After much soul-searching, and careful reflection on the many twitter comments that our last two blog post provoked (thanks to everyone for taking that time to respond), we would like to let everyone know that we have reconsidered our position on the #LondonRiots.
But we feel that it is not enough to simply condemn these mindless thugs and their rampages, we must also accept that we ourselves are at least in some way responsible.
Walking through our neighbourhoods seeing looted phones4u, we can’t help but be reminded of UK Uncut and their long-running campaign against Vodafone. When we see smashed cash machines, we must think back to how we directed our own angry sticker campaigns against the banks. Did not the actions of the anti-cuts movement, or in many cases just our rhetoric, give cover to the pure criminality we are seeing now?
On the student protests last year we felt proud to be marching side by side with youth of London’s inner city neighbourhoods. We cheered as they threw the paint bombs we’d made at lines of police. Has this encouragement not come home to roost with the riots we see now? When we were penned into kettles together, when we marched against fees and the EMA together, we did not realise that we were there for fundamentally different reasons. We were fightling for them, they were only fighting for themselves. We were never really that into dubstep.
In our defence, it was us on the front lines of the kettles shouting “Your Job Next!” While at the time we saw the police as simply using coercive violence to enforce property relations, we now see that their bravery is the only thing standing between our communities and ‘virtual anarchy’.
We called for direct action and civil disobedience but this is not what we meant. We occupied our colleges in support of wealth redistribution through orderly general taxation, not smash-and-grad help-yourself vandalism. Bricking the windows of the Ritz is a symbolic act of political protest. Smashing Cash Converter’s window is just idiocy. Do these people not realise that they’re destroying their own communities? Don’t they see they’re undoing everything that Frank’s Campari Bar done to at long-last change people’s image of Peckham?
Once again we would like to condemn in the strongest terms the mindless, criminal thuggery that London has seen in the past days. We hope that all our supporters, readers and followers will accept that any sense that we condoned the continuing violence with our message of #solidarity was down to misplaced, naive, foolishness.
In other news, Arts Against Cuts will be holding a bake sale at New Gallery next Saturday to raise money for Help for Heroes. We hope the scorch marks on the the road outside from the burnt out bus will remind everyone what Our Boys are fighting/fighting for.
Arts Against Cuts