Saturday’s TUC march excellent and undoubtedly historic. After a bit though of walking I decided to head down to Oxford Circus to see what was going on.
There, I took part in a UKuncut action against Dorothy Perkins (owned by tax avoider Philip Green) – we all sat down peacefully at the entrance on Oxford Circus. A police chief threatened us with arrest for not letting customers out of the store, but we made space for them to leave. He also didn’t seem to have an identification number (when this was pointed out to him he abruptly left and didn’t carry out the threat).
That aside, I also saw ‘Black bloc’ kids walking up and down Oxford Circus with their black/red flags. There were also some people with the ‘global revolution’ flags and some Communist Party flags. It was people from these groups that were earlier seen throwing paint bombs at TopShop, and later burning the big paper Trojan Horse. That’s for a bit of context for those who didn’t attend.
Anyway, one of those ‘revolutionaries’ has written this cliche-ridden piece of hilarity for Guardian CIF, with gems such as: “To try to make distinctions between a “peaceful” and a “violent” protester is inherently flawed” – yeah Mahatma Gandhi, Dalai Lama and MLK jnr, you hear that? You lot were just middle-of-the-road half-assed revolutionaries who didn’t understand the need for violence! You failed with your silly preference for non-violent protest!
I find this bit of guff amusing too:
Something out of the ordinary is happening – parts of Britain aren’t bothering to be so polite anymore. Sometimes, to make your voice heard, you have to speak softly and carry a big stick.
That’s right – there was never any violence at protests before in the UK. Suddenly people getting angry now. This is all new if you’re 15, with a sense of history that stretches as many years, perhaps.
But here is the main point:
The point is to maintain a momentum, a united show of resistance, against a spectre that shadows us all.
That is perhaps the best illustration of how muddled how many people are. The black bloc crew and other anarchist grouups intent on ‘smashing the state’ have nothing in common with the public sector workers there who wanted the government to maintain spending. In that sense, the marchers have more in common with centre-right Tories than they do with this gaggle of libertarian-communists, anarchist and other assorted groups.
Its not just that, as Medhi Hasan points out, they don’t understand ‘solidarity’, it’s actually very unclear what solidarity means in this context. Do they really believe the fire-fighters, nurses, teachers etc marching that day share their goals? I highly doubt it.
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