How  the UK’s new Police Chief is promoting the civil use of drones amid pan-European calls for UAV liberalisation.

This month sees the launch of the National Police Air Service (NPAS) a new cross-boundary cost-saving venture that joins all of the UK’s regional police air capabilities into one umbrella organisation – in effect a new national police air force. The objective of the NPAS is to allow faster, cheaper and more efficient coordinated helicopter response across the country

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At 3pm on Sunday 15th May the All London Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ALARM) was born amidst beery cheers in a crowded function room above the Calthorpe Arms pub. The diverse group of eighty or so Anarchist and Libertarian Socialists (including myself and the sound asleep 1.5 yr old Finn) spent the next two hours debating organisational and constitutional issues in an atmosphere more redolent of the W.I. than a revolutionary group. Representatives of London boroughs were nominated and selected, informal communication networks built and, due to the exertions of such a prolonged labour, the debate on the thorny issue of a political manifesto was postponed until next Sunday (at the Cock Tavern, Euston).

ALARM is an opportunity to focus the resurgence of interest in Anarchism that has surfaced here over the last six months. It should provide a cohesive and active confrontational force in opposition to the ongoing Tory austerity programme and the corporatist state. It should become a platform for collective action that goes beyond just ‘fucking things up’ but provide real-word examples of practical anarchism in housing, education, work, healthcare etc.

Coming soon: ALARM website, blog and contact information

UK Police protest at pay cuts, London 2008

Police Comment: Dec 13th 2010

“…These idiots (the protesters) have all the answers, all too ready to mouth off to any passing journo or camera crew, filling our screens with pity-me martyrdom. Actually, life is totally unfair from cradle to grave… the revolting yoof do not have a constant worry about starvation, civil war, sky high infant mortality or rampant disease. Most people alive today do. So, students, if you want to go to college, get a job so you can pay your bills – just like the rest of us. If not, take out a loan and live with debt – just like the rest of us.”

Police comment on  http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com Police blog

Police Comment. March 3rd 2011 – after  Home Secretary Theresa May announces cuts in Police spending

“We are in for a fight, this is a fight that we can win. Honesty, Integrity and Fairness is key. Miss May and Nick Herbert watch out for the shit storm that is coming your way”

Police comment on http://www.policeoracle.com Police blog

The coalition government’s agenda is  to implement their neo-con ideology as rapidly as possible; to make desperate but irreversible changes to our social infrastructure while they are still in power. Theresa May’s (UK Home secretary) latest round of public sector cuts is aimed at, your-friends-and-mine, the police. Already stretched and suffering low morale these cuts will inevitably further impact on the effectiveness of the force – an interesting scenario for the anti-cuts/anti-government movement and one that seems to deliberately catalyse opinion – reminiscent of Thatchers class-centric tactics during the 1980s. Discussions from current police forums (that wouldn’t look out of place on ‘Class War‘) debate internal tactics at combating the cuts including work-to-rule, mass-sick days, strikes and demonstrations – even suggesting jumping sides and joining the anti-cuts march on the 26th:

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“The people whose jobs were destroyed were in no way responsible for the excesses of the financial sector and the crisis that followed…I’m surprised the real anger hasn’t been greater than it has.”

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King March 1st 2011

“Students, activists, agitators, stoners, scratters, scrotes. You will be hit with sticks and sent home to mummy. The rule of law will prevail, order will be restored, Winston will not be shamed, my ancestors will not have died to have allowed you to bring shame on England. You will get up early, get out of your bed, seek work and contribute to the greater good.”

Post on Inspector Gadget Police blog December 2010

“Following the student protests in London on 10 November 2010, where greater numbers gathered than had been anticipated by police, and the incursion of the Conservative Party headquarters in Millbank, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson stated that ‘the game has changed’3. The character of protest is evolving in terms of: the numbers involved; spread across the country; associated sporadic violence; disruption caused; short notice or no-notice events, and swift changes in protest tactics. After a few, relatively quiet years, this is a new period of public order policing – one which is faster moving and more unpredictable. Foreseeing the character of events will prove more difficult and, in some cases, their nature and mood will only become apparent on the day.”

HMIC feb 2011 Adapting to Protest and Nurturing the British Model of Policing

Public Order tactics used by the British Police have their origin in colonial rule. From that starting point they were refined through the experience of Northern Ireland and the riots of the 1980’s to form today’s set of Quasi-military tactics where lines of police attempt to control, contain or disperse crowds of protesters. The rise of a spontaneous, decentralised protest movement and increased anger directed at the police set against a deepening economic crisis has led to calls for a tougher approach to public ‘disorder’. The demonstration against the coalition governments economic policy on March 26th will be the biggest showdown London has seen since the poll tax riot of 1989 and will be a defining moment in how the state polices mass dissent. The following is a user’s guide to understanding police tactics and capabilities culled mostly from police sources, specifically “ACPO Manual of Guidance on KEEPING THE PEACE” 2010 as well as various police blogs and forums:

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Thoughts on a riot

December 7, 2010

This Thursday’s anti cuts/student fees/con-dem government demonstration (9th Dec 2010) should be an interesting triangulation of over-excited newly politicised youth, a scattering of the pissed off middle classes and us, aging anarcho-troublemakers – the aim; to close down Parliament and force a crisis for the stumbling Tory lead coalition. As usual the demonstrators will offer themselves up as cannon fodder to the well armed riot cops itching for the fight they have been waiting for:

“I wish we could beat the crap out of you with batons and snatch squads you idiots. If it was not for that human rights act crap. We should be able to quell your anachistic (sic) antics you foolish individuals!”

A serving police officer

Afterwards the rightwing press will be  full of images of youth trashing police vans and the internet full of outraged lefties complaining about police brutality. Is it really a surprise to anyone anymore that the police are brutal? They are there to protect the status quo at any cost – we are there to change it…if you think the cops are brutal, wait until they bring the military in*.

Tactics of the day should be: keep mobile and avoid kettling. Act in autonomous small informal units – select targets and move on.

Good luck.

* Referring to the Poll Tax riot of  1989 “the police had armed officers as part of the diplomatic protection force in South Africa house, but were anxious to keep them away from the trouble”

From the Peasant’s Revolt to the Boston Tea Party, Taxation has historically been a defining issue in the struggle of people against imposed government. The poll tax riot of March 31 1990 was ‘the most serious public order disturbance for over a century’ and the culmination of months of anti-poll tax protests and riots in the north of England and Scotland (where the tax had been ‘tested’ on the strongly anti-Conservative Scots) .

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The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg – Pistoleros!: 1: 1:1918 (Paperback)

by Farquhar McHarg (Author), Christie Stuart (Editor), Helios Gomez (Illustrator), Paul Sharkey (Translator)

Pistoleros! Is the story of twentieth century anarchism as witnessed by McHarg, a Glaswegian anarchist sailor who became embroiled in Spanish revolutionary politics at the end of the First World War. Curiously echoing the editor Christie’s (author of ‘Granny Made Me an Anarchist’ and ‘Floodgates of Anarchy’) own life fifty years later, the youthful and naïve McHarg jumps ship in Barcelona and enlists with the CNT (the anarchist national workers union) in their struggle against the bosses proto-fascist murder squads and para-military catholic groups (which provided training for the likes of Franco in murder and suppression techniques).

Pistoleros! is written in the style of a genre thriller with all of the accompanying intrigues; double dealing spy networks, evil foreign agents, love and betrayal all framed within the romantic backdrop of post WW1 Barcelona  – and in this way it’s is a gripping read, yet these characters and events are real, the colourful backdrop the grim reality of poverty versus the opulence and wealth of the Barcelona bourgeoisie.

Anarchists are often caricatured as firebrands and disorganised individualists and universally accused of being better at ‘analysing the problem’ rather than providing practical solutions. Pistoleros! shows that the history of Anarchism has been that of pragmatism; Anarchists were always on the frontline of providing real-world solutions through organised labour in effective opposition to the exploitation and corruption of the ruling classes – when the traditional left were constantly mired in internal power politics and global machinations.

Links:

http://www.christiebooks.com/

wage_slave

Wage Slavery

“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.” – Aristotle

From birth to death, work dominates every second of our lives ;  ‘The working week’,  ‘nine-to-five’, weekends,  lunch hours, commutes and careers have completely supplanted the natural rhythms of the sun and the stars.

Since labour became industrialised workers themselves have become machine-like; we are now cogs, specialising in one task repeated until the worker is exhausted or broken(the final promotion; a cog heaven overseen by a benign bearded boss). As a cog we are led to believe we are promoting our own interest when in fact we are only keep the machine running for the benefit of the machines owners; the shareholders, banks et al.

Work defines our personalities and validates our existence yet most of the work we do is at best useless and meaningless (let’s face it, if you stopped right now, would it make any real difference?) or at worst harmful to ourselves and others. Our labour is wasted; endlessly focused at creating surplus for the profit of others rather than efficiently solving problems of global and urgent importance. Even when we have achieved ‘enough’ we are misled and oblivious to the fact.

Work distorts our behavior and forces us into aggressive competitions with our fellow humans, promoting an individualistic culture of backstabbing, greed and egotism rather than of cooperation and mutualism. Work deforms our relationships  and separates us from our children – placing their upbringing into the hands of others (which in reality is nothing but a preparation for their ‘working lives’) .

The unanimity that work is beneficial, mandatory even,  is reinforced by cultural, political (all  political parties are primarily concerned with the promotion and control of labour; it’s ownership, organisation and value.) and religious proclamation: the inverse of work is defined only as sloth – a mortal sin in the christian canon.

Worst of all, work betrays the possibility of human potential by presenting us with a cul-de-sac of limited ambition; we’re continually kept on the treadmill by the promise of  pay rises, twenty day holidays and retirement. A constant reiteration, if it was ever necessary, of our lack of control over our own destinies.

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leaflet

“As capitalism collapses around us in the market of ideas the anarchist pound is bouyant  and the 28th London Anarchist Bookfair is back at Queen Mary College in London’s East End…”

for more details: http://www.anarchistbookfair.org/

merdre

“Encouraging Destructiveness
It should be pointed out to the saboteur where the circumstances are suitable, that he is acting in self-defense against the enemy, or retaliating against the enemy for other acts of destruction. A reasonable amount of humor in the presentation of suggestions for simple sabotage will relax tensions of fear.”

‘SIMPLE SABOTAGE FIELD MANUAL’
Office of Strategic Services
Washington, D. C.
17 January 1944

Existing within the urban environment necessitates an escalating war of resistance over un-requested invasive messages – the high science of communication or the blunt hammer of advertising: billboards, subway lcd screens, street advertising, point of sale, free papers, guerilla marketing, the subliminal, the liminal and the blatantly overt. ‘Everything that is made can be unmade’ – in this spirit we explore the tactical opportunities to degrade, disrupt and ultimately reclaim our space.

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“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision”

Salvador Dali

Mischief: ‘playfulness that is intended to tease, mock, or create trouble’ is an effective disruptive tactic. Use freely as a technique to reclaim your surroundings, neutralise the constant assault of the banal and eliminate unwanted messages from broadcasters, advertisers and corporations. In short mischief is an ongoing method of attrition, the low resolution cousin of direct action.

Mischief introduces doubt into a world of certainty, a playful way of introducing unexpected surrealism to the commonplace; a creative therapeutic act that confirms life and maintains sanity, civil disobedience in miniature, granular sabotage.

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This is a video i took after gaining access to the RBS Building (Royal Bank Of Scotland – notorious for incompetence, hubris and corruption) with twenty or so other individuals. The offices were quickly set alight and i made my escape up the fire escape persued by a number of portly riot cops, who, encumbered by shields, batons, armour, helmets and excessive body fat took several minutes to make the ascent. The short fideo clip shows the banking district of the City Of London occupied by massed anarchist hordes.

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where’s the riot?

March 31, 2009

In advance of  tomorrows events: a ‘print-out and keep’ map of all the happenings c/0 Indymedia:

g20_map_02

see you’s there…

riot_london

“Anyone who was working in the City in 1999 will remember how awful those riots were. There were riot police banked outside my office and all the tube stations closed so I had to walk for miles through what was effectively a war zone. It was absolutely terrifying and I’m afraid I can’t believe there is anything more behind it than a desire to cause as much damage and mayhem as possible. The mindset is no better than that of football hooligans, if not worse. I for one will be taking April 1st as a day’s holiday rather than risk putting myself through anything like that again.”

London Evening Standard march 2009

 

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how to be invisible

January 11, 2009

surv3

I’ve always been of the opinion that people over concerned with surveillance and data security are displaying the first stages of clinical paranoia. It’s well known, for those that care to look, that the UK police and military have in their possession technology which enables them to track individuals movements visually and electronically (think of google maps ++), trace your behaviour (spending, travelling, health, political persuasion), listen in to conversations and so-on – our only real defence against this intrusion has been the plod/MOD’s incompetence at cross referencing and interpreting the mass of data they’ve so carefully collated.

Britain is one of the world’s most surveyed society; It is estimated (2002 figures) that the United Kingdom is watched by over 4.2 million CCTV cameras. This equates to one camera for every fourteen people; each UK subject is recorded on average by up to three hundred cameras a day. Surveillance has become part of our lives; we’ve become used to accepting surveillance as a shield against crime and terrorism, sacrificing our privacy for the apparent greater good. However a recent trend is the movement of commercial organisation into the field of surveillance and “dataveillance” – using similar unregulated techniques and technologies global corporations are starting to watch you. Is it time to get paranoid?

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Live series 2 cassette package
Live series 2 cassette package

 

To Londoners, The old Kent rd  has been for many years a byword for poverty; the cheapest, dismal brown coloured property on the monopoly board and in reality a grimy thoroughfare providing the boundary of two of the most neglected regions of London, Peckham and Bermondsey. Once the heartland of a solid white working class population the area was bombed close to complete destruction during the war and then rapidly rebuilt with monolithic high-rise housing estates which by the 1980s had begun to be abandoned and crumble.

In the cold winter of 1984 we – bourbonese qualk and crew – occupied the Ambulance station, an empty five story castle-like building on the Old Kent Road. Our ambition was to create a radical ‘cultural-political centre’ (though we would never have used that term) and a general base for our activities – performance space, recording studio and office for the Recloose organisation label –  in the middle of this piece of un-picturesque South East London. After lengthy renovation (removing 1 meter deep layers of dead pigeons, replacing piping, windows and tiles on the vertiginous roof) The top two stories were converted into artists studios, the middle storey our living quarters. The first floor was taken up as meeting space for anarchist groups, a free cafe and offices for the local squatters organisation, ‘S.N.O.W’ (who housed more people in 1985 than the local council). The ground floor was changed into a large performance space and bar as well as a recording studio, sculpture studios and print workshops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“They have monopolised everything that it is possible to monopolise; they have got the whole earth, the minerals in the earth and the streams that water the earth. The only reason they have not monopolised the daylight and the air is that it is not possible to do it. If it were possible to construct huge gasometers and to draw together and compress within them the whole of the atmosphere, it would have been done long ago, and we should have been compelled to work for them in order to get money to buy air to breathe.”

Robert Tressell ‘The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists’

A Geek-free guide to thieving wireless:

Everyone knows that ‘the best things in life are free’ so; here’s how to reclaim what was once designated as a junk frequency of the radio spectrum i.e. wifi/wireless 802.11#, and has now been commoditised by the likes of the monopolistic British Telecom. NB: This is intended as a laypersons’s practical guide to the art of wifi liberation and not an in-depth technical thesis on the subject. It’s also intended to stimulate debate and counter to the increased criminalisation of the practice. In the UK “Dishonestly obtaining free internet access is an offence under the Communications Act 2003 and a potential breach of the Computer Misuse Act” so here’s how it can be done:

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Sounds From Memory #3: Riot.

December 12, 2007

The intention of these series of posts is to document sounds that have remained in memory. Not sounds that are particularly pleasant or trigger ‘Proustian Resonance’ but unique sounds that once heard are never forgotten (therefore impossible to reproduce or record). If i get enough – and please add your own – i’ll organise them into a top ten ‘mnemaudio’ chart.

poll tax riot london 1989Miles was the first casualty, and, I always maintain, the inspiration for the violence that took place at the Trafalgar Square Anti-Poll Tax protest in 1989. During what was an admittedly tense but peaceful sit down protest in front of Downing Street, Miles charged at the Police brandishing a metal pole. He was immediately floored, struck on the head by a brick thrown from the police lines*. Seconds later the police panicked and sent mounted riot squads charging into the unarmed protesters, this event ignited a day of fierce fighting in the centre of London. For six hours the police held protesters in the square: The sound that fixed in my memory is the combined roar of bottles and bricks being thrown, burning buildings, screams, police sirens, helicopters, horses, whistles and ambulances which, after six hours, merged into one high pitched continuous distorted scream. This noise stayed with me for weeks, day and night -a kind of hysterical tinnitus.

trafalgar square 1989

*I dragged miles to an ambulance which took him to hospital. A few hours later he discharged himself, concussed, dripping blood from a head wound he returned to the battle pressing home his assault on the forces of ‘law and order’.

Anarchist Bookfair 2007

October 22, 2007

anarchist bookfairThe 27th Anarchist Bookfair takes place this year in the East End at St Mary College, Mile End. Highlights include Stuart Christie on “Armed resistance to Francoism” (“Stuart will talk about and show footage from his most recent short film “armed resistance to Francoism from the end of the Civil War in 1939 until his death in 1975”. It covers the rural and urban guerrilla periods as well as Defensa Interior, Directorio Revolucionario Iberico de Liberacion (Dril), First of May Group, MIL, and Angry Brigade…”) and my favourite Ian Bone (Class War) “Bash The Rich”. Fun for all the family.