3 Apr 2011

'It's a moral pedant's wet dream!'



Guy Taylor of direct action network Globalise Resistance said: “Parts of the ‘progressive’ media are hammering home distinctions between ‘good’ protesters and ‘bad’ … It’s becoming a moral pedant’s wet dream.”


This is from my regular journalism for Green Left Weekly on the March.

Marching clearly is not enough. The march against the Iraq War mobilised even more people, but failed to stop the invasion.

Direct action is becoming more attractive in Britain and is scaring both the government and the opposition Labour Party.

The British media focused on the actions of several hundred “Black Bloc” anarchists who attacked banks, the Ritz Hotel and other symbols of wealth.

Some on the left criticised these actions and produced evidence of police infiltration. However, there have also been a number of cases of police infiltration of groups like Climate Camp who are not part of the Black Bloc.

Evidence of police infiltration of a range of movements and networks is apparent in Britain. We may not have as many secret police as repressive states such as Saudi Arabia, but it sometimes seems this way.

Guy Taylor of direct action network Globalise Resistance said: “Parts of the ‘progressive’ media are hammering home distinctions between ‘good’ protesters and ‘bad’ … It’s becoming a moral pedant’s wet dream.”

However, the “non-violent direct action” taken on March 26 by groups such as UK Uncut seemed more of a worry for the Con-Dem government than the Black Bloc, and possibly the march.

UK Uncut is a network of young activists that has been occupying banks and the premises of companies such as Vodafone that have found ways of avoiding billions of pounds of taxes by exploiting tax loopholes.

UK Uncut argues that closing tax loop holes would raise £100 billion in revenue and would easily cover the cuts.

On March 26, more than 140 UK Uncut activists occupied and shut down Fortnum and Mason, the store frequented by the British aristocracy.

Despite being entirely non-violent, the activists were repressed. Almost all were arrested, dispersed to cells across London and held for 20 hours. Many had their clothes taken from them.

It was clearly repression aimed at attacking a movement making waves and drawing support.

The left candidate for presidency of the National Union of Students, Mark Bergfeld, promoted the occupation of Trafalgar Square with a call to turn it into the British version of Egypt’s revolutionary Tahrir Square.

After a peaceful start, the occupation was violently broken up by riot police.

Ian Chamberlain, a Lancaster-based Green Party member wrote on his Solidaritybank.wordpress.com blog on March 29: “As the party people stuck stickers to the Olympic clock, small numbers of police moved quickly to surround the edifice pushing young and old out of their way.

“Seconds later, huge reinforcements came rushing down the steps from the gallery with batons and shields. The crowds were shoved and pushed around as the police assembled their defence line.

“The party vibe quickly evaporated as shouting and chaotic running around replaced the music and dancing.

“As the batons hit, new police lines emerged around the square preventing quick escape while another line forced people at the fountains towards the column.


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