We can’t win by playing their games.

So, the Olympics are well underway, and there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of opposition to them. There was the Critical Mass that turned into a mass arrest last Friday, and then the Counter Olympics demo on Saturday which sounds like it was a bit of a non-event (see the Thurrock Heckler for some interesting reports on the demo, including one from a steward), and… that seems to be pretty much it. I’m aware that my perspective on this stuff is necessarily skewed by the fact that I don’t live in London, but in my opinion, the lack of anti-Olympic events doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. There’s certainly no possibility that anything we could do might actually disrupt the spectacle in any serious way, so any anti-Olympic stuff that happens would be pretty much doomed to failure, and I suspect it’d actually play into the government’s hands. When you’ve spent that much money on security, you need some kind of threat to justify it, and the Royal Wedding last year showed how a certain kind of “anarchist plot” fits perfectly into the story the media and state want to tell. As I’ve argued before, when our enemies spend a great deal of time and effort trying to get everyone to focus their attention on something, the best thing to do is to ignore it as much as possible, not join in with drawing attention to it.
Having said all that, I’m glad that the Counter-Olympic demo went ahead last weekend. This stuff must be a lot harder to ignore if it’s happening right in your face, and, as much as we might not want to admit it, sometimes political activity isn’t about winning anything, or seriously disrupting anything; sometimes it’s just about hanging onto your sanity and humanity. I can see why, if you lived in London, it might have been important to go on the demo, not in the hope of achieving anything, but just to remind yourself that you’re not alone, that the whole world isn’t in love with Boris Johnson and Sebastian Coe. But I’m not sure there’s much practical use to anti-Olympics protests beyond that, and so, despite my general support for things kicking off, I’m quite glad that it stayed peaceful: there could only ever be one winner in a fight between protestors and the Olympic Police State. The fallout from that bike ride already means that there’s people banned from going into Newham with a bicycle; I can’t see anything good coming from more people getting themselves arrested and prosecuted over this bullshit.
The left and the anarchist movement both have a tendency to focus on Big Days Out. Whether it’s the standard leftist calendar of One-Day Strike/wait a few months/Big A-to-B March/wait a few months/One-Day Strike, or the more activisty one based around trying to disrupt our rulers’ conferences and summits, they both tend to involve putting a lot of work into building up to specific events, often ones you have to travel to, and then taking extended breaks because you’ve been working so hard for this big event – or, in the direct action activist version, end up putting a lot of work into supporting the people who got arrested. I don’t think these kinds of Big Days have anything much to contribute to the long, slow, and frequently dull task of trying to build links with the people around you and get to the point where you can take effective action around things that affect your life. The more we ignore Royal Weddings, Jubilees, Olympic Games and all the other distractions we’re offered, the more we can get on with setting our own agenda, and deciding for ourselves what we think is important.
Closing notes: talking of things that I think are important, the attempt by three tenants to get their money back from Victorstone Property Consultants seems worth paying attention to and supporting. If you live in or near London, and think Freedom Press is worth saving, you might want to get yourself to this meeting on Sunday 12th. I was going to include a plug for the next Remploy strike here, but apparently the unions have called it off in favour of more lobbying. In case anyone in North America is reading this, having just spent a long time arguing against Big Days Out, I’m now going to completely contradict myself by endorsing this call for people to get to Montreal to support student picket lines when the schools re-open on Monday August 13th. That shit is gonna be important. Finally, latest from the crackdown on anarchists in the Pacific Northwest; two of those subpoenaed to the Grand Jury released an awesome statement on why they’re not co-operating, and the one person who appeared in court yesterday was released and ordered to come back at the end of the month after refusing to give any information other than her name. Everyone else didn’t show up for court, haven’t been officially served yet, or have been given a different date. The first Grand Jury date has passed, and nobody talked. Keep an eye on http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/ and http://saynothing.noblogs.org/ for more information on the case as it develops.

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 Activism, Anarchists, Protests, Repression, The left and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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