said evidence.

Rum Lad
Offline
Joined: 16-09-08
Mar 29 2011 16:35

For all the reasons already mentioned, it is slightly odious for people to suggest that small acts of civil disobedience do 'us' a disservice because they alienate the working class from 'Anarchist' ideas. Yet I still think there are problems we face after Saturday.

I was on the student demonstrations in Brighton in November and London in December. I was inspired and full of hope after those demonstrations and I didn't leave the demonstration on Saturday with the same feeling. I'm still trying to work out my reasons why.

One of the largest problems we face is the hegemony of liberal ideas and concepts, such as the abstract right of the citizen. The majority of people (although not all) attend protests because they want to 'have their say' and exercise their democratic right to protest against something. In this case it would be the government's cuts programme. In 2003 it was because of the war in Iraq. This idea is not co-extensive with holding the objective of stopping what is in progress and fighting against the deterioration of our lives that will be caused by the cuts programme, or the misery of wage labour. Although we can only speculate, 250,000+ unionists and workers marching on a TUC march could mean about as much as wanting better governance, specifically a Labour government. Even a group of politicos at Trafalgar square later in the day unfurled the rather ambiguous banner "We Demand Regime Change."

I think we, as radicals, need to not lose sight of what we believe and why we believe what we believe. I believe that wage labour causes misery and should be abolished because I experience it in my own life and I see its direct results in the society I live in.

What was exciting about the student protests was the active partcipation of students who didn't self-identify as radicals. For a slight glimmer of time on those demonstrations, they overcame that abstract identity of the citizen and couldn't be recuperated back into a social designation such as 'anarchist'. This was even noticeable within the mainstream media. They were sometimes unable to blame the 'tiny violent minority' because it simply wasn't there.

What happened on Saturday was I think partly a result of very intellegent policing (perhaps from lessons learned last year?) and partly something else I'm not so sure about. The police wanted to make absolutely sure that there was no trouble from the TUC march, like there was from the student body. This is illustrated in the effort placed in stewarding the march. I think the police were happy to let a smaller group smash up some shops because it would be divisive and affirm the rebarbative idea of peaceful protest as something valid and positive. I think later in the day, the police were actually overrun by a smart and active black block. It is clear that the size of the black block has grown and that there were probably a lot of new and younger participants. Yet I do think the radical left need to have a lot of discussion about what our objectives are and how we organise. That doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as pandering to some abstract conception of 'the working class' or what our media image might be. It means that if we truly believe that wage labour needs to be abolished, because it causes human suffering, how do we help harness and actualize the latent desire for social change that exists as a result of that suffering?

I don't think having a bigger, better and more effective black block is commensurate with the actualisation of radical principles.

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Mar 29 2011 17:43

I get the impression that a lot of people not involved in activist politics - marchers/non-marchers/those who feel they stand to lose from 'the cuts' - are still taking in the events of last Saturday and mulling things over... it's really too early to say people are 'put off' or 'alienated' by the window-breaking, etc. New ideas and changes in attitude take a while to gestate, and I think the assorted occupiers and window-breakers (I'd prefer not to formally apply labels like 'Black Bloc' to what's appearing to be a more 'permeable' group - note someone's comments about the involvement of ex-Liberals and ex-Labour supporters in this sudden coalescence of street militancy) by their actions have helped set in train processes of reflection taking place at a far wider level than the activist milieu. March 26th in Piccadilly absolutely was not an 'own goal' - it's reverberations are still being felt. As for me, I'd just keep arguing for the legitimacy of those sort of actions rather than hand-wring about anarchists getting scape-goated or 'sending the wrong message' or fretting about broken windows not being revolutionary. It's not the breaking of windows that is the problem; the problem is the attitude that 'good citizens' are required to have to property damage. Too many of the comments here have kow-towed to that attitude.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Mar 29 2011 18:14

Just to make it clear: my criticisms of the radical blocs is from a standpoint of solidarity, of recognising the need to participate. The failings of the blocs is an expression of a wider difficulty in the revolutionary movement, which is deeply, deeply divided precisely when the need to unite has never been greater. The left communist groups didn't manage to overcome this situation either: the ICC and the CWO, for example, merely acted in parallel at the demo.