'Hijacked by Anarchists!'

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Mar 29 2011 21:06

Liked this (one of the comments on the Solfed open letter):

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Because we were waving our red and black flags and we had kids with us on Saturday, people came over to us to ask about the black bloc because they had the same colour flags. We ended up holding Q and A sessions on Piccadilly with large groups of members of the public, including non-protesters, about why people might attack banks and jewellers at a demonstration about the cuts. The actions of the black bloc gave us an opportunity to talk about anarchism, capitalism and revolution to a not unsympathetic crowd (which the TUC demo had not). I was proud and happy to show complete solidarity with the Black bloc and UK Uncut on the day as I am now and tomorrow at work, in my town, amongst friends, family, fellow anti-cuts activists and trade unionists in Hastings.
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Alf
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Mar 29 2011 21:21

Excellent stuff in Red Rum's last post. I am glad other Solfed members had discussions with people in Piccadilly, but it was certainly possible to discuss with people in Hyde Park or the Embankment as well. But Red Rum's approach to the problem of the Black Bloc is far more penetrating. We certainly have to be in solidarity with proletarians who end up getting the police baton in one way or another, but that's not a reason to refrain from pointing out what we think to be their most serious mistakes.

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miles
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Mar 29 2011 21:59

Alf I think you'll find that Red Rum was a Grand National winning horse, whereas Rum Lad is very certainly an actual person wink

But otherwise, I agree s/he has raised a number of interesting points in this thread.

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Mar 29 2011 22:12

oops, my apologies Rum Lad. Still, you are also a red.

raw
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Mar 29 2011 22:29

The stewards had little to no effect in disciplining the crowd because the crowd - by and large - were not interested in anything else than marching. Thats not to say that people didn't venture to Oxford Street and Piccadilly after Hyde Park as the streets we still full of people that had obviously been to the demo, maybe numbering in their tens of thousands who were "having a look" at what was happening. I'm not saying it was a massive exodus but it shouldn't be underestimated, or seen that the militants were so separate from the main event, they weren't and they did manage to draw thousands away from the TUC rally.

As for the difference between Millbank and march 26th - there would have been no difference if people had not worn black and no balaclava's - it would perhaps have communicated more as people would not have been so easily pigeoned holed - but this is the trade off,t wearing black gives you some anonymity and prevents identification. But what if March 26th happened before Millbank, I think peoples tone about the events would be very different. Which is my point, too many people here are quick to discount things because the way they see things too literally and are not analysing what is actually happening.

Like I said before, at no cost did people want another large passive demo with nothing else, it was a bold political move in forming the black bloc, whether it can or should happen again needs to be discussed but I for one think it was politically the right thing to do on the day.

axiom
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Mar 30 2011 07:39
raw wrote:
it was politically the right thing to do on the day.

When you write 'politically' — can I ask — how would describe your politics?

(I also ask a similar question in the thread Communication Breakdown)

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Mar 30 2011 10:22
axiom wrote:
raw wrote:
it was politically the right thing to do on the day.

When you write 'politically' — can I ask — how would describe your politics?

(I also ask a similar question in the thread Communication Breakdown)

Yes, for me the issue remains as RedEd raised in his first post - how do the actions of the black bloc people draw anyone towards revolutionary positions / arguments (as opposed to getting a few younger people interested in smashing up some windows)? As he says, I would think it tends to make it harder to discuss with people, not easier.

If the only alternatives you're counter posing are an a-b march or actions of this type, is it a surprise most people choose the a-b march? I'm not saying those are the only things that happened on the day - it's clear that lots of groups (ourselves included) distributed / sold lots of lealflets, papers, had discussions etc.. as individual groups.

But how much more powerful could the impact have been with a very visible 'militant/radical bloc' counter posing itself in a very public way to the 'funeral procession' the TUC wanted? For example, with a public meeting in the park, a chance for anyone to come along and take part. That could have been something attractive to people looking for 'something else'. Personally, I think it was a missed opportunity.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 30 2011 12:58
Miles wrote:
For example, with a public meeting in the park, a chance for anyone to come along and take part.

Just to reiterate, various groups did this and it was an utter flop.

raw
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Mar 30 2011 14:36
axiom wrote:
raw wrote:
it was politically the right thing to do on the day.

When you write 'politically' — can I ask — how would describe your politics?

(I also ask a similar question in the thread Communication Breakdown)

How would I describe my politics? anti-state, communist-anarchist, autonomist

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Mar 30 2011 15:04
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Well the actions of the black bloc caused my workmates to ask me what I advocate as an anarchist for the first time ever so in some respect it has made it a lot easier than it was say last week.

That's really good to hear! I was marching with people from Edinburgh Uni, we started off on the feeder march from ULU, joined the main march, and left again - I'm not sure if whether we "infiltrated" the TUC march or the black bloc, it was hard to keep up. The people I was with are all pretty militant but none of them would describe themselves as anarchists (yet, I'm working on it) and they were all really inspired by the stuff they saw in Cambridge Circus, Soho and Oxford Street. They all masked up, didn't quite get stuck in, but they were not some bunch of hardcore rabble-rousers living in some anarcho-bubble, just regular students who've been heavily involved in anti-cuts work in our Uni and in the community who've got totally disillusioned with A-B marching.

axiom
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Mar 30 2011 15:36
raw wrote:
autonomist

Ok, thanks raw.
What is autonomist?

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crows
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Mar 30 2011 16:13
axiom wrote:
raw wrote:
autonomist

Ok, thanks raw.
What is autonomist?

axiom, if you've got a point to make (e.g. that black bloc tactics are actually counterproductive to the aims of building an effective working class movement against the cuts) maybe you could just (re)make it rather than dragging this thread (further) down into a tedious personal dispute.

The 20 questions format you seem to be embarking on strongly suggests to me that you are just trying to set raw up for some manner of smart-arsery from yourself, which is frankly boring and unrewarding for everyone.

Harrison
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Mar 30 2011 16:38

deleted

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crows
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Mar 30 2011 17:04

By the way I think that last post probably came across as harsher than I meant it. Just thought you might be getting dragged into something unproductive - happens to pretty much everyone on forums.

axiom
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Mar 30 2011 17:15

Crows, you're right.
No worries.

Dan.

Jared
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Mar 31 2011 07:27

Probably all seen this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IhS7yBcMnE. Story on the Black Bloc....

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 31 2011 11:53

Paul Mason's piece is incredibly lazy journalism, good protestor/bad protestor nonsense. I mean the radical blocs were organised under a call for strikes (and occupations, civil disobedience), and this is juxtaposed to someone on the march... calling for everyone to go on strike. And his claim it wasn't a breakaway march because people weren't on the march is just plain false.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 31 2011 12:05

I know, attack him on Twitter over it!

Mark.
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Mar 31 2011 22:38

Or pull him up on it in the comments for his blog post on the march

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Apr 2 2011 09:13

So I just got around to finally reading this thread and this is amazing:

Auto wrote:
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.

Where did it come from?

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Steven.
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Apr 2 2011 10:40

http://thegreatunrest.net/2011/03/28/anarchist-protest-hijacked-by-tuc/

see also:
http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/politics/politics-headlines/britain-prefers-anarchists-to-miliband-201103283664/

fidel gastro
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Apr 2 2011 14:56

I think you've learned nothing about the 'Stop The War' movement and why marching around like a knob, holding a placard and sending petiTons to mass murdering politicians achieves nothing. You are clearly a burn out state socialist, probably a member of the RCP for all I know, thats if they still exist.

fidel gastro
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Apr 2 2011 14:57

@fish

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ocelot
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Apr 3 2011 11:48

Article from this weekends FT magazine

FT: Smashing advice for the mildly miffed

Quote:
There was something truly depressing about last weekend’s TUC-sponsored mass march against public spending cuts. Some 250,000 people ambled through London, picnicked in Hyde Park, listened to Ed Miliband and totally ruined the day for the serious violent minority who were trying to smash things up.

You only had to look at the coverage the next day to see the damage they had done. News reports cut away from the havoc at Fortnum & Mason to show thousands of law-abiding public sector workers wasting their Saturday afternoon. Later that day Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, rounded on the rioters who had upset his otherwise genteel protests. Next week, he’ll be on the radio wondering how ministers can ignore such a potent display of political passivism.

For it does seem a basic rule of modern British democracy that if you are marching against something you’ve already lost. Parading one’s discontent through London is the political equivalent of a fly bashing its head against a window pane. Of course there’s a terrific sense of community on a march – 250,000 flies with the same headache; it’s hugely empowering. But short of handing out placards with slogans such as “Mildly Miffed” or “I’m so angry I walked peacefully through London”, it is hard to imagine what more the protesters could have done to signal their acceptance of defeat.
[...]
It’s irresponsible to admit it, but this kind of peaceful protest is pointless. The system has all the shock absorbers necessary to handle a law-abiding demonstration. The next day ministers were already clear they would ignore the entire event, while insisting that they would be happy to discuss the issues with marchers, though sadly not over tea at Fortnum’s as it seems to be attracting the wrong sort these days.

It’s not that I’m advocating violence and disorder, just dispassionately noting that in Britain it is more effective. What last weekend’s thugs grasped is that ministers can’t ignore anarchists daubing the Cenotaph and bringing a bit of havoc to the capital. Once or twice they might be able to turn on the rioters, but not if it keeps happening. There’s nothing like stoking voters’ fears about the rule of law and the fabric of society to get the government’s attention.
[...]

Fish
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Apr 3 2011 12:08
red and black riot wrote:
I think you've learned nothing about the 'Stop The War' movement and why marching around like a knob, holding a placard and sending petiTons to mass murdering politicians achieves nothing. You are clearly a burn out state socialist, probably a member of the RCP for all I know, thats if they still exist.

Is this supposed to be aimed at me? There's an @fish at the bottom? Not sure why this would be aimed at me????

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Alf
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Apr 4 2011 22:59

Admin edit - ICC spam, not contributing to discussion and posting a link to the ICC site - Ed.

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miles
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Apr 5 2011 18:50

Admin: moved here.

redsdisease
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Apr 5 2011 19:13
Quote:
Admin edit - ICC spam, not contributing to discussion and posting a link to the ICC site - Ed.

I don't see how posting that article, which was created directly out of the conversation in this thread, isn't contributing to the discussion or of immediate interest to those taking part in the discussion.

gypsy
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Apr 5 2011 19:36
miles wrote:
I understand from Alf that he's been banned - can I ask why?

Has posting a link to another site become a banning offence or is it just because it's the ICC? Most people who've been banned in the past have been given 'public' warnings - I don't remember any such here.

Personally I don't think Alf should have been banned. Especially when you consider how lenient everyone was with Arthur whose politics had little or nothing to do with what the majority of us believe in.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 5 2011 19:39

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