Stop the Cuts


Since I’ve read lots of news and interesting analysis on yesterdays events in London, but not Brighton, I thought I’d try to represent.

I’ll do so by beginning with a confession– I didn’t make it to the 1200 rally on Sussex campus. So I don’t know what happened there. Instead I ended up watching the tv and seeing everyone at Whitehall getting entrapped and kettled before heading up to the 1400 rally on Dyke rd.

When I got there I was excited to see so many people, especially so many young people ranging from quite young to 18+:

The march itself was fun. The pace was a lot quicker then usual. More and more people joined en route. There were also quite a lot of shows of support by people in cars at work etc. and a few Christmas shoppers who looked dumbfounded but still took photos of us on their I-phones.  Most of the marchers seemed to be taking particular delight– which I shared– in chanting: “Nick Clegg shame on you/ your a fucking Tory too,” “David Cameron/Go Back To Eaton” and “Tory, Tory, Tory — Scum, Scum, Scuuum.”

When we got to the end point of the march where speeches were scheduled I started thinking about leaving. (shit to do). But the kids had different ideas. To begin with they decided to congregate outside the Uni Brighton gallery, instead of the rally point:

Then an even more brilliant thing happened: groups of kids started legging it away from the gallery towards the sea in different directions, which totally baffled and confounded the police, who had a collective delayed reaction like you see in cartoons, before running after the different groups like the keystone cops, who were now splintered

At this point it felt like everything had broken open. I had no idea what was going to happen or where everyone went. It was a remarkable feeling. Having watched youtube footage of the poll tax riots the other day, and being a bit of a muso, I had temporary visions of some type of prolonged quadrophenia like seafront battle. Then it hit me– city hall.

In the few minutes it took me to get there there was already a police chopper and loads of police. Not wanting to be kettled– which was evidently on the cards– I skirted around the periphery and got some photos:

I did this for an hour or so. From the reports I read later and the discussions I  heard there from those who were in the kettle, the police behaved disproportionately: tussling, gassing and tazing kids as young as 12. Total bullshit, but unfortunately, not unexpected since the narrative onus was on them to act to make up for their Millbank tower misjudgement. And what better to reclaim your integrity then unnecessarily brutalizing children?

As far as Aaron Porter (who should be impeached) and others say today’s participants weren’t members of the black block. They were kids, which is potentially more terrifying to those they oppose.

In all there were something like 3,000 of them in Brighton. 3,000 radicalized kids rightly outraged about their– and our– potential future. 3,000 Kids running wild in the streets confounding the cops.  Crowds of hundreds trying to occupy buildings. Even with Police forming lines and kettling them, their exuberance was unbroken.  ( I even heard some slightly distressed looking kids excitingly tell their friends they were sieg heiling or spitting on the cops who hit them.) With another day soon approaching it only seems like things will expand and heat up. Hopefully the rest of those affected, especially in Brighton which could end up looking like The Wire after the benefit cuts hit, will join in.  If the Kids are united..

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This is rough and scattered like all my posts. Just dump the shit online I say.

In all the interesting posts on the Demos against the cuts, ( In particular see IT, Lenin and Federico )I haven’t seen anyone comment on how inexperience relates to several aspects of the recent demos. This is surprising because it seems like its something that might be philosophically addressed in terms of grammars, language games, form/content, learned behaviour etc.

Anyone paying any attention to these Demos already knows how many kids are involved. What hasn’t been discussed is what this means in terms of behaviour at the Demos. People like me who have attended many demos  are used to rallies and Demos following a certain predictable procedure: in terms of how we participate, how the police behave, how we interact with the  police etc. But from what I’ve seen many of the kids haven’t learned these rules. At least they don’t follow them, which is great, but also slightly frightening. Great because it has opened up so much possibility, potential and exuberance: in what happened at Milibank and in the way the kids just took off in groups from the ending rally at yesterday’s march in Brighton confounding typical rally procedure and the police. (So awesome!) Slightly terrifying, in the way that I have seen scores of them overact to tentative police movement. causing a momentary spasm of pandemonium out of fear of a stomping that could potentially go bad in the wrong circumstances (This of course is different to the many occasions in which the police have overreacted and used unwarranted force on children.)

Can it be surmised from this that the kids who behave in this manner aren’t experienced and haven’t acquired the learned behaviour of demonstrating? If this is so does this represent the development of a new form of political demonstration akin to what Marx touches upon in the 18th Brumaire? (drawing their poetry from the future not the past?) Or is it something that will be colonized and appropriated and suppressed with even more kennels and new techniques developed to counteract spontaneity?