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Archive for January, 2011

Many of us make resolutions when January 1st comes around. I should be becoming an organised, fruit-munching research machine any day now. So what about those who have been taking to the streets in protest against fees, cuts and tax avoidance? Here’s what I reckon:

1. Keep fighting

We should literally be showing resolve as the new year progresses. We may have been battered, demoralised and kettled in Parliament Square; a few of us, including yours truly, were also kept away from UKUncut’s “pay day” on December 18th by the snow, but there are many things to fight for. Lobby your University, asking them to mitigate the fee rises. Accelerate the fight against tax avoidance. Now isn’t the time to give up.

2. Cut violence out of activism

“And if you know someone pictured, don’t grass them up. No-one likes a grass!” – Fitwatcher, Dec 21st

IMHO this “law of the playground” thing has gone too far. I’m not saying you should tattle on anyone based on a low-res image of a person standing in the crowd, but not all those who attended the march were innocent. One guy with a rock on a rope can lead to the marchers as a whole being referred to as rioters. In general, we should show solidarity among peaceful protesters, and speak out against those among us who, for whatever reason, insist on chucking bricks and stuff.

So how can we prevent people from smashing windows?

Obviously, by doing what many people have done already – if you spot someone holding or picking up a brick, ask them to put it down…

What about if the red mist has already descended?

The easiest way is to chant against them – people at Millbank shouted “stop throwing shit”, but I didn’t hear any similar chants at the Treasury, possibly because we were all too angry and disillusioned by the vote result and the kettling that we no longer cared.┬áThere’s too much violence at protests, and it’s given us a bad name. Don’t be afraid to stand up to the perpetrators.

3. Come prepared

Given the police tactics so far, I expect to be kettled again at some point in the future. It’s just common sense to be ready for this when attending a large-scale protest by bringing along plenty of food and water.

4. Keep your camera handy

Especially when close to police lines, you never know when someone will get dragged out of their wheelchair, or struck to within an inch of his life. Videos of skirmishes could prove invaluable to these people. Obviously not everyone can film all of the time, but hopefully we can cover as much as possible.

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