18 Dec 2010

Carnival of the Oppressed




I visited Goldsmiths College Library last week to find not only that it was occupied by students but I could still borrow books.

One of their demands was that staff should lose no pay, and the occupiers were carefully reshelving books and making sure nothing got nicked. It was wonderful and cheered me up in the face of the daily absurdities of the Con-Dem government.

As I write, direct action protests are erupting on the streets of Britain.

The students and schoolkids have shaken the coalition government, activists are targeting tax-avoiding companies like Vodafone and direct action environmental protests from groups such as Climate Camp and Climate Rush continue to grow.

Dozens of universities are witnessing occupations on their campuses as anger rises.

Unruly, disruptive and anarchic, the rise of direct action fills me with joy. Direct action is not an alternative to democracy but part of the process, and it should be embraced by all those who want an equal and ecological future.

Increasingly, in a world where democracy is manipulated by the rich and powerful, direct action provides a carnival of the oppressed that can, potentially, move from spectacle to necessary change.

The media is obssessed with painting a picture of "violence." And while I am not an advocate of violence, there is a difference between the purity of pacifism and the dirty defence of the state's monopoly of aggression.


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1 comment:

Martin Empson said...

There is a fascinating account of life inside the LSE occupation in this weeks Socialist Worker.

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=23386

It's something that all workers and students should read - gives a real flavour of what things are like when change starts to happen and is really inspiring. Lets hope a few workplaces get some student enthusiasm in 2011 and start occupying against the cuts too....