Millbank to March 26th - what happened?

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Anonymous
Apr 7 2011 19:29
Millbank to March 26th - what happened?

I'm trying to write up everything that's happened in the struggle so far, I'm still struggling to pick the exact time frame to cover for it as it's quite clear this is influenced by many of the struggles and movements that have taken place or existed before. The forms and content of this struggle are being shaped by previous social movements such as the anti-globalisation/capitalist movement and the anti-war movement is something that many of the participants took part in and lessons have been learned from it.

The anti-war movement has radicalised a generation of young people and the student movement now has many of the same people involved in the walk outs involved in occupations. So in many ways we are simply repeating things that we've done before, but the struggle is also being defined by the conditions it's in. All this should be pretty obvious but I've not seen much discussing it?

I'm going to try and actually finish this article so could do with a bit of help from people, I've not written anything long for years and am having a bit of a difficult time at work at the moment so it's going to be a struggle, hopefully one that's worth it.

Harrison
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Apr 7 2011 20:15

i've just realised i've almost written an essay of a post, but it still might be interesting, if a little unfocused:

i can only really speak for student stuff, but i've found the biggest libertarian-related thing that i've come across was being able to point out on some of the post-millbank student marches to some non-radical friends the absolutely despicable behaviour of the stewards in doing the police's work (forming lines by holding hands around the student march), and get agreeable responses.

tbh what is really amusing is that the police's intentional mistakes (not properly guarding millbank, leaving the van in the crowd, herding loads of protesters into parliament square) all completely backfired. whilst (in my view) they were attempting to create a neatly package-able spectacle of 'bad chaotic violence' that needed to have order restored, they also contributed to a huge radicalisation of students, who had never experienced heavy handed thuggish policing before.

plus the standard police 'violence' spectacles (used at G20 etc) didn't work when applied to students who are peoples kids and come home to their parents with stories of how things really happened.

another great thing was seeing kids that people describe as 'chavs' being the most rowdy direct action types on the EMA and fees protests, whilst the middle class kids condemning them and taking a snooty ghandiist moral highground. and then seeing the afore mentioned kids connecting with anarchist types due to similiar appreciation for direct action and similiar rejection by the liberal students

i was also thinking that the black bloc on 26th had a massive youth contingent. in my view what happened is that all those who had been anarchistically-inclined had over the course of the student movement a chance to put their politics into practice, which essentially bred a new generation of militants who then all came together on 26th

Mike Harman
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Apr 8 2011 04:40
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
I'm trying to write up everything that's happened in the struggle so far, I'm still struggling to pick the exact time frame to cover for it as it's quite clear this is influenced by many of the struggles and movements that have taken place or existed before. The forms and content of this struggle are being shaped by previous social movements such as the anti-globalisation/capitalist movement and the anti-war movement is something that many of the participants took part in and lessons have been learned from it.

Right there is continuity with some people (and organisations) back to the poll tax, anti-JSA and anti-roads protests, depending on the scope of the article, I think it is worth mentioning them (and smaller things like the UCH occupation) - a lot of people involved in the protests literally were not born when these things happened. Similarly you don't want to get bogged down like an aufheben article and never actually get to 2011 by the end wink

Quote:
The anti-war movement has radicalised a generation of young people and the student movement now has many of the same people involved in the walk outs involved in occupations.

Right a lot of people on this site, while they might not have been politicised by the anti-war movement itself, met each other via it (this includes me at least - I met the now libcom group for the first time on one of the anti-war demos when they were still the AYN).

Quote:
So in many ways we are simply repeating things that we've done before, but the struggle is also being defined by the conditions it's in. All this should be pretty obvious but I've not seen much discussing it?

On one of the threads I said it would be a good idea to write up a retrospective, but never actually did anything about it. I'm also pushed for time but would like to help with this if possible.

Quote:

I'm going to try and actually finish this article so could do with a bit of help from people, I've not written anything long for years and am having a bit of a difficult time at work at the moment so it's going to be a struggle, hopefully one that's worth it.

Could we put this in a (private) google doc so it's easy for multiple people to edit?

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Ramona
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Apr 8 2011 08:53

I'm currently writing in detail about the anti-cuts movement in Edinburgh Uni (for a Uni assignment, ha!) so once that's done I'll send it to you. Was gonna edit it and post it here anyway!

T La Palli
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Apr 8 2011 13:02

Look forward to that Ramona.

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Steven.
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Apr 8 2011 17:00

Good luck Jim. Feel free to post it up here for comments/corrections or whatever when you have something down

Mike Harman
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Apr 25 2011 17:45

Should now cover early '80s riots for background and Bristol.

I think we should do this, it is a big subject so we need to split it up, I think we should try to do an outline, then write and publish the articles in sequence - we can always go back and update chapters as things go on. If it starts out online, we can cross-reference current texts and older ones for background easily.

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RedEd
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Apr 28 2011 22:33

I think something that people are trying to play down, but which we need to think about, is the extent to which there has been a vanguard of activisty types involved in a lot of the stuff that's happened. Sure, a lot of things were spontaneous, but the occupations in particular were planned out in meticulous detail primarily (as far as I can tell) by people with experience from climate camp, conference hopping and that sort of thing and their politically similar mates. Getting people down to London on buses was done, much to their credit for once, with a good deal of help from the trots, as well as general labour/lefty elements in the SUs. For all their failures, trots really can organise a bus trip.

Trots and activists have really informed the direction the student movement has taken with symbolic actions (dressed up as direct action) from the activists and big marches from the trots. The lack of anarcho-syndicalist ideas, for instance, is pretty obvious. There's not been much effective direct action against unis on specific winnable issues, which is hard, but not impossible, for students to do. And the methods of struggle, whilst exciting, have actually been very safe. Trespass and a bit of public disorder are not big deals.

(I'm coming at this as a student involved in these things, if anyone cares)

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 28 2011 22:42

there's a detailed account of the November 24th EMA walkout in Brighton here. the thursday/friday and monday/tuesday building up to the wednesday walkout, a group of sussex students produced a couple of editions of an agitational newsletters to help build it. They're not online as far as i know but some of the articles are on that blog.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 28 2011 22:48

they probably are actually, dunno if old events show up in searches though.

bobipasquale
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May 2 2011 13:01

Possibly of interest:

http://bobipasquale.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/a-response-to-awl/

Response to AWL 'letter to direct-action militant' and also discussing direct action as tactics/anarcho-syndicalism criticism of the current paths of the movement.