Organizing solidarity for Fortnum and Mason "test trial"

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Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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May 18 2011 16:21
Organizing solidarity for Fortnum and Mason "test trial"

So it appears the gov't wants to have a trial for 20 of the 148 arrested outside F&M on March 26th. It also appears this trial has been "pushed back" until June.

Since this trial is going to determine what happens next, I think a solidarity demo is very much in order--especially from those of us who want to work with UKUnCut.

I'm going to be bringing this up internally within SF, but I would hope to get other groups and individuals involved.

Arbeiten's picture
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May 18 2011 16:23

its a good idea, what is the charges?

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Chilli Sauce
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May 18 2011 16:40

"aggravated trespass"

Arbeiten's picture
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May 18 2011 17:14

jesus christ if there was ever a waste of tax payers money :-[

Sir Arthur Stre...
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May 18 2011 17:41

Absolutely. We have to promote greater solidarity between protesters and some kind of demo/campaign does exactly that.
Making trials like these as high profile as possible is a good thing, indeed for them to be invisible would be the worst possible outcome.

A campaign that highlights the process of these trials would be good, how bail/delaying trial is a punishment in itself and how certain laws like 'obstruction of public highway', 'aggrevated trespass' or my favourite 'conspiracy to commit public nuisance' are used as a catch all in public order demonstrations.
Furthermore anything that gives defendants hope, especially if they are young or up for the first time, is incredibly helpful as extra resolve leads to not accepting cautions and counter charges against the police.

raw
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May 18 2011 17:45

Umm...

What about organising a campaign for ALL those arrested. I don't like the fact that it seems UKuncut 148'ers HAVE all the support and media and those others on way more serious charges are somehow forgotten.

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May 18 2011 17:58

i agree with raw, in these times when the state appears to be cracking down, we should be stepping up the solidarity (never should have been stepped down on this front, but it was, so...). Obviously they are giving them a slap on the 'have you learnt your lesson' wrist. As we are on this, I would like to bring up the student protestors who's trials are coming up soon (later this month i think).

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Chilli Sauce
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May 18 2011 18:05

Well, it could be a demo for all, but occur on the day of the UnCut 20?

raw
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May 18 2011 19:23
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Well, it could be a demo for all, but occur on the day of the UnCut 20?

Its an idea however UKuncut are very clear on their message - its about the 148 and nothing else - so I doubt they would want that message to be confused with a general solidarity call.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 18 2011 19:31

Sorry Chili Sauce but I'm with Raw on this one. F&M people have The Guardian as their mouthpiece (whether they want it or not), while a lot of decent people from London-based anti-cuts groups have pending legal processes. At least 3 people I regularly work with in SE are awaiting news too, 7-8 if you go back before March 26.

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May 18 2011 20:29

Well, if folks don't think it's a good idea, that's fine. I'm only offering to do the legwork if people are up for it.

Regarding UnCut, I've got my criticisms, but it certainly seems like we could have a sit-down with them to see if we could work out some sort of mutually agreeable call out and demo.

Sir Arthur Stre...
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May 18 2011 23:00

I don't see why having "the guardian as there mouthpiece" should exclude you from support from groups like SolFed.
I have my criticisms of UkUncut too, but the bottom line is they are trying to fight against destructive cuts too our society and as a result are facing legal difficulties. In what way does this mean anarcho/communists should withdraw their support?
Also supporting UkUncuters does not mean withdrawing support for other comrades. Solidarity is for all in the same situation, not just the ones we agree most with.

Whats needed is a broad defendants solidarity and support group, not sectarian self interest

Harrison
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May 18 2011 23:11

If anyone knows who the people I am talking about in this post are, please refrain from posting anything that will compromise their identities.

Well someone i know who was arrested on the 26th has had their charges dropped. They also told me that another person who was arrested on 26th for a F&M unrelated incident has been re-bailed.

They told me they were quite annoyed that UK Uncut did not decide to lead a complete March26th defence campaign, but that it had been decided fairly through Uncut's assembly structure.

Chilli Sauce wrote:
Regarding UnCut, I've got my criticisms, but it certainly seems like we could have a sit-down with them to see if we could work out some sort of mutually agreeable call out and demo.

if my friend's words are anything to go by, Chilli and Sir Arthur are right. it would do anarchists good to blanket support all victims of state oppression in the recent cuts protests.

They operate the same kinds of structures after all, and the more we interface fraternally with them, the less inclined they will be to demonise 'violent protesters' (which they seem to be wavering between doing atm)

Caiman del Barrio
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May 18 2011 23:46
Harrison Myers wrote:
If anyone knows who the people I am talking about in this post are, please refrain from posting anything that will compromise their identities.

Well someone i know who was arrested on the 26th has had their charges dropped. They also told me that another person who was arrested on 26th for a F&M unrelated incident has been re-bailed.

They told me they were quite annoyed that UK Uncut did not decide to lead a complete March26th defence campaign, but that it had been decided fairly through Uncut's assembly structure.

Oh OK I didn't realise that. And obviously I agree with Arthur that we should support anyone who wants/need supporting, was just wondering why we were specifically selecting F&Mers.

The ones who've had charges dropped were obviously just data harvesting exercises.

Harrison
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May 19 2011 00:52

sorry, just realised my post was a bit ambiguous. The two people i mentioned were not in UK Uncut or arrested for F&M, although they were arrested on 26th

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May 19 2011 02:06

Whilst I totally agree that everyone arrested and charged in the political policing of the last few months should be supported, I also thing 1) that the hearing in question would be a great time to demo in solidarity with them. I also think 2) it doesn't matter that the activistoids who run the UKuncut call out structure don't want people doing that.

1) This hearing is going to get a bunch of press (relative to other anti-police stuff), mainly in the guardian, indy and liberal/lefty blogs, but still, no other hearing is going to attract anything like the same numbers. Since any demo on this action will be for propaganda purposes, and not direct action (unless some one is planning jail breaks, in which case good luck to you!) it makes sense to aim for lots of press coverage. What's more, it's going to get press whether or not anarchists/communists get involved. So the choice is either to not bother will press events, or to get involved despite the terms and conditions of the activists in charge of demos at the event. Which leads me on to...

2) UKuncut is a classic tyranny of structurelessness type group. It's based on membershipless free association, but the shots are called by friendship networks of lifestyle activists. Which is shit, but it does mean that they have to use the pretence of voluntarism (i.e. everyone can do what they like under the name) meaning any old fucker, even a seasoned platformist crypto-trot can call a UKuncut action and it be just as legitimate as one called by Moonbeam Witchmagick from the local trust fund hippie house. So, you can heed the call out by organising an action in solidarity with everyone arrested on demos and such, and whilst they'll cluck and fuss, the UKuncut leadership can't do fuck all about it without being massive hippocrites. This make make you enemies in the small london based activist scene, but in terms of actual effects anyone should care about, there are no negative I can see.

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May 19 2011 06:57
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Uncut's assembly structure.

Do tell?

My understanding of UnCut was much more like point 2 in RedEd's post above.

raw
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May 19 2011 13:12
RedEd wrote:
UKuncut is a classic tyranny of structurelessness type group. It's based on membershipless free association, but the shots are called by friendship networks of lifestyle activists.

roll eyes

UK uncut has been at the forefront of energising civil disobedience that has managed to get hundreds if not thousands of non-activists involved and active. To dismiss like you've done in one fell swoop with politico name calling does them a disservice. They are a vital process, and a necessary one, in building a wider social movement in the UK.

I think the term "friendship networks of lifestyle activists" is absolutely meaningless. Do you think people are active solely because its a "lifestyle", maybe they are against the cuts, are public sector workers, or parents, or students who are faced with the cuts like the rest of us.

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May 19 2011 14:03

yeah man, they may not have best critique in the world (I used to wear a friggin' Che T-shirt), but lifestylers is a bit below the belt. They arn't living in tents like CrimethInc!

I am going to say this again for good measure, it should be extended past the 148. If anything each one of those has 147 (at the least) supporting them, while other people may be feeling pretty lonely right now. Although I think 'Guardian mouthpiece-ism' should not be the last word on the matter, it is important to highlight the way the Guardian, and even more so the Independent (I remember the front page saying something like 148 (UKUncut Vs. 8 Black Bloc, where's the justice?) have been forcing a wedge between right and wrong protestors. Those people who arn't in the 148 will be lucky if they even get 200 words written about them in the coming months. If anything, I think the latter are the ones more likely to face penalties and serious charges (aggravated trespass is like 3 months at the most right?).

Also, does anyone know anything about that guy arrested Gestapo style for singing we all live in a fascist regime?

Yorkie Bar
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May 19 2011 14:06
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2) UKuncut is a classic tyranny of structurelessness type group. It's based on membershipless free association, but the shots are called by friendship networks of lifestyle activists. Which is shit, but it does mean that they have to use the pretence of voluntarism (i.e. everyone can do what they like under the name) meaning any old fucker, even a seasoned platformist crypto-trot can call a UKuncut action and it be just as legitimate as one called by Moonbeam Witchmagick from the local trust fund hippie house.

HA HA LIFESTYLISTS LOL.

Jesus, the fucking identity politics of the anarchist ghetto. Give it a rest.

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May 19 2011 14:36
RedEd wrote:
UKuncut is a classic tyranny of structurelessness type group. It's based on membershipless free association, but the shots are called by friendship networks of lifestyle activists.
raw wrote:
UK uncut has been at the forefront of energising civil disobedience that has managed to get hundreds if not thousands of non-activists involved and active. To dismiss like you've done in one fell swoop with politico name calling does them a disservice. They are a vital process, and a necessary one, in building a wider social movement in the UK.

I think the term "friendship networks of lifestyle activists" is absolutely meaningless. Do you think people are active solely because its a "lifestyle", maybe they are against the cuts, are public sector workers, or parents, or students who are faced with the cuts like the rest of us.

Can't both of these statements be (somewhat) true?

The practice (if not the theory) of UK Uncut has been impressive and some of the best stuff to come out of the anti-cuts movement, but that doesn't mean the criticisms above are necessary null - a lot of which rings true. There has certainly been similar (self) criticism made by UK Uncut "big shots", so I it can't just be dismissed as sniping from the outside.

Harrison
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May 19 2011 16:17

I was present at the Green and Black cross legal workshop for March 26th defendents (to accompany and support my friend who had been arrested)

RedEd, from what it seemed they had a fairly decent consensus assembly decision making process in place. 180 or so people in the room and initiatives were raised by anyone who wanted to speak. They'd then be quickly wavy hand voted on. There was also a splitting up of the room into small groups who'd then discuss amongst themselves before electing someone to speak on behalf of that group. This gave quieter people a chance to speak.

How far this was Uncut's regular structure or was introduced by G&B Cross i could not tell.
I'd chance a guess that it was the latter, so as to facilitate a productive meeting.

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May 19 2011 20:32
raw wrote:
RedEd wrote:
UKuncut is a classic tyranny of structurelessness type group. It's based on membershipless free association, but the shots are called by friendship networks of lifestyle activists.

roll eyes

UK uncut has been at the forefront of energising civil disobedience that has managed to get hundreds if not thousands of non-activists involved and active. To dismiss like you've done in one fell swoop with politico name calling does them a disservice. They are a vital process, and a necessary one, in building a wider social movement in the UK.

I think the term "friendship networks of lifestyle activists" is absolutely meaningless. Do you think people are active solely because its a "lifestyle", maybe they are against the cuts, are public sector workers, or parents, or students who are faced with the cuts like the rest of us.

Yeah, my post was needlessly rude. I should note that I've been involved in quite a bit of UKuncut stuff, so I meant the slurs in a friendly way, and the moonbeam witchmagick thing was a dig at a friend of mine. Obviously none of that comes across when posting on message boards though, so I should have avoided the derogatory language and in-jokes.

But I think my substantive point about the london-centric nature of the organisation's leadership, and the standard problems with informal organisation and things getting run by people with a lot of time and pre-existing links in the activist scene hold true. If you go on the UKuncut website, there is no explanation of how call outs get made, who runs things, etc. There is a real problem of tyranny of structurlesness in UKuncut as far as I can tell. Despite having organised and done actions under the name, and met a founder member, and even gone to a talk about the group run by a a couple of main players in the group, I've no idea how the thing works, who sets policy, etc. this is a problem, no?

raw
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May 19 2011 23:19
raw wrote:
RedEd wrote:
UKuncut is a classic tyranny of structurelessness type group. It's based on membershipless free association, but the shots are called by friendship networks of lifestyle activists.

roll eyes

UK uncut has been at the forefront of energising civil disobedience that has managed to get hundreds if not thousands of non-activists involved and active. To dismiss like you've done in one fell swoop with politico name calling does them a disservice. They are a vital process, and a necessary one, in building a wider social movement in the UK.

I think the term "friendship networks of lifestyle activists" is absolutely meaningless. Do you think people are active solely because its a "lifestyle", maybe they are against the cuts, are public sector workers, or parents, or students who are faced with the cuts like the rest of us.

RedEd wrote:
Yeah, my post was needlessly rude. I should note that I've been involved in quite a bit of UKuncut stuff, so I meant the slurs in a friendly way, and the moonbeam witchmagick thing was a dig at a friend of mine. Obviously none of that comes across when posting on message boards though, so I should have avoided the derogatory language and in-jokes.

But I think my substantive point about the london-centric nature of the organisation's leadership, and the standard problems with informal organisation and things getting run by people with a lot of time and pre-existing links in the activist scene hold true. If you go on the UKuncut website, there is no explanation of how call outs get made, who runs things, etc. There is a real problem of tyranny of structurlesness in UKuncut as far as I can tell. Despite having organised and done actions under the name, and met a founder member, and even gone to a talk about the group run by a a couple of main players in the group, I've no idea how the thing works, who sets policy, etc. this is a problem, no?

On that case I completely agree. Surely it should lay out some transparent and democratic structures or at least solely be a banner for anyone - it can't be both.

Admin: tried to fix quote formatting; shout if it's quoting the wrong people or something!

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Jun 16 2011 14:05

Bump

There is a good (though pretty depressing) write up of the trial of a load of the student protests on this blog,

http://infinitethought.cinestatic.com/