Okay, so by now we should know all the basic preventative measures we can take to defend our anonymity. But there is one more thing we can be doing this October 20th to proactively assert our freedom to dissent without state repression. This is, of course, the classic FITwatch Direct Action tactics that made life so difficult for the FIT that they have had to reshape their role considerably on the ground. But we need to keep it up if we want to stay off their databases and defend our demonstrations from their intimidation. We cannot afford complacency. Here is a breakdown of different tactics that have been tried in the past, with some legal notes.
1) When they move their camera towards you, you have a legal right to block their shot. This is supported by the Metropolitan Police’s own policy on surveillance, as evidenced in Form 5454 on Overt Photography and surveillance. You can ask for a hard copy of this if you want, to prove they have authorisation, but they are likely to tell you they cant issue one. Use anything you can to block their camera. This works twice as good if you are masked up. The more people that take responsibility for themselves on an individual level, the less likely they are to continue.
2) FIT are there to fulfill a certain remit. They are there, essentially, to harass and intimidate the crowd into submission and obedience. If their presence causes the crowd to react in some way, for instance, the crowd makes a move towards them with a banner to collectively block their shot and vocally protests against their presence, they are highly likely to withdraw. This has proven incredibly effective on a number of demonstrations and has resulted in no recorded arrests.
3) The most legally contentious strategy is for a group to actively block FIT cameras. This is much less likely to result in arrest when lots of people do it. If you see people FITwatching, don’t just watch, join in! Getting rid of the FIT is of benefit to everyone, and if everyone takes responsibility for doing it, they don’t stand a chance!
Affinity groups are useful for FITwatching at crucial times, such as when the FIT are gathering intel as people congregate at the start of the demo. This is a vulnerable time for many people as they may not yet be masked up, or may be unaware that the FIT are noting down identifying features or footwear. Do a little FITwatching and make everyone safer.
4) Anything else you can think of that turns their tactics on them. Gen up on their names and faces with a FITwatch spotter card and call them by their names on the street. Film them. Photograph them. Follow them. Anything that lets them know they aren’t welcome on the demonstration. Again, all these things are fairly legal, but you should make sure you do it with some friends – just like any other piece of direct action.
So that’s it for now…see you on the streets tomorrow!