UK Newswire Archive
Soon after this year's London Anarchist Bookfair, 'exhausted anarchist' and former Class War editor, Paul Stott, wrote his review on his blog. As well as rightly praising the organisation of the event, Stott had some criticisms, largely aimed at the inclusion of a workshop on 'White Privilege and Racism'
"It is depressing to see American leftist ideas on race enter the UK Anarchist movement, as evidenced by the meeting on "white privilige and racism" or the rise of related literature over the past couple of years. Such guilt tripping is common to approaches to race in what were 'settler' societies - the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They don't and won't work here - and are probably very far from applicable now in the likes of the US either."
It is a shame that Stott did not attend the workshop he so roundly criticised, as it may have helped him to see that neither 'American leftism' nor 'guilt tripping' were dominant themes. Instead, it provided a space where the issue of race could be discussed rather than dismissed, where anarchist people of colour could raise awareness of some of the issues they face and the ways in which race affects anarchist organising could be discussed.
The fact that the concept of white privilege should be immediately consigned by Stott to the dustbin of 'guilt tripping' suggests to me that he feels threatened by this theory. This is not uncommon amongst white class struggle anarchists, whose identity is often based on membership of an oppressed class who are subsequently justified in taking back what should belong to them. To be informed that actually they are in a privileged position and that they need to make space for people of colour threatens this identity and behaviour, and can result in defensiveness, dismissal and denial. Rather than accept that this is the case and start to change the way they view themselves, these white anarchists act as though this was a further oppression of them, a position that negates the need for change.
But Stott's explicit objection here is that the white privilege theory only applies (if at all) in "settler societies". How he has arrived at this conclusion is not immediately obvious. Does Stott think that people of colour do not face oppression in the UK? Surely not, in a society in which racism still frequently erupts into the discourse, where the August riots were widely blamed on a 'criminal' Black pathology, where there is widespread tacit support for the anti-Asian rhetoric and practice of the EDL and where opportunities for and the visibility of non-white people are still marginal. Does Stott simply blame all of this on the minority of people who are explicitly racist? If not, how does he think that this widespread exclusion and marginalisation operates?
Actually Stott's dismissal of the workshop is a perfect example of white privilege in action within the anarchist movement. Stott has the privilege of being able to dismiss the issue off-hand because it is not something that effects him personally. Rather than make any attempt to offer an alternative view of how to tackle the problems that are being raised (usually by people of colour who have had enough), he simply ignores the issue and moves on. We do not see Stott rushing to run his own workshop on race or indeed make any attempt at serious dialogue with those who say that racism is a problem. Indeed, he actually suggests that the rise in "related literature", by which I assume he means publications like 'Race Revolt' that give a voice to people of colour within the movement, is "depressing". This looks a lot like silencing to me. How are any of us going to learn about and understand the issues surrounding race in anarchism unless we educate ourselves through reading, debate and listening to our friends and loved ones who don't share our ethnic and cultural background.
I'd argue that race is a problem for anarchists. One thing that Stott didn't mention in his appraisal of the bookfair was that, dispite it taking place in the centre of one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse places in Europe, it was still overwhelmingly white. Why does Stott think this is? Does he think that only white people have the right ideas? Or does he accept that there are barriers to people of colour getting involved? And while he obviously has no time for 'white privilege' and 'American leftist ideas about race' it would be nice to know what he is doing to dismantle those barriers and encourage the voices of people of colour to be heard within the movement. Maybe he's happy with the current situation. After all, there's hardly any one around to 'guilt trip' him about his white privilege at the moment.
But enough of the critics. What about the workshop itself? While I would say it was far from perfect (the patronising tone of the white facilitator was unfortunate), I found it a useful opportunity to collectively examine where our notions about race come from and how they differ between members of the dominant race and minorities. It was a great opportunity to compare the experiences of white anarchists and anarchists of colour and to deepen my understanding of the race and culture-based alienation that many experience. Last but by no means least it was a good opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with people of colour struggling against the racist structures that persist within anarchism. Unfortunately, for many anarchists fighting racism means bashing bad racists on the streets but never confronting their own prejudiced views. I firmly believe that both are necessary and workshops like this one gave an opportunity for the latter.
On Friday evening, those occupying Nottingham’s Old Market Square agreed to move from one end of the square to the other. On Facebook they described this as a “temporary relocation” explaining that occupiers “democratically voted to move the occupation temporarily to the opposite end of Market Square so as to accommodate the exhibitions, Xmas market and Tree.”
On the newswire: Nottingham Occupation continues: Saturday Day 8 | The Hardest Hit campaign Demo: Market Sq. Nottm | Nottingham Market Square continues occupied, Day 7 | Occupy Nottingham: Day 7 | Nttm Market Sq still occupied, day 7. But, Council want to put a christmas tree there! | Occupy Nottingham: Day 6
Around the sides of the occupy london stock exchange a set of pillars have become a gallery displaying political posters, hand made signs, flyers and stickers. Similarly fencing erected through the camp by St Paul's has been decorated.
Inspiring, intriguing, challenging, thought-provoking, esoteric, mish mashed and mixed up; it provides a colourful counterpoint to the cold austere facade of capitalism that sits opposite St Pauls, the camp occupying the mid ground.
Tourists, visitors, city workers and camp residents alike gather and discuss in front of the displays, taking photos, deliberating, debating, discussing, others breeze past, ignoring the appeals and slogans that shout down at them; a snapshot of the current crisis.
25-10-2011 10:09On Wednesday 28th September the UK Border Agency deported over 50 Tamils to Sri Lanka on a charter flight.
40.000 Tamil people were massacred in the final stage of the war.
Up to 150.000 are still unaccounted for.
Over 20.000 young people are still held in horrific prison camps.
25-10-2011 08:18Following on from the post yesterday by Knot Eyed Jaguar
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/10/487429.html there is now further evidence that Gaddafi is alive and well.
It's been a very successful 3rd day at Occupy Finsbury Square
It was really inspiring this morning talking to people going to work all throughout the morning. Was amazed to see so many people coming up and saying they supported us. The info front tent does need more people to do shifts, but I'd really recommend people do the morning just to experience how much support there is. One problem though, is that this level of support we're getting from people just isn't coming across in a lot of the mainstream press reports about the occupations. We've also been giving out flyers with the statement printed on it to passers by.
One nice story was a chap in an armani suit being quite critical of us this morning, then another person going to work stopping and beginning to argue with him, and before we knew it there were like 10 people having their own debate about the issue right infront of the camp.
Media wise we had CNN, Bloomberg, Sky and AFP all down today doing pretty fair and positive pieces and interviews. All saying how well organised and peacefull this camp is.
We also talked to lots of investmant bankers today, some with negative views on us some with positive. Because of this we're organising a discussion in the yurt on saturday with some investment bankers and invite participation.
There are now over one hundred tents set up at Occupy Finsbury Square - so many in fact that we need to discuss plans for allocating new areas. Some tents are free for new arrivals to use - see shelter group to find out which.
There were visits today from Islington Borough Council, Parks and Green Spaces, Health and Safety, and London Fire Brigade, who all toured the occupation camp and had nothing but praise and positive feedback for how organised we are. We're getting wheelie bins delivered for recycling and general waste. As regards toilets it looks like we will come to an arrangement with the council - there's another meeting tomorrow and we hope that the situation will be resolved then.
One of the main things people were saying was, 'We know things have gone wrong but what's your solution?' and 'we agree with you but we need to know the alternatives'. So we're encouraging them to come here and discuss their views of the alternatives.
Tomorrow (tues) at 12.15pm we've invited people to come along and debate or critique the occupation's statment and on Wednesday there's a banker coming to run a sesson 'Confessions of a City Banker'. The Yurt if available for scheduling workshops and talks - contact the free university to propose a session.
Blackboards are bing sorted out to put up daily schedules and updates. There's a load of art materials that have been donated so there's plenty of stuff to make placcards and banners. Pallets are available for making walkways, esp given the forcast of rain we now have. A new group is also forming for workshops to teach useful community tools and skills, as well as a new process working group.
The Kitchen crew have been doing a great job, and say that they welcome help from people who have experience of cooking for large numbers. Each day a few people are needed to do the washing up after meals (rather than everyone washing their own dishes). Donations have been flowing in as well as people offering money too. Also some local businesses have been supportive and some restuarants have even offered to cook for the camp on some future dates to show their support.
Email: occupyfs _ at _ gmail.com
(notes taken from the General Assembly held this evening - mon 24th)
Co-director Ken Fero will come for a Q&A after the film.
Thurs Oct 27th, 7pm @ rAtstar, http://ratstarsquat.wordpress.com/
We, the OffMarket collective, take disused buildings and turn them into open resources. We have just moved in to 68 Dalston Lanes E8 3AH. It is a larger space than we've had before, with a shop front consisting of a large back room, smaller rooms to the front and a good sized yard out back. We have lots of ideas about what to do with this space and look forward to hearing yours!
Free School: To launch the new space we will be holding a two week Free School packed with workshops and skill-shares. If you would like to propose a workshop or otherwise get involved with the running of the space you can come to our meetings every Monday at 7pm, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or just show up and get stuck in.
Workshops confirmed; Life Drawing, Sewing Curtains, Sign Writing/Flyer Making, Lock Changing, Shelf Making, Basic Electricity and Plumbing, Using and maintaining Power Tools, Insulation for Winter, Ecological Cleaning, Wireless Internet Security, 12V Music Making, Home Brew
And those whose times are already scheduled...
Tuesday 25th: Building Accessible Barricades 12-3
Wednesday 26th: Furniture Building and Carpentry 12-4 / Basic Tools
Skillshare for Women/Trans/Queer Folk 5-7pm
Saturday 29th: Vegan Cooking 12-5 / Café from 7pm
Tuesday 1st : Practical Squatting Evening 7-9pm
Thursday 3rd : Legal Workshop on Squatting from ASS 7-9pm
Saturday 5th : Self Defence 10-6
Open meetings are on monday at 7pm if you want to meet us, check the space out, or have any proposal to use the space!
Accessiblity: As of yet the space is not very accessible, we will be working on this as a priority and will have detailed info available in the next few days.
24-10-2011 16:32The government is planning to sell off ALL our public services - join the ‘Week of Auctions’ to protest!
24-10-2011 15:16This article considers the mass-media and political elite discourse on 'saving' the Euro or 'leaving' it as a diversion from the real crisis problem. The solution from the majority point of view will not be advanced by, petrol bombs, burning cars or sectarian infighting, but on the development of a united movement with some basic policies.
Few snaps from monday at occupyLSX showing some of the schedules.
Tent city univerwsity events listing:
OccupyLSC Calendar (not updated much)
InfoUsurpa is a weekly listing of radical events happening in London's autonomous spaces and beyond
Unless otherwise stated all events are free / on donation.
If you can then please print and stick it up somewhere for others to see
Enjoy your week
Over 50 people today marched from the OccupyLSX camp to the offices of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on Whitehall to demand the resignation of HMRC boss Dave Hartnett. AS they chanted "Hartnett out!" as police tried to push them away from the doors of HMRC and into a fenced off 'protest area. Passers by were leafleted and a meeting to discuss the issues held.
press release: http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/uk-uncut-and-occupy-london-to-descend-upon-hmrc-to-demand-resignation-of-boss-hartnett
UK UNCUT AND OCCUPY LONDON TO DESCEND UPON HMRC TO DEMAND RESIGNATION OF BOSS HARTNETT
For immediate release
Tel: 07415063231 / Email: email@example.com
High quality photos/video available from 2pm tomorrow
Campers at Occupy London and activists from direct action group UK Uncut will join forces to descend upon the head office of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on the afternoon of Monday 24th October to demand the resignation of HMRC boss Dave Hartnett .
Protesters- outraged at Hartnett's role in approving secret sweetheart deals to let mega-rich corporations off billions in tax- will gather at the Occupy LSX camp at St. Paul's Cathedral at 12 noon before marching on HMRC's head office at Whitehall in an attempt to reach Hartnett's office.
Hartnett was, last week, again dragged in front of parliament's Public Accounts Commitee to answer questions on dodgy deals with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs that cost the taxpayer up to £6bn and £10m respectively . MPs on the committee accused Hartnett of abusing his position to "cover up his own mistakes".
A survey last year found that Hartnett was Whitehall's most 'wined and dined' civil servant, treated by corporations 107 times in 3 years to top a survey of 172 senior civil servants . Tory MPs and commentators from across the political spectrum have joined the call for Hartnett to resign   .
Occupy London supporter Kyshia Davey said: "HMRC has just announced it will be going after 146,000 pensioners to demand hundreds of pounds from them following a tax code cock-up. Meanwhile, its boss is striking secret deals with opulent corporations to let them off billions of pounds in tax. Hartnett is fatally undermining public confidence in the UK's tax system at a time of austerity and he must resign immediately."
UK Uncut activist Sam Gilbert added: "Whilst 25,000 rank-and-file staff at HMRC have been fired, leaving the organisation almost incapable of functioning, Hartnett has been carving out a career as the most 'wined and dined' civil servant in Whitehall. The money from Vodafone's £6bn tax dodge alone could have prevented all of the cuts in public services over the past year."
Tony Blair found a new job as a political and economic advisor for the government of Kazakhstan. The collaboration of former
24-10-2011 12:10About the 48-hour general strike demonstrations of 19-20/10 in Greece, the change of the police doctrine towards a "softer management of demonstrations" and the role of the stalinists in "self-policing" the protests
24-10-2011 11:53Now that we are all supposed to swallow the ludicrous idea that Gaddafi was shot evidenced by some of the worst photoshop imagery seen since the lies about the London 11/7 bombings one or two of use have taken the time to view an analyse the footage to help others spot the fakery