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.
The fight-back against the Tory* government finally started in London yesterday. A large group of people finally recognised that walking down the road and listening to some speeches is no longer enough.
Condemnation has predictably started to flow, not just from the right-wing press, but hand-wringing liberals and many parts of the “leadership” of the student movement. That’s “leadership” in the sense of “people who want to go into politics when they finish” and is about as connected to their membership as the Labour Party was to theirs before they lost most of them.
Last year at the Anarchist Conference, there was general consensus that a proposal to do something big to mark 2012 was a good idea. No, not because of the Olympics, but because it’s the centenary of the Jewish tailor’s strike in London’s East End that was the high point of anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker’s influence in the UK.
As I thought about it, I looked into the period between 1910 and 1914, known as the Great Unrest, when syndicalism was a major force for change in the UK. I realised how ignored this part of the history of these islands (Ireland, at the time, still being part of the UK) has become.