Thanks to YUKKA for this comment:

”what make’s me angry is the complete lack of inaction and the dead end politics of marching and pacifism. ”

Dont blame the inaction on the “pacifisists” – many of whom continue to spend every spare moment chained to bases and getting themselves nicked. The passive-ism of the STWC is more SWP-in-action, than the fault of “pacifists”, many of whom were sidelined out of the Coalition after calling for direct action.

” It is time we put aside our differences, stopped the infighting and bitching and step out of our anarchist ghettoes and take to the street in a forceful and united body.”

Putting aside differences with “pacifists” would be a start – many activists in the so-called peace movment (not all of whom are necessarily pacifists) are far more up for breaking the law and taking action than most self-styled anarchists. Lets work out who is up for the struggle and make wider links out of the anarchist ghetto.

How can anarchists ever appeal to a lethargic and inactive public, when we cant even get along with fellow conspirators’

I take on Yukka’s points about ‘Passive-ism’.  The key to realise what the swp/stwc are up to is that they are both deeply conservative organisations.The SWP wanted to mobilise against the war  to  recruit for the party  and subsequently saw the opportunity to turn those mobilised into electoral fodder for Respect. They were pathologicaly opposed to any DIRECT ACTION brecause they didn’t want to alienate  middle England/The Sun/Daily Mail by giving them photo opportunities of civil disobedience in the streets of Whitehall. Ironically the people they were worried about alienating were some of those who wanted some direct action. For years from RAR to STWC the SWP has only seen those who turned out on demos as passive recipients of speeches/concerts/ – and obediently marching from Hyde park to trafalgar Square. The rest of the Left has followed the same scared strategy – don’t frighten the Sun/Daily Mail editors. It was the well worn route of CND – now celebrting 50 years of failure as the STWC celebrates 5 years of failure. But at least CND spawned the Committe of 100 – dedicated to civil disobedience and taking direct action at government regional seats of government and Spies For peace.

Nicholas Walter – anarchist spy for peace

No similar organisation has broken away from STWC and tried to take the direct action alternative. Tail ending the march pretending to be an ‘autonomous block’ does not constitute the building of such an alternative. It’s a failure of us all………………but………..with the implosion of theSWP and the widely perceived bankruptcy of marching from A to B then the possibiliy of a broad base direct action campaign – including both pacifists and non-pacifists as Yukka states – may be on the agenda again.


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  1. hrh Sid the First

    a distinction well made and one that needs making…the mass protest as a means of social control and the anodyne spectacle that it generates dissipate and undermine genuine feeling to a futile gesture….the police march, the cuntryside alliance, STWC etc are all the same prescribed format in essence. The resultant sensation of deflation, the sense of anomie, the ‘at least we tried’ mentality puggle the brain and leave the way open to further futile gestures and reinforce the hopelessness the state relies on to survive…these jollies require an anti-government health warning!

  2. ana carlo

    i can’t remember where i read this but it neatly summed up my feelings at the time;

    “Oh the grand old STWC they had a million men, they marched them to hyde park and then everyone went home”

  3. WM

    “How can anarchists ever appeal to a lethargic and inactive public, when we cant even get along with fellow conspirators”

    Sums up the way i feel after going to the anarchist bookfair a few years back perfectly…… have not bothered with anything since and wont untill people get there fucking act together.

  4. The STWC/SWP attitude to direct action was best summed up by the Fairford issue.

    A group of activists, outside of their control, travelled to demonstrate at RAF Fairford. The police decided the activists were so ‘dangerous’ they could not even be allowed off their coaches, and they were then returned – against their will – to London.

    STWC failed to show any solidarity with the demonstrators, indeed effectively wrote them out of history.

    One thing you won’t see in Hyde Park on March 15th is a Fairford speaker on the platform, despite the considerable progress that has been made exposing the illegal nature of the police’s actions.

    Still, why would STWC wish to be associated with a success story?

  5. 'he who wants action'

    does not take much for a little organisation, being ex army i find it quite easy. solidarity comes through training only or living through harsh times, once a few break ranks many more follow.

    why bitch and moan, those who want peacefull walks in the park to protest about things-let them carry on, those who want a little more direct action can do there thing elsewhere. they ccan work together with the walk in the park people casting a diversion for the rest.

    personally i would love to see all the fuel depots in the country blocked with people chained, roped, concreted to the gates, mass amounts of grease applied to the direct road in to stop police vehicles and maybe even people themselves smothered in grease to give the cops the slip! (pardon the pun)

    tax is ridiculous in this country, its removed from one area and put up somewhere else, fuel tax is extortionate. if you add up all the tax that this country puts on earnings, fuel, food, bills etc, you soon realise you work for pittance, while the government have their plush offices and free food, and good salaries for bringing out useless laws and persecuting the working class.

    sorry if i have ranted on, this is just a blood boiling subject for me.

  6. Yukka

    Thanks for the reply Ian – glad you agree, and I think your analysis as to why the SWP shun direct action rings true. You are right: there is a change of mood out there, and a real opportunity for a more directly active politics to arise.

    The committee of 100 is worth bringing up – In my opinion what is needed now is a similiar umbrella group, commited to direct action, that would bring in those from across the spectrum.

    The commitee of 100 was notable for having a few famous people in there – and that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, particularly in this day and age. Whats most important here is to forget our sectarian differences and get direct action on the mainstream agenda, and show that it can be used effectively and victoriously.

    I would suggest that the campaign of choice for a direct action coalition should be something that is winnable, at least relatively so. It could be an existing campaign, or something relatively untouched. The point being that everyone who believes in direct action should unite around it, and give strength to it through sheer weight of numbers.

    There are so many hundreds of campaigns going on at any one time that the overall effect is diffused. Why shouldnt anti-military activists fight for public housing? Why shouldnt class warriors block bases? If we could be united to come together for a common campaign and show that direct action can make a change, we would all come out of it stronger.

    I don’t know who would be a suitable person to instigate this. Bertrand Russell had all the necessary qualities: sufficiently neutral, intelligent, respectable and with broad appeal. I know none of us like leaders, but sometimes it is usefull to have a non-executive focal point, at least to get people together.

  7. Squee

    ‘he who wants action’ It’s a great idea, I to would love to see that, but being an “out of the loop” anarchist due to the topic in which the post was about I don’t see how this could be achieved or how i could help in the slightest.

  8. I wasn’t much in support of the Fairford actions as I thought it was better to demonstrate in the Cities and Towns where ordinary proletarians could see and join you.

  9. Tommy

    See you do what comrade Adamski? Walk around in a circle?

    We already knew most people were against the war, what was the circular stroll ever going to achieve?

    Better to bring the war home!

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