Brum – the good, the bad and the ugly

By rail and coach the WAGs made their way to Birmingham on Sunday 3rd October to join the anarchist contingent on the Right To Work (sorry, that should read the Right To Be Exploited) protest organised by the usual suspects in the unions and on the left. The anarchist contingent with a reasonably healthy turnout of around 100 was made up of Black Bloccers, the IWW, Hereford Heckler and Class War.

The Right to Work march was the usual predictable gesture of marching from point A to point B along too many backstreets and too few main streets with a decent number of onlookers. There were hardly any Tories to heckle or abuse although the few that did venture past got an ear bashing!

The march simply ended up in a coach park so people could be spirited away as soon as possible to leave the streets of Birmingham safe for the Tory scumbags. The protest was activity of the lowest common denominator in that it gave people the chance to participate in what was essentially a totally futile gesture that on the following day, received hardly any coverage in the mainstream media. Dragging people onto a walk, following a route agreed with the West Midlands Police, through the backstreets of Birmingham on a Sunday afternoon in the autumn rain and drizzle isn’t going to change a thing.

The noisy and combative anarchos did try to make a difference but the overwhelming police presence at certain key points, most notably near the entrance to the Secure Zone and the conference venue ruled out any attempt at large scale disruptive activity. Having said that, the anarchos and a few others stopped at the entrance in an eyeball to eyeball stand off with the police for long enough to make them more than a tad nervous. Moving on from that point we had a line of police dedicated to walking alongside and keep their beady eyes upon us. It was at this point we noticed the deployment of police dog handlers in some of the sidestreets. Cue for one of the funnier chants of the march – ‘keep the animals off the dogs’ – for some strange reason, the plod were not too impressed with this!

Approaching an underpass and an elevation to the ring road, us anarchos seized the opportunity to break from the main march and swiftly make our way up the elevation. Given the overwhelming number of cops, they soon caught up with us and after some pushing and shoving plus a fair bit of verbal going back and forth, kettled us in. Once we’d been kettled in, moral support was offered by a number of other protesters who weren’t going to move until the kettle was lifted. One thing that struck me was how unconfident and nervous a lot of the plod and their commanders were which probably explained their exaggerated reactions to the slightest provocation from our side. On reflection, that’s something that should have been exploited. However, the point is to not get kettled and that means being more flexible and thinking on our feet so we set the agenda.

Once the kettle had been shuffled down to the coach park where all the other marchers were dispersing, it was off to the pub and a fine one it was – a classic back street boozer with no pretensions but a friendly welcome. Also a delighted publican and barman who saw their Sunday takings soar – sterling work from them was rewarded with a whip round for a tip. After sustenance further into the city centre, it was back to the station the slow way to seek out as many Tories as possible to give an ear bashing to. Onto the train and some more ear bashing for the few Tories who were going back to London that night. The really sour note was the train being locked down at Euston, the police coming on to investigate an alleged ‘assault’ on a Tory and then a pointless arrest.

Did the day achieve anything? To be brutally honest, no. The ruling class is set on imposing drastic austerity cuts that will wreck our lives in order to keep their rotten system staggering on through its crisis. They will not notice a few marches, regardless of how large they may be. Direct action on a mass scale is the only thing that will make them pay attention. Suffice to say, when they do start to pay attention, that’s when the battle will really begin!

Workers, claimants, tenants – regardless of who we are or where we are – we all have to fight back in whatever way we can. This means wildcat strikes, occupations, work-to-rules in the workplace supported by solidarity action across the sectors. When the union bureaucrats stand in our way, they have to be swept aside. Evictions from homes have to be resisted by mass community action. Schools threatened with closure have to be occupied. Soaring rents have to be met with rent strikes.

The fightback starts with each and everyone of us. There are many ways in which we can disrupt those in power, starting on our estates, in our communities and workplaces, and taking it onto the streets where they cannot ignore us!


7 responses to “Brum – the good, the bad and the ugly

  1. organisedandsinister

    when the kettle got moved with the police surrounding,they offerded a voluntary search of people a couple at a time…stupidly lots of folks did!! The hardcore that remained in the kettle and sat linked on the floor and the filth kicked the first few in their backs as they tried to take us to be forcibly searched,with resistance from us,,one suffered sever bruising to his arm,nearly breaking it in the process,me cuffed and head smacked into police van,another pig using his fingers to pressure point another protestor,etc etc…wankers

  2. When the police try to collate the ‘information’ that people ‘volunteered’ to them after they were being searched, I suspect they’ll realise a collection of false names, addresses and birth dates is pretty much useless. The muppets certainly didn’t ask me or anyone else I talked to for ID so there was no pressure at all on anyone to do anything other than tell a load of porkies.

    On the question of tactics, sorry to disagree mate but years ago when I first got involved in activism, one of the first things that was drummed into my head was never, ever sit down as that makes you vulnerable to an assault from the pigs.

    As for lessons learnt, we all need to star thinking of ways of not getting kettled in the first place. Yeah, I know hindsight is a wonderful think and all that but we need to be a lot more felxible as to how we operate and not present ourselves en mass as a bloc for the police to deal with.

    As the shit starts to hit the fan with the cuts and the growing possibility of a second banking crisis that’ll really throw the economy into chaos, things are going to start to get really heavy and the police response will be more in your face and brutal as the authorities start to feel the heat. This poses a challenge to all of us to constantly review our tactics and to come up with ways of operating that’ll stretch the authorities to the limit. This might mean passing up set piece opportunities such as last Sunday in Brum and getting a lot more creative about what we do – so let’s get our thinking caps on:)

  3. Big ups to all who made the effort anyway.

  4. Not a bad day but not a good day. A fair few out for it, hopefully we can build on this.

  5. “The ugly” ain’t no joke… do y’all do that chant in this country: “U-G-L-Y and you ain’t got no alibi…”

  6. Cheers for posting this, raised my spirits after the day!

  7. The problems we have cannot be resolved by either Labour or the Cons… they are both committed (to their masters) to following the same broad principles… the main one being full integration with a foreign country called EC.

    The only way to resolve the problem is to resolve the debt problems by making changes to the Peel (Bank) Act 1844 – it’s as simple as that…. we (YOU) need to help bring the people out to force the gov’t to change the Act.

    Gov’t debt comes from the Bank of England – our income tax pays the interest.

    Personal debt comes from the High Street banks – Natwest/RBS/Barclay
    /Lloyds/BOS etcetera.

    Take a look here an 8 min video in the House and read the website, then join us to help build an army of uni-students – we have MP’s with us as well.

    Second reading to change the Bank Act is 19th November (I think, sez so on the video)

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