August 2011

Every time I want to organise a public demonstration, the Police are at pains to point out that they respect my democratic right to protest.

Whenever I want to do something that might actually change something, challenge something, or achieve something, the Police are quick to point out how easily they can arrest me on spurious grounds.

The only right to protest recognised by the state is the right to ineffective protest. Effective protests are illegal.

Ineffective protests are welcome. Ineffective protest occurs within the strictures permitted and regulated by the state and thus reinforce state power. Ineffective protests moderates and co-opts forces that might otherwise build to challenge existing hierarchies. Let’s all give money to GetUp.

In contrast, effective protest is outlawed. The Police stand ready to arrest, the media stands ready to denounce, the Parliament stands ready to change the laws if present provisions are insufficient.

If these forces fail, and public protest succeeds in changing or forcing some small concession from state, capital, some other institution or dominant culture more broadly; then the impact of the protest is denied and other theories (usually centred around the benevolence of the changed institutions) are advanced to cover up the power of public action.

Overland, 15 July 2011: The Boycott Israel 19:

On Friday 1 July, 19 pro-Palestinian activists, including me, were arrested in Melbourne’s CBD for opposing Max Brenner, a chocolate store that sends care packages to some of the most brutal sections of the Israeli army.

The Australian, 8 August 2011: Israeli boycotts: ACCC called in:

ANTI-Israel activists face investigation for alleged secondary boycotts under landmark attempts by the Baillieu government to curb the global campaign to target companies and businesses linked to the Jewish nation.

Mr O’Brien, a former barrister who specialised in trade practices law, has written to ACCC chairman Rod Sims citing potential breaches of section 45D of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

He has also suggested the ACCC consider pecuniary penalties against organisations that participated in the boycott.

Take heart when you’re being arrested, sued, and denounced, you’re starting to hit home.

In solidarity with the BDS campaign.

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Petrol bombs have been thrown at police and two patrol cars, a bus and buildings have been set on fire in a disturbance in Tottenham, north London. – BBC

I’m sure that London Indymedia and will have some decent left wing coverage of today’s events in the North London suburb of Tottenham in due course.

But until then, watching the mainstream capitalist press coverage of today’s events is instructive. Keep an eye out for mainstream coverage that focuses on:
a. the ethnicity of the demonstrators

b. their “criminality”

c. a focus on theft and “looting”

The mainstream media and the political establishment will emphasize “criminality”, promote racism, and deride claims that legitimate political grievances were at play on the streets of Tottenham today. The goal of the ruling class in these situations is to drive a wedge between those in the working class that have taken their grievances to the streets, and those who are yet to do so.

Tottenham is an immigrant working class area, there is high unemployment, and a long history of repressive Police brutality. Communities like Tottenham are the first to feel the effects of economic downturn, and face the brunt of government attacks on the working class in the form of austerity packages.

The circumstances of the catalyst are almost unimportant, community anger doesn’t just explode out of a single incident. As the UK government continues it’s campaign of austerity, expect more conflict like this in the poor working class communities.

The Clash: Guns of Brixton


From wikipedia:

"The Guns of Brixton" pre-dates the race riots that took place in the 1980s in Brixton but the lyrics depict the feelings of discontent that were building due to heavy-handedness of the police that led to the riots, the recession and other problems at that time.

We live in interesting times.

– Kieran.

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