“We Pledge not to riot.”Riot

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Excellent article on the London Student Protests against the coalition, examining the bounds of  “lawfull” protest:

http://littlerichardjohn.blogspot.com/2010/12/we-pledge-not-to-riot.html

London Student Protest and the storming of Millbank Tower

Wednesday 10th of November saw over 50,000 students march through the centre of London in opposition to the proposed raising of tuition fees to £9,000. The demo had been called by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College lecturer’s Union.  (UCU) The organisers were said to have been expecting around 12,000 people to take part but they under estimated the scale of opposition to this clearly classist policies which would make higher education only available to the richest in society.  The 50,000+ crowd snaked its way through London stopping at 10 Downing Street to chant some abuse, then stopping by the parliament building and then proceeding past Millbank tower which houses the Conservative Party’s campaigning office. Once the march was passing the Millbank tower a bloc of anti-capitalist students splintered from the main march towards the reception area of the tower and forced their way in and opened the doors to the rest of the protestor many of whom looked sheepishly at each other for a minute but eventually began to flood in with ever increasing confidence.  Once the example had been set thousands began to enter and spread until the whole courtyard was occupied and people began to enter and smash the offices, occupying the building and the roof tops.

The corporate media, the government and even the National Union of student’s president were quick to blame the actions on a “small rogue minority” of “socialists and anarchists who led the nice middle class kids astray, despite the participation of an estimated 5000+. (Around 10% of the march) The “despicable ,“ “mindless,” “hardcore” mob “hell bent on destruction and chaos” was mostly made of school, college and university students many of whom professed to this being their first political protest.  This action was bigger than just the issue of tuition fees; it was a manifestation of years of years of undemocratic rule, unequal opportunity and frankly a refusal to accept a system that most people clearly see as rotten and working against them.

The analysis by Last hours is an excellent summary of the issues raised:

During yesterday’s protest against cuts to education crowds stormed Tory headquaters. Windows where smashed and offices destroyed. As a result we can witness the capitalist system bend and buckle in its attempts to dismiss these acts of anger as illegitimate.

Amongst the 1,000s that played some role in the invasion of Millbank Tower, where workers and students from all areas of society. We condemn both the media claim that a small group of anarchist antagonists where responsible (juxtaposed by their own images showing thousands rallying around the building) as well as the notion that the students involved are part of a privileged class. The idea that working class youth are some how exempt from the desire for education is both naive and patronising.

In fact, on the day anarchist attempts to form a visible block failed in comparison to other  recent protests. Instead symbols of an anarchist presence could be seen peppered throughout the crowds, mingling with the masses. A sign that anarchist theory has embedded itself well amongst current student communities and individual anarchists would rather march within the safety of friendship groups  than along obscure political allegiances.

There was a common feeling that this protest represented more than just anger towards a rise in tuition fees. Many non-aligned individuals seemed furious at finding themselves with a political system that does not represent them. Indeed those that have profited for so long off of the broken backs of the poor are growing concerned.

Though some claimed the success of the demonstration was down to students listening to ‘impassioned speeches’ on the day most quickly grew tired of so called leaders talking for them and moved back to Millbank Tower to either watch or take part in the invasion. The NUS’ attempts to control the protest, and later their condemnation of the days actions, can only be seen as an attempt to fulfill their own political agenda. This agenda aims to channel anger back into a broken, hierarchical political system and as a result such organisations should be considered part of the problem.

In reaction to arrests and the following media hysteria, a campaign has been launched to support those involved. It is important at this point, to send a message that those willing to fight will be supported. Building networks and communities of solidarity are as an important part of the struggle as any other.

Scottish Trade Union Council anti-cuts protest

Saturday 23rd of October saw the Scottish Trade Union Council call an anti-cuts march which was attended by upwards of 20,000 people. This was one of the biggest protests Edinburgh has seen for a long time and saw a respectable Anarchist Bloc. Most encouraging of all it was not just made up of the “usual suspects” but saw thousands of people from very varying walks of life. As Edinburgh Anarchists put it :

” We even ended up chatting to the Prison Officers’ Association and Tayside Police Admin(!) How’s that for getting out of the anarchist ghetto?”

This is exactly what is needed to succesfully fight pubic spending cuts and find constructive ways to build our own alteratives. The ability of the Trade Union Council to attract this many people to come out onto the street was impressive and heartening for what often may seem like the decline in strength of trade union movement. lets hope this new found momentum translates into action and grass roots organisation. Whe banded together in defence of one another we are strong enough to resist this coup by the rich. We must fight for every job, every public amenity, every school, every park and anything else they will try to take from the people. It has been a long time since the working class have had a victory in this country, but remember that local community organisations and flat out refusal to co-oprate is what made the poll tax unworkable and eventually brought down Thatcher. By organising as unions, neighbourhood/community groups and anti-cuts networks we can win this . As put in the leaflets we handed out:

We need collective, grassroots responses to our hardships. As anarchists we want better lives for ourselves, our neighbours, our friends and our colleagues. There are alternatives to to a society forced on us by the rich, Let’s build them.”


Suffragette City

On 29th of September we attended and ran a stall the Suffragette City event at the tunnels. The event saw an interesting mix of activists and artists from in and around Aberdeen ranging from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign to Tripping up Trump. Even the Communist party of Great Britain turned up….

We had a lot of interest in our stall and gave away a lot of literature, for which we accepted donations. The night was very well organised and enjoyable. Importantly it also helped to build links between activists involved in often diverse causes.

Aberdeen Uni Occupation

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/8571868.stm

A group of around 100 hundred students marched in protest against proposed cuts in University funding today, then approx. 30-40 of us occupied part of the management building. We plan to stay there until the Principal signs our demands, which consist of guarantees that the University will fight to stop cuts and measures which will have a negative effect on both University workers and students.

The occupation continued through the night.

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