BabyBloc: Taking Kids To Protests

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Jacques Roux
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Jul 28 2004 17:26
BabyBloc: Taking Kids To Protests

Just kinda drawing people's attention to this site: http://www.babybloc.org and wondering if people have any stories to tell / thoughts on kids at demo's etc. and on whether its important to make protests accessible to young people (like the Anarchist Youth Network thought about doing) or whether we should keep demos for the fit and able, or if it changes from situation to situation smile

La_Haine
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Joined: 28-10-03
Jul 28 2004 23:10

I would say it definatly changes from situation to situation.

For the media savvy, symbolic type protests (like the big anti war marches in London) kids can be give a very powerful image. I saw one girl about five on her dads shoulders shouting all kind of anti war things which sent the photographers into a frenzy. The school kids on the protest outside parliament on the day the war started was also picked up on a lot by the media. however it did seem that reports were half were "wow our kids are political" and the other half "kids just bunking a day off school".

on the other hand i wouldn't have wanted a kid in the red zone at genoa...

just like any person be they children, teenagers, young adults or older people there are some situations where they should be welcomed and others where it is dangerous or irresponsible for that person to be there.

as long as someone is on a demo for the right reasons and knows sensibly the consequences and dangers envolved in what they are doing i feel they should be welcome...

La_Haine
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Jul 28 2004 23:15

On looking at the website it seems they are a little patronising and self importent.

e.g:

Quote:
To make fun of the macho image attached to the black bloc tactic.

and

Quote:
as a group in a demonstration we could calm situations around us and care for each other

they don't seem to appreciate the need for black blocs and anger in some sitations.

Yrwenot3?
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Jul 29 2004 10:51

Have any of you got kids btw?

Yrwenot3?
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Jul 29 2004 11:57

Are you a Sperm Donor?

Yrwenot3?
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Jul 30 2004 11:17

On a serious note I think there's a lot of complex issues here.

You seem to want to encourage youth groups in the anarchist movement but deem some protests to be unsafe for children/young people.

When are children considered youths and when are they kids? Can we assign an age to this 'youth' category? There's something I'm dying to ask as well - how do young anarchists perceive the politics of youth and what the fuck are they doing about it? I don't think I've heard anything about what youth is and what it's politics are in terms of anarchism eek

Which brings us onto why would anyone from the anarchist movement want to exclude young people and children from expressing their dissent at a protest? I'm still clinging on to the ideal that anarchism is about inclusion, particularly of the other - although these boards don't really reflect this attitude.

And what about childcare? what happens when, gasp, you lot have kids?

Don't tell me you gonna sell out and get a proper job and forget all those youthfull anarchist ideals. Well, let's see wink

There's also a real equality issue here - who's gonna look after kids when you go off to your protests? Aha - feminism again - but this time with a context!

It's also about taking personal and collective responsibility for your actions and I would assume that extends to protests or is that just an opportunity for a minority of people to smash some plate glass and run away - not really that subversive is it?

Even the suffragettes when they decided to go do some property damage stuck around and got arrested en masse.

Accountability and transparency, hmmmmm...

I've now got 2 kids. One of whom was just an 8th month old foetus in my partners womb at the Birmingham G8 demo. We also took her to the guerilla gardening on Mayday in London. Both demos saw some police violence particularly the guerilla gardening. There was the obvious property damage that seemed to provoke an almost scripted police response. Although I can't see how breaking some plate glass constitutes much of a threat to the state and the police reacted in the usual way.

It's almost like they're looking for this as a justification of what they've already planned to do. And a lot of them just do it anyway because they're psychopathic wankers in a job where they can get away with murder.

I vividly remember at one point when the trashing of McD's took place with the Sky camerman in place behind the glass and terrified tourists running out I had to scoop my daughter up and run for it as the cops streamed in on horseback. I often wonder what was was going through the mind of the Eton public schoolboy who got nicked for smashing the glass on what must've been the biggest police setup in protest history.

Just some thoughts...

random
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Aug 8 2004 18:32

i have a toddler. it was easier to take her on demos when she was a baby, because i could carry her or push a pram, but now she's bigger and wants to run around there is more of a problem. we took her on the sept 2002 anti war march in london, and there was a photo of her in the next days Observer, of which I was quite pleased (new baby and all that). proud enough to keep the paper and text all our mates.

some people thought it was out of order to take her, and some thought it was wrong to put her in a no war outfit, because it wasnt necessarily her own opinion. some people are arseholes.

Ghost_of_the_re...
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Aug 9 2004 11:21

You're allowed to raise your kids to believe white people are superior to others. Your're allowed to raise your child under any oppressive religion you choose. You're allowed to let your children watch TV for hours on end. Yet for some reason people seem to think they have the moral high ground saying it's wrong to raise your children with anti-war beliefs.

Mike Harman
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Aug 9 2004 15:23

Presumably it's oppressive to dress your baby at all, they should be allowed to put their own clothes on uninhibited no? How about the rights of toddlers not to wear exploitative crap from Gap?

random
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Aug 9 2004 17:59
Quote:
for some reason people seem to think they have the moral high ground saying it's wrong to raise your children with anti-war beliefs.

exactly. i get the same sort of crap about my feminist beliefs, it is apparently 'unfair' of me to deprive her of the right to behave and dress like a 'princess' (i am also anti royalty) - the problem is, once she is given princess clothes and princess toys it is hard for me to take them away if she likes them, because i do believe in her freedom of choice, even aged two. because i will not buy her those things, other people (usually grandparents) see it as their DUTY to give her such stuff.

i am also hoping to home educate. you would not believe the amount of shit people give me for this. she is only two and i already recieve a ton of crap because she is not in nursery. i am told, again, that it is unfair of me to deprive her of nursery and school, because of my 'anti social' beliefs. i am told that it is important to allow her to socialise with other children in those settings. social social social... SOCIALISATION is exactly what I am trying to avoid. apparently some people consider home education to be a form of child abuse. fucking arseholes i tell thee.

anyone else here with kids? i would very much like to hear how anarchist parents deal with the problems of schooling, socialisation, and grandparents... i do frequent feminist parent boards, is there an anarchist parent resource?

random
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Aug 9 2004 18:18

i also would like to know how other parents here deal with the issues of swearing and drugs, we swear in front of our daughter because, um, we swear, but obviously as her vocabulary increases that may become a problem. or will it? we dont smoke cigarettes, so that isnt a problem, and we dont take other drugs or drink regularly, except for smoking weed. we do try to do this in another room to wherever she is, but sometimes she has been around, like when we're camping or whatever. as a result, i have seen our daughter pick up pipe shaped objects and pretend to 'smoke' them. oh fucking dear. im torn between finding this vaguely funny and being really fucking pissed off with myself. im also slightly amused at the thought of her saying 'cunt' in front of grandma, but in reality it wouldnt be such a good thing. i probably sound like such a bad mum. im not, actually, but its hard to know how to deal with these things because noone ever talks about them!

going back to protests, i would very much like to see more kids (more families) taking political action. even in small local group meetings i dont think enough of an effort is being made to enable parents to attend (by making the space child friendly or by helping with childcare). often, if i turn up with my daughter with me, i can feel how annoyed and irritated some people are by her presence immediately.

random
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Aug 9 2004 18:30

i know i go on and on...

one of my friends has published a manifesto towards the freedom of children, which other parents here may find interesting. here are the details:

Revolution Within: A Manifesto Towards Freedom by Sammy Kunina

its published by Praxis and you can get a copy from Active Distribution for £5.50. you can google for a description of the book and reviews.

basically, sammy believes that children should always be enabled to make their own decisions, and she considers enforced schooling and other control systems to be abusive.

Yrwenot3?
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Aug 10 2004 15:00
random wrote:
Quote:
i get the same sort of crap about my feminist beliefs, it is apparently 'unfair' of me to deprive her of the right to behave and dress like a 'princess' (i am also anti royalty) - the problem is, once she is given princess clothes and princess toys it is hard for me to take them away if she likes them, because i do believe in her freedom of choice, even aged two. because i will not buy her those things, other people (usually grandparents) see it as their DUTY to give her such stuff.

just help her subvert these gendered toys.

I vividly remember my friends daughter giving her Barbie multiple sex changes, eye removal surgery and a green mohawk. Barbie never quite looked the same after that...

random
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Aug 10 2004 15:43

lol, great ideas! thankfully she doesnt have any dolls at the moment, just Princess outfits etc. But Im sure we could have a good go at messing with those. smile

i do enjoy spiking up her hair in the bath y'know. theres nothing quite so cute as a baby with a mowee. aahhhh.

for anyone wondering about home ed... there are a few different 'schools' of thought on it, varying from studying the usual curriculum at home to complete unschooling, which is allowing the children to pick and choose when and what they wish to learn. i think a lot of home schoolers decide to mix ideas from all types.

it is legal in this country to keep your child out of school, but if they are already in school it is more complicated (but not impossible) to remove them. obviously a parents ability to home school depends on work commitments and financial situation etc.

anyone who wants further info could have a look at Education Otherwise or HEUK or try googling for home education or home schooling or unschooling.

an article i found interesting:

The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher

Quote:
"School" is an essential support system for a vision of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows to a control point as it ascends. "School" is an artifice which makes such a pyramidal social order seem inevitable (although such a premise is a fundamental betrayal of the American Revolution). In colonial days and through the period of the early Republic we had no schools to speak of. And yet the promise of democracy was beginning to be realized. We turned our backs on this promise by bringing to life the ancient dream of Egypt: compulsory training in subordination for everybody. Compulsory schooling was the secret Plato reluctantly transmitted in the Republic when he laid down the plans for total state control of human life.
random
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Aug 10 2004 20:08

interesting article: Prioritizing Kids in the Anarchist Community

Quote:
Unless a workshop or action is planned specifically by the local NOW chapter or women's liberation group, there is simply no childcare. Some organizers claim that their events are to be held in a "child-friendly" environment. Though the thought is nice, it simply does not occur to them that parents would like to concentrate on the subject at hand rather than constantly entertaining kids to keep them quiet enough to not disrupt the meeting. Having to get up every 15 minutes to take her/him to the bathroom and to leave early because our kid(s) has/have simply lost their patience makes it difficult to concentrate. When I go to a meeting or an event, I want to be able to participate in what it going on. My child does not necessarily enjoy events just because they are held in "child-friendly" spaces...

Good childcare at events and conferences makes the lives of parents and kids much easier. Kids get to be kids and be as loud and silly and rambunctious as they want to be, and the parents actually get to participate fully in the event, as happened at the National Conference on Organized Resistance. From the moment I dropped Anaya off before each workshop to the moment I picked her up she was getting constant one-on-one attention. She totally enjoyed being able to hang out with other kids who were just as weird as she was, and I felt relaxed enough to go and enjoy the conference. It was great!..

Despite the reliable childcare, I was still left with the feeling that the kids were being a bit slighted. At NCOR I went to workshops which informed not just my organizing, but how I perceived the world. Why is it that we expect people to reach a certain age before they are worthy of getting certain information? I have never been to a workshop, conference or other event where there have been workshops or activities for kids under the age of ten. Why are we, as anarchists, waiting until our kids are alienated teenagers before introducing them to politics? Consensus decision making, mutual aid and direct democracy are just as important for three year olds and how they live their lives as they are to us! (What do you think sharing is all about?) Kids also need conflict resolution skills so that they can participate just as fully in problem solving in our communities as we do. How awesome would it be if our kids under the age of 10 were already aware of and challenging patriarchy, white supremacy, heterosexism and gender norms? I feel as though anarchists are underestimating and short-changing our up and coming generations.