This is a personal account and is not the necessarily the views of anyone else who associates with LUC.
A few folk from LUC went up to Manchester for the first day of the Scummy Party Conference (bet you know which one) along with another thirty-odd thousand people to show a visible opposition the Tory party cuts.
We joined the feeder march as it moved along the main road. Mainly full of youth it was a lively mix of people with varying political and non-political beliefs. Anarchists made up a decent sized proportion collecting around the many Red and Blacks.
Forward Intelligence Teams, as always, were wearing out the springs on their posh new equipment happily snapping anyone looking as radical as a toddler or custard pie thrower. The photo-shy amongst us masked up which prompted some curiosity from a union member as for the need for creating a ‘bad’ media image, as if a mask itself causes trouble to occur.
Photo taken from truth-reason-liberty.blogspot.com because I’m in it
With a slow pace the feeder moved forward linking in with the larger union presence. Approaching the Manchester City Hall a fragment broke off to occupy the cobbled square. Calling themselves Occupy Manchester, the group slash collection of groups, aimed to create a space in which debate and free assembly can take place. Occupations being a very much activist past time the main procession took little interest and continued along the pre-planned route. This seems to be the flaw in the growing occupations movement across the States and the UK, although they can gain media attention they do not incorporate the mass of people which cannot attend and therefore don’t manage to spread the word of radical politics. Demands upon the elite lack any backbone and aid in reinforcing the occupation as an unorganised lobbying group or simply a stunt. The focus on a certain geographical setting, whilst creating a brand ‘Occupy Manchester’ and helping to focus worthy interest leaves a vacuum after its departure of self-organised structure which has the possibility of seriously confronting the Jack the Rippers in Parliament.
I left the square during the beginning of the assembly and slipped down the sides of the march as it squeezed through the bottle necks created by the anti car bomb barricades. Further ahead I reached a group of more mature unionists holding PCS banners aloft. As they passed the conference building no opportunities were missed to throw abuse at the cowards hiding behind the pale curtains. All around me screams of ‘scum’ were hurled across the barricades. Real, authentic class anger is definitely in the atmosphere which is simply being stifled by weak union leadership which has no real interest in that of the working class. Those people there wanted direct confrontation with the people cutting their grand kids futures and ending their chance of a comfortable retirement. However, it’s the union leadership which is ironically, but sadly historically, keeping the politicians and capitalists safe from the baying masses by not taking action beyond symbolism. Leaders would like to portray the older generation as rudderless biddies more concerned with tea, biscuits and flower arrangements, but they’ve lived through Thatcher. They know firsthand what’s in store.
The march finished in the park, with speeches of fighting the Tory government, labour battles and so on.
By and large, it was a positive day seeing the presence of so many people all opposed to the new austerity measures but raises the undeniable need for strong community grass-roots organising. The stuntism of Occupy Manchester, the symbolic marches and the one day strikes cannot replace the slow growing spread of radical ideas and alternatives. Anarchists must begin to create an atmosphere within their own neighbourhood of an alternative by communicating in all forms and all places with people usually cut off from our clicky circles. Time may be tight, and this process is the slowest of them all, it will take decades in fact, but it will form a base so strong and organised that people will believe revolution is possible and the rest will take its course.