anarchists respond to london riots solfed (from news item)

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plasmatelly
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Aug 9 2011 21:00
anarchists respond to london riots solfed (from news item)

hey hey - can we do on here? the news format was hard to read smile

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Aug 9 2011 21:13

Thread

Interesting mix of responses so far, fair number of twitterers have picked up on it and mostly positive - liberals have predictably missed the nuances wink.

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plasmatelly
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Aug 9 2011 21:26

I really can't think of a better response than what the solfed put out.

Jared
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Aug 10 2011 00:46

What are anarchist doing on the ground? It would be choice to hear what SolFed and others are up to

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Ramona
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Aug 10 2011 00:52

South London SolFed say:

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY

emergency demonstration against the cuts which caused the riots. today (wednesday 10th) 6.30pm from the anchor, deptford high street, to lewisham town hall, catford.

piter
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Aug 10 2011 07:10

I think it's a pity that it looks like Solfed feel more important to defend itself than to defend the legitimacy of rioting.

I'm for conscious collective action and for ways of action that are pushing new human relations against the actual order. but I feel solidarity with people without a militant culture that express their revolt by rioting. blind violence and gangsterism against other working class people should be condemned and people should organise against that if necessary (in defence of people, not property), everybody is okay with that, but what revolutionnary must put forward is that it's right to revolt, it's right to gather to fight the police and loot supermarkets.

riots are a moment when people break a part of the bourgeois hold on society and it's a really a good thing that some people are experiencing that.

what we should say is that its a good start (for the good part of it) and that we can propose even better ways to break more of the bourgeoisie grip on society, and a path for replacing it by something radically different.

LBird
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Aug 10 2011 08:52

We unreservedly condemn the destruction of homes and livelihoods.

We unreservedly condemn the young who take freely from shops.

We unreservedly condemn the killing of young men.

Now, Labour and Tory supporters, newsreaders and academics alike, are all happy. We have, as they insistently demand, ‘unreservedly condemned’ those actions.

But…

Do they, in their turn, ‘unreservedly condemn’ those ‘actions’?

Who, overwhelmingly, ‘destroy homes and livelihoods’?

Who, overwhelmingly, are the young who ‘take freely from shops’?

Who, overwhelmingly, ‘kill young men’?

On balance…

The vast majority of destroyed homes and livelihoods are not destroyed by rioters.

The vast majority of the young who take freely from shops are not the young rioters.

The vast majority of young men are not killed by rioters.

In truth…

Overwhelmingly, more homes and livelihoods are destroyed by the actions of bankers and politicians, than by rioters.

Overwhelmingly, more goods are taken freely from shops by the rich kids of bankers and politicians, than by rioters.

Overwhelmingly, more young men are killed by the foreign policies of the bankers and politicians, than by rioters.

Luckily…

We have a strategy called Communism.

In which homes and livelihoods will be made secure for all, not just the rich.

In which all kids will have free access to goods and services, not just the kids of the rich.

In which young men will no longer be killed by the wars of the rich.

And with this strategy, once we have stopped the overwhelming destruction, looting and killing within our society, carried on constantly by the rich, the intermittent rioting will stop.

Now we ask, nay, insistently demand, of Labour and Tory supporters, newsreaders and academics alike, do you unreservedly condemn the actions of the capitalists?

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Aug 10 2011 08:53
Ramona wrote:
South London SolFed say:

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY

emergency demonstration against the cuts which caused the riots. today (wednesday 10th) 6.30pm from the anchor, deptford high street, to lewisham town hall, catford.

Can we organise something similar in North London?

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Aug 10 2011 08:58

Piter, without getting too aggro here you've completely missed the entire point of the piece, which was

1. To point out it isn't anarchists in charge and pretending (as the media has been trying) that a shadowy bunch of chaos-merchants are "coming in from outside" to cause trouble is bullshit.
2. To point out the reasons behind what's happening and push thinking about it into the territory of "this is understandable".
3. To be clear that anarchists don't support attacks on working class civilians. This may seem obvious to you, but many of the comments I've been seeing have expressed genuine surprise - because the normal thinking about anarchism is that it represents and endorses random violence.

Which I think is mostly down to your own preconceptions of what we're about. No-one in SolFed is panicking, no-one is condemning the rioters and no-one is trying to distance the organisation from class conflict.

LBird
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Aug 10 2011 09:22
revol68 wrote:
except i don't condemn those that take freely from shops.

I am surprised at you, revol, I didn't take you for a supporter of 'free access to shops' for the rich!

In this society, the only young who have effective 'free access' to goods and services are the young rich, whose parents have taken the wealth created by all of us and put it at their kids' disposal.

In this society, we do condemn 'those that take freely from shops' - the rioters, in their turn, are hampered by laws, locks and police, so they don't 'take freely' - it's hard and dangerous work, in comparison to that of the 'Legal Looters'.

However...

If you mean 'free access Communism for all', I'm with you!

piter
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Aug 10 2011 09:55

Rob Ray, I understand that Solfed want to distance from how the media depict the "anarchists" and that's legitimate.

but to say that the riots are understandable is too short, revolutionnaries must also point at what is good and positive in riots(whatever will be throw at them, its not like we're not used to being slandered, we will be as long as the bourgeoisie exists...).

and what I feel is that Solfed text failed to do that firmly.

it's the least not to condemn the rioters... we must also support or at least show what is good in the riots.

(but I'm not saying that Soldfed is a bunch of philistine fearing for their goods...)

piter
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Aug 10 2011 09:54
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I am surprised at you, revol, I didn't take you for a supporter of 'free access to shops' for the rich!

LBird don't be silly...everybody understand that Revol is not talking about free acces" for the rich" (where have you seen that?), but about looting by working class people...

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Aug 10 2011 09:54

Argh. I suppose you know what he meant: looting.

Caiman del Barrio
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Aug 10 2011 09:55
piter wrote:
I think it's a pity that it looks like Solfed feel more important to defend itself than to defend the legitimacy of rioting.

The vast majority of working class people have responded to the riots by worrying about the safety of themselves, their families and their possessions.

Last night on our street, a vague chat about safety in the event of fire (it's lined with shops with people living above them) turned into an impromptu street corner meeting and social, which in turn became an assembly, and then an emergency demo came outta it. There seemed to be a general consensus that they happened cos things have gotten really bad and young people are alienated and disenfranchised and are right to resist, but that violence needs to be targetted and appropriate (in the words of my 17 yr old neighbour lol).

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Aug 10 2011 10:11

Well as I said in the comments on the news article, we were trying to pick a line which bears in mind people's preconceptions about anarchism and doesn't play to them while also trying to dilute some of the reactionary bullshit which otherwise is dominating the entire spectrum from left to right - we're also trying to keep it relatively short.

At the moment most people are calling for strict crackdowns or even for the army to come in. We're mostly dealing with scared people looking for information, not with rational processes where people are going to read anarchist writings thoroughly and without prejudice. In such circumstances personally I think going on about the positives of the riots would have undermined the rest of the piece.

Basically it's a bit of a balancing act to try and inject that critical thinking given who we are and what we (openly) represent.

While most feedback has been positive from this, enough responses have been along the lines of this that I think we probably have the balance right.

NB// I should also stress that SolFed doesn't have official local or national consensus on this - we've been stretching our mandate to represent the organisation as it is!

piter
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Aug 10 2011 10:05
Quote:
piter wrote:

I think it's a pity that it looks like Solfed feel more important to defend itself than to defend the legitimacy of rioting.

Caiman del barrio wrote :

The vast majority of working class people have responded to the riots by worrying about the safety of themselves, their families and their possessions.

Last night on our street, a vague chat about safety in the event of fire (it's lined with shops with people living above them) turned into an impromptu street corner meeting and social, which in turn became an assembly, and then an emergency demo came outta it. There seemed to be a general consensus that they happened cos things have gotten really bad and young people are alienated and disenfranchised and are right to resist, but that violence needs to be targetted and appropriate (in the words of my 17 yr old neighbour lol).

of course people are afraid and we should be concerned about that but, as you said, people do understand that young people are right to resist. so why do Solfed failed to state it firmly?

and isn't attacking the police and looting supermarkets "targeted and appropriate"? sure it is and it should have been pointed out in Solfed declaration...(of course we should also point out to more appropriate collective actions but for that you don't have to look down at what is good in the riots).

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Aug 10 2011 10:06
piter wrote:
I think it's a pity that it looks like Solfed feel more important to defend itself than to defend the legitimacy of rioting.

What a load of out-of-touch bullshit. Try coming to some of the estates in liverpool and defend the 'legitimacy' of what's been going on. Or tell a worried Asda worker to brace themselves for looters. As for "it looks like Solfed feel more important to defend itself", I don't think you have a clue what you are talking about.

piter
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Aug 10 2011 10:19
Quote:
piter wrote:

I think it's a pity that it looks like Solfed feel more important to defend itself than to defend the legitimacy of rioting.

Thegonzokid wrote :

What a load of out-of-touch bullshit. Try coming to some of the estates in liverpool and defend the 'legitimacy' of what's been going on. Or tell a worried Asda worker to brace themselves for looters. As for "it looks like Solfed feel more important to defend itself", I don't think you have a clue what you are talking about.

so rioting is bad. can't theses silly people learn to read anarchists guidebook before acting when they revolt ?

or maybe nobody is revolting and all the rioters are just gangsters?

sorry I don't live in liverpool, and yes violence against working class people should be condemned, but l also heard about protest against police brutality, fighting back the police and looting. is that all bad? have I been completely misinformed?

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Aug 10 2011 10:24

Funnily enough, someone caught in Curry's in Brixton worked in the store.

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Aug 10 2011 10:28

Perhaps Ian Bone's blog can help you here piter:

Quote:
it is only by luck that no one has been killed and tonight it’s clear that unlike the other nights there has been anti-scocial behaviour with random attacks on people in the streets and setting fire to houses and flats and small shops often in a reckless way and random cars attacked and many people frightened and scared.This is fucking shit and out of order and to be opposed wherever it occurs.This will not unite our class but divide it but it’s happened and we can not wish it away.

This is from probably the most famous insurrectionist in Britain, who has been at and cheerleaded more riots than any of us. He's more overtly supportive of the looting, but he recognises the difference between a class target and anti-social shit aimed at nothing more than the weak and doesn't make excuses for the people who don't.

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Aug 10 2011 10:27
piter wrote:
can't theses silly people learn to read anarchists guidebook before acting when they revolt ?

That's the implication of what you are saying.

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Aug 10 2011 10:30

Yeah, I've got to be honest, the only legitimate criticism I've seen on this come from Revol (yeah, it pains me to say it, too). But even then it's more of, as RR puts it, "bit of a clumsy rhetorical fudge" than any sort of major contradiction within the statement.

Of course talking amongst ourselves with other experienced anarchists we can include a nuanced and elaborated discussion of what's to be supported in the riots and what's not. But SolFed is really trying to be an outward looking organisation. This statement, which we assumed would get picked up in the nat'l print media and which we wrote hurriedly over the course of yesterday morning, is trying to counter the media misconception of anarchists while at the same time trying to analyse--in an accessible way--the social context in which the riots occurred.

It's a very fine line to walk and while I don't think we got it 100% right (and is probably impossible to get 100% right in under 1500 words). But, it's done far more to present an actual balanced anarchist perspective (just a fucking rational socially-situated response, for that matter) in the media than anything else I've seen.

piter
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Aug 10 2011 10:31
Quote:
Quote:

it is only by luck that no one has been killed and tonight it’s clear that unlike the other nights there has been anti-scocial behaviour with random attacks on people in the streets and setting fire to houses and flats and small shops often in a reckless way and random cars attacked and many people frightened and scared.This is fucking shit and out of order and to be opposed wherever it occurs.This will not unite our class but divide it but it’s happened and we can not wish it away.

This is from probably the most famous insurrectionist in Britain, who has been at and cheerleaded more riots than any of us. He's more overtly supportive of the looting, but he recognises the difference between a class target and anti-social shit aimed at nothing more than the weak.

hum...it looks like it's a bit one sided to stay at this witness...others witness described it very differently.

piter
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Aug 10 2011 10:40
Quote:
piter wrote:

can't theses silly people learn to read anarchists guidebook before acting when they revolt ?

thegonzokid wrote :

That's the implication of what you are saying.

how that?

I'm not saying that rioting is good because anyway people can't do better.

of course they can do better (and I said that we should point what is good in the riots AND also point toward what would be even better) , but that don't mean that they are doing all wrong.

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Aug 10 2011 10:46

Sorry that's not making much sense, I'm not citing him as a witness, I'm citing Ian as an example of someone who's been pretty much THE pro-riot insurrectionist figure of the last 20 years and agrees with us, not you. He's not running around saying "only be positive because if you're not you're undermining the riots" or throwing in mental shit like how rioters could do "even better" by not mugging their peers. Not mugging their peers is the fucking baseline, not an aspiration!

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Aug 10 2011 10:46
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
Or tell a worried Asda worker to brace themselves for looters.

what's that got to do with shit, why should an ASDA worker care about looting? Did you entertain such arguments about McDonald's workers on Maydays or workers in anyother workplaces attacked in anti capitalist demos?

Er, I tend to value the safety of workers quite highly. Do I seriously need to justify that?

Also Asda near mine was attacked and looted while workers were still inside. I'm more concerned about those workers than trying to twist the incident into some act of anti-capitalist expropriation.

piter
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Aug 10 2011 10:52

Rob Ray, I never said that the riots are all good and that we should be "only positive", I never said that what's bad in it should not be criticised.

I said that it shouldn't restraint us to point to and show what is good in it.

if revolutionnaries don't do that, who will?

piter
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Aug 10 2011 10:56
Quote:
or throwing in mental shit like how rioters could do "even better" by not mugging their peers. Not mugging their peers is the fucking baseline, not an aspiration!

c'mon!

of course "doing better" was meaning doing better than fighting the police in the streets and looting in a riots, not doing better that mugging their peers! don't make me say what I'm not saying, of course not mugging their peers is basic...

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Aug 10 2011 10:59
piter wrote:
I said that it shouldn't restraint us to point to and show what is good in it.

if revolutionnaries don't do that, who will?

In the real world, working-class residents who feel angry and scared don't want to be lectured about why the riots are 'good'.

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Aug 10 2011 11:04

Alright, and in return you can do the same for Gonzo and others who are trying to explain the very real difference between what we'd like everyone to think and what we can realistically say to frightened people without being regarded as a complete lunatic, NOT disowning those who are kicking back at their tormentors.

piter
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Aug 10 2011 11:05
Quote:
Also Asda near mine was attacked and looted while workers were still inside. I'm more concerned about those workers than trying to twist the incident into some act of anti-capitalist expropriation.

has someone been hurt in the process? if it is so, that should be condemned.

but are you saying that looting an Asda is bad because it can frighten the people working in it (by the way what is an Asda?)?

and maybe attacking a police station is bad because people like cleaners working in it can be harmed in the process?

are you making a statement for non violent resistance?