The anti-austerity march on June 20th saw a bloc of 150+ anarchists marching together in London – more than we’ve had in a while. (not sure what a bloc is? See note at the end of this article…) Big flags meant that people could find each other, and the masks handed out by NetPol meant that almost everyone had their face covered. Sadly, the actual action that happened was a bit shit. The bloc started off as part of the main march, with NO uniformed police in sight. Flares and smoke bombs were let off. But even though it walked past plenty of obvious targets, there was only minor damage caused. Although the flags and banners meant that the bloc kept together a lot better than normal, people were still often spread out and in danger of getting separated completely. Then came the breakaway – people were led away from the centre of London, and on a long walk south of the river. This was tiring but didn’t lead to any actions. Not only was there less obviously worth doing, the bloc also picked up a big following of riot vans and police. After what felt like a long and pointless walk, the bloc ended up back at the speeches of the main march. (apparently the target in South London was a property developer, which people spray-painted then left really fast when police moved in)
While it was a good show of force, and better than just walking from A to B, there was SO much we could have done better! This article has three ideas on that… Continue reading
What’s the point?
Squatters protect their identities during an eviction
Masking up at an eviction resistance or a demonstration has two aims – first, to make it hard to identify you personally. This is done by hiding some identifying features like hair colour/length, face shape, etc, and by obscuring others such as eye colour, skin colour, and sex. The second goal is to protect each other by making it difficult to follow or pick out any one person in a crowd – this is done by all looking the same.
Why would you want to be anonymous, or help other people to be? The main reason is that if things kick off and you’re involved, you don’t want to be identified – that could mean jail time. What feels like justified self-defence against brutality at the time can be portrayed as irrational “hooliganism” by the courts and the press later. Even if you didn’t do anything but stand near where something happened, they can fabricate evidence once they’ve identified who you are and where you were. This happens, so it’s best to be safe and stay anonymous. The other reason is to stop police intelligence gathering. They film people at protests and try to build up a picture of who is there regularly, who the “ringleaders” are, etc. Do you want police extremist units to see you as a “serial protestor”, or a “ringleader”? Do you want them searching your house for evidence because they have you flagged as a probable organiser? Probably not.