Some thoughts on #OccupyLSX #occupyLondon

I was initially really excited about the Occupations in the USA spreading, there was great potential and I am still really hopeful that the higher level aims are further developed and my fears are unfounded.

The problem is with #OccupyWS and with #OccupyLSX is that they both appear to lack a coherent message and any tactical thought outside of their respective occupations. There are hundreds of individual voices, all have their own set of principles and ideas on how the post occupation landscape should look. So what we currently have is a whole bunch of people disagreeing on most points.

Some people believe that capitalism can be reformed, some people are pro-state but anti tory. Some people are anti-state and anti-capitalist. To my surprise some are even anti-semites… Some are pro-tax, some are anti-money. There are anarchists and what even seems like borderline fascists and then we have the conspiracy nutters (which seem to be rife).

Noone seems to be able to agree on what the message actually is…

One thing is certain is that I don’t feel part of the “99%” and nor do 99% of the 99% of working class people it would seem. 

For me I feel that the 99% and Occupy movements are trying to work too much within the confines of comfortable acceptable protest, they feel they need to satisfy the media and in turn “the public”.

Phil Dickens blog Truth Liberty and Reason recently posted a rather apt quote from Martyn Everett’s introduction to the 1988 Phoenix Press edition of Anarcho-syndicalism by Rudolph Rocker;

Historically the oppressed and the disaffected have rallied to the standard of socialism because of its oppositional position within capitalism - an oppositional position which provides the appearance of a radicalism it did not possess. During periods of revolutionary potential, however, people see opportunities to go beyond attempts to ameliorate capitalism, and to instead abolish it altogether. It is important to realise, however, that this is not usually an apocalyptic conversion into revolutionary activity, but is an emerging process involving continual, but unsuccessful attempts to reconstruct a movement of socialist opposition, find new forms of organisation and activity as well as new forms of protest and expression. New movements appear, representing the interests of groups which have not previously confronted capital, and so lack the burden of tradition and the “password” phraseology of socialism, but which nonetheless possess greater potential for revolution. New ideas and new forms of organisation flourish.

The naivety of some of the individuals involved in these protests is worrying, the belief that capitalism can be changed to suit the needs of all is to ignore the nature of capitalism.

People often refer to the system as “broken” but in fact its working perfectly. It was never designed to cater fully for anyone other than the tiny percentile. Capitalism withholds the means of production from the workers. THAT’S HOW IT WORKS. Anything short of this is not capitalism…

Sure the goal posts of capitalism can be changed slightly and more crumbs can fall from the table, but ultimately the crumbs that might reach us still never reach other exploited lands and our struggle needs to encompass the struggle of people everywhere and not just in our communities. 

Divide and rule.

My personal struggle has simply ideological aims, scrap capitalism, scrap the state and work to remove societal power systems that would see any person holding power over another (I won’t go further into this here). Work towards a society based on mutual aid and respect of one another. Take the power and resources from the state and bring it to the individual and to the community.

I believe we can bring about real empowering change if we accept first that the struggles we face are diverse and the battlefield we fight on changes constantly, the state and corporations can and will adapt quickly to meet and quash resistance movements. 

For this reason we need to use a multitude of tactics to take power from the top, we need to encompass every level of activism and accept that individuals like to engage on different levels. Some are willing to risk full on assault on our enemies some are pacifist.

We should respect the diversity of our struggles and see this as something which binds us and not divides us. A movement of non-violent and violent direct action, sabotage, protest, community activism, confrontation of power and counter-culture. We need not worry about the reactions of the media we will build our own. We need not worry about where our food comes from we will take back the means to produce our own crops.

If we can all agree on one thing, it should be that we don’t know that much about each others lives and we shouldn’t presume to know each others struggles. Our diversity allows us adapt quickly where as the state has relatively rigid confines to how they react to us.

People say “NO VIOLENCE”, “we don’t want to give the media a reason to be against us”. Forgetting that the media are corporations which falsely portray public opinion. They are corporations who are sidelined on government exclusive stories if they don’t reify state propaganda. Their “impartiality” is tertiary to sales and power. If you don’t wish to engage in property damage or self defence from police then simply don’t. But do not try to prevent others from taking action because you step then into the jackboots of the state. 

Anarchists.

Yes the state will use provocateurs, yes they will spy on us and force social networks to hand over information.  However, the continual use of the word “anarchist” as a derogatory term without any understanding of its meaning. In short is used to blanket describe those who break the law on protests and in term accuse them of being agent provocateurs.

This attitude towards anarchists and other activists who fight against capitalism and the state and have in many cases had much more experience organising actions shows a total lack of solidarity within the movement. Even going as far as to say anyone who is black bloc should be photographed and handed over to the police. This is TOTALLY unacceptable.

I believe that we would be much better equipped for large scale occupations in the capital and other major cities with prior local organisation and for groups rather than individuals to reach consensus on their standpoint before large scale actions this saves vital time in a volatile changing battlefield.

Let’s not forget other battles which go on outside of the more popular actions like #OccupyLSX get involved locally. Strike, protest, attack!

This isn’t going to happen overnight, It is all there for the taking, we just need to all take one step forward at a time.

(A)

Twelve Myths About Direct Action

Direct action—that is, any kind of action that bypasses established political channels to accomplish objectives directly—has a long and rich heritage in North America, extending back to the Boston Tea Party and beyond. Despite this, there are many misunderstandings about it, in part due to the ways it has been misrepresented in the corporate media.

1. Direct action is terrorism.

Terrorism is calculated to intimidate and thus paralyze people. Direct action, on the other hand, is intended to inspire and thus motivate people by demonstrating the power individuals have to accomplish goals themselves. While terrorism is the domain of a specialized class that seeks to acquire power for itself alone, direct action demonstrates possibilities that others can make use of, empowering people to take control of their own lives. At most, a given direct action may obstruct the activities of a corporation or institution that activists perceive to be committing an injustice, but this is simply a form of civil disobedience, not terrorism.

2. Direct action is violent.

To say that it is violent to destroy the machinery of a slaughterhouse or to break windows belonging to a party that promotes war is to prioritize property over human and animal life. This objection subtly validates violence against living creatures by focusing all attention on property rights and away from more fundamental issues.

3. Direct action is not political expression, but criminal activity.

Unfortunately, whether or not an action is illegal is a poor measure of whether or not it is just. The Jim Crow laws were, after all, laws. To object to an action on the grounds that it is illegal is to sidestep the more important question of whether or not it is ethical. To argue that we must always obey laws, even when we consider them to be unethical or to enforce unethical conditions, is to suggest that the arbitrary pronouncements of the legal establishment possess a higher moral authority than our own consciences, and to demand complicity in the face of injustice. When laws protect injustice, illegal activity is no vice, and law-abiding docility is no virtue.

4. Direct action is unnecessary where people have freedom of speech.

In a society dominated by an increasingly narrowly focused corporate media, it can be almost impossible to initiate a public dialogue on a subject unless something occurs that brings attention to it. Under such conditions, direct action can be a means of nurturing free speech, not squelching it. Likewise, when people who would otherwise oppose an injustice have accepted that it is inevitable, it is not enough simply to talk about it: one must demonstrate that it is possible to do something about it.

5. Direct action is alienating.

On the contrary, many people who find traditional party politics alienating are inspired and motivated by direct action. Different people find different approaches fulfilling; a movement that is to be broad-based must include a wide range of options. Sometimes people who share the goals of those who practice direct action while objecting to their means spend all their energy decrying an action that has been carried out. In doing so, they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory: they would do better to seize the opportunity to focus all attention on the issues raised by the action.

6. People who practice direct action should work through the established political channels instead.

Many people who practice direct action also work within the system. A commitment to making use of every institutional means of solving problems does not necessarily preclude an equal commitment to picking up where such means leave off.

7. Direct action is exclusive.

Some forms of direct action are not open to all, but this does not necessarily mean they are without worth. Everyone has different preferences and capabilities, and should be free to act according to them. The important question is how the differing approaches of individuals and groups that share the same long-term goals can be integrated in such a way that they complement each other.

8. Direct action is cowardly.

This accusation is almost always made by those who have the privilege of speaking and acting in public without fearing repercussions: that is to say, those who have power in this society, and those who obediently accept their power. Should the heroes of the French Resistance have demonstrated their courage and accountability by acting against the Nazi occupying army in the full light of day, thus dooming themselves to defeat? For that matter, in a nation increasingly terrorized by police and federal surveillance of just about everyone, is it any wonder that those who express dissent might want to protect their privacy while doing so?

9. Direct action is practiced only by college students/privileged rich kids/desperate poor people/etc.

This allegation is almost always made without reference to concrete facts, as a smear. In fact, direct action is and long has been practiced in a variety of forms by people of all walks of life. The only possible exception to this would be members of the wealthiest and most powerful classes, who have no need to practice any kind of illegal or controversial action because, as if by coincidence, the established political channels are perfectly suited to their needs.

10. Direct action is the work of agents provocateurs.

This is another speculation generally made from a distance, without concrete evidence. To allege that direct action is always the work of police agent provocateurs is disempowering: it rules out the possibility that activists could do such things themselves, overestimating the powers of police intelligence and reinforcing the illusion that the State is omnipotent. Likewise, it preemptively dismisses the value and reality of a diversity of tactics. When people feel entitled to make unfounded claims that every tactic of which they disapprove is a police provocation, this obstructs the very possibility of constructive dialogue about appropriate tactics.

11. Direct action is dangerous and can have negative repercussions for others.

Direct action can be dangerous in a repressive political climate, and it is important that those who practice it make every effort not to endanger others. This is not necessarily an objection to it, however—on the contrary, when it becomes dangerous to act outside established political channels, it becomes all the more important to do so. Authorities may use direct actions as excuses to terrorize innocents, as Hitler did when the Reichstag was set afire, but those in power are the ones who must answer for the injustices they commit in so doing, not those who oppose them. Likewise, though people who practice direct action may indeed run risks, in the face of an insufferable injustice it can be more dangerous and irresponsible to leave it uncontested.

12. Direct action never accomplishes anything.

Every effective political movement throughout history, from the struggle for the eight hour workday to the fight for women’s suffrage, has made use of some form of direct action. Direct action can complement other forms of political activity in a variety of ways. If nothing else, it highlights the necessity for institutional reforms, giving those who push for them more bargaining chips; but it can go beyond this supporting role to suggest the possibility of an entirely different organization of human life, in which power is distributed equally and all people have an equal and direct say in all matters that affect them.

(Source: crimethinc.com)

Solidarity with protesters today! A few tips for those about to riot.

This is all just reposted information I found and is readily available on the net and is for information purposes only…

Here is a nice scientific guide on how to break the kettle!

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/11/468971.html

Remember to wrap up warm and take lots of high calorie foods with you and plenty of fluids. Wear shinpads if you are down the front to protect you from sly cop shinkicks.

Don’t be a fucking coward, don’t throw missiles from the back of the crowd you could injure one of your own, get forward do your dance then retreat, get down low try and change your appearance then pop up in another area of the protest.

If they throw from the back, give em a smack.

Loads for really useful legal advice for protesters can be found here… 

http://www.freebeagles.org/

Other useful reading for those wanting to organise and prepare for effective protest…

Guide To Public Order Situations, updated January 2010 

Delia Smiths Blockading For Beginners

Direct Action - A Handbook (look for newer edition called The Handbook of Direct Action) 

Bodyhammer: Tactics and self-defence for the modern protester 

Tech Tools for Activist

Legal resources for revolting people…

Loads for really useful legal advice for protesters can be found here… http://www.freebeagles.org/

Other useful reading for those wanting to organise and prepare for effective protest…

Guide To Public Order Situations, updated January 2010 
http://www.wombles.org.uk/article2010015807.php

Delia Smiths Blockading For Beginner 
http://www.schnews.org.uk/diyguide/blockadingforbegineers.pdf

Direct Action - A Handbook (look for newer edition called The Handbook of Direct Action) 
http://networkforclimateaction.org.uk/toolkit/action_resources/direct_action_a_handbook.pdf

Bodyhammer: Tactics and self-defence for the modern protester 
http://www.wombles.org.uk/article2008041819.php

Tech Tools for Activist 
https://london.indymedia.org/system/file_upload/2010/10/12/281/2010_10_10_hacktionlab_guide_laid_out.pdf

Read, print out, share… be prepared for Day X 2

12 Myths About Direct Action

Contains some Americanisms but you get the point…

Ripped off from Crimthinc

Direct action is terrorism

Terrorism is calculated to intimidate and thus paralyze people. Direct action, on the other hand, is intended to inspire and thus motivate people by demonstrating the power individuals have to accomplish goals themselves. While terrorism is the domain of a specialized class that seeks to acquire power for itself alone, direct action demonstrates possibilities that others can make use of, empowering people to take control of their own lives. At most, a given direct action may obstruct the activities of a corporation or institution that activists perceive to be committing an injustice, but this is simply a form of civil disobedience, not terrorism.

Direct action is violent

To say that it is violent to destroy the machinery of a slaughterhouse or to break windows belonging to a party that promotes war is to prioritize property over human and animal life. This objection subtly validates violence against living creatures by focusing all attention on property rights and away from more fundamental issues.

Direct action is not political expression, but criminal activity

Unfortunately, whether or not an action is illegal is a poor measure of whether or not it is just. The Jim Crow laws were, after all, laws. To object to an action on the grounds that it is illegal is to sidestep the more important question of whether or not it is ethical. To argue that we must always obey laws, even when we consider them to be unethical or to enforce unethical conditions, is to suggest that the arbitrary pronouncements of the legal establishment possess a higher moral authority than our own consciences, and to demand complicity in the face of injustice. When laws protect injustice, illegal activity is no vice, and law-abiding docility is no virtue.

Direct action is unnecessary wh ere people ha ve freedom of speech

In a society dominated by an increasingly narrowly focused corporate media, it can be almost impossible to initiate a public dialogue on a subject unless something occurs that brings attention to it. Under such conditions, direct action can be a means of nurturing free speech, not squelching it. Likewise, when people who would otherwise oppose an injustice have accepted that it is inevitable, it is not enough simply to talk about it: one must demonstrate that it is possible to do something about it.

Direct action is alienating

On the contrary, many people who find traditional party politics alienating are inspired and motivated by direct action. Different people find different approaches fulfilling; a movement that is to be broad-based must include a wide range of options. Sometimes people who share the goals of those who practice direct action while objecting to their means spend all their energy decrying an action that has been carried out. In doing so, they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory: they would do better to seize the opportunity to focus all attention on the issues raised by the action.

People who practice direct action should work through the established political channels instead

Many people who practice direct action also work within the system. A commitment to making use of every institutional means of solving problems does not necessarily preclude an equal commitment to picking up where such means leave off.

Direct action is exclusive

Some forms of direct action are not open to all, but this does not necessarily mean they are without worth. Everyone has different preferences and capabilities, and should be free to act according to them. The important question is how the differing approaches of individuals and groups that share the same long-term goals can be integrated in such a way that they complement each other.

Direct action is cowawardly

This accusation is almost always made by those who have the privilege of speaking and acting in public without fearing repercussions: that is to say, those who have power in this society, and those who obediently accept their power. Should the heroes of the French Resistance have demonstrated their courage and accountability by acting against the Nazi occupying army in the full light of day, thus dooming themselves to defeat? For that matter, in a nation increasingly terrorized by police and federal surveillance of just about everyone, is it any wonder that those who express dissent might want to protect their privacy while doing so?

Direct action is practiced only by college students/privileged rich kids/desperate poor people/etc

This allegation is almost always made without reference to concrete facts, as a smear. In fact, direct action is and long has been practiced in a variety of forms by people of all walks of life. The only possible exception to this would be members of the wealthiest and most powerful classes, who have no need to practice any kind of illegal or controversial action because, as if by coincidence, the established political channels are perfectly suited to their needs.

Direct action is the work of agent provocateurs

This is another speculation generally made from a distance, without concrete evidence. To allege that direct action is always the work of police agent provocateurs is disempowering: it rules out the possibility that activists could do such things themselves, overestimating the powers of police intelligence and reinforcing the illusion that the State is omnipotent. Likewise, it preemptively dismisses the value and reality of a diversity of tactics. When people feel entitled to make unfounded claims that every tactic of which they disapprove is a police provocation, this obstructs the very possibility of constructive dialogue about appropriate tactics.

Direct action is dangerous and can have negative repercussions for others

Direct action can be dangerous in a repressive political climate, and it is important that those who practice it make every effort not to endanger others. This is not necessarily an objection to it, however—on the contrary, when it becomes dangerous to act outside established political channels, it becomes all the more important to do so. Authorities may use direct actions as excuses to terrorize innocents, as Hitler did when the Reichstag was set afire, but those in power are the ones who must answer for the injustices they commit in so doing, not those who oppose them. Likewise, though people who practice direct action may indeed run risks, in the face of an insufferable injustice it can be more dangerous and irresponsible to leave it uncontested.

Direct action never accomplishes anything

Every effective political movement throughout history, from the struggle for the eight hour workday to the fight for women’s suffrage, has made use of some form of direct action. Direct action can complement other forms of political activity in a variety of ways. If nothing else, it highlights the necessity for institutional reforms, giving those who push for them more bargaining chips; but it can go beyond this supporting role to suggest the possibility of an entirely different organization of human life, in which power is distributed equally and all people have an equal and direct say in all matters that affect them.

Is democracy destroying this country?

Western countries are always very quick to champion democracy as one of the proud achievements of modern civilisation, giving people power to choose whom they want to run the country.

“If you don’t vote you don’t have a say” is something my dad says to me virtually every time we see each other.

I will argue voting is actually the opposite of having your say. You don’t need a voice to put a tick in a box you just need a pen… The government will tell us that it is being part of the political process but the reality is something quite different.

In truth it exonerates us from responsibilities to our communities and offers us enough satisfaction to know that we have taken part in the democratic process of voting for who we think will govern best without posing the question: Do we need to be governed at all?

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