’Guerrilla Gardening is not a protest; by its very nature it is a creative peaceful celebration of the growing global anti-capitalist movement.' -- Reclaim the Streets
'You don't have to give any information to the police. Only if you are arrested are you legally obliged to give your name and address; answer 'no comment' to everything else.' -- legal advice
’I have always been in favour of direct action ... if it puts us outside the law, the laws are wrong and we have a right and duty to fight them.'-- Ken Livingstone
We were not protesting. Under the shadow of an irrelevant parliament we were planting the seeds of a society where ordinary people are in control of their land, their resources, their food and their decision making. The garden symbolised an urge to be self-reliant rather than dependent on capitalism. It celebrated the possibility of a world that encourages cooperation and sharing rather than one which rewards greed, individualism and competition.
‘As you would expect the May Day message about why people were there got kind of lost. But what is a few smashed windows and some daubed paint compared to what global capitalism is doing to the planet?' — protester.
… Political commentators who are in symbiotic relationship with the state-corporate-nexus failed to understand why they were there and came out with meaningless gibberish posturing as explanation. For some reason they fail to comprehend why people fail to turn out to vote at elections, fail to connect the two. Think that gimmicks will increase voter turn-out. Fail to recognise that voters don't want to vote for crap candidates, don't want to cast their votes and legitimise a corrupt system....
…The violence used by the Anarchist thugs was to play into the hands of the state. May Day 2000 had been hyped days before by the police, the government and the media as a day of excessive violence. Until the Anarchist Thugs stepped in there was no violence, there was a peaceful carnival atmosphere. If there had been no violence, the police, the government, the media would have been made to look fools, instead their hype was seen to be justified, if anything an underreaction to the terror on the street disguised as protest...
Draconian legislation is currently passing through Parliament on encryption and terrorism, we are likely to see this get worse, and at the very least be given an easier Parliamentary passage. There is likely to be a much heavier police presence on future actions, assuming such actions will be even permitted let alone tolerated, and the level of policing is already repressive and, as intended, prevents many people turning out on the street.
One of the first casualties have been the Greenpeace GM crop trashers. On the day following the May Day violence the Crown Prosecution Service announced that they were going for a retrial (the previous week the activists had been found not guilty of theft and the jury had been unable to reach a verdict on criminal damage). Following the May Day violence they are going to be tried in a much less favourable atmosphere than was possible a week ago, the violence would in turn have exerted political pressure to force a retrial rather than allow direct activists to go Scott free.
Violence begets violence. To use violence is to challenge the state-corporate-nexus, to play them at their own game, a game they know only too well. No matter what violence is used on the streets, the state-corporate-nexus can command overwhelming fire-power. it is better to move the ball park to an area they don't know and stand a chance of winning. When violence takes over the media reports the violence not the underlying issues.
In no way wishing to exonerate the mindless violence of the Anarchist thugs, which served no purpose other than to legitimise the activities of the state, it pales into insignificance compared with the violence of global corporations against the people of the world and the environment. But to counter violence with violence only serves to legitimise the use of violence.
’The corporate media's obsession with confrontation and property damage conceals the violence of capital that occurs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: The fact remains that the most likely cause of death for an under 14 year old in Britain is being hit by a car, that 1 in 3 children in the UK is brought up in poverty and 50% of this country's ancient woodland has been destroyed since 1950, all in the name of profit. Surely that is the violence that should be splashing the front pages.' - Reclaim the Streets
Much of the earlier violence was against national monuments, spray painting of monuments. Whilst those who carried out the acts may not have liked what they saw as symbols glorifying war they should have nevertheless respected what are national monuments. Would they have attacked Stonehenge if they had a dislike of astronomical timepieces? The behaviour was no different to the Nazis attacking the Jews and Jewish culture, Turkish jackbooted thugs in Cyprus desecrating Greek Churches. They could just as easily have spray-painted their slogans on the pavement, where they would have had the additional advantage of their slogans remaining in place as they would have been unlikely to have been cleaned off. The desecrated monuments became an icon upon which the tabloid media and rabid politicos could hang the protesters. ...
Reclaim the Streets are often accused of organising violent protest, the police of turning a protest into a riot. May Day 2000 found neither side at fault. Activists did their best to clamp down on Anarchist thugs, the police in the main remained cool under extreme provocation. It took only a handful of mindless thugs to turn a peaceful May Day celebration into an orgy of mindless violence.
In the absence of any meaningful opposition the Blair government has been looking for any excuse to clamp down on peaceful protest. A handful of mindless thugs masquerading as demonstrators has given them that excuse.
Anyone who has any remaining doubts as to the government's intentions only has to look at their recent track record. The fast-tracking of Draconian legislation already mentioned which will curb fundamental civil rights, the clamp-down on Free Tibet demonstrators during last autumn's state visit by the Chinese leadership, the vicious campaign against London Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone for daring to advocate direct action and telling the truth that global capital is responsible for killing millions of people. ...