Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BlackBloc anger - understandable but counter-productive

Over on The Revolution will be streamed the respectable Donnacha deLong reflects on the goings-on last Saturday at the March for the Alternative. Here's my comment on his piece:

I agree that anger and powerlessness is expressed by the window smashing. The anger is born out of frustration with political and economic systems not fit for purpose. Understandable, but counter-productive, because the media are not discussing the cuts, they're discussing window-smashing and new laws to repress future demos (terrorist stop & search powers).

Violence, even against property, is the problem, not the solution.

I make exception for the excellent Trident Ploughshares action, especially Angie Zelter's destruction on the Hawk ground attack exercise, subject of a spine-tingling song by the equally excellent Seize the Day.

Like many others, I have spent 30 years in political activity opposing the insane cognitive framework that underpins our dysfunctional economy and politics. I have taken part in a modest amount of direct actions, and have been arrested once for lying on the access road to Faslane, home to UK's WMD.

Non-violent Direct Action requires long careful planning, including consideration of the law of unintended consequences. It is also a central belief that we must take responsibility for our actions and if necessary justify them in court. As Angie Zelter did, and got a Not Guilty verdict despite deliberately causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to Hawk ground attack aricraft.

Compared to this, kicking in a  plate glass window in is a kind of mental short circuit.

There is a total rejection of everything political by direct action afficionados, even the Green Party, which, for all its shortcomings, is at least trying to put forward an reasoned alternative to George Osborne's chainsaw attack on the best bits of our State.

It is ironic that those who seek to smash the state window by window share a common aim with Osborne, who seeks to dismember the state cut by cut.

I wouldn't mind so much if at least direct activists would spare 5 mins of their valuable time once every 5 years to step in to the polling booth and give the Green Party a tiny bit of support. Not too much to ask is it? Yes, it is, because the Green Party is tainted by the very act of seeking to use such democracy as we have in the UK. And of course it is middle class bleeding hearted liberal repressive tolerance &c &c.

So all avenues are closed, in the mind of the BlackBloc. Window-smashing is the only valid political option in their belief system.

I am not an anarchist, but I have huge respect for anarchists like Ron Bailey, who has pushed more Bills through Parliament than the average MP.

For the life of me, I cannot find any merit in the argument that the only valid political act is to kick in windows. It's counter productive nature is one of the clues that convinces me that they are well infiltrated by undercover cops.

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