Saturday, April 04, 2009
Last Week's Protests
The City of London protests last week, however ineffective they may have seemed to the official media, were absolutely successful in that they tore a hole, albeit briefly, in the process of ‘business as usual’ and normal, alienated everyday life, something a lawful demonstration could never do. It is not the case, as at least one well known poetry blogger has claimed, that a small group of ‘mad and violent’ protesters were there to spoil the ‘fun’ of nice, reasonable protesters. Far from it: anyone who was there knows the real violence was dealt by the metropolitan police. The anarchists smashed a few windows. The police deliberately provoked the crowd, at one point were seen literally booting peaceful protesters in the face, and may well have been responsible for someone's death.
The peaceful and the violent protesters were two necessary halves of a whole that made manifest the latent violence of corporate society. The apocalyptic, that is revelatory, theme of the protests turned out to be superbly appropriate. All of us who were there were faced with the bottom line of our ‘fun-loving’ and ‘sophisticated’ culture where police violence is clearly the borderline between the everyday comfort of a high proportion of the population and the casual murderous brutality dealt out as a matter of course by our ‘elected’ ‘leaders’. The violence of the anarchists, even the violence of the cops, is insignificant compared to the bloodbaths of the Middle East, the increasing institutional xenophobia throughout western Europe, or indeed Barack Obama’s intention to continue the War on Terror. Most intelligent people know this, but most of them like to pretend that nothing can be done, or that they are somehow innocent. The protesters, both violent and otherwise, are at least trying to work out how capital’s bloodlust, and all of our parts in it, can be brought to a definitive end.