Leveling the playing field: horizontal politics, technology and activism in 2011 (part 5)

Social media and internet technology are to some degree changing the way people think and act. At the very least they have provided us with the means through which to counter the discourse of the police, government and mainstream media. More people are coming to realise, certainly, that this trinity of power and legitimacy do … Continue reading

Leveling the playing field: horizontal politics, technology and activism in 2011 (part 4)

A normative view of marches might see them as the proverbial gateway drug for a lot of disaffected people. Smaller direct actions, such as those perpetrated by UK Uncut, are usually a lot more fun, and a lot more empowering. It is also in these types of action where the real benefits of horizontal organisation … Continue reading

Leveling the playing field: horizontal politics, technology and activism in 2011 (part 3)

The last week of January saw a number of protests and direct actions back-to-back. On Saturday 29th was two student demos, one in central London, one in Manchester. The London action was also my first as a legal observer –for the uninitiated, a legal observer’s job is to document and hopefully deter unlawful police action. … Continue reading

Leveling the playing field: horizontal politics, technology and activism in 2011 (part 2)

Renowned anarchist and social theorist Colin Ward once observed how the philosophy of anarchism had, prior to the phenomenon of 1968, been consigned to the dustbin of nineteenth century also-rans. In the ‘60s, at the height of the Cold War, authoritarian communism loomed large in the form of a still-potent USSR; academic Marxism had proliferated … Continue reading

Leveling the playing field: horizontal politics, technology and activism in 2011 (part 1)

  I came in late to the packed-out SOAS meeting room on Thursday 27th January, where a debate had been scheduled between Laurie Penny, the anarcho-feminist and New Statesman columnist, and Ed Maltby of the Workers’ Liberty organisation. The tube had been awash with commuters, and the labyrinth of an unfamiliar institution had conspired against a … Continue reading

Being the Difference Needs Resistance

One question I always get asked at election time is ‘what’s the position of the radical left?’ Do we vote? If so, for whom? We also tend to get asked if it’s us who are defacing the Tory posters around Leamington. It actually isn’t, to put the record straight; ‘normal’ people hate the Tories too. I … Continue reading

Waltzing in the Streets of London

Legal Observer with Police Officers

  The last week of January saw a number of protests and direct actions back-to-back. On the Saturday were two student demos, one in central London, one in Manchester. The London action was also my first as a legal observer –for the uninitiated, a legal observer’s job is to document and hopefully deter unlawful police … Continue reading