I think I could be the most youngest cynical old man, but here’s another rant against a protest action.

This time it’s the Howard demo that happened tonight in Wellington, which saw three of my friends get arrested, and quite a few others hurt. I didn’t think the demo was a very good idea: I said to the organisers that I believed it was a continuation of the ‘scattergun tactics’ that have characterised anarchist organising for the last 10 years (at least), and just as importantly the protest could only ever be a glorified ‘bearing witness to power’.

Scattergun tactics: It seems most anarchists and radical-ish activists spend almost their entire time organising protests against whatever pops up within their reach: whether it be new government policies, visiting PMs, or the latest war. Obviously these need to be opposed, but the form this has taken over the last 10 years is a small group of people jumping from one site of opposition to another, always in opposition to something, never ever having time to to build, to construct alternatives or to organise something that might actually get bigger. Instead, it’s just continual opposition to whatever shit gets thrown at us or others. And yet another disconnected and ad-hoc protest just falls in line with this trend. This is not a strategy to win.

Bearing witness to power: And what did we even expect from this Howard demo? To yell at him loud enough that he would change his mind? That, even if we had been successful, expect a disruption of his dinner plans to change the policies of the Australian State? Obviously not. It was to ‘show our opposition’, to have it on record that we oppose his policies.

One also has to wonder about the psychology of such situations: does the presence of such numbers of police make us feel as though we’re important? a threat? Does getting us arrested make us feel like we’ve sacrificed something for the cause?

It’s also terribly liberal in many ways. As if opposing a person makes any difference when he’s merely an actor within a social system that is propped up by relations in everyday life, not those at the top. It’s quite ironic how much attention anarchists give those in power — far more than the average joe.

We need to be far more strategic, systematic and, above all, constructive, because changing a social system isn’t going to happen from instances of spectacular opposition (just as it isn’t going to happen from political revolutions), but from thoroughgoing social revolution.

Anyway, the filth can go fuck themselves. Bad tactics aside they have no right to fucking exist.

Yes, I’m in a grump.

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