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Archive for the ‘protest’ Category

the next five minutes

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It’s another one of those times when things actually start to look like Ballard’s “next five minutes.” In some cases, exactly like it. They’re putting up riot fences around the giant Westfield shopping mall today in West London….(via here). Elsewhere, the other night, there was this:

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August 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

topshop preemptive measures?

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Hmmm… Walked down to Oxford Street tonight to see if anything was going on with the riots. See the above. Despite the fact that the police were roving the streets in their meatwagons, and according to twitter the shit might have been about to hit the fan, our favourite high street shop decided to arrange a healthy selection of designer bags right in front of the front door. 

As I was leaving 30 minutes later, I saw the security guards – and as the cops were pulling off to other calls as apparently the all-clear had been sounded – kicking the bags away from  the front door. With their feet – supposedly highclass merchandise was being kicked back from the strange position near the entrance by the selfsame guys pictured above.

SO… what’s the deal, I wonder? My best guess, given the situation and the precedent, that the bags might well have been there to be taken – and perhaps loaded with some sort of bank-type dye pack? Or something else? Was just odd….

Anyway, something perhaps to think about – or beware of – if one is thinking about entering one of these high-street shops, as it were, after hours….

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August 8, 2011 at 1:58 am

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fetishizing the fight, forgetting the prize

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Starting to get the sense that the “activist community” (ugh) in the UK is spending a bit too much of their time and energies on the police rather than the more important targets – the government, their cuts, etc. Seems to me that there’s been a big turn since January away from, say, defending education etc to combatting police violence. It’s understandable, as these are emotive issues, but perhaps misguided. What’s happened with the cops is awful, ominous, and the like… But it absolutely pales in comparison with the bigger issues at play. And fixing the situation with the police, if it were possible, seems to me unlikely to do much to move any of the other issues forward.

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May 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

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tesco riot

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April 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

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(video and punctum via the Verso blog):

Check out this video from the BBC news from around 5:45 and keep your eyes on the clump of yellow cops at the center right. Watch as one of the “Black Bloc” flashes his badge and moves through the police line. A plant, a (very) plain-clothes man. Almost looks for a second that he’s about to duck into a phone booth for a Clark Kent moment to reemerge be-yellowed and be-batoned.

But given the fundamental idea behind the Black Bloc – that is, the indiscernability of one participant from another made possibile by wearing identical clothing – doesn’t the fact that the cops were participating in this manner call into question the provenance of each and every act of vandalism committed on Saturday? At least given the absence of positive identification of actual Blocists behind the acts?

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March 29, 2011 at 8:45 am

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Back at the occupation I’d joke sometimes with the students running the “media table” that so successful were their efforts that there would undoubtedly be recruiters from the marketing firms running down from Charlotte Street to sign them up – thus enabling them to complete the maneuver from protest to advertising that their “elders and betters” made back in the 1960s. I’m pretty sure, thank christ, that hasn’t happened yet. Rather, incredibly cheeringly, it looks like the reverse is going on. Students with undoubtedly marketable skills are putting them to ever better uses. Check out Sukey, from the folks at the IT table. From their press release:

The group who gave you pictures of Godzilla in the Thames from the protests against the student fees increase are back with a new website and mobile phone application to help keep peaceful protesters safe.

Every week, more and more people of all ages and from all walks of life are taking to the streets to show their unease at the depth, speed and savagery of coalition cuts to social services, education, library closures, restructuring of the NHS and the proposed sell-off of Britain’s forests. These are the largest series of demonstrations in the UK since the ‘Stop the War’ protests in 2003.

In order to keep peaceful protesters informed with live information that will assist them in keeping clear of trouble spots, avoid injury and from being unnecessarily detained a group of talented young computer experts has developed a free product called Sukey.

Sukey is both a website and an application for mobile phones. Even those with older handsets can take part through free SMS messages.

Sukey lets people taking part have all the information they need to make informed decisions while letting their friends and family keep an eye on what is happening from home so they can be assured that their loved ones are safe.

Sukey invites people taking part to share their experience via social media and combines this with information from traditional news sources to hand it straight back to the crowd and let them see what is going on around them as it happens.

Sukey is easy to use and will help keep people safe and informed of the official demonstration route together with any en-route amenities they may need like wifi points, public toilets, tube stations, first aid points, coffee shops and payphones.

Those not at the demonstration can follow along with live movies, photos and accounts straight from the protest getting all the news as it breaks.

All information shared by those at the event is anonymised and the privacy of all users is respected at all times.

Everyone has the right to peaceful protest. Sukey makes sure that the experience can be a safe and effective way for people to make their voices heard.


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January 28, 2011 at 11:30 am