They Weren’t Expecting That

Hyped up by the bullshit scare mongering of The Evening Standard, tonight’s Tower Hamlet’s Council meeting in Poplar resembled fort knox with the Old Bill in overdrive. Metal fencing formed a ginormous kettle as you entered the surrounding area of Mulbery Place, countless police vans with riot police situated in surrounding buildings, the street and through out the Town Hall, hands clenching truncheons ready for action. The Council Meeting was like a war zone. But where was this dangerous minority driving an angry mob with pitchforks hell bent on levelling every building in their sight? We were sitting with our feet up in the warmth of the Town Hall.

Known as Operation Turn Up Early our motley crew waltzed straight through the giant kettles under the noses of the FIT and TSG, holding our nerve, into the Town Hall making full use of our rights as residents of the borough to obtain the few spare seats available to the general public. Panic set in amongst the Police, they are use to us turning up masked up and shouting slogans within a cordoned off section, but how were they to react now? Officers who recognised our faces and for years have intimidated us under the Forward Intelligence Teams were pissed off to say the least at the sight of us lot sat ready and waiting for the meeting to begin. They had gone to so much effort, organised a large contigent of armed to the teeth uber males, secured the place to high heaven to keep us out but we weren’t exactly playing by the rules.

Our aim of the evening had been to get into the Town Hall and attend the Tower Hamlets Council meeting as various petitions were being raised by Resident Associations and Unions to oppose the £70 million pound cuts proposed to hit the borough over the next two years, offering our support against the political corruption behind the government cuts to public services and to high light the devastating effects these will have on our lives. Security jobsworths were all over our group as the police lined the corridors ready to steam in, we had entered the lion’s den and the fun was just about to begin.

Once the pomposity of proceedings was out the way we had some brilliant speeches by the individuals presenting the petitions, laying into the governments obvious attack upon the very services we have fought so hard for and attacking the double standards of the tax dodging rich parasites. Cheers and applause raised the roof and the turbulent nature of the crowd was obvious to everyone as the Chair announced that this was the rowdiest meetings for many years. The folly of party politics played out before us with Labour and Tory Councillors blaming each other, when most know they are all to blame for this mess, and the order of the day was the classic tactic of the heckle. And once the fuse paper is lit… Heckling, shouting, joking, haranguing came from all corners of the attendees, yes as anarchists we were a rowdy part, but members of the public, residents, unions – everyone basically – started to get involved. The flood gates burst open. An emergency motion was ushered in to discuss the cuts in more detail but still the onslaught of abuse and undermining was barraged onto the squirming councillors whose rhetoric couldn’t save them now.

As the Police slowly started to filter in and place themselves at the back we took the initiative and upped and leaved, the friends we had made amongst the crowd cheered and clapped as we tore a Tory Councillor apart verbally on our exit. Once again the old bill were fuming and despite some friction with the FIT on exiting the Town Hall, we had got away with our objective unscathed. We disrupted the Tower Hamlets Council meeting with a few home truths expressed in an enraged manner. Far from alienating ourselves as disruptive trouble makers we built alliances of solidarity and new friendships, summed up by the drinks and chat afterwards in the pub with members of the Unions and residents of Tower Hamlets who we shared information, stories, drinks and jokes with.

Never believe the bullshit you read in the newspapers, it just goes to show the sloppy nature of mainstream journalism as they once again raise the spectre of WAG as the bogeyman of dissent, with the Old Bill following suit by over reacting and enforcing the law of intimidation on anyone who dares question the authority of our rulers. It was an unorthodox night to say the least. A great laugh and success for us. They weren’t expecting that.


30 responses to “They Weren’t Expecting That

  1. Amazing scenes. Good work.

  2. fanfickingtastic well done mateys

  3. Congratulations, comrades, solidarity forever. I have been an “evil anarchist infiltrator” across numerous actions recently, joining South Thames College occupiers on their victory march, giving a talk at the UCL occupation, joining the London Met occupation’s public meeting yesterday and their solidarity rally today, as well as reporting on Twitter from inside the kettle at the second student demo, the first Topshop flashmob and the aforementioned London Met rally. Tomorrow, I’ll be out again, Tweet reporting everything I see with pics (follow me @donnachadelong ). Too much of the mainstream media has anarchists wrong – ignoring what the NUJ conference said last year – to stop stereotyping us. But everyone we talk to know better.

  4. Here’s to keeping them guessing! Cheers from your comrades in Arizona!

  5. How does this sound?
    Has anyone thought of a peaceful protest anywhere along the lines of something like this…..? Every protester dresses in combat gear, marches in columns like soldiers, balaclava’d up like the riot police, armed… with realistic looking fake weapons… marching in time with platoon Sgt Majors walking along side their respective units. All bannered up… different platoons can represent different sections of the NUS, Anarchist groups, other protesters etc. You all wear combats but have different patches to represent your individual groups… It has to be proffessional… why… so it is effective and scares the shite out of everyone else… You may not even have to commit any violence… the threatening look of a paramilitary organisation would be enough to scare most people… and if you could get that organised it would help you out in situations where the police try and block you in…. Know your enemy… use its tactics against them…. be as organised as the Police force (However the Police ARE NOT your enemy, they are a tool of your enemy) Use radios and phones to keep each unit in touch with each other… use spotters to target what police units are up to, have them watching police stations ready to inform the rest of your protesting army… Hell you have enough protesters…. March up to politicians homes and stand on guard outside their front rooms… bring the war to them personally… lots of small orgainsed groups can be much more effective than one anarchistic mob with no purpose other than to vent anger. What i’m saying is model your protest around the Armed Forces command structure and you will be effective, intimidating, have good intelligencem and communication… The more of these attributes you have, the less likley you will need to resort to violence, the more likely people who want to join in, fight or listen. You could even train each other in riot control techniques which will help you combat riot police tactics.

    Jim Mac

    • Just a two cents: the general gist of what you’re saying sounds quite similar to what militant protesters already do in Greece and elsewhere. I have a problem with the “intimidation” and the “realistic looking fake weapons”: re “intimidation”, the only people I would want to intimidate would be the police and their paymasters, but the kind of thing you’re suggesting – especially suddenly coming up out of the blue in a place like the U.K. that’s not really used to that sort of thing – sounds like it could intimidate the general public as well, which is the last thing we want to do; re “realistic looking fake weapons” – those are highly likely to get people killed by police who have access to actual real weapons.
      The general idea of taking what you’ve learned that’s useful from armed forces etc. and lending your expertise to the movement is good though, once you understand (as I think you do) that it ain’t about blowing things up or indulging in suicidal macho armed-guerrillas-in-the-urban-jungle-without-any-popular-support type antics.
      WAGs- nice one!

  6. If any of your organisers want to hear more on this idea i’m happy to share it in detail with them, just get in touch… I am ex-forces and am trained in riot control techniques as well as a few other skills that might be useful to know. However my plan is essentially a peaceful protest…. It just provides the means to intimidate without actually resorting to any violence.

  7. nice one guys, lewisham’s still in the lead though 😉

    WAGS welcome at this by the way

    National Day of Protest Against Welfare & Housing Benefit Cuts

  8. Top work and an excellent report. Well done WAG.

  9. Jim Mac: It’s illegal, political uniforms are prohibited since Mosley’s days.

    • No definition of political uniform, never been tested.

      • Bollocks:

        Held, dismissing all the appeals, (1) that any item worn to show mutual association can, subject to the de minimis rule, amount to a “uniform” without proof of its previous use as such; (2) that the wearer’s association with a political organisation may be proved either by showing that the uniform has in the past been associated with a political organisation or by proving that the conduct of the wearer on the occasion complained of indicates activity of a political character; (3) that it is not necessary for the prosecution to specify the particular political organisation.

        O’Moran & Whelan v DPP [1975] 1 All E.R. 473

        Don’t come test unless you come proper.

      • This is actually in response to Jason Sands below:
        That definition sounds so vague it could include me wearing a red gold and green or red black and green armband, or anyone wearing a circle A on a T-shirt.
        Certainly the EDL jerseys they wear would fit the description, but I ain’t seen po po arresting the EDL for that, have you? Of course, we know the police and EDL are basically on the same side… but anyway, that “law” seems to be saying, it’s up to us whether we decide we don’t like you enough to apply these extremely broad, vague criteria to your dress code and involve you in some legal hassle… certainly sounds ripe for testing in a courtroom.
        Not that I’m a particular advocate of Jim Mac’s proposed strategy, but I don’t know that yours is a valid argument against it.

  10. Guys
    I’m intrigued. I am from a very working class background; raised on a counsel estate just like all of my family and forefathers, no one went to college, just a good hardworking working class family.
    Who are you people and what is your ultimate intention here?

  11. BBC claim “WAG’s are particularly dangerous”:

  12. Doesn’t it seem strange to anyone that a supposed bunch of anarchists have a group/organisation? Doesn’t this somehow go against the philosophy of anarchism-ie anarchists being organised. The showing at the council meeting seems a bit lame and a bit pathetic for supposed anarchists in the true sense of the word, or am I missing the point!?!?! Well done for surprising everyone by ‘verbally abusing a Tory councillor on your out’!!! I bet they went expecting that!!! Maybe some affirmative, radical action might be more suited to your supposed course. Just a thought!!

  13. @Howie
    For fuck’s sake, read some anarchist theory before you make an asinine statement like that. For the million-billionth time anarchism is not the absence of structure, it is constant vigilance against permanent hierarchy, especially arbitrary hierarchies.

    • @Howie
      I am likewise mystified. What is the vision for society here? Smash some stuff up – fine! Hey, that’s what students are for.
      Then what? It all looks very French Revolutionary to me: replace the ancien regime, with all its faults, with something as bad if not worse, The Terror the Napoleon!

  14. Howie, you’re an idiot. Go away, read something more about anarchism than what you get in the Mail and the Telegraph and then maybe you can contribute some intelligent conversation.

  15. RASTA

    The idea is to intimidate… without ever having to resort to violence… to look and appear intimidating is enough without having to use the muscle… you would get the shock factor without the pain and suffering. And since when is wearing a uniform classed as illegal… if it is then it shouldn’t be so long as it’s none offensive and not covered in swastikas.

    As for the weapons… Ok realistic looking bb guns was a bit over the top… how about cardboard cutouts… things that could never be confused with the real thing, but still convey the message.

    I’m only proposing the idea because current methods/tactics are NOT working, despite what some of you may think. Damaging the Cenotaph and vandalising things are not gathering any support, in fact its doing the opposite. My Facebook page is inundated with complaints about filthy tax dodging students, most even feel that they should tuck in their shirts and step into line like everyone else. I AM NOT of that viewpoint and consider myself a greeny/peaceloving/treehugging/world cuddling/communist/socialist/anarchist however…. Most others are happy to try and get on with their lives as best they can and do what they are told.

    If you want to change the world you have to have a goal and stick to it, convey your message sensibly and non-violently otherwise you’ll be banged up with the rest of them.

    An highly organised, politically motivated, passionate, intelligent, creative movement is much more likley to raise awareness and empathy than destruction will.

    You should only resort to violence when the majority empathise with you and are on your side AND still nothing gets done… then you can rise like a Phoenix from the ashes… till then you have to create powerful symbols and statements, define your goals and gather support in a non-destructive manner.

    Having said that… you can be intimidating wo the government without intimidating it’s people… You wear British flags on your uniforms like the military do, you wear symbols of peace and unity and you damn well make sure that your message is conveyed peacefully. Look scarey, but tell them you are not. Bark loud but don’t bite. The intimidating look will catch the eye and initially intimidate Joe Bloggs, but when the camera zooms in and you are covered in British flags, peace symbols and marching in order, speaking with one voice and not destroying everything in site… what will look better scarier… that or an angry mob with petrol cannisters and lighters and a manic look of rage on their collective face chasing after Charles and Camilla?

    However it will be much more frightening to the government… a large, angry, organised political, para-military-looking organisation that is capeable of defending itself and able to call upon all its regiments at a moments notice and walk where they want, when they want. Cameron, Clegg and every other politician will be scared to leave the comfort of all their many own homes.

    Think of other powerful symbols of peace and what was achieved by them.

    Peace out

    • Hail Up Brudda Jim Mac
      Don’t have time to get much into it right now, but briefly: I wouldn’t pay too much mind to facebook comments, etc. I wanna know what the average heads in places like Whitechapel, Lower Clapton, etc. etc. think. As far as violence against police, in every protest I’ve ever been to it’s been them that started it. They’re the ones with the heavy weaponry, they’re the ones who almost killed Alfie, knocked Tahmeena Bax unconscious and left her without medical attention for two hours and then made fun of her religion while removing her hijab, etc. etc. etc. So my sympathies are fully with the people who don’t have heavy weaponry, shields, body armour etc. and 99/100 are defending themselves, not with the ones who have all that and 99/100 are perpetrating the aggression. Not saying to drop fire extinguishers on em of course, but fighting them back in self-defence is fine in my book. If some random twat punches me in the face for no reason, I’m liable to punch him back, so why should it make any difference whether or not he’s wearing a uniform? Whether or not the wider British public agrees with me I don’t know, but like I say, I wouldn’t base my opinion on that on facebook or youtube comments, which tend to attract the most moronic right wingers on the planet with too much time on their hands anyway.
      The idea you have might be good though – the main thing I was concerned about was the fake weapons – definitely a good way to get instantly killed – but if they’re obviously fake in a guerrilla theatre kind of way then that’s different (although to judge from the example of New York City when I was staying in that area, police can be quite likely to mistake things for “weapons” that plainly aren’t… remember Amadou Diallo, a wallet, and 41 gunshots…)
      I wouldn’t wear a british flag but that’s just me, means different things to different people I guess.
      Anyway bro I gotta go, peace out and best wishes comrade.

    • I think to model yourselves as a paramilitary style organisation in that way would lead to a shitstorm of epic proportions in the MSM and ultimately proscription as an illegal (paramilitary) organisation: ala PIRA etc. Long prison terms would follow.

      Also, unless folk would be willing to put hours and hours of drill practice in like the army have to, they’d just look like complete knobs trying to march in time in public. I think keeping it casual is the best option.

      • on the flip side, that shitstorm might manifest itself in a mass public pisstaking of the anarchist wannabe “soldiers” and a total loss of any credibility.

        Bear in mind, the general public is highy sentimental about the armed forces at present. The immediate response would be “want to dress up in combats?” Fuck off to Afganistan then…

  16. I stand corrected, as said the man in the oprthopaedic shoes. Apologies.

    • Bloody hell people!!! Did you see that???!!?? an actual apology!
      Respect mr. Howie, it takes a big man to apologise. Hope you learned something about what anarchism really stands for.

    • Good man, now might I suggest, in keeping with the geography of this blog, that you seek out and read Rudolf Rocker’s “The London Years”. You’ll learn a lot about the history of Whitechapel/the East End and also the greatest anarchist organiser who ever lived.

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