Sunday, 6 March 2011

Anarchists in "doing much the same as everyone else" shocker

There has always been and will continue to be a steady stream of bullshit about "anarchists" in the mainstream media. See the website Anarchy in the News for some choice selections. And it is fruitless, if not maddening, to try and address it all. However, occasionally it's good for light entertainment.

Take this article in last Wednesday's Evening Standard about the march on 26th March;
More than 200,000 people are expected for the annual rally but senior officers fear that anarchists and troublemakers are plotting to infiltrate the event.
We'll leave aside the fact that this is a demonstration against the cuts specifically called for 2011 rather than any kind of "annual rally." We'll give Crime Editor Justin Davenport the benefit of the doubt, as he's hardly alone in lacking basic researching skills. Most of the press comprises copy-and-pasted press releases anyway.

But the real question is how are we going to "infiltrate" the march? I'm guessing you don't have to be James Bond to muscle into a public event, open to all trade unions, community groups, and individuals who oppose the cuts. By the same token, I could very well claim to have "breached the perimeters" of my parents' house last week when I went round for a visit and asked my dad to cut my hair. But then, I'm neither a "kettling manager" nor a "crime editor," so what do I know?

The next howler is this;
Anarchists say they will bus people to the event on March 26.
Wow. So, not content with going to an event open to the public, we now have the gall to use the same methods as other groups getting down there? The cheek of it.

Good to see, then, that the Met are on the ball. They have "early intelligence" that "troublemakers" (i.e. those of us who realise that peaceful, passive protest changes nothing) are planning to "move in." Which means they are at least capable of surfing the web and reading public articles and websites. Good for them. Who said there were problems with literacy in this country?

Although these specific quotes appeared in the Evening Standard, they are far from unique in the media coverage of this and other events. And, though I'm taking the piss, the problem is that many people will read these lines in all seriousness, believing the narrative of the police and the ruling class. That is, that anarchists are troublemakers, and that protest against those in power is only acceptable if you work in partnership with those you apparently oppose to ensure nothing at all happens as a result of your demonstration.

So here's the reality. Yes, anarchists are planning to mobilise for March 26th. We'll use buses, trains, and maybe even cars to get there. But we're infiltrating nothing. Some of us are in unions, some of us aren't. Most of us are involved in community and protest campaigns of some sort. All of us are part of the same working class that is under attack from the forces of state and capital.

And yes, we believe direct action and mass resistance to be the most effective way of countering that. But we're not bogeymen, nor a band of marauders. We're just ordinary people - long fed up of being passive as we're fucked over. As you ought to be.