Blac bloc. A little bit of clarity needed.

Most of the major demonstrations in this country are organised by unions and coalitions with the odd exception of student rumblings. And OMFG aren’t they just pointless? They walk from A to B via nowhere to end up in a park for dry old speeches by regional candidates miles from any power base and achieve sweet FA and no more than a few lines coverage in the press if that to show for it. But I am not going into my views on demo’s.

Now every time we hear the call out most of the people I know ask the question ” Is there a blac bloc?”  This question always seems to create an air of conflict. Now why is that ? People keep on telling us is a tactic. But is it a tactic that can no longer be used? One that has had it’s day? First appearing in the 1980’s and seen in all it’s glory in Seattle 1999 World Trade Organisation protests and subsequently used to good effect in South America.

But now anyone in black is automatically classed as part of blac bloc and will always draw undue attention from the police. So there seems little point in putting ourselves on offer, unless that is we can get large numbers. Without those numbers blac bloc becomes ineffectual and therefore becomes more of a risky statement. We don’t want to play your game, we don’t want to put ourselves on offer in a state of constant surveillance, we don’t want to associate ourselves with all the other groups. There is nothing on offer that is going to appease us. We are marginalised and we are here to make it as difficult as possible for you to impose your system on us. One we do not consent to.

But there have been other blocs too. We have seen Queer bloc, Book bloc, Bike bloc and this weekend at the March for Climate there have been calls for Green anarchist bloc, and of course a huge Climate bloc. So a bloc is definitely becoming more about a statement of what we are not who we are, But there are still tactical reasons for keeping to a bloc and it is tactics we need to put into practice if blocs are going to work.  Here are some that were prepared earlier :

Basic  protes line upBasic protest line up

There are lots of reasons for putting into practice such basic line up tactics for any type of demo. To keep your group together and secure also has the effect of keeping PLO’s (Police Liaison Officers) out of your bloc and creating great solidarity. So you have formed a block either by linking arms, holding poles, or banner effectively making it a no go zone for anyone other than your bloc. Creating an formidable force.

Effective protestingEffective protesting

 

So are the days of the blac bloc are numbered? or maybe it is just evolution.  Black allows you to merge, it allows individuals hard to track. It is who we are. But as we have seen with footage released by the police following TUC demo on the 26th March 2011 even with given precautions concealing identities to avoid state intervention we still managed to give ourselves away. Watch this and you will see how surveillance was used in watching blac bloc protesters in Oxford circus and how easy we made it for them.

So if circumstances arise and there is a black bloc and  you want to join the protest. Here are some pointers on how to be an effective black bloc.

1. Black means *plain* black

Black means plain black – no labels! Cover them with gaffa tape or dye. Pen is harder to use for this than you’d expect, and electrical tape often comes off easily. It’s worth bringing spare if you can. Sometimes you can make a hoody plain by turning it inside out

2. Covering your head

  •  Hoods are vital – they hide hair, shape of head, etc.
  •  In summer months, get a thin raincoat (the cheap ones that don’t actually keep off the rain work well) and wear that instead of a hoody. That way you won’t overheat. Wear a black baseball cap. Make sure your hair is well tucked in and not visible. So long as you keep your head down, the baseball cap makes overhead cameras useless.
  •  In winter months, get a loose hoody. Get a black hat and make sure it hides your hair. Try to pull it down to cover your eyebrows if you can.

3. Masking your face

Make sure what you’re wearing isn’t too hot, is breathable, covers your whole face, and won’t fall down. You basically have 4 options:

  1.  Material pulled up over your nose (this is what most people do). Make sure it’s tight enough and won’t fall down when you run! If possible, get something elasticated. Try make your eyebrows harder to see by wearing a hat, if you’re doing this. Don’t forget to make sure your mask is big enough – it should reach all the way from the top of your nose, to well below your neck
  2.  a scarf (in winter, you can go about with these and not draw too much attention. Legally the police can’t confiscate a scarf as it’s main purpose is to keep you warm, not hide your face) Don’t try this in summer! Like 2, you need a hat to go with this. Experiment so you can tie the scarf behind your head quickly and securely
  3.  a black t-shirt. This works surprisingly well! Put the t-shirt over your head and position the hole at the top so you can see out of it with your eyes. Then tie the arms behind your head. Check out this youtube vid if that doesn’t make sense –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwF_B0Gr4k4
  4.  a proper balaclava (makes you look a bit more scary – but they’re good!)

Goggles/shades *can* be good but there are pros and cons. On the plus side, they will make cs-spray, pepper spray, and tear gas less effective, while also hiding your eye colour and making it harder to see your skin colour. On the other hand, some goggles can fuck up your eyes if you get punched or hit, and when you wear shades with a mask they often just steam up. As well as that, only a minority of people in a black bloc wear shades or goggles, so it can end up making you more identifiable! (it’s easy for cops to follow the only person in a crowd wearing a ski-mask)

4. Arms/hands

  •   It’s important to try and hide your skin colour a bit. If no-one does this, then anyone who is a minority on the demo will stick out and might as well not be masked up. So, wear gloves where possible,  as an act of solidarity and inclusiveness as much as for your own security.
  •  If you have any tattoos on your hand/arm then be really careful not to show them! Police pick up on that kind of thing.

6. Body

Try to wear something baggy – this helps to cover your body shape and makes you harder to recognise. Coats are good for this.

7. Legs

Most people in a bloc will be wearing blue jeans, or black trousers. As before, try to keep it baggy, especially if you’re going for the jeans. Black is better, but there is some lee-way on this. If you’re wearing trackies, watch out for any identifying marks – a lot of them have distinctive stripes or branding that will need to be covered up

8. Shoes

  •  This is a tricky one! People do get picked up or tracked because they wore distinctive shoes on a demo. So wear shoes that are plain and generic, if you have them. If you’re with a group, it may be worth all covering your shoes in black gaffa tape, so that they look the same.
  •  If you can fit a spare pair of shoes in your bag and wear different ones when masked/not masked, that’s great
  •  Make sure your shoes are cheap – they’re normally the most identifiable part of your outfit. If anything “spikey” happens you will need to get rid of them.

9. Rucksack

  •  If you’re taking a rucksack, make sure it is also plain black with no labels
  •  Get a big plastic carrier bag and keep it in the rucksack. That way when you ‘de-block’ you can put the rucksack inside it. Carrier bags are also easier to ditch if you see cops tailing you on your way home.
  •  Another option is to get a thin rucksack or one of those sports bags that school kids use for their PE kits. Then, you put your black-bloc outfit on over the top of it, keeping the bag underneath where it can’t be seen. I’m not convinced by this method – but it’s up to you

10. To carry with you

  •  Spare masks (if it’s someone’s first time on a bloc, they might not realise how important masking up is. It’s your responsibility to look after them – we need to look out for each other)
  • A very different change of clothes (look like a non-violent hippy, suit, normal person, waiter, whatever. Just not some anarcho-punk out to cause trouble!). The easiest way to do this is to wear lots of layers
  •  A slightly different mask (e.g. switch between a pull up mask and a balaclava during the bloc – this will make it harder to keep track of you)
  •  Different shoes, if you can
  •  Supplies – this isn’t the place for a full-blown list of what is useful on a demo or eviction resistance. But as a bare minimum, make sure you have enough food/water to get you through the day and keep your energy levels up – you need to be able to run and think clearly at all times. Having spare for other people is always a good move too, if you can

11. when to mask up/down

sheild2

If you’re carrying a big fuckoff shield saying “no prisons” on it, you should definitely be masked up…

 

  •  It sounds stupid, but try practicing near a mirror to make sure you can do this quickly and well. There may come a time when you need to be anonymous at short notice, or where you need to merge quickly into a crowd.
  •  Try to get into a cctv blind spot with at least one other person when you change clothing. Or change together under a banner/umbrella. It isn’t totally necessary, but it will make it even harder for cops to follow you on camera
  •  It is hard to decide exactly when to mask up/down – it depends a lot on your assessment of the situation. As a general rule, try not to be the only person/small group in a crowd that is masked up, and try to “de-bloc” while there is still a crowd for you to hide in.

 

12. Afterwards

  •  Don’t go off alone. Cops will notice and may try to pick you off or search you
  •  You may need to burn your outfit after the demo. Better safe than sorry! Cops *will* take all black clothing in your house as evidence if you get raided. If anything was smashed near you, tiny glass shards get stuck in your clothing which *will* get picked up by forensics, who can work out exactly which window they came from
  •  Whatever you do, don’t tag yourself on facebook pictures or send texts about things that happened on the day!

13. Finally…

  •   Masking up is only one part of staying safe. If anything “spiky” happens, you need to make sure there is no forensic (i.e. fingerprints, blood) evidence on the scene to link you to it. You need to be really careful what you say in public, especially on texts/phone/social media. You need to not talk to people who could be undercovers, or might inform on you in the future (even if they seem sound now – are you sure they won’t rat you out a few months down the line?). You need to not take electronics like iphones along which track your location and get linked back to you.
  •  There are other ways to hide too. By merging with a crowd. By dodging cameras. By wearing things that ‘naturally’ make you harder to recognise (hair different, peaked cap and sunglasses – this WILL make you look like a journo/undercover, though!). Keeping aware of cameras around you. Blocking cameras. And probably more….
  •  Oh and one last thing – *never* be fashion conscious. People have been done time because they thought their anonymous clothes looked stupid and changed into something nicer!

 

 1551695_10154600656210384_64577883980646469_nI do not condone or condemn these tactics. They are what they are and I would never encourage any individual to break the law. So what ever you do out there. Keep yourself and others safe. The current Capitalist system is not working. We have to lead. It is our time.

Now for something different – Decorating the heath

The last few weeks have been more hectic than usual with Reclaim The Power Blackpool mid August and Stop Nato in Wales this week. Both involving lots of organising and actions some of which stories can not be told here and others that will be coming soon. But always after madness there is the recharge. For me this is pottering round the house catching up on the chores, washing, sorting, putting away, walking the dog, cleaning the fridge, climbing mountains. Where the pile of clothes, junk, bags,coats and odds and sods on the first chair  inside the door now has nearly got to toppling point. This then takes the form of a purge and lots of the bits and pieces that have managed to become clutter are are put into piles, kids, bedroom, charity shop, bin and so on. You know how it goes.

Some of this clutter was a load of crystal glass type drops from a cheap chandelier I  had removed to make room for my own additions and this bowl of glass drops had now been sitting on my table for weeeeeeeeks. So this afternoon I decided to go to the Heath and decorate another tree. Moving on from wool as previous on to crystals. The Heath is starting to turn and the leaves are changing colours and you can hear nuts and seeds falling on to the floor.  An afternoon spent threading crystals with different coloured silk threads and watching the tooing and froing of the Heath

P1120346P1120349

 

Next was to find the right tree. Believe it or not no easy task on the Heath.  I found a fallen tree in a cut through trail just off from the main path. I know these won’t be seen by everybody but as the leaves begin to fall off around it will become more visible to the passer by.  So I hung the crystal from the branches of the tree and watched them sparkle in the sun. Walked away and hoped that people enjoy the discovery. But even if they never get seen I had a beautiful creative afternoon and I feel so much better for it.

 

 

P1120363      P1120364          P1120373

    http://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/yarn-bombing/

Introducing Suzi Marsh…

As South East Alliance attempt yet again to come into Cricklewood I thought I would introduce you to some of the sad few that turned up last time. Once again being humiliated by not actually reaching their destination. Their aim was to get to 113 Cricklewood Broadway but as you can see from the picture got as far as 87 lol.

P1110049

Firstly we have Suzi Marsh from Casuals United and contributor to the Pie and Mash. Real name Claire Clark, facebook name Claire Bluebelle married to Dave Clark also from Casuals United

    SUZI    SUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

 

Suzi aka Claire Clark and her friends write silly little stories telling people they go where they like. Where as I pointed out in an earlier blog  (1)  “No you fucking don’t” and you didn’t go where you wanted in Cricklewood as can be see by the door number behind you in your pen. They just pump out the usual fascist propaganda feeding off peoples insecurities and creating unfounded fears in our community, anyway, I digress

So who else have we here?

Obviously Paul Pitt  – Aka Paul Propdromou, Mr angry and ex fund raiser for the lovely BNP. We all know enough about him. Nothing of interest here.

P1110023Paul Pitt

Next up we have baby faced Kevin Layzell who runs the BNP youth group. To me he looks like he has some kind of mental health issues as he seems to show no emotions or facial expressions just cold distant and unloved ….awwwww bless. Hobbies dressing up.

Georgeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee                                     bbbbbbbbbb

 

Then we have the riff raff Chris Reed seen here grassing to the police “and this footprint on my shirt officer is from them Lefties”

P1110101                   P1100971        

and runner up Roy Price Junior

Royyyyyyyyyyyyyy

I will leave you with a few more pictures of this fascist group who have tried to come into our neighbourhood and intimidate the community spreading their vile hate only to be fucked out with their tail between their legs. South East Alliance you are not welcome in my community and you will be met every time by a community that agrees Cricklewood is a fascist free zone

Pricks

P1100969P1110090 P1110077 P1110103 P1110108 P1110038 P1110015

 

 

 

 

 

P1110063 P1110084

 

 

(1)  http://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/we-hide-in-plain-sight-we-go-where-we-want/

http://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/you-go-where-you-want-dont-make-me-laugh-part-2/

https://www.facebook.com/chris.reed.14811?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/paul.pitt.509?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/kevin.layzell.1?fref=ts https:

https://www.facebook.com/dave.clark.75470316?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/claire.clark.7359?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/roy.price.9638?fref=ts

No Pasaran

The Hampstead mum

JOIN US HERE >> https://www.facebook.com/events/302253526614084/

No Pasaran Cricklewood – Part 3 19/7/14

FASHHHHHHH

The crack was good in Cricklewood

As we paved the way

To ruin the day

for Paul Pitt and the S.E.A

 

With the unsuccessful and  feeble attempt made by South East Alliance to march down Cricklewood on 14th June and having had their noses put out of place by the antifa . The fascists have decided to attempt it a second time.

 Photo by Ninja Antifa

And once again they will be met with resistance. The local community got together and  North West United was born. Since then the campaign to keep the fascists of our streets has gone into over drive. Leading figures of the community have signed letters and locals have been busy leafleting every day. Posters have appeared at every corner, lamppost and glance in Kilburn and Cricklewood.

Crickl

Banner workshops where held and many a slogan was painted. So tonight the night before we decided to go and carry out some banner drops. Here is a little peek at what went down in Cricklewood.

 

 

No Pasaran

The Hampstead mum.

Part 2 – http://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/you-go-where-you-want-dont-make-me-laugh-part-2/

Part 1 http://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/we-hide-in-plain-sight-we-go-where-we-want/

 

 

We love you DPAC #Occupywestminster #SaveILF

A few months ago I was invited by DPAC ( Disabled People Against the Cuts) to get involved with a protest about the Independent Living fund which is due to be cut. With out this living fund disabled people will no longer be able to live in their own home independently and will loose any chance of living anything that resembles normal everyday life. The kind that you and I take for granted.

2014-06-28 18.00.08

To be honest working with disabled people is all pretty new to me and it is only through protest that I have got to know some active DPAC protesters. And I am now all to aware of the precarious balance that they have to deal with to maintain an anyway functional life. Some having to deal with the most complex health issues, accessibility, discrimination on a level that I can only compare to homophobia and racism which I have learnt is called Ableism.

So meetings were called and we got to listen to and hear what the disabled people wanted to do. Week in and week out we discussed plans, places, times, numbers and sometimes we went round in circles, but there more meetings I attended the more important this action became to me on a personal level as I got to know the people from DPAC  and witnessed the difficulties faced every minute of their lives and how they fight every minute of their lives to overcome it.

It was very important to keep the action a DPAC action. It so easily could have become an Occupy action to outside eyes. I soon realised that I was there to facilitate DPAC’s action and to make sure they were not discriminated against in their right to peaceful protest. So as in all minority situations we had to make sure that the decisions of the DPACers were respected and we did not influence decisions to suit ourselves as what we may want to do as able bodied people.

So the meetings continued and the excitement was growing. We split into working groups, ( each group given a clean phone to be able to communicate with other groups on the day) logistics, Press, Church, Lock on’s and the Any other shit working group. DPAC had now made the decision to Occupy a church not any old church only Westminster Abbey.

P1140384We went on walks as tourists, we took films and we took pictures, we drew site maps and measured the depth of steps and the width of gates. We reported back. We discussed who would be staying and for how long. We then planned how many tents, kitchen sleeping, meeting, welfare, toilets. Then how much medial equipment would be needed. How many of the “crips” ( A term that disabled people seem to have reclaimed, another thing I had to get used to ) would be in wheelchairs, how many had P.A’s (personal assistances that are with them to aid them in everyday life).

As part of the logistic team we had to set up a fully working, with disabled access, fully functioning camp for about 30 disabled people and erect it in the grounds of Westminster Abbey with out anyone noticing. I can tell you that was a lot of sleepless nights. We drove up North and we collected 4 massive army tents, compost toilet containments, tables, sinks, plumbing, generators, electrics, lighting, tarpaulins, ramps, Sledge hammers, tent pegs……other tents would be arriving with the individuals and so on it was endless.

P1140225P1140240

We met up in our different working groups and fed back on progress and problems, there was always a useful suggestion to work round any issues we had. The determination to make this work was over riding. We soon realised we needed a decoy and UK uncut were more than happy to oblige as it just so happened that Boots hadn’t been paying their taxes and they arranged an action at a Boots shop local to Westminster Abbey.  After their action they would join us in the Abbey grounds

The day was getting closer and it was becoming very real. The weekend before the action we had rehearsals, the lock on crews practised till they had it down to a fine art threading those chains through their wheels with such skill and speed. The heavy goods crew took one of army tent to Hampstead Heath and put it up and took it down so may times we were doing it in our sleep.

P1140322   P1140349

The excitement and turned into nerves as the day got closer, press statements had been written up and communication to the Dean appealing for support was drafted. We worked on out timings. The lorry with all the gear in was to arrive at 3.00pm we had reserved some parking bays in a local street, a team unloaded the lorry whilst in the Abbey itself disabled people took their positions ready for the word go. We had to make sure that all the tourists in the area were made aware of what was happening and that they were free to leave and we had made a massive exit sign. We decided to have people informing the public that the area would be closing and if they could please leave.

D Day meaning Disabled Day arrived

The lorry pulled up into to it’s allocated bay and unloaded. We had trollies and wheely bins loaded full to the brim, the people dressed in their high vis and hard hats waited to take their load and walk 200yrds from the parking spot to the park this was fast becoming our riskiest part we were walking through the most heavily secure area of London with things that could be classed as weapons.

P1140459P1140463 P1140458

As soon as the first equipment arrived the locks ons happened and it was only seconds before the security realised what was happening and we had to get as many people in the area as possible. The rest of the equipment could be thrown in over the fence and so the mayhem began. Tents being laid out, gazebos erected, and banners and posts put on display. Before we knew it the grounds were being flooded by the police. The pushing and shoving over tents began and some clever copper decided to stand on the main structure just as we set to raise it.

BbbbP1140473

So after a fast and furious half hour the situation was that we had 3 large gazebos erected giving the wheelchair users some protection from the weather and a few pop us tents of various sizes. We had disabled people locked on to every gate and about 200 police officers forming a line around the fencing so if anyone tried to join us they had to climb over the fence and would have been arrested. So at various points in the day you saw a loan protester running across the grounds chased by the police. Most of these we managed to D arrest and having stand offs where the police where happy to put disabled people at risk for the sake of a collar.

P1140482The police unsuccessfully tried to make announcements which the protesters drowned out with chants of “Save the ILF” and sirens. The crowd on the street had grown where a lot of disabled people that hadn’t managed to get in were giving out leaflets and educating the general public on the attack on the disabled communities by the cuts. Requests where sent to the Dean of Westminster Abbey to meet the protesters and false message where coming  from the police. As one disable person cried he came to the church to find sanctuary and he had been turned away.

At one point there was a stand off as police tried to remove the ramps to allow wheel chair users move around and protesters had to intervene and stop them being removed. The police tried to block the use of the ramp by a wheelchair user. Once again disabled people right to the freedom of movement were being impeded whilst I could walk where ever I wanted. The officer was made stand down by his Sargent.

P1140511We stood around preparing what we could setting up tables to attempt to lay out food for people. It soon became evident that we had to sort out toilet facilities and the police standing on our tents meant that we had been unable to get some essential pieces into place. Any way that one was easy we turned one of the Gazebo’s into a toilet tied in the tarpaulins around with an entrance and a chemical loo with a frame. Presto. This bought as some more time.

P1140528

Whilst this was going on more and more police were arriving, and the presence of tazars had been noted. Consensus meetings were being held on how to progress and a game of football took place until one female police officer got upset and confiscated it. So we just went an got another one. Courtesy of UK uncuts action we had a few.  There were constant songs and chants of support coming from outside the fences and rumbles of press and interviews and MP’s

P1140551I didn’t get involved in the meetings other than to give the status on logistics and the equipment as any decision on how to progress was to be made by the DPAC and what ever decision was reached I would support. By 7.30 last night nobody from the church came forward to talk, to meet the protesters and the requests for support by the church in their plight. The church, the people they thought would show some understanding turned their back on them in their time of need. Oh how very Christian.

P1140496It was realised that some of the disabled people were unable to stay there as the intended structures hadn’t managed to placed. This meant that the number of able bodied protesters would outnumber the disabled people that were willing to stay. This raised concerns that as soon as some had left it left the remaining protesters at risk of arrest. In our hearts and minds we new we had not managed to occupy for as long as we had hoped but we could walk away knowing that the action had highlighted the need for an Independent Living Fund, trending on twitter and great coverage on the main stream media

http://revolution-news.com/disabled-people-occupy-westminster-abbey-undo-cuts-standoff-updates/

Meanwhile we negotiated with the police to save all our equipment along the lines of ” There is so much here do you really want to have to log it all in and where are you going to store it all?” They still weren’t aware the agreements that the group had come to and the police decided to keep hold of the last 2 army tents until we were all loaded on the van “in case we pulled a fast one” The lorry pulled up and we loaded in. Every last piece was removed and the only blot left on the landscape was the 200 police left in the grounds,P1140533

I can tell you DPAC you can hold your head high. You are the strongest, most determined and courageous people I have had the pleasure of standing alongside. You make me so proud.

lots of love and respect Hampstead mum x

 

http://www.independentliving-fightback.uk/online/?page_id=358

http://dpac.uk.net/

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/

http://occupylondon.org.uk/

You go where you want? Don’t make me laugh. Part 2 – Cricklewood

So today North London Antifacists called for resistance to a march held by the South East Alliance in Cricklewood.

No Pasaran was the message

About 25 -30 fascists turned up at Kilburn station to be led towards Cricklewood following a police van and surrounded by police.

P1140166

Further up the road the Antifascists, local community members and union members waited ready to stop them. The wait had began.

P1140161

As soon as the blue flashing lights of their police chaperones and the tips of their England flag could be seen the antifascist community moved across the road and blocked their path. The Right wing fascist tell us they go where they like. No you fucking don’t !

P1140189

The road was blocked for as long as it took for the police to realise we were not going to let the fascists pass. The flags came to a standstill and they moved no further. It wasn’t long before the fascists were told that they couldn’t continue their march and reach their target and were to be escorted back to the train station.

We all stood round for a while to make sure that they didn’t try to come back and few spotters and right wing tourists where told under no uncertain terms what was thought of them.

So after a successful action in the uniting of Antifa and the community we sent a message today You do not go where you want !

Crickle

Well done to Cricklewood. No platform for fascists.

 

Part 1 http://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/we-hide-in-plain-sight-we-go-where-we-want/

 

 

Taking out the Spikes for the homeless – Part 2

TEsco

Well things have moved on with the homeless and the spikes. Meaning some autonomous activists went to Regent Street late on evening on the Wednesday night and poured concrete over the spikes. Not a very professional job, but I would say for a first attempt they showed given some time their skills would be acceptable on any building site. They were savvy enough to take some trusted press peeps with them this being Vice and getting it all recorded and published to a world wide audience.

kkkkkk

Within hours Tesco’s removed the spikes. The removal wasn’t just down to one act of “vandalism” as I have heard some cry. The concrete pour was just an act of fast forwarding the demands of the outcry seen in the last few days. This act in itself has saved the public purse a lot of money all round if the traditional route had been taken, letter writing, meetings, demonstrations, e-petitions, PR meetings, complaints against planning, more meetings, complaints to the corporations (that don’t really give a shit about your views and opinions how ever relevant and correct they are. They just want your money) Lawyers fees, solicitors letters etc. Then there is the press and the feeding frenzie that this has caused and the people managing to use the right wing media in delivering the message that this was immoral behaviour towards the homeless. For once it was the people running the show.

Living in a system that is so tied up in bureaucracy that this seemed the only option of opposition for an obscene act of taking ownership of space in this way was direct action in these David and Goliath times. The people should be grateful for activists willing to break the law for the moral ground and the thousands of comments I have read on the cementing of the spikes has been overwhelmingly in favour of the action. So it will be interesting to see if the authorities/corporations go for prosecutions here. Will they be willing to stand up in court and justify their immoral actions or will it be better PR to keep quiet, remove the spikes, never employ the bright spark that came up with that idea again. Will they just go away and lick their wounds and put damage limitations strategies into place.

Removal
But this whole situation has created lots of questions for me. So was this about deterring people from sleeping and sitting down or is this about the ownership of Space? The conflict of public space and private space is becoming a battle in it’s own right and this has been repeatedly highlighted by the right to protest. Increasingly the public spaces have been sold off to large corporations and you now have to abide by these companies rules and regulations whilst on these spaces. Be it a street in Canary Wharf or a road in City of London for example. For example if I want to protest about Shell, their offices are on private land in London, they can get an injunction banning me from outside the shell building for life even if their company moves from the building I would still be banned from that piece of land. Surely that isn’t right?

So back to the spikes, why spikes? Why didn’t they put some flower pots there or some works or art ? Things that aesthetically please people would have had less of an impact. I am sure that if you lived in the tower block in Southwark were some of the spikes have appeared and a beautiful display of flowers were used to cover the area, would you have even thought about the homeless? or just thought that’s pretty. So Why Spikes? Why use something so offensive and aggressive? It could be the fact that this is a one off payment rather than a flower pot that may need a contract to maintain it or artwork that may get stolen. I’m not sure but I really think that this type of planning in our urban spaces has to be questioned. Not just the spikes, but the walls, the razor wire, the gates, the private security and the freedom of movement.

Flower tescoI’m really not sure about the wider implications here and have to think about this. It is definitely not as clear cut as first seems. But for now this has been seen as a victory of the people and rightly so but is it a win for the homeless? The spikes have become a symbol of the homeless a bit like a logo. So what now the spikes are gone the public outrage has been quelled and the spikes have been removed. Will things be any different for the homeless? Now we can go back to not thinking about the homeless .

Well done to those activists willing to risk their liberty ! Lets hope this isn’t in vain.

Homes not spikes

Part 1  http://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/spikes-for-the-homeless/