After much discussion, Whitechapel Anarchist Group are ending the WAG project. This is not because we, as individuals, no longer believe that anarchists and anarchism can play a role in building a better world. It’s because we believe that, after two and a half years, the existing WAG structure and focus is not living up to its full potential in the face of the cataclysmic upheaval in the political culture of this country.
Since the founding of WAG in October 2008 we’ve had a good run. We initially gained notoriety in the build up to the G20 protests in 2009, ‘infiltrated’ by the Daily Mail while unloading thousands of provocative ‘Storm the Banks’ posters.
WAG’s activity oscillated between sporadic forays into anarchist community organising and involvement in mass actions taking place across London. This inability to commit to either/or was something we have struggled with throughout our history. There were times when WAG was a militant local anarchist group, taking part in mass squatting actions, supporting local strikes, clandestine action, local demos, anti-fascism, organising the Spitalfields Fair, screening films, hosting benefits, local radical history walks and promoting our ideas with a free paper. But as one of the only Anarchist groups in London stepping out and really saying something, WAG was essentially a first point of contact for anyone in London who wanted to meet likeminded people. This was an exhausting and exhilarating model – a load of up-for-it people from all over London moving from one crazy event to another – all the time being surprised by the magnitude and militancy of each action and the controversy our involvement caused.
Then came the trashing of Tory Party HQ at Millbank and the beginning of a mass movement against austerity in the UK. WAG members were in the media defending the actions of the students on the day, getting involved in occupations, legal support, counter-surveillance, direct action, union organising and town hall actions. As individuals, we had never been busier. But WAG, as a group, was surprisingly inactive. One thing became clear to us throughout this process: WAG was a means of co-ordinating the efforts and ideas of it’s members to the fullest extent in an increasingly political environment – but one that remained, nonetheless, a political vacuum. However, it was failing to do the same in this new, highly politicised London.
Austerity Britain, post-banking crisis (with another possibly on the way) has seen the capitalist system stumble – we see a weak coalition government pushing cuts and poverty on to all of us. In response to this a new movement is rising – student occupations, unemployed youth rioting, whole communities laying siege to town halls. This is what we should be a part of and we need an Anarchist organisation that can be part of it.
This has led us to embark on a series of much-needed reflections about what form an anarchist group should take and what function it should serve in today’s volatile climate. At a time when so many people are dramatically re-assessing the way they relate to the world around them, why should we be any different? We are revolutionaries, not conservatives. We refuse to become another dinosaur of the left, unable to break with the habits of a lifetime.
So, rather than become everything we hate, we decided to be true to ourselves as revolutionaries and roll with the spirit of rebellion that we find ourselves so inspired by. This means the destruction of what we have become accustomed to – and held back by – and the creation of something new, ambitious and essentially, uncertain.
We want to reorganise as anarchists. Out of the ashes of WAG we are calling for a new organisation to be formed.
We want this to be a London wide class struggle anarchist group with the spirit of WAG that works across the whole capital and has strongholds in borough groups.
We want you to be a part of this…
We want to topple this government
We want to bring the revolution home.
Sound the ALARM!
SUNDAY 15TH MAY 1:30PM (2PM Start) CALTHORPE ARMS 252 Gray’s Inn Road, Kings Cross, WC1X 8JR
PART ONE: Introductions
(1) Introduction: Why the meeting has been called and the hopes to come out of it.
(2) Proposed initial structure ALARM! (All London Anarchist Revolutionary Movement)
- (a) How ALARM! breaks up as both a London wide organisation and local borough hubs.
- (b) Roles of Secretary and Treasury for ALARM!
- (c) Roles of Borough contacts.
- (d) Assets: Red&Black Club Social, Black Rose Martial Arts Club, Discussion Group, Communication Group.
BREAK (15 minutes)
PART TWO: Foundings
Everyone who returns is now taking part in the official founding of the ALARM! group.
(3) Nominate and elect roles of Secretary and Treasury
(4) Nominate and elect Borough contacts.
(5) Agree on ALARM! Meeting dates – it has been suggested weekly.
(6) Creating a political Manifesto.
- (a) Website / Blog.
- (b) Email list / Forums.
- (c) Online – facebook, twitter etc.
- (d) Printed – paper, posters, stickers.
PART THREE: What’s next?
(8) Strategy forward.
(9) Announcement of upcoming events / dates.