Fair-minded people are against “disproportionate”, “provocative”, or “brutal” policing; and presumably in favour of a polite push and shove. This is an appealing message (and it may make sense to accentuate it to the cameras), but is more or less a fiction. Of course, there are incidents here and there where we can say that particular police could have been less brutal. But if the direct action we defend has any content at all, it must mean we supported, and support, concrete attempts to stop the law being passed, up to, including, and beyond the invasion of parliament – and we are in support of people trying as hard as possible to do that. And it is a fiction that the police could have tolerated that, or that preventing it could ever have been done gently. If it could have been, we wouldn’t have really been trying. If the police hadn’t been at parliament square last night, and if they hadn’t been prepared to act brutally, parliament would have been stormed, and legislation to triple top-up fees and abolish EMA would not have been passed. The brutality of the police is not incidental to the nature of the state, it is essential to it.
So you have to pick: the state, and horse charges against children who object to having their pockets robbed; or against the state (which means: against capitalism, for social revolution); and against the police too; brutal or otherwise. Polite fudges are polite – but more or less part of the continuous stream of liquid nonsense which constitutes the news media.
Next time, we should bring masks to give out. Just like on the Gaza demos in 2009, too many young people are going to get arrested because their faces appear on police footage – and in the photographs of the numerous “independent” photojournalists who sell images to the right-wing press, many of whom should arguably be looked on as police evidence gatherers.
Someone has to say it: mass violence against the police is necessary as part of any social struggle. We wish it wasn’t but it is. The reason is simple: the police defend the state unconditionally, the state defends capital unconditionally, and capital attacks us without remorse – or even a second thought. Reasonable liberals yearn for a compromise: but the state isn’t listening. Neither should protestors.
When Charles and Camilla were ambushed, or a fence was thrown at police, or a crowd broke the thin blue line: those were good things, and we support the people doing it. They are by no means sufficient, nor are they particularly helpful as isolated acts. What is important is that they establish the movement on new terrain. They represent the conscious willingness to defy and confront state authority, and state power. And that is the beginning of everything hopeful.
No further comment necessary.