March For The Alternative: Part 2 (Or “Hey, How ’bout That Social Upheaval?)

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Anecdotes, Current affairs
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you’ve been following the news the last 48 hours then you are familiar with the London protest that went on on Saturday. Likewise if you have been paying attention then you may have a somewhat skewed account of the whole march. Although I was there I didn’t witness the full scale riots that went on so I’m not here to dispute what actually happened.

What I will say is that regardless of the small minority of the 250,000 protesters (minimum!) that day the actions of some of the anarchists shouldn’t necessarily be tutted at. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with what they did and I know that many of the peaceful marchers disapproved of the violence. Not to mention the media completely missing the point of the whole thing. But I think what needs to be addressed is not what they did to banks and shop windows, but why they did it. Why are these people angry in the first place? If you answer that, or at least look into it, then we come full circle and put focus back on the whole point of Saturday.

And to reiterate the point: the whole demonstration was designed to be a wakeup call to the government for the cut backs that have been proposed to public services (not private or wealthy services – work that one out!). Our aim was to send a message and that message was quite simply: “Mr. Cameron, you are a very naughty man.” And variations of the sort…with the word “fuck” used generously.

Now, some of you may be thinking: “Well, some people are just violent bastards there to instigate riots and trouble.” Again, I won’t dispute that claim. However, have you ever heard of agent provocateurs? Essentially they’re undercover police officials, or members of the public they’ve hired, to mingle with protest marches for the sole purpose of starting a riot. Why, you ask? My understanding is that this then gives the police ‘just cause’ to arrest marchers.

“But, wouldn’t they just arrest the rioters and not the peaceful folk?” You may say. But look at it from a logical standpoint: can you really see the police only catching the violent ones? In a march that involves hundreds of thousands of people can you really say for certain that innocent people won’t be arrested/beaten, whether by accident or design? Can you also say that carpet bombing a supposed terrorist nation won’t kill innocent civilians as well? We know that happens.

If Egypt can do it, so can we...

Obviously I have no evidence of this happening on the London march but this link does report on how police have admitted in the past to using undercover agents for this express purpose. So I can’t say for certain that the anarchists I saw were informants but what rouse my suspicion (because I’d heard of this tactic before I joined the march) was that roughly two hours into the protest I noticed that uniformed police where pulling back the barrier of one particular road that was blocked off and letting just regular people through.

Now, these weren’t members of the press. They didn’t have badges or cameras about their person. They were just teenagers, regular people no older than say eighteen or nineteen. Why were the police letting these people merge into the crowd from an empty street when that entire area was blocked off from everybody else? This might sound like conspiracy nonsense but like I said, the police have admitted to using provocateurs in the past. That’s all I’m saying.

But that aside (see, even I’m now distracted by the riots), it felt uplifting being part of something that big. It was, after all, the biggest protest this country has seen in the last eight years – the last one being against the Iraq war. If you only take one thing away from this post it’s this: remember why we were marching. What’s made us so angry that over a quarter of a million people mobbed the streets of London for an entire day? I hope the march did some damage to the government’s reputation and that the upcoming general strikes will be just another taste of things to come.

And I know I promised some funny stuff in my last post but I sort of lied and got side tracked by more important things. Now go comrades! Go forth and be pissed off!

UPDATE: Just been shown this link, which has a very interesting take on the Fortnum & Mason ‘violence’…

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