dimanche 5 avril 2009

A tale of two riots

The kettling all the protesters got at the police riot in London recently and the heated events in the Strasbourg resistance march reveal the repression and violence inherent in capital social relations. The coaslescence of systemic economic, political and social crises (in the real sense of the term, crisis as in 'Things could go either way.') is adding further ingredients and catalysts to the conditions for its own destruction.

The G20 event was something forced upon the flailing bourgeois cadaver cabin crew to psychologically prop up the faith of its followers in the idea that things can be reorganised so that they can resume living in the manner to which they were accustomed. This vapid dronefest clashed with a major NATO summit (that undead organistion) in a way that either signalled a clear statement of intent ("The extortion and violence are going to carry on get used to it.") or (my interpretation) near panic in the higher echelons of the rotting social order. But, again, the gatherings themselves conjured up their own gravediggers.

The protest cadre in Britain and France on the streets in recent days confronted different state tactics but with the same end in view - to criminalise, stigmatise and terrorise the protesters and to send out a clear message that active dissent will not be tolerated. Both London and Strasbourg were effectively locked down for the duration of the G20 and NATO 'celebrations', with Strasbourg under police seige to prevent demonstrators getting anywhere near the worthy undead that came paying hommage to NATO. ATOW, there is little information about the exact developments of the NATO counter-demonstration, save for the usual scandalised tone of condemnation about a few windows being smashed and things being set on fire. (It's an obvious thing to say, but it is wearisome to read papers/reports that moralise about demonstrations that turn 'violent' and yet a few pages later or a couple of days earlier, are celebreating the latest NATO operation despite the collateral damage, the latest country to send troops into the pit of the Afghan 'campaign' or the fact that Sarkozy has joined the pointless club). But the salient features of the last week's protest is that the movement is energised, mobile and intelligent (though perhaps tactically naive...) and that the state forces are having to spend more time and money in countering them.

The police provoked riots (and death, let us not forget) in London made a lot of people across Europe more determined to counter the grey slabs of repression being set up, metaphorically and literally, throughout the West. Hence "Protest groups have said they want to bring chaos to the NATO summit and police warn that clashes at the G20 meeting in London earlier this week have fuelled tensions."

OK. These initial responses to the unpresidented economic and social crisis from the European working class, were relatively small affairs - about 100 000 marchers in total for the two protests - and bourgeois scribblers will, at this moment, be scratching away about how peaceful protest has been hijacked by hooded anarchists, that the mob has no answers to the crisis and that the kettling was more effective than the seige of Strasbourg, or vice versa. But they, and the elites, know that for every demonstrator on the street there is another thousand in the towns, inner-cities and banliues all feeling the same anger and righteous sense of injustice and who are waiting for the chance to turn the chaos our way. As a first step, then, these demos are more than encouraging. The second step would be to draw in worker occupations and unite these two sources of opposition.

Protests insufficient for the kind of change we foresee, of course, but imagine if the G20 and NATO fests had been met with no protest at all, just cheering adulators and sight seers....

Articulate anger - spread sedition - ferment revolution