So, it’s been a while since I last found the time to write anything on this. Not a massive amount of time, only just over three weeks, but things are moving amazingly fast at the moment, so there’s an awful lot to catch up on. As before, I won’t even try to consider the amazing revolt spreading across the Middle East and North Africa, because there’s literally no way I could summarise it in any detail. (In passing, I’ll briefly note that this comment piece from South Africa is worth a read). Likewise, the protests in Wisconsin deserve far more attention that I can give them here: the occupation of the capitol, the sick-out that closed an entire school district, the spontaneous solidarity of doctors issuing sick notes to protect workers from disciplinary action, the moves towards a general strike, the international solidarity, and the way the protests have started spreading to other states have all been amazing. My belief in the potential for spontaneous revolt has certainly been strengthened by the way that, unlike Greece and France, these uprisings seem to be taking off in places where revolutionary politics don’t have much of an organised presence, although I still suspect that, as the initial momentum dies out and the union leaders and Democratic politicians try to restore stability, a large, well-organised group of people with a consistently radical analysis would be able to do a lot of good in opposing the bureaucrats’ arguments. Saying this is in no way intended to insult the good work of the Madison IWW, who seem to be the closest thing to that in the area, but I don’t think they’re large enough to have as much influence as I’d like.
Oh, and did I mention Greece? Things are still pretty wild in Greece as well.
But, while I can’t begin to cover the extent of what’s happening in Egypt, Libya and beyond, I can offer a quick round-up of the events in the UK I’ve found the most promising recently. Let’s see:
Aaron Porter chased again by militant students in Glasgow, and occupations spreading to Aberystwyth, Hull, Manchester and the LSE. Meanwhile, ex-Tory MP Archie Norman and union bureaucrat Brendon Barber were both given a hard time at Goldsmiths, an action made all the better by the fact that the protesters apparently got a lot of free wine out of it.
But perhaps the most remarkable feature is the spread of militant actions, sometimes even going as far as occupations, at town halls – Bristol, Southwark, Islington, Cambridge, Southampton, Leeds, Huddersfield, Lambeth (extensive set of pictures here) all deserve credit for their actions, and I’m sure we’ll see many more soon. Oh, and Nottingham Council workers are already on strike.
The next few weeks promise to be equally exciting, and the huge demo on March 26th is going to be a vital test of where things stand. I have to admit that I was initially very skeptical of the calls to occupy Hyde Park overnight – they sounded far too reminiscent of the utterly shit “Democracy Village” , and since nothing particularly important happens in Hyde Park on a Saturday night or even a Sunday morning anyway, I can’t see how our presence there would be that much skin off the government’s nose. But, having said that, I think it could be a decent piece of symbolism if it involved a genuinely massive crowd and not just the usual suspects, so if you know (m)any people who want to do something more than just marching around, listening to some speeches and then going home, but aren’t quite ready to do anything too scary, it might be worth suggesting the idea of trying to “do a Tahrir Square” in Hyde Park (or, better, Parliament Square) to them. However, I still believe that we have the potential to do so much more than that, so if you’re in contact with a reasonable-sized group of militants, I’d strongly advise getting together with everyone you trust and picking a target that’s not just symbolic, one the state and capital really can’t just leave you alone in, to try to hold on the day. As ever, the less obvious the better. No doubt, the police will defeat a lot of these attempts, but if there’s a decent number of splinter groups, they can’t stop them all, especially now that technology’s made it so much easier for us to have a decent idea of what’s going on where – anywhere that even a small group manages to hang on to can quickly become a major flashpoint. The only way we’ll stop the cuts is by making it totally impossible for the government to implement them, and I genuinely believe that we can do it.
EDIT: Oh, and in an indication of just how fast things are going, we can add the Royal Holloway occupiers and the protesters who’ve just disrupted a council meeting in York to the list of honour.