NATIONAL STUDENT DAY OF DIRECT ACTION NOV.24th

“A civil man fights with his mouth not his fists.”

And a civil servant fucks with his pen! Civility is often a luxury only afforded by the oppressor. Clam, Smeg & Deadwood-Smith have all been marvellously ‘civil’ as they’ve shafted the most vulnerable people in society.

Here I end the round up with four more accounts from The Demolition Demo that took the Tory HQ 10 11 2010

As grassroots student groups said that they were drawing up plans for a national day of action in two weeks’ time. Michael Chessum, co-founder of the National Campaign Against the Cuts, predicted widespread disruption as students staged sit-ins, occupations or walkouts at universities and further education colleges on 24 November.

The media condemns violence eh? Why don’t they condemn the constant unrelenting violence of the state and there scumbag controllers. fucking occupy Next time Parliament!

Poster

The Kids R Alright report one from Ian Bone

The brave and daring actions of those students who stormed Tory HQ 10 11 2010 are worth a thousand resolutions from the TUC about opposing the cuts – so much hot air and pointless marching.

The storming of the HQ of the governing party within yards of parliament is unparalleld in modern times. With one bound we are free – free to respond on the streets to the naked class war being waged by the Tories.

Already Clegg has cancelled a trip to Oxford so scared is he of demonstrations. This needs to be repated whenever a government member comes to town.

Yesterday was marked by the sheer exuberance, playfulness and invention of the students. Each college seemed to have its own songs,fashion, megaphone for customised chants……it really was a carnival from Whitehall to Millbank….an autonomous zone with hardly a copper in sight.

The idea that these students needed to be organised by anarchists or anyone else is risible. They were manifestly capable of self management. The lack of miserabilism on the march was outstanding and just as remarkable as the storming of the HQ. The Tories today announce further attacks on the unemployed…….if the  – not so – fragile hands of the students can pass the banner to the unemployed then temporary autonmous zones maybecome permanent ones.

The TUC demonstration on March 26th offers us the opportunity to bring students, workers and unemployed together to organise something much more combative and daring than the TUC’s useless plans for a march.

The City will be ours for the taking. Much may happen in the meantime now the log jam of useless protesting has been smashed.

One immediate task is to build solidarity with those arrested and to be arrested in the coming witch hunt. Everytime anyone from a college is nicked they need to come out on strike till charges are dropped. It is possible.Suddenly everything is possible again.

Demolition a personal account from reoport two from WAG

I turned up on the NUS / UCL organised DEMOLITION protest against higher student fees thinking this was just going to be another trudge from point A to point B with the usual boring speeches. Yet within minutes of turning up, I could sense a buzz among many of the students there that told me this one could turn out to be a bit different – the last time I sensed that was way back when on the now infamous Poll Tax riot in 1990 that saw Trafalgar Square turned into a battle ground.

Despite the buzz, the march started off like any other protest although it was clear from the start that the numbers were much greater that the 20-25,000 who were expected – estimates of the turnout are in the 50,000 range. I was on the Radical Students & Workers Bloc which seemed lively enough but at the same time, there was a sense of restraint in preparation for something happening later. In fact, apart from a token smoke bomb and the briefest of sit down protests, going past the Houses of Parliament, it did seem strangely subdued…

However, when we approached the Tory HQ at Millbank, the radical members of the bloc had positioned themselves at the side of the road ready for a swift breakaway. This duly happened – okay they initially went into the wrong part of the building but on realising their mistake, swiftly exited and moved towards the right target… Lesson to be learnt – be a bit more thorough on the research next time!

It has to be pointed out that at this stage, the rozzers were completely absent from the scene. This allowed for a fair few thousand to spontaneously leave the march to start to lay siege to the Tory HQ. Despite all the media hype about alleged anarchist infiltrators and the like, this action worked because of the spontaneous actions of thousands of protesters who were willing to join in and be a part of the fun.

As the numbers inside the courtyard grew, people became more confident and bolder in their actions, things started to happen. Firstly the lobby was occupied, then the building. The windows in the lobby were eventually smashed with the few rozzers who had managed to turn up looking utterly helpless against the mass that was facing them. When the protesters reached the roof of the building, they were greeted by a massive cheer from the crowd below. Then it was party time with the sound system turning up, bonfires being made out of piles of placards and the occasional smoke bomb and flare being set off.

At this point, I decided to have a scout around to see if the rozzers were bringing in reinforcements to try and clear the building and the courtyard. Sure enough, round the corner they were forming up but not with anything like the numbers to achieve anything. On the occasions the rozzers did get to the entrance to the building in an attempt to prevent any further incursions, they looked totally lost. Quite possibly because most of the ground floor plate glass windows had been put in by that stage and people could walk in and out at will! The rozzers were getting plenty of verbal abuse and a constant barrage of missiles aimed at them. Not from the so called usual suspects but from a lot of angry young people who had most likely never been on a protest before. Even when a small detachment of rozzers kitted up in riot gear went in, they couldn’t hold the line and were forced to beat a hasty retreat getting plenty of grief as they did so.

Late in the afternoon, an attempt was made to blockade the Lib Dem HQ just around the corner but the numbers weren’t sufficient and despite running down the road at speed, the rozzers complete with riot gear had got there before us and had formed a line across a very narrow entrance. It ended up as a brief token stand off before returning to the main scene of action.

As the afternoon turned into early evening, inevitably the crowd outside started to thin out as people had to return to their coaches to get home. The concern was at this point, the police would seize the opportunity to wade in and start making arrests. That is the problem with spontaneous actions – co-ordinating a planned withdrawal so no-one gets arrested or beaten up by the rozzers.

Given that this could well be the first of many actions, there are lessons to be learnt from this. The first is that from now on, we can expect the police tactics to be a lot more in your face. They were well and truly shown up and judging from the initial reaction from the establishment, heads will roll and tactics will definitely become tougher.

The second is the need for people new to protest to be aware of the proliferation of CCTV and numerous photographers on protests. While it’s easy to pick out the Met Police photographer, there are quite possibly a number of photo-journalists that cannot be trusted to not hand over images to the rozzers in the aftermath of an action. People need to be aware of the need to mask their identities when taking part in protests and actions. What the movement now has to do is to offer practical solidarity to all of those who were arrested on the day and those who could well face arrest over the next few days or weeks as their identities are uncovered.

Is this action the start of something new? Well for the first time in ages, I left a protest with a spring in my step and a renewed sense of optimism. Sure there’s a lot of hard work to be done but the bar has been raised and if we can keep the momentum going, who knows what could happen… There are lessons to be learnt but all in all, it was a great day and one that’s up there with the 1990 Poll Tax riot!

Report Three Last Hours

During the student protest against cuts to education crowds stormed Tory headquaters. Windows where smashed and offices destroyed. As a result we can witness the capitalist system bend and buckle in its attempts to dismiss these acts of anger as illegitimate.

Amongst the 1,000s that played some role in the invasion of Millbank Tower, where workers and students from all areas of society. We condemn both the media claim that a small group of anarchist antagonists where responsible (juxtaposed by their own images showing thousands rallying around the building) as well as the notion that the students involved are part of a privileged class. The idea that working class youth are some how exempt from the desire for education is both naive and patronising.

In fact, on the day anarchist attempts to form a visible block failed in comparison to other  recent protests. Instead symbols of an anarchist presence could be seen peppered throughout the crowds, mingling with the masses. A sign that anarchist theory has embedded itself well amongst current student communities and individual anarchists would rather march within the safety of friendship groups  than along obscure political allegiances.

There was a common feeling that this protest represented more than just anger towards a rise in tuition fees. Many non-aligned individuals seemed furious at finding themselves with a political system that does not represent them. Indeed those that have profited for so long off of the broken backs of the poor are growing concerned.

Though some claimed the success of the demonstration was down to students listening to ‘impassioned speeches’ on the day most quickly grew tired of so called leaders talking for them and moved back to Millbank Tower to either watch or take part in the invasion. The NUS’ attempts to control the protest, and later their condemnation of the days actions, can only be seen as an attempt to fulfill their own political agenda. This agenda aims to channel anger back into a broken, hierarchical political system and as a result such organisations should be considered part of the problem.

In reaction to arrests and the following media hysteria, a campaign has been launched to support those involved. It is important at this point, to send a message that those willing to fight will be supported. Building networks and communities of solidarity are as an important part of the struggle as any other. For more information visit http://nov10.wordpress.com

THE STUDENTS ARE REVOLTING Report Four

Yesterday saw one of the largest and most vibrant protests in London in recent history. Over 50,000 education workers and students took to the capital not only to protest against the rise in tuition fees but reforms in education in general and to protest for a fairer, free higher education system. The Anarchist Federation was among them forming a “radical workers’ and students’ bloc” which, along with London Solidarity Federation, argued that capitalism is the cause of this crisis, that the Left and the union leaders cannot be trusted to fight our battles (a point NUS president Aaron Porter later so aptly demonstrated) and that we need united, grassroots direct action as part of a sustained fightback.

Contrary to the corporate media commentaries, a significant portion of the march also involved itself in the property destruction and occupation at Millbank Tower, home to the Conservative Party HQ. Direct action was not limited to this either, with the London School of Economics going into occupation shortly after the end of the protest, a sit-down protest in Parliament Square and some limited property destruction at Liberal Democrat HQ. Students and education workers have not only demonstrated their anger at the wave of attacks in store for a whole generation of young people, but their lack of faith in parliamentary democracy and the need to take the struggle into their own hands.

The media and official union response to this has hardly been surprising. Commentators were quick to denounce the actions at Millbank Tower as that of a “militant minority”, “the Socialist Worker Party” or “anarchists”, to quote Harry Mount from The Telegraph “perhaps with a student card, from a third-rate institution they never visit, that cloaks their criminal violence with the fig leaf of principled protest”. Aaron Porter quickly lined himself up behind his future employers joining the Labour Party in its denunciations. Cameron, for his part, has been quick to criminalise the protesters talking once more of ramping up policing in the capital – this is while the death of Ian Tomlinson at the hands of the Met lingers strong in the minds of many of us. None of the assessments of the Millbank protesters as a “militant minority”, “the Socialist Worker Party” or “anarchists alone” is accurate. Such a claim is made even more ridiculous by the rolling 24-hour news coverage that not only showed a clear diversity of students and education workers (yes, we were there too) taking great pleasure in smashing windows, office equipment and scuffling with the police, but the interviews with the occupiers themselves who often admitted this had been their first protest.

Yes, the anarchists were also involved in this action, of course we were. But what is this notion of the “apolitical” student and education worker that is being promoted by the media? Does the fact that we are anarchists preclude us from being “normal people”? Is our anger not justified too? Should we not act in solidarity with our fellow workers and students? We reject such a paralysing construct. It is designed to suffocate us, to force us into the image of the respectful, peaceful and, ultimately, obedient and ineffectual protester. We, like many of our fellow students and workers, recognise that only direct action will bring about meaningful change. In order to fight the cuts we need to be not only fighting on the streets but building communities in our campuses, pushing for occupations, sit-ins, walkouts and the inclusion of those often excluded and marginalised in these struggles (the cleaners, porters, administrative and security staff who quietly labour in our universities under minimum wage).

Media pundits and politicians have also argued, and continue to argue, that students are somehow privileged or self-interested. This is the same divisory tactic being used against all public sector workers. In reality, as many students explained through TV interviews, this protest was not so much for themselves but for their younger brothers and sisters or even for their future children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to university. This is similar to the concern that many public sector workers have for service users, who will undoubtedly also suffer from cuts to services. We cannot allow these strong ties of solidarity, across generations and between service providers and service users, to be undermined. The rhetoric that certain workers/students are a privileged group implies they should not be supported by others. We need to recognise this for what it is – a divide and rule tactic.

We also affirm our commitment to supporting all those victimised/arrested as the result of their actions at Millbank Tower. We encourage all education workers and students to do the same.

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One response to “NATIONAL STUDENT DAY OF DIRECT ACTION NOV.24th

  1. Pingback: The Illuminati and The Petite Bourgeoisie.. « take now or stay the same

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