A few notable direct action victories recently:
Secondly, the always-inspirational Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty report how, after High Riggs jobcentre management called the police and shut a whole floor of the jobcentre down to stop an ECAP member accompanying a claimant to their interview, even going so far as to threaten to arrest the claimant on aggravated trespass charges just for going to their own interview, they responded with a mass action at the jobcentre on September 14th, which quickly got jobcentre management to back down and allow claimants their right to be accompanied. As ECAP activist Esther McDonald explained: “We hope that this action will mark a growing counter-power through which claimants can make it increasingly difficult for the DWP to impose sanctions, workfare and other attacks. Jobcentre management need to know that if they attack claimants, then we will take direct action to make jobcentres unworkable.
Solidarity and direct action from below is the way to fight against benefit cuts, against all austerity, and against the profit-driven capitalist society which produces these injustices. Our message to all bosses is this – If you exploit us, we will shut you down.”
Finally, the long-running and highly successful Seattle Solidarity Network were able to use international pressure to force apartment mangement company Greystar to return money stolen from tenants. There’s more on that story in this interview with It’s Going Down, a new site that’s highly recommended if you want to keep up with US news from an anarchist perspective.
In all three cases, well-chosen direct action was able to lead exploiters and bureaucrats to back down. These kinds of victories don’t take superheroes, just a little planning, organising and solidarity. I hope to have more similar stories to report soon.