The media is falling over itself when reporting over the events of the day, making it abundantly clear that the overwhelming majority of the people who marched on the streets of London today did so peacefully and calmly. The “official” march was organized by the TUC and brought together unions, public sector workers and other disgruntled people in the land. Its core message went from opposing the cuts altogether to not necessarily opposing them as such, but disagreeing with the way they are being done, questioning variables such as “speed” “magnitude” and “focus”. It would be hard to say which percentage of the protesters wanted “no cuts” and which wanted “some cuts, some other way”, but it’s very clear which message the BBC voiced the most. Depending on whom you believe, there were between 200 and around 400 thousand people in that march. Peacefully voicing their discontent. Holding placards and/or children’s hands. A day out for the family, the organizers stopped short at calling it.
Then, there were the “others”. Those with less placards and definitely no children. Those who weren’t voicing their discontent so “peacefully” and “calmly”. Those who most definitely opposed all cuts, and then some. Those who, in short, wanted more: they wanted justice. And were reported by the BBC to use “violence” to get it.
This “others” were in turn made up of two groups. One of them had a name: UKUncut. Their message is very clear: tax the rich and you will not need to cut anything.
If I had gone to the protest, I would have joined them. I would have crashed inside “Fortnum and Mason”, opportunity permitting, and I would have sent my Mum a photo. “Look, Mum! Look at the luxurious tea shop your daughter is at! England is such a beautiful country…”. I may have had to omit the way I got there, but hey. My Mum would be happy at seeing how wonderful her daughter’s life is… And I would have been happy at seeing my Mum happy. The fact that I would have never been able to afford entering the place any other way would be neither here nor there. This country is seen worldwide to be the land of the wealthy, where everyone lives in such opulent luxury. And appearances have to be maintained.
Taxing the rich is a whole different kettle of fish from the demands of the TUC march. Questioning the “speed”, “magnitude” and “focus” of the cuts amounts to slowing down an already ongoing trend; taxing the rich amounts to reverting it. It’s the difference between begging for mercy and demanding justice.
Lastly, there was another group of “others” in today’s protests. They showed little mercy towards… property. And in turn the BBC showed no mercy towards them. They were called “violent”; accused of “causing riots”; they were reported to be “wearing black”. They were most certainly not playing the game like well behaved children. They threw paint bombs, smashed windows, drew graffiti, set off fireworks, and all around trashed the place, transforming London from an international capital of opulent luxury designed for the wealthy to indulge in and into… into… a place with more in common with a poor country. Oh, the tragedy! These were very naughty protesters indeed. And naughty protesters do not get to be treated by the BBC as if their actions were the result of rational behaviour. Despite the fact that fireworks have to be procured somehow, that paint bombs have to be produced, that coloured smoke bombs involves quite a bit of work… Despite the deliberate planning behind this string of actions, despite the fact that the targets were clearly thought out… This “riotous” behaviour can only be the result of one type of people: anarchists. Also referred to as “criminals” by the police. What were these protesters “campaigning” for? We don’t know. Or rather, the BBC doesn’t know. Because irrational behaviour cannot have a “rational” reason for taking place, it is assumed that these “anarchists” wanted to cause trouble for the fun of it. And supposedly go to jail for the fun of it, I guess. Or you can take the police’s view that these criminals are criminalling for… well, your guess is as good as mine. Shattering a couple of windows and leaving the stuff in the shops?
You have to leave the “official” story tellers of the BBC to find out who these “anarchists” are. It turns out that “anarchists”, like most other political movements are made of a) human beings and b) many “fronts” and “groups”. And by the looks of it, their political message ranges from the pure “anarchist” to the more moderate “anti-capitalist”. And that is interesting. It wasn’t that long ago that the whole point of the left was to be “anti-capitalist”. Now the people taking up the idea are referred to as “anarchists”, and ignored altogether, as if history had never taken place. This should make some things very clear. One, we cannot trust "Labour" or the "Unions" in this country to bring about an end to Capitalism. Two, there is no real legitimate "Left" in the country.
Three different groups, three different messages, three different approaches to “protest”. Those with the largest numbers of people had the most “status quo” friendly “requests”, and drew the least attention of the media and the world. Those with the smallest numbers of people had the most radical demands and to all intents and purposes, stole the show.
The media’s approach to the reporting of the violence was to distance the “rioters” from what was otherwise a “peaceful protest, a perfect model of what a protest should be”. Tomorrow I predict that people will carry on with the media’s presentation of the events and wax lyrically about how a few dozens of “anarchists” overshadowed the “real march”, how most people were “peaceful”. They will pout and stomp their foot and claim that “it’s just not fair” that the whole event is reduced to “violence” just because a couple of naughty people.
And it’s not fair. It’s not fair that “anarchists” know “the truth”, while the rest of the protesters don’t. Anarchists know that we don’t live in a “democracy”, that what the government does is not to act on “the will of the majority”. They know that “peaceful” is almost synonymous with “pointless”, and for proof see the Iraq War protests. They know that the powerful, the “elites”, the government, don’t give in until they have no choice. They know that political change, real political change, doesn’t take place without the use of violence, in one form or other. They know, in a word, that there is no point in “requesting” or “begging”; the only way is to “demand”. And they know exactly how to do it: by making it impossible, unbearable, or expensive for the rulers not to acquiesce.