Category: Protest

Gallery: Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians

1 FEB 2017: The Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians crew decided they liked the area so have moved into a new mansion after their recent eviction.

from a friend: “We are delighted to offer for sale this superbly appointed property maintained to the highest possible standard… Grade ll Listed building … 7 floors, is part of a terrace constructed circa 1868 … spacious reception room and dining room … fully fitted bespoke kitchen complete with central island housing oven and hob, fitted appliances and marble work surfaces… laundry room … 18 bedrooms, some with en suite bathrooms and fitted wardrobes … 11 bathrooms in total. Staircases to all floors are of marble construction. The property has a flat roof which could easily be converted to a roof top terrace … Located in exclusive Grosvenor Gardens, this property was recently advertised for sale by Rightmove at a guide price of £24,000,000.

Or you could just squat the fucker. Welcome to the new residence of the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians, evicted this morning from 102 Belgrave Place, now slumming it at 4 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH. All welcome.

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Belgravia: The Anarchist Present

@ClassWar2015

@ClassWar2015

JAN 30, from ASH: “The occupation of an oligarch’s empty mansion in Eaton Square by the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians is real, not symbolic. The courts, acting with a swiftness that only a billionaire’s displeasure can buy, will have them out of there at the end of the riot police’s batons, but they have pushed back against the occupying force of capital that presides over every aspect of this servile country, and in doing so opened a chink in its armour — a chink we and others may chose to help force open…”

I know almost nothing of anarchist theory, but of what little I know there seems to be a problem with what happens afterwards. A little like Jane Eyre’s famous concluding line — ‘Reader, I married him’ — it’s the unwritten bit that follows that will determine whether the love affair was real or just infatuation.

But whether the idea is to destroy the power of the state (and refuse to get married) or take power (and abolish marriage as an institution), I don’t understand how that is meant to be done or maintained against the power of the military-industrial complex backed by the wealth of international capitalism.

Communism, by contrast, came up with a pretty clear image of the future once their fabled Revolution was brought about, even though so far things haven’t quite gone according to plan — quite the contrary. However, the hope and faith in the Revolution has induced a sort of idealism in communists, who tend to act as if it was always just around the corner, capitalism always in crisis, and just about to fall, as it has been, it seems, practically since it reared its ugly head.

I have always felt that the contradictions of capitalism are more often to be found in the hope and faith of those predicting its imminent demise than in the economic, political and ideological system that has colonised the entire world.

This hope and faith — terms more appropriate to messianic religious nutters than materialist revolutionaries — leads communists to act in ways that are purely formal approximations of political activity. The latest example was last week’s communist protest outside a Glasgow bar, apparently against Bacardi for being ‘an enemy of Cuba’.

If you can’t see the ridiculousness of this you belong in Stalin’s politburo — or worse, on Tariq Ali’s picnic guest list. Quite apart from the Borg-like behaviour of its adherents towards those who don’t toe the Party Line, it’s because of absurdities like this that communism has never managed to appeal to the British working class sufficiently to make it a political force in the UK, as it has been, at times, in Germany, Italy and France.

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The Canary: A shocking attack in the heart of London sums up why Trump is so dangerous [VIDEO]

As much as communism gains a certain authority from its international scope, and notwithstanding the importance of its critique of capitalism as a global system of exploitation and violence, the British working class, faced with homelessness, unemployment and poverty, and without an apparent alternative to the corruption and capitalism of the Labour Party, are not going to be lured by communists banging on about Palestine, Cuba and Venezuela and thrusting one hundred year-old texts by Lenin in their faces.

The failure of communism to increase its followers — even now when there is such a need for a political alternative — is, if not proof, then a strong argument to the truth of this accusation, no matter how unpalatable it may be.

The working class of Britain want to be spoken to about solutions to their own sufferings, which however much they pale besides those of the people of Palestine, Yemen or Syria, are theirs, getting worse, and to which no political movement in this country is presenting a solution.

It’s for this reason that anarchists alone, it seems to me, are grabbing the attention of the despised of Britain, the ‘left behind’, the ‘just about coping’, and other euphemisms of capitalism’s victims. Marching, demonstrating, protesting, and all the other out-of-date activities of the Left have become a purely formal, symbolic activity.

That is to say, they have become the playthings of the middle-classes. They have neither constitutional reckoning (which is why President Trump really doesn’t give a fuck how many people march against him) nor political threat — not only because of the growing power of the police, army and other security forces, but because, with a few exceptions, the mass of people who march, whether in Washington or London, do so with no intention or ability to use their numbers as a political force.

As I said, what was once, a long, long time ago, a demonstration of working-class power, has for some time now become little more than a show of disapproval. And people with armies at their disposal don’t care about disapproval.

In contrast, the occupation of an oligarch’s empty mansion in Eaton Square by the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians is real, not symbolic.

The courts, acting with a swiftness that only a billionaire’s displeasure can buy, will have them out of there at the end of the riot police’s batons, but they have pushed back against the occupying force of capital that presides over every aspect of this servile country, and in doing so opened a chink in its armour — a chink we and others may chose to help force open.

They haven’t made demands of the corrupt, they haven’t asked someone else to do something about the problem, they haven’t stood around waving flags demanding that a politician in a faraway country who has never heard of them does something he wouldn’t do in a million years and pretended they’re making a difference.

They’ve taken direct action — a term that is much used but little understood. Marching, demonstrating, protesting, demanding, petitioning isn’t direct action. Whatever affectivity people might kid themselves into thinking it may have is always mediated through the addressees of their pleas, who really and truly do not give a fuck.

If you don’t know and face this, your protest is not only ineffectual bullshit, it is contributing to the spectacle of democracy by which the mass of people in this and every capitalist country are kept politically passive.

Anarchism may not have a plan for what happens when our three-volume romantic novel is closed and we all walk off into the sunset with Mr. Rochester, but we’re no way near crossing that line. Quite the opposite. And pretending we are is the surest way to turn our Bildungsroman into a Gothic horror.

@ClassWar2015

@ClassWar2015

Perhaps anarchism is best understood — it’s how I understand it through watching and participating in the actions of my anarchist comrades — as political action under the yoke of capitalism — which is to say, in the horror story of our present reality.

Finally, anarchists, whether chasing fascist architect Patrik Schumacher down the street, occupying the Aylesbury Estate, smashing the Cereal Cafe, taking Tower Bridge, hanging anarchist and anti-fascist flags over Eaton Square, or setting up a homeless shelter in an oligarch’s empty mansion, really know how to produce an image that captures the imagination of anyone in Britain who may be thinking of throwing off the shackles of capitalism and the blindfold of parliamentary democracy and joining the fight.

And under the blanket propaganda that keeps the British electorate in a state of consumerist complacency rising, when required, to xenophobic hatred, this is one of the most important tasks of direct action.

I’d suggest that, if communists ever want to turn their Revolution into reality, they should start learning from the anarchists.

After victory for Harrod’s workers organised by United Voices of the World and the halt to the compulsory purchase order on Millwall Football ground and the surrounding estates and businesses by the campaign of resistance, the occupation of 102 Belgrave Place, which has been reported around the world, is our third victory in London in 2017. And we’re still in January.

Original article here at Architects for Social Housing (ASH)

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The Canary: A shocking attack in the heart of London sums up why Trump is so dangerous [VIDEO]

Harrods Breaking News: Victory! Victory! Victory!

@UVWunion

Mop Mob @UVWunion

from @UVWunion, 20 JAN 2017: “We have beaten Harrods, the richest and most prestigious department store in the world! 100% of the service charge will now go to staff! Thank you to everyone for your support and a big congratulations to the resilience and courage of our members, the Harrods restaurant workers, who have achieved this victory by joining United Voices of the World, getting organised and standing up to their employer’s outrageous practices.

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A Radical 2017 – All we need to do is join in

RMT Protest @Freedom_Paper

RMT Protest @Freedom_Paper

Jon Bigger writes on direct and effective alternatives to the opportunism and whining of the liberal left

Since the Brexit and Trump results one thing that’s been glaringly obvious about any mainstream response is that it amounts to nothing but liberal bedwetting.

Article after article in the UK liberal press, day upon day has focused on what the terrible conservative forces will be getting up to and how we’re all under threat from the menace. Actually they’ve focused mainly on free movement which I’ll come to shortly. I want to talk this month about how we can focus on our radical response and how we need to have solidarity at our core.

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Harrods protest, 8 arrested: media outrage continues at Qatar royal’s theft of restaurant tips

UPDATED JAN 10: Protesters from the United Voices of the World Union (UVW), workers and sympathisers blockaded Harrods and Brompton Road to draw attention to the fact that the service charge added to Harrods restaurant bills went in to the pockets of the owners, the Qatari royal family, not to the waiters and restaurant staff.

Harrods – and its Qatari royal owners – continue to take a fine beating across the international media for allowing this: more protests are being planned… (more…)

Leaked Harrods email: “Dear all, As you may have seen, there have been news reports…”

@UVWunion

@UVWunion

Leaked Harrods email: “Dear all, As you may have seen, throughout this week there have been news reports referencing the system through which Harrods distributes service charge across our in-store restaurants. In relation to these reports, there is a potential protest planned by a third party organisation outside the store between 2pm and 6pm this Saturday 7th January…” (more…)

7 January, Protest at Harrods: stop stealing your waiter’s tips!

@UVWunion

@UVWunion

from United Voices of the World, Come and demand that Harrods stops stealing their waiter’s tips! Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 2 PM – 6 PM @ Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL London.

Harrods steals up to 75% of the 12.5% service charge it adds to the bills of diners in its luxury restaurants, in which a steak can cost up to £300.

That 75% means that every year the Qatari royal family, which owns Harrods, is taking up to £5,000 worth of tips from every chef, waiter and porter. Taking any percentage of the service charge, which customers think is going to the waiters, is unacceptable. Taking up to 75% is an utter disgrace. (more…)

Anyone fancy a water cannon? Two previous careless owners

“These water cannon have been used to train officers for deployment in Northern Ireland for the past two years and could provide a vital service on London’s streets tomorrow if required…”

Evening Standard: Boris Johnson’s water cannon up for sale after £322,000 spend… and no use at all

The full cost of the former Mayor’s controversial purchases – which have languished in storage for the last two years – is more than £322,000, meaning the London taxpayer will lose out even if they go for the maximum price.

This covers storage, maintenance and upgrade work on the three crowd control vehicles, including £20,000 on repainting, £5,000 on bodywork repairs due to corrosion and almost £1,000 on installing radio and CD players for the drivers.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan, who took over as Mayor in May, announced today that the water cannon would be sold via the Ministry of Defence, to a reputable European policing or civil defence force.

Boris Johnson: the former mayor bought the cannon (PA)

He said the sale will abide by rigorous ethical standards to ensure the water cannon are not misused in future, ruling out any bids from Middle Eastern states, Russia and probably Turkey.

The Mayor plans to redirect the proceeds, and any funds which would otherwise have been spent on maintaining the crowd control vehicles in future years, into projects to tackle gang crime.

Mr Khan said: “It beggars belief that such a huge amount of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on paying to store these redundant machines.

Criticism: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (PA)

“We’ve been left in this position by the previous Mayor who rashly purchased them before he even had permission to use them, and now it’s my job to claw back as much of London taxpayers’ money as I can.

“I have spent a significant amount of time looking into how I can do this, and have been left with no choice but sell these machines through a process that charges a fee.”

The Met and the German Federal Police estimated that the water cannon would now be worth between £35,000 and £43,000, after substantial upgrade work.

They were originally bought from the Germans two years ago for £28,000 each – a total of £84,000 – but the overall package, including refurbishment was £218,000. Since then the Met has spent vast sums on storage, insurance and other expenses.

This included £32,000 on making the vehicles compliant with the Low Emission Zone, even though they were never used, £20,000 on fitting CCTV and £3,000 on 999 sirens, plus another £3,500 on Met Police signage.

In July 2015, Mrs May refused permission for their use on the capital’s streets, telling MPs that evaluation and testing had shown the cannon could cause serious injuries, including spinal fractures, and raised doubts over their usefulness in fast-moving riots.

The cannon have since been kept in storage by the Metropolitan Police at its Gravesend training facility.

The MoD will take 5 per cent of the sale price, with a further 30 to 35 per cent going to the contractor.

Tory Assembly member Keith Prince said: “Although they cannot currently be routinely used, the Met can apply for a special licence to deploy water cannon were we to have a repeat of events like the 2011 riots – a fact the Mayor is either ignoring or unaware of.

“These water cannon have been used to train officers for deployment in Northern Ireland for the past two years and could provide a vital service on London’s streets tomorrow if required.

“The Mayor wants to make this look like he’s shedding dead weight. The reality is he will get virtually nothing back for what are third-hand vehicles which are currently serving a useful purpose.”