This will please the Authoritarians that seem to be gaining ground in the British State, and is presumably what they want, but it would be a backward step for democracy.
We need to work out an effective, non-violent response to kettling.
Off the top of my head, a few suggestions.
- Be non-violent, no matter what the provocation. Violence is the problem, not the solution.
- Be Prepared. Come to all demonstrations with camping essentials: water, food, sleeping bag, shelter. Bring something to read, or a musical instrument.
- Bring camera and videos, which have shown themselves to be so vital in the G20 killing. March pointing cameras at the police at all times. It doesn't even have to be a functional camera: if they think they are on film, it will have a calming effect. Yes I know it's illegal, but it is an unenforceable law.
- Consider lying down close together if the police start to push forward. Remember the scene in Gandhi when they lay down to stop police horses? Horses refuse to walk over people. This needs careful consideration, because primates under orders may not be as squeamish as horses, and the plods could well be ready to trample us underfoot.
- Talk to the police continuously; face to face, politely but firmly. Pour out all your thoughts and fears about the way the world is today, and how you want it to be. When you have said just about everything you have to say, let another protester take over. The point is, that 6 hours of listening to greenies, peaceniks, lefties and other alternative persons' weltanschauung is not your average plod's idea of a Saturday afternoon well spent.
(Do not expect the police-person to respond or answer any questions, they are not allowed. Be polite and friendly at all times. You are trying to dissolve hours of brainwashing, and this will only happen if you are nice).
- Sing together. Learn some songs. A few melodic songs with simple, easy to remember choruses. Seize the Day's "Go Round Mother Earth". "Give Peace a Chance". The Diggers song. Hum, like the Jews used to in the concentration camps. (It is ironic that our lives are all awash with industrialised music, but we have lost the art of community singing. Still, given that we have 6 hours of being kettled, this is the time to re-learn the skill)
- Consider bringing a small kettle and a spoon to hit is with, At set intervals, beat the spoon against the kettle.
- Extrude the trouble makers. Remember that the Black Block were in cahoots with the police in Genoa, ( A churchman, Don Vitallano Della Sala, reports having seen Black Block members emerging from a police van (La Repubblica, 22 July 2001, Le Monde, 24 July 2001)), and they are infiltrated to an unknown degree. The Authoritarians want our demonstrations to go violent, so as to discredit us. Assume that any preacher or actor of violence is an agent. Crowds are like amoebas: if ranks are closed between the violent one and the centre of the crowd, and loosened between the violent one and the police lines, the violent one/agent is pushed forwards. Advice to quieten down can also be effective, if given by enough people.
- Continue to be non-violent, no matter what the provocation. Violence is the problem, not the solution.
As I say, these are just thoughts off the top of my head, to kick off a debate on how we should respond to the provocative police tactic of kettling.