Commentator after commentator, from politicians to journalists, is blaming the recent chaos in London and beyond on “criminality”. What does that even mean? Crime is a product of social conditions, not a thing in and of itself. Recognising that people smashing, looting and burning are committing crimes is not an explanation – of course they’re criminals, what they’re doing is against the law.
Speakers: Donnacha DeLong (chair), Chetna Yuvraj, student occupier, Andy Littlechild, RMT activist,Zoe Stavri, activist with UK Uncut and Andy Meinke, activist in the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group and Freedom Press worker.
I wrote this last week and sent it to the Independent as a right to reply piece. I got no answer. Of course, since I wrote it, the Project Griffin “report anarchists to the police” stuff has come out – more on that later.
I thought this would be a little bit easier, to be honest. Having taken redundancy last year and returning to university to do a Masters, I didn’t think I’d still be sitting here, nearly August a year later, without work.
I finished my Masters course last month and am now working on my dissertation – “An anarchist analysis of power” based primarily on the work of Emma Goldman and Rudolf Rocker. More on that later in the year when I have the thing written!
I spent quite a few hours on Saturday, 26 March, walking the streets of London fairly slowly with approximately half a million other people. Some of the time I carried a flag, for a short while I help carry the national banner of my union, the National Union of Journalists. When I finally got to Hyde Park, some friends and I walked down towards Victoria Station to find a pub for a much needed drink, then my partner and I went and got some food and finally home, exhausted.
That was probably like the experience of most of the rest of the 500,000 marchers at the TUC’s long-awaited March for the Alternative. Amongst those who walked themselves to exhaustion and then went hope were probably quite a number of other anarchists like me.
The super-fast radicalisation of the student demonstrations caught everyone by surprise. Direct action is on the agenda again and it’s coming from a group people discounted as being “the children of Thatcher” and dismissed as being fundamentally consumerist and non-radical.
Just before Christmas, bombs went off in two embassies in Rome, injuring staff in both. I immediately tweeted “#Anarchism has nothing to do with injuring innocent mailroom staff #Rome” and I absolutely stand by that point.
Right now, across Europe and perhaps across the world, thousands of people are being introduced to anarchist ideas. Governments and politicians of all kinds have failed their people and are stealing from their populations to keep bankers and financial traders happy. Police have shown their true role as defenders of privilege with increasing levels of violence against protesters.