Thursday, 6 January 2011

Upcoming events and a picket line playlist

It appears that the next few months will be a busy time for me. Of course, the campaign against austerity will be heating up as the cuts begin to bite, and there will be meetings, marches, and protests galore. Hopefully, also, a continuation of the direct action campaign that saw out 2010.

Events worth noting include the launch of "Network X" on 15th January. This is important in that it is the first explicit callout for "all organisations and people who value autonomy, decentralised organisation, and opposing oppression in all forms." Building upon the leaderless, grassroots-based nature of previous protests, this could potentially be the spur needed to ensure that control over the form and direction of resistance is determined by rank-and-file workers and activists, rather than bureaucrats, leaders and vanguards.

Also coming up, on the 29th January there will be a national demonstration against fees and cuts in London, and a concurrent one in Manchester, called by the PCS Young Members Network. Whilst on the anti-fascism side of things, there will be opposition to the EDL in Luton on the 5th February, which has received support from student groups for the fascists' support of police tactics against left-wing demonstrators.

And, of course, on March 26th there is the TUC national demonstration in London. This could go a number of ways depending on the militancy of the crowd and the willingness of the TUC stewards to do the police's job for them. But there is certainly radical potential there - from the rank-and-file if not the organisers.

More pressingly, and punctuating the run-up to the TUC demo, my workplace will have picket lines for eleven straight Saturdays.

There is an ongoing overtime ban, due to a dispute over the use of overtime to mask the effect of job cuts, and the scabs will be queuing up to gain their 30 pieces of silver for selling out their colleagues and literally working away their jobs. A point that will no doubt be lost as they gloat about their inflated paychecks just before the storm hits.

I will save my anger and frustration towards and over scabs for elsewhere, however. Here, for want of a picket-ready stereo system, I offer some selections from my picket line playlist;

If the slogan is true, and an ounce of action is worth a ton of theory, then this year has the potential to be truly explosive. Given what awaits us otherwise, I certainly hope so.