To those who are arguing that people don’t have a right to protest against a government that was “democratically” voted in: Yes we do. This is a government which is waging war on the poor, the homeless, the disabled, immigrants, students, single mums and the unemployed, with devastating consequences. If you think that a party who was voted in by 24% of the electorate should somehow be untouchable to criticism, then you seriously need to reconsider what the hell you think democracy is. Not to mention the fact that some of society’s most vulnerable (e.g many people without citizen status) aren’t even allowed to vote. We need to abolish this ridiculous attitude that the sum total of democracy is a broken, unfair and exclusive voting system, which is headed up by an elitist group of predominantly white men. Representative democracy? Give me a fucking break.
To those who are arguing that high levels of anger are “unnecessary” and an “overreaction”: Fuck you. Do not belittle people’s genuine despair and fear at the general election result. This isn’t just people being mildly annoyed that a party they don’t like won, this is people publically and vocally saying that they cannot and will not take 5 more years of this life-destroying shit. This is people terrified at their future prospects and that of their children. Of course people are fucking angry. We’re talking about a party that has literally driven people to suicide through their brutal cuts to public services. And you want people to calm down? We live in the sixth richest country in the world, yet hundreds of thousands of people can’t even afford to feed themselves. There were 66 active foodbanks when the coalition came to power, and there are now 421. Homelessness has gone up by over 50% in the last 5 years. That’s right; one of the richest countries in the world has thousands of citizens who are starving and/or have nowhere to live. If that doesn’t make you angry, why the fuck not?
To those of you arguing that direct action and protesting “makes no difference”: This is just painfully incorrect. Pretty much no social movement in history has been successful without some form of direct action. To just focus on one relevant example, it was the hugely confrontational poll tax riots of 1990 which played a fundamental role in the demise of Thatcher and her brutal attacks on the working class. These tactics are effective, whether you like it or not. Why do you think politicians are so scared of direct action? Why do you think the new Government is looking, as quickly as possible, to implement a Snooper’s Charter which will require internet and mobile phone companies to keep records of customers’ browsing activity, social media use, emails, voice calls, online gaming and text messages for a year? This insidious idea that the only way people can legitimately strive for change is by spending the next 5 years quietly persuading others to vote differently in the next general election is the worst kind of liberal bullshit. It’s also a really fucking privileged thing to say when there are so many people whose lives will genuinely be in danger over the next 5 years. If you think that our current system of “democracy” will ever adhere to the voices of the people without being forced to by mass collective action, it’s time to wake up.
To those of you who are furious about the “Women of World War II” graffiti: Yes, one person did this, and the vast majority of protesters in no way supported it. But using this act to vilify an entire movement is ignorant and simplistic, and a dirty tactic being used by the Tory-controlled right wing media to draw attention away from the point of yesterday’s protests. Surprise fucking surprise. It’s also absolutely laughable that Tories are crawling out from all corners of social media to condemn this act in the strongest possible terms, claiming that it’s “disrespectful to the women of the past”. Such indignation coming from Tories, who support a party which is inherently anti-woman, is sickening. From a Prime Minister who openly mocks women in the House of Commons, to cuts of 30% to support services for domestic and sexual violence survivors, not to mention the fact that austerity in general disproportionately affects women and particularly single mothers. I’m pretty sure that the women of World War II would have something to say about that. So self-righteous Tories, pipe the fuck down – you don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to defending women. Furthermore, (and I can’t believe how many times I have had to reiterate this in the last few months), if you’re more angry about someone spray painting on a memorial, than people being physically brutalised by the police, you need to sort your fucking priorities out. If you think that respecting the dead is more important than respecting the living, what do you stand for?
To those who are dismissing yesterday’s protests as nothing more than a “one-off kneejerk reaction”: Sorry, but you’re wrong. Society’s most vulnerable are at breaking point, and this anger and desperation (as history has shown) is certain to manifest itself in the streets as inequality rises and the Tory cuts keep on coming. What we saw yesterday was a new-found sense of fearlessness among protesters, and the Government hadn’t even been in power for 48 hours. Protesters demonstrated what community and solidarity really looks like, as individuals were forcibly freed from arrest and lines of riot police kettling protesters were forced to retreat. The road ahead is by no means easy, and will undoubtedly be full of state violence and repression, but after yesterday, the government will be expecting resistance – let them quake in their shit. Now is not the time for mourning; it’s time for organising. No to 5 more years of austerity, inequality and oppression. Tory scum, here we come.