May 17, 2011
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
March 3, 2011
“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:
March 30, 2010
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) .
February 11, 2010
“If you’ve done nothing wrong… you have nothing to fear.”
This year a UK Home Office backed coalition of regional Police Authorities will embark on a project to extend their national surveillance network by deploying unmanned airborne surveillance drones across the country. It’s planned that in the build up to 2012 the drones will be used to foil potential terrorist attacks, detect illegal immigration planning to cross the channel (by flying over France?), monitor anti-social behaviour and public order situations (demonstrations) and of course to gather intelligence on subversive activities.
The introduction of these drones represents a significant expansion of the surveillance state, planned and delivered by un-democratic consortium of police authorities and loosely regulated by vague and rarely tested laws. With this expansion of the surveillance state should come an equal counter-response probing the legal and practical boundaries of surveillance:
What methods can be used to disrupt or destroy drone technology?
November 2, 2009
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.
October 20, 2009
“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.
October 13, 2009
“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/
April 2, 2009
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.
January 11, 2009
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?
December 12, 2008
‘Anarchist’ riots continue for the fifth day in Greece triggered by the police murder of teenage boy and popular disgust at the self serving and corruption ridden right-wing government. Here in London our own home-grown police murder goes almost unnoticed and without a stone being thrown. The verdict from the Jean Charles De Menezes killing inquest is expected today, yet in an outrageously blatant attempt at controlling the outcome – echoing the history of Police lies and attempts at cover-up throughout the proceedings- the Coroner (Sir Michael Wright) instructed the jury to only deliver an ‘open’ or ‘lawful killing’ verdict.
November 21, 2008
This translation is an excerpt from a radical new book that has just appeared in France by the Invisible Committee (Comité invisible). The book discusses the local appropriation of power by the people, the physical blocking of the economy, and the elimination of the police force as practical routes toward insurrection.
October 22, 2007
The 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.