Celebrate the Millbank rioters! (Or: Why even when I’m wrong it proves I’m right)

First of all, it needs to be said just how brilliant yesterday was. Sights like this:

The red and black flag flying above Tory HQ

make my little red and black heart swell with pride. A quick round-up of some of the best reports I’ve been able to find:

Leeds Class War

Indymedia’s coverage

Sympathetic coverage in the Guardian

Student defends direct action on the BBC

And there’s been a thread started for feedback and reflections on the subject on libcom.

And, as soon as I published this post, the AF wrote their report on the subject.

And now WAG as well.

Beyond that, what else is there to say? First of all, it’s vital that we need to defend everyone arrested, either yesterday or in the days to come. There’s been a unity statement issued in support of the rioters here, and they have a facebook page here. While the statement is obviously worth supporting, I would advise people to think carefully about what they want to attach their names to, given that it’s public and, thanks to the internet, will be publicly searchable for the foreseeable future. If you’re part of a group then I’d definitely recommend putting your group’s name to it, though. Beyond that, I’d recommend giving money towards their legal costs, sending letters and postcards to anyone who gets sent down for it, and so on. (Oh, this looks worth keeping an eye on.)

Also, although a lot of us (including myself) missed out on the fun, we can we all be part of creating the culture that makes events like yesterday’s possible. Whenever anyone tries to condemn them, it’s important to speak up and be clear about the simple fact that, when dealing with complete and utter bastards, asking nicely doesn’t work, taking what you want does. The media will try and depict this as the work of a tiny group of isolated extremists, but we should all make it clear that they represented a vast tide of public anger. Every time you speak up about how great yesterday was, it empowers other people to do the same and makes our opponents less confident that everyone agrees with them. If you’re at a university or college, you should be arguing for an occupation.

Also, it’s worth thinking a bit about the age issue. Like a lot of people, I’m of the age when the massive, failed, peaceful protest against the Iraq war was one of the defining events shaping my political experience. A lot of these kids won’t remember 2003. A lot of people will have been on their first ever demonstration. If they get the impression that that’s what protests are meant to be like, and try to emulate it in future, the next few years might get pretty interesting.

Thoughts for next time: It’s great that the Tories got trashed, but the Lib Dems and Labour (who, apart from anything else, brought fees in in the first place) got off too lightly. Now that the NUS have made it clear that they’re not on the same side as militant students, Aaron Porter’s office should be a target as well.

Finally, I’ll admit that I didn’t expect it. I didn’t plug it on here, and t0 my eternal regret I didn’t go to it myself. I don’t think anyone really expected it. It certainly looks like not even the police expected it (well, either that, or they just wanted to get back at the tories over spending cuts). As even BBC news admit, it wasn’t the cunning work of an anarchist conspiracy – looking at the pictures, this obviously wasn’t the black bloc at work. I actually find the fact that I so completely and utterly failed to guess what was going to happen very comforting. One of the major differences between (most) Marxists and anarchists centres on the usefulness of knowing lots of history and theory. Both will agree that they’re useful, but anarchists think that any one individual or party can only ever have a very limited understanding, and the changing course of events will always leave even the wisest leaders behind. Most Marxists, on the other hand, will ascribe all kinds of mystical powers to a correct understanding of “scientific socialism”, and use their superior knowledge to justify their authority. Yesterday demonstrated, once again, how little political experts know. A lot of people will tell you not to trust any leaders except themselves, but I can confidently say that, as a leader, I’d be as crap as anyone else. The youth who attacked the Tory HQ didn’t need guidance from any vanguard, they just charged ahead and left the self-proclaimed revolutionaries struggling to keep up.

About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
This entry was posted in Anarchists, Protests, Riots, Students, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome, Tories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Celebrate the Millbank rioters! (Or: Why even when I’m wrong it proves I’m right)

  1. Just Sayin' Like says:

    They got off lightly. If this had of been a true class struggle inspired riot, the TSG would have cracked skulls. Instead they held back through fear of battering one of their bosses ‘uppity / misguided / going through a phase*’ kids. Wait til the cuts really bite and Toxteth et al goes up, then you’ll see the real police response.

    *delete as applicable.

  2. Just Sayin' Like says:

    PS, like the blog. Quality.

  3. Aye, the police reaction was weird. Not really sure how far it was just them really not knowing what to do and how far they were deliberately trying to get lots of tabloid headlines about “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T LET THE COPS JUST BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYONE IN SIGHT!” Not 100% sure what I think about the background of protesters – yeah, it was definitely a bit more well-heeled than, say, if the march was about the cuts to housing benefit or JSA (I really hope the dolies will get their chance to kick off before this is over), but it sounds like there was a lot of 6th formers there protesting about EMA getting cut, and 6th form’s hardly some elite institution.
    And thanks!

  4. Just Sayin' Like says:

    Fair points. I’m pretty sure though that the cops were reacting to their slightly better heeled ‘audience’ on this occassion. That’s not to take anything away from the militant students etc though, all power to their elbows! The Red & Black was hoisted over Millbank after all! Right next door to MI5 no less!


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