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The Dawning Of A New Era

April 4th, 2007 · post by Itch · Make a comment

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When the folk inside Parliament claim that young people aren’t interested in politics, they could do themselves a favour and peek out the window to see a direct action demonstration largely attended by young people not bored with politics but bored with the abysmal policies of Tony Blair. Sack Parliament opened the door for a new movement. If the mainstream news were to be believed, the only youths in hoody’s were throwing petrol bombs at Muslims in Windsor. The ‘unreported’ hoody’s however, have united in Parliament Square to take the heroic action of civil disobedience by attempting to lie down in the middle of the road, thus stopping MP’s from entering the Houses of Parliament. One day without them in there will save a lot of destruction.

In the aftermath of the historical anti war marches – the largest in history – came the facts, plain and simple, that the Labour government was not willing to listen to the people it claimed to serve.

Many recently politicised youths seemingly gave up on what they believed to be a pointless battle. Playstation sales went up and we were blindly led into war after war.

A minority of these youths reacted differently. Angry that they weren’t listened to, it was decided that a change in tactics was required. The legal route of council and police approved protest hadn’t worked and, in the case of Brian Haw and consequently the rest of Britain, people’s protest would be made illegal. A ‘No protest zone’ would be (imaginarily) drawn up around the Houses of parliament – the supposed democratic centre of our society.

If the people are not allowed to protest where parliament can hear them, how can they believably expect Parliament to represent their voice? Furthermore if protest is illegal, anyone who wishes to have a say must become a criminal.

As marching had seemingly been useless; action would have to be taken. Sack Parliament was born. The idea was to blockade the roads outside the Houses of Parliament – a ‘no protest zone’- and stop the MP’s from entering.

Around 1,000 police officers swarmed the area, with many more on standby, stopping, searching and turning away anyone they believed to be attending the protest.

This, apparently, was what democracy looked like.

Some individuals managed to sneak through and re-grouped by Brian Haw’s protest site on Parliament Square. Numbers were understandably fairly small, but then again this was an entirely new movement, a movement of outlaws. Young people who were, by default, turned into criminals overnight by the Labour government’s policies.

Outnumbered 10:1 by her majesty’s finest; the planned disruption of parliament was unlikely. An anarchist bloc showed up, linking arms, and went straight for the police lines. My heart cheered as I got in behind them. Unfortunately, the bloc was even outnumbered by media photographers and those that weren’t arrested soon retreated.

Politicians on their way to work would witness a bullying police force silencing the youth who will never again trust them – and in the case of one media photographer mistaken for a member of the public, hospitalised with neck and back injuries.

A push and pull match between anarchists and police ensued until eventually both sides gave up. It must be noted however that the police looked absolutely bewildered with what to do about the situation. Arresting 38 people was ridiculous and taking the names and addresses of the others in order to follow up later showed they really had no clue on how to handle operations.

The day ended for me with a trip to Charing Cross police station, where we banged drums, blew whistles and cheered in solidarity with everyone inside. I hope they heard us.

So was Sack Parliament a success? In the immediate one hand: no. Life in Parliament carried on as abnormal with minor disruption. While a pocketful of young people had become criminals. Politics is however, rarely about the immediate. What blossomed that day was a new generation of activists willing to put themselves on the line and do whatever is necessary to stop the massacre that is shaming their name worldwide.

Some skipped out of school and ended up in a cell. Other linked arms and charged the police lines. Others ‘unarrested’ comrades from the grip of over zealous policemen, while others realised the awesome power of people coming together. From here on our movement will snowball until we do blockade the streets of Westminster. Until we rip open the doors of Parliament and wheel in a sound system – because we definitely need a real party in there. This is the dawning of a new era.

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