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I have been involved in the Anarchist movement on and off for over 20 years and have taken part in demos & actions of various kinds, of varying legality, over a similar period. But this is the first time that I actually feel embarrassed, or rather ashamed of the event which I was a part of on Mayday.
DonÝt misunderstand - I'm all for smashing up McDonalds, the money changers & similar oppressors, & can understand people wanting to have a go at the Police, though it so easily degenerates into an ineffective ritual game - which they usually win. No, what struck me most on the day was the complete lack on any sort of political activity (at least of the type that wouldn't get your picture in the Sun), or political statement, which would reach out, despite the Boys in Blue, to show the world that Anarchism is a serious alternative - the alternative - to the pantomime of government and business we are drowning in. Even marching, with all it limitations, couldn't take place. We were cut off, invisible to the world & Trafalgar Square was filled with a few people bent on being arrested, and a mass of people bored, staring into space or crashed out - not very inspiring when it comes to confronting the boss at work the next day!
Which brings me to the one bit of activity we were encouraged to do - the ridiculous "gardening". Just who was attending the organising meetings for this debacle? Is it in some way progressive to tear up the living plants (grass) in one of our few green spaces & throw them in the road? Only in the minds of the pathetic bombed-out hippies I saw "playing in the mud". Or maybe Workers' Day had been hijacked by art students wanting to produce an easily executed thesis? Either way I cannot see this provoking an existential crisis in the minds of the toiling masses, & of course the image that such masses received in the media was predictable in the extreme - the action was shown as irrelevant, Anarchists as middle-class hippies playing at being "absurd".
Equal stupidity was displayed by the pond life responsible for writing "toilet - menÍ women" etc., on the Cenotaph. I say this not just for the obvious reason that defacing what is a monument to the war dead is disgusting & morally unjustifiable. Such people cannot define their actions as Anarchist or anti-fascist ˝ only a couple of days after the demo veterans of the Danish Resistance were due to lay a wreath there. No, more serious is how this will be seen by the rest of the world. The media did not even have to distort or misrepresent this action ˝ simply reporting it will be enough to bring condemnation from thinking people of every political (and no political) colour. It will alienate many sympathetic people, & will give the enemies of Anarchism exactly what they need to draw people away from us : images that show we are just "vandals", only into destruction, without the ability to organise the minimum of constructive activity.
It's the day after the event & I just feel really saddened by it all. The aggression of the police, the media vultures, the way "they" keep winning ˝ all that's bad enough, but easier to accept because its so predictable. What's really sickening is that Mayday should celebrate & strengthen the movement ˝ instead its given our enemies a perfect gift : the worst propaganda against us, delivered free of charge, and every excuse to increase repression & prevent a really useful event from taking place in future. The organising committee must've been infiltrated by the Old BillÍ no, they must've had a clear majority, to come up with an action like this. It pains me greatly to say, but it confirms my fears that there is no "movement" in this country, just a collection of sad (or saddened) individuals.
Yours in struggle,
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