On Saturday 26th March Bristol Anarchist Federation attended the “March for the Alternative” called by the TUC. We joined the Militant workers bloc on the South London Feeder March. We marched along side South and North London Solidarity Federation, other Anarchist Federation Branches, Lambeth & Lewisham Save our Services, Coalition of Resistance, Latin American Coalition against the cuts and many more groups and individuals. Just this one feeder march had over 5000 demonstrators (Met’s figure). With Anarchist groups on at least three of the feeder marches, the main march, and at least two separate black blocs we believe this was the biggest Anarchist turnout in the UK since the G20.
The TUC predictably have turned their backs on the Anarchist groups, Students and anyone else in attendance who chose to use more direct tactics than marching from A to B. Brendan Barber TUC general secretary said he “bitterly regretted” the violence, the deputy defence secretary described those involved as “a tiny minority of violent, parasitic unrepresentative hooligans”, while London’s Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse said they were “fascist agitators”. Worryingly, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper urged home secretary Theresa May to “consider co-ordinated action against so-called anarchist groups.”
In response we would like to state we support all those who took part in any of the marches on the day no matter which tactics they used to make their point or their specific reason for being on the march. We recognise those within the TUC who genuinely worked hard to make the protest inclusive and successful. We even support the right to march of the woman who said “Anarchists should be banned from demonstrations”, we support the freedom of speech of the man from the fire brigade union who accosted one of our comrades and chastised him for having a face mask and finally the entire Unison contingent who refused to join in with a round of “No ifs no buts no Public Sector cuts” and instead scowled at us like we were something they had stepped in after we went out of our way to engage with them.
We do however condemn the actions of those scum we saw attempting to smash the window of a coffee shop while an elderly couple sat on the other side of it, and those idiots who threw paint bombs, sticks and even metal fencing from the back hitting and injuring fellow protesters. Lets get this straight, only wankers throw from the back and endanger the safety of comrades and innocent passers by! We really hope they were the Fascist agitators the deputy mayor described as they have no right to call themselves Anarchists.
We condemn the actions of the press photographers who continuously compromise security of activist by taking their photographs, blocking their route to safety and separating them from their comrades.
We condemn the mainstream media for perpetuating lies over the property destruction being separate from the main event and concentrating on smashed windows rather than the reason those windows were smashed and not giving enough time to the march as a whole. Plus the nonsense over Black Bloc being a group and Chris Knight being our leader.
The TUC dubbed the march “The March for the Alternative”, many people and also the media are left asking what this alternative is. Well, we have the alternative: Class struggle ending in the complete destruction of capitalism and the hierarchical state system, to allow us to finally live as equals, with genuine freedom, working together to benefit our communities rather than our ‘leaders’.
An associated statement from our comrades in the Solidarity Federation is here – http://truth-reason-liberty.blogspot.com/2011/03/letter-to-uk-uncutters-from-violent.html