9 April 2010

ANTI CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILL DEMONSTRATION , 9 October 1994 -an account.

Unlike the previous two big demonstrations in London, this one seemed a bit low in energy. Maybe it was just my own mood or the fact that a load of idiots intent on shouting things like "Major, Major, Major, Out, Out, Out!" seemed to be following me around. This lot definitely seemed to have missed the point. Most people here seemed to understand that none of the other political parties would have behaved differently than the Conservatives.Maybe the sense of low energy was due to the fact that we were walking away from the centre of London, by-passing Downing Street, going towards a huge park, where no one would see us.

Marching to Trafalgar Square had been an energising experience, especially within the euphoria of the crowd. Trafalgar Square, the public symbol of the laws and government we oppose was to be occupied as an expression of our anger. Somehow the prospect of marching into Hyde Park didn't have the same anticipation attached to it. So I was flagging, thinking a bit about the futile gesture this protest was becoming. What a downer!But in the park, the euphoria slowly returned to me. Much more people than I imagined would turn up filled the park for a massive celebration. It was a different kind of occupation, a different type of protest. Less angry, much more mellow, a huge picnic. I wandered around, not listening to the speakers, had a dance, chatted to some people, I felt happy again.The protests at Trafalgar Square had been like front-line challenges to the people who try to control our lives. I was surprised that more fighting didn't break out at those ones.

I think most of us know what the slightly worried propaganda tries to remind us, that this is a peaceful fight. We know that our strength lies in our mutual understanding of the CJB's absurd and blatant fascism, and our readiness to ignore it and continue to live our lives the way we want to. So those protests were shows of strength. Gnashed teeth to the cops and solidarity to each other.Here in Hyde Park, we were in a more relaxed mood. Our strength was understood but not displayed. We were doing what we are used to and what we want to continue doing, partying in the open air, in very relaxed fashion. It was more about being with each other than showing our strength.But then the uproar on Mayfair attracted my attention. The police were stopping trucks with sound systems from entering the park. Oh! What a dangerous situation that would cause! How terrible! Techno music in Hyde Park! Shocking!

In preventing the real party from starting, the police only showed themselves and the politicians to be completely ridiculous. Fear of music! Send in the reinforcements! If we let them in the park, the whole of democracy is at risk! Ha ha ha.They wouldn't allow us to do what was so obvious, so natural, so peaceful. It would be completely baffling if it wasn't so infuriating! the resulting to-ing and fro-ing raised the anger level. As the first truck slowly edged forward against the nervous police, every bit of space on it crowded with people dancing, scuffles broke out to the sound of repetitive electronic beats in the open air.Of course people got angry, they had come to express their hatred of the bill, and the police were now giving a preview of its enforcement.

And these police were too stupid to realise that none of what followed would have happened if they'd allowed one little free rave to happen in Hyde Park, if the politicians weren't so afraid of a little bit of loud music after bed time. Yep, I suppose it would have been an oral victory for us if it had happened, but so was what did actually happen, and it was more than just a moral victory at the end of the day!We all knew that just the presence of the police was unnecessary. Of course the police were attacked, they should know by now they are hated, especially when they overreact in the way they did by sending mounted riot police into the park. Twenty five of these and I don't know how many on foot began a series of charges against us in the park. God knows why, but they did. But each time we weren't scared, we stayed our ground, and as soon as they slowed down, hundreds of us ran at them, forcing a retreat. Each time we won, each time we scared them away, and they kept coming back for more. The picnic had turned into a battle.

We had been attacked and instantly we were on the angry defence.And all those 'normal' people whose demonstration had supposedly been hijacked by 'Anarchist agitators' didn't run away in horror, but like at the big riot against the poll tax, stayed, joined in and supported. More than just the awareness that had been present earlier inthe day, there was now proof of our strength in action as an unorganised and diverse movement which only needs a small nudge to realise its potential to become a massive popular uprising.Of course, this is the last thing the politicians or police can admit to. How many more would rush to our side if they were aware of the solidarity of our strength? So they blame it on 'Anarchist groups', in an attempt to hide from the general public the massive level of undivided objection to the CJB, hardly any of which is affiliated to particular political groups. There's not much we can do about this brainwashing, but I'm pretty sure as time goes by the more convincing truth will become more and more obvious to people.While the battle in the park and on the road continued, people danced to music, banged drums and breathed fire.

There was a glow in the air. It was the most powerful combination of joy and anger.How long will it take for them to lose their restraint. As it is now, we proved we are stronger. When will they send in dogs, or tear gas or guns to attack us with? And can they justify it as a defence against our righteous anger against the CJB? When this happens, all illusion of this country as free and liberal will vanish, and the stakes will escalate....So, yeah, 'chill the bill', but remember that if we don't fight back they'll mow us down. The bill attacks not only the specific actions it is meant against but it paves the way for even more legislation which could eradicate any and all of our 'human' rights to free expression. These include, amongst other things, anger against the state. So lets express it legally while we can, and illegally when it's our only option.Hyde Park showed them we won't let them pass this law while we dance obliviously in some field until we're carted off to prison for it. Anger and free expression are part of the world which most of us want so lets not surpress them. I'm for expressing it collectively, (not mindlessly, or suicidally or self destructively), to those who it is really meant for. And lots of music and dancing and joy too.

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