For many of us, March 26th was set to be the big one. The anger and spontaneity of the student movement, but joined by other people from all walks of life who’s very survival is being threatened by the cuts. We wanted to join the dots and link our various struggles in an all out class war against those who now can’t even be bothered to give us the crumbs from their table. To make them long for the days when we’d accept that pittance and leave them alone.
At the very least, we did succeed in joining up all the various anarchists across London that day who had come from every corner of the country and beyond. Once the bloc converged and headed to its intended target there was no stopping it, and police were either overpowered or outmanoeuvred every time they attempted a challenge. Paint bombs and smoke grenades obstructed the work of various FIT teams who tailed the bloc, which had swelled until it made up a sea of red and black flags.
The mob roamed the streets from Soho to Mayfair and built momentum as it went, leaving graffiti, toppled cops, bewildered tourists and smashed windows in its wake. From HSBC, Santander and Lloyds, to Jewellers, luxury auto dealers and even Ann Summers, countless targets along the improvised route were trashed. But it was on Piccadilly where it was presented the opportunity to unleash its anger upon the ruling class themselves, rather than their symbolic representations. The crowd acknowledged this, and as we approached the building a chant went up –‘THE RITZ, THE RITZ, WE GOTTA GET RID OF THE RITZ.’
They didn’t, of course. But for anyone who witnessed the daring assault on the Ritz Hotel, no doubt remains as to whether would have succeeded in thoroughly scaring the shit out of any rich scum contained within. The Porsche centre in Mayfair was the last to fall, as the mob reached Hyde Park and was finally confronted by large numbers of knuckle-dragging TSG, drooling at the prospect of not having to engage asymmetrically, on unfavourable territory filled with bystanders. The terrible wave of black masked militants finally broke and scattered in every direction.
While some of yesterday’s details and what will become of the movement are still uncertain, one thing is not. All afternoon the West End was ours. And by nightfall when the totality of the days events were revealed, we were witness to scenes unheard of for years as barricades burned in central London.
This is not to fall into the same self-congratulatory trap as morons on the left who would hold hands, sing the Internationale in Hyde Park and call it a day, pretending they’ve struck a critical blow at the very heart of the system. Hundreds of people were arrested or brutalised in Trafalgar square. Some sad misguided individuals are still deluded enough to think they can engage with the police on a human level, which yesterday’s occupation of Fortnum and Mason has shown us can only end in betrayal. The anarchist movement certainly delivered yesterday, but there is still much work to be done. We may have shaken the enclaves of the wealthy to their foundations but we have not dealt them their final hand.