A mini-rant from a few FITwatchers – not necessarily representative of the views of the organisation as whole.
On Thursday, 19th July, killer cop PC Simon Harwood was acquitted of manslaughter at Southwark Crown Court for his role in the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in 2009. Despite a lengthy police record for violent misconduct, including a racially aggravated assault of a 14 year old girl, Harwood was found innocent. Presumably, this had something to do with the judge refusing to allow his previous misconduct to be submitted to the court. Prior to the trial, dodgy pathologists producing dogy post-mortems were contributing to the media fog of misinformation and another inquest found Tomlinson had been unlawfully killed – yet today, his killer walks free.
It is tempting to view this as another miscarriage of justice; just another ‘bad apple’ slipping through the net, another injustice among many we have to endure in the age of austerity. But it goes further than that. Brazenly, the state has revealed its inherent violence. We cannot overlook the lengths to which the establishment is going to in maintaining the status quo and normalising excessive social control. Recent events – the cuts, bank & Olympic bailouts, killer cops, financial fraud and the heavy sentencing that those who fight back must endure – demonstrate the contempt with which the elite hold our lives and liberty. We can no longer view these aspects of our daily lives in isolation – they form a bigger picture, and it looks bleak.
From an early age, we are imbued with a morality and deference that is held up to be universal and virtuous. Many of us continue to hold onto this even though we may identify as people who are activists or agents of social change in some way. But this morality is nothing more than a means of ensuring our conformity to the violence of our everyday lives – clearly, there is one law for them and another for us.
We need to re-assess our values and reclaim our means of resistance. We need to have a healthy respect for a diversity of tactics. We need to recognise the potential of our solidarity as a weapon. We need to view our inaction as dangerous. We need to recognise that it is not those in face masks that pose a threat to our demonstrations, but those in riot gear. Because, from now on, the state has issued its’ footsoldiers with a licence to kill and made a declaration of war on a potentially rebellious population. Regardless of whether a small percentage of the population vote every five years or not, we are alarmed by the authoritarian trajectory of our political system – it needs to be disrupted and brought down before it gets even more out of hand.
On Thursday, a demonstration was called in response to the verdict. Whilst we appreciate the initiative taken in organising it at such short notice, it was essentially poorly attended given the seriousness of the situation. Far more people expressed outrage on social networking sites the following day, than on the streets the day before. Whilst these sites are useful tools for organising, they are not the be-all and end-all. We need to transfer the rage from the Internet to the streets. We need to be able to respond to critical incidents with haste and determination. And most importantly, we need to act in solidarity with each other.
Remember: the cops are not your friends. They are highly unlikely to ‘join’ your protest, no matter how much they are getting cut.
Wise up & act up!
Total Policing means Total War.