So, it seems my previous round-up of the day’s events was a wee bit too optimistic, missing as it did the mass arrest right at the end of the day. Oops. That’s the danger of trying to write things up too quickly. I’d still argue that, despite this, the day should be seen as a success overall (hell, the fact that anyone bothered leaving their houses in that much snow is already impressive, anything beyond that’s pretty much a bonus), but it’s clearly not an unqualified one. The gloves are definitely off.
For those of us who’ve experienced police brutality before, whether your memory goes back as far as G20 or the 60s, it should be clear that this kind of shit is not an isolated incident, it’s just the police doing their job. Campaigning for the police to stop doing this is about as much use as voting Lib Dem (or Labour) – they can’t stop doing this permanently, only briefly as a tactical concession, and even that’s very unlikely for the foreseeable future. You can’t get rid of repressive police tactics unless you get rid of the police. Rather than feigning shock and making liberal demands for the police to behave better, we need to be making this case to those around us, whether they’re already involved in the protests, the parents of those who are involved, or just watching from the sidelines. We don’t want a reformed police force any more than we want to be represented by a different set of politicians. This may sound utopian, but it is the case that there’s already a growing anti-parliamentary revolt, so it doesn’t seem too unrealistic to hope that it’ll turn into an outright rejection of the capitalist state as a whole. (Speaking of futile attempts to channel and contain the movement, Truth, Reason & Liberty reports that Aaron Porter’s already backtracking on his backtracking.)
In other news, Camden’s (Labour) council are having their budget-slashing meeting tonight. It’s probably the case that Lewisham was a “Millbank moment”, and that all town hall/council chamber protests from now on will have a much harder time of it; but it’s also the case that, ultimately, we are many, they are few. These evening protests are currently the best way for workers to get involved in the growing revolt, so let’s get stuck in.