Saturday, November 13, 2010

Starting has we mean to go on - taking the Class War back to the enemy. Statement from Not a Dinner Party on Seige of Tory HQ

Statement from Not A Dinner Party on the student Siege of Tory HQ at Millbank Tower.



Six months in to the ConDem government and their open declaration of war on the poor, the disabled, the working class and indeed everyone who isn't responsible for the crisis of finance capitalism (ie imperialism) and the first major protest in London ends up exactly where it should, with thousands of students laying siege to the tory Party HQ. The best possible start to what has to be a sustained campaign of militant resistance to what in reality is a very weak and divided government, but one with the arrogance of being formed directly and unapologeticly from the most priviliged and callous section of the ruling-class, people who beleive it is their birth right to rule and their ancestral right to privilige at the expense of all else.

Todays action is a lesson is the direction the anti-cuts movement has to take if it is to be successful. While the tories are hell-bent on taking us back to the 80s excesses of Thatcherism, we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes that the Left and the Labour Movement made then. Waiting for Labour is of course out of the question. The ConDem regime is after all continuing a program that was initiated and laid out by the last government. Labour's only concern is not that the tories are going too far, but that they are doing it too fast. So far there has barely been a peep out of the Labour Party and nor will there be. But you can bet they will be falling over themselves to denounce any and all effective militant resistance to the cuts.

And nor can we follow the same lefty routine of marching from A-B inb town centres, demonstrations and rallies that do nothing but annoy weekend shoppers and are completely ignored by both the media and of course by the government - safety valves for an innefectual and impotant "Left".

This struggle needs to take on board the example of the protests that have rocked Greece and France. And it needs to learn from our enemies. Over the last year the fascist English Defence League has built a mass street movement that can mobilise thousands - and done so largely through utuilising social-media specifically Facebook. Using such sources the far-right have been able to very successfully spread their message, organise at short notice and make contacts and develop new networks amongst tens of thousands - and that influnce extends well beyond those singed up on their Facebook pages - the rumours and claims they put out spread like a virus and are picked up and repeated by millions. There is no reason at all why militant progressives cannot utilise similar methods.

In the early months and years of the Blair New Labour administration, another section of the Right, this time essentially the extra-parliamentary wing of the tory party, mobilised tens of thousands through the Countryside Alliance, not just in demonstrations and protests but also in motorway blockades. Likewise the rightist Fuel Tax Protests effectively shut down the country's fuel distribution network with illegal blockades of fuel refinaries, storage facilities and motorways, and maintained huge public support even while petrol stations ran dry, shop shelves emptied and schools and hospitals were threatened with closure.

These actions were most often illegal. 18 years of the Thatcher offensive against the organised working class left the trade union movement crippled by laws that effectively outlawed any effective industrial struggle or shows of solidarity. Not only did New Labour not rescind these laws, they added to them with the most draconian "anti-terror" legislation that has essentially given the state the legal means to criminalise and shut down any form of protest. But this has not deterred the Right. It did not deter the Countryside Alliance, the anti-Fuel Tax protesters and it certainly hasnt hinderd the EDL. But you will be hard pressed to find any Union leader (with one or two possible exceptions) who would for a second ever contemplate risking sequestration, crippling fines and imprisonment for calling for and leading any effective fightback.

So it is a given that really any form of protest, no matter how seemingly innocent or mundane, is "illegal" now. And it is also a given that the old methods of protest have failed. They didnt stop Thatcher in the 1980s - the only "traditonal" force that came close was the Miners - and the price of their defeat was their complete destruction, as a Union, as an industry and as a community. And if two million marching through London couldnt influence a Labour government to think twice about engaging in an illegal war, then what makes anyone beleive any number marching, whistleing, dancing, wearing costunmes, banging srums and shrieking the same old tired slogans, will have any influence on a tory government that regards such people as the scum of the earth anyway?

The one victory we did have was over the Poll Tax, it was an attack on ordinary people every bit as callous and cynical as what we are seeing now. And the protest succeeded because it went outside and beyond the usual forms. It involved ordinary people who organised themselves and based their action on what they felt was possible and effective in the area they were and with the numbers they had. While most people know of the legendary Battle Of Trafalgar Square of 1990, something that will most likely be eclipsed inthe coming struggle, what most people who werent around at the time dont know of is the hundreds of protests that took place outside scores of town halls often involving thousands of people, and very often ending with council chambers being stormed. Bailiffs offices were trashed, Conservative Clubs attacked and for the first time in years, there was a sense of panic amongst the politicians and a real sense that would could win amongst the people. Millions refused to pay, the Poll Tax was dropped and Thatcher forced from office.

But this government, for all of its Thatcherite arrogance and contempt, is actually very weak and very divided. It can be beaten. But the struggle needs to get "personal". Would 1 thousand people marching through a town centre make any impact? How about a thousand people marching on the constituency office of the local tory or Liberal Party? A thousand marching on the surgery of a MP? A thousand marching on the home of a MP? A thousand taking over the council chamber when they annouce their cuts.

There is no doubt that the anger and militancy of todays protest has sent a ripple of shock and anxiety through many amongst the enemy tonight. After only 6 months in power, and the first major protest in London against their policies, they have already witnessed a minor taste of the real, deep and growing anger that is ready to explode.

And by taking their anger directly to the HQ of the enemy they wil have acheived more than a hundred town centre marches from park A to park B to listen to Union and Labour hypocrites proclaim platitudes and promises they have no means or intention to fulfill.

If this government inlficts pain and fear - then those responsible, those who enforce it and support it, from top to bottom, must be made to understand what pain and fear really means.

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