Following on from last Thursday’s mass demonstration in London of youth
against the increases in college fees, the media has been full of
reports of how the police are now going to hunt down the troublemakers.
It seems this manhunt is being given top priority – murderers, rapists
and robbers can relax, the police are now otherwise engaged!
Following on from last Thursday’s mass demonstration in London of youth against the increases in college fees, the media has been full of reports of how the police are now going to hunt down the troublemakers. It seems this manhunt is being given top priority – murderers, rapists and robbers can relax, the police are now otherwise engaged!
Even some bourgois commentators have raised questions as to whether this is not something of an over-reaction. Only a very small handful were intentionally involved in any actual incidents. Some youth on the protest were caught up in the mood of anger which developed as it became clear that the MPs were not listening – but also because of the attitude of the police. Road blocks were set up to stop people leaving Parliament Square by certain exits and other routes had a large police presence, implying the ever-constant threat of ‘kettling’ in the freezing cold. The word provocation springs to mind here. Even so, the press and the government seemed very keen to wildly build up the protest into some sort of mass riot which consumed the whole of London. In fact, this was not the case.
Clearly the state has been rattled by the mood of the youth. They, like many others, had assumed that students were now safely non-political and apathetic. They have also looked in horror at events in Greece and France. So the aim is to crack down hard. Tories are constantly saying "we defend the right to protest, but…" We can guess what the "but" means. The Home Secretary has even raised the idea of water cannons being used on protesters. What will be next? Rubber bullets?
The NUS and others must come out strongly against this witchunt of student protesters. Their leadership must not be seen to buckle to the media pressure just to protect their routes into labour movement careers. This attack by the state is nothing less than a crude attempt to punish marchers and intimidate those who wish to protest in the future. This message is aimed not only at students but at all those who will standing up to the government’s cuts in spending. The movement must not allow itself to be intimidated by the state and its ‘armed bodies of men.’
This hysteria has had two other purposes. Firstly, it has acted as a means of diverting discussion from the real issue at hand – the attacks on education by the government. Secondly it has acted as a smokescreen to cover up the reports of violence by the police against the protesters. What about Alfie Meadows who was put in a coma after being whacked with a police truncheon?
Here is a report from Sam Ashton from the ULU Marxists about how one disabled demonstrator was treated:
Jody McIntyre, who has Cerebral Palsy,
was attacked by police twice at the demonstration against the cuts last
week. The two videos in this article demonstrate the level to which the
police are prepared to sink in their attempts to provoke the student
movement, and the complicity of the mainstream media in attempting to
blacken the fight of the student movement against the attacks of the
This BBC interview, where the BBC presenter clearly tries to blame
the victim for the violence, is disgraceful. It serves to dispel the
idea that the mainstream media are unbiased and do not act in the
interest of capitalism. In particular the BBC adopts the veneer of
respectability and "balanced reporting", in order to better distort the
truth when absolutely necessary.
Will Alfie and Jody be getting any justice from the state? We suspect not.