Too Little Too Latte (or, The Triumphant Return of UK Uncut)

Saturday saw a raft of actions take place inside, outside and against Starbucks in the UK. The day of action, called by UK Uncut, focused on ‘women’s services’ – a broad collective category united by its necessity and damningly predictable vulnerability. Starbucks were picked as a target due to their legal – though morally reprehensible – … Continue reading

Dissecting a movement: analysing UK Uncut

The zeitgeist in activism in the first half of 2011 has definitely been UK Uncut. The network’s ethos of enjoyable direct action has appealed to activists, and, more crucially, the middle classes in a way that no other campaign has managed to in the last few years. With hindsight offering predictably 20:20 vision, one could … Continue reading

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

Crisis and Cliché: a History

The Students’ Union feature in the last issue of the Boar offered a glimpse into a horrific dystopia: a future without the Union. After predicting a huge budget shortfall in mid March, the SU told the Boar just how grim its prospects seemed – assuming they can’t pull the required £100,000 out of the bag by the start of … 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