Controlled opposition and why I am giving up Street Activism. 

Before I embark on what this blogpost  is actually about it should be noted that this blog, the RevSoc Facebook group & Page, as well as The ‘Fake Democracy’ Page will continue as normal and aims to improve on its content over the next few weeks.

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I have been going through a metamorphosis of sorts over the past few years. Either that or a mid-life crisis, I am not sure which. 

A few years back I began to explore the world of activism, political ideology and truth seeking. I can’t begin to recall what started me out on the journey but I know it began on Facebook of all places. The likelihood is that something popped up on my timeline and peaked my interest and then, following that, the snowball began to roll. 

This coincided with what has been one of the most life changing events in my time on this earth. The event in question is of a personal nature and it’s not that the event has been a burden nor one where I retain any bitterness, but it has been difficult to adjust, difficult to comprehend and above all simply, life altering. 

This could explain the beginnings of that metamorphosis or mid-life crisis, call it what you will. The life altering scenario playing out before me coupled with the realisation that not everything in this world is at it seems on the surface. I was effectively asleep and I was waking up to a whole new way of thinking whilst simultaneously waking up to a whole new way of living. The two were bound to clash. Weren’t they?

My journey has, now looking back on it, been one of serious endeavour and yet at the same time a complete joke. 

I have felt the need to label myself at various points in time. I have donned the label of libertarian socialist in a bid to remove myself from this same-old word of politics we live in. Then came, in no particular order, Anarchism, Minimalism, Anarcho-Primitivism, Communism, I even touched on spiritualism before swiftly returning to the fold of finding the right ideology that would best fit my world view. Problem was that in reality, I had no clue what my world view was. How could I? How can anyone? We know a fraction of what there is to know. As it turns out, it’s impossible to be right on every front unless you’re of the nature not to question your own world view and if you do that, are you not as much of a ‘sheep’ or indeed ‘asleep’ as the very people we claim to be more awake than? To truly hold that last view point, you have to question your own views and opinions otherwise you’re no more correct than anyone else in the world. 

At the same time as trying to understand my world view in politics, I was uncovering the conspiracies and truths that are out there and there are plenty. It turns out that a lot of the conspiracies are not actually conspiracies at all. (Although it should be said that some are just ridiculous and with little foundation). 

So in my quest to find ‘me’ I embarked on this journey with vigour and I threw myself into it at every level including attending a few demos. After all, what good is an activist that doesn’t put his or her boots on the ground at least once in a while?

In 2013 I attended the Million Mask March, wearing the traditional trade-mark Vendetta Mask (yes, it’s not actually an Anonoymous mask), but if truth be told I felt like a first class knob wearing it, so I decided that the next time I would go without one. 

 

Above: Million Mask March 2013
 
In 2014 I went on the TUC March. On this Demo I decided to join the Black Bloc. Even with my new ‘mask’, a scarf and baseball cap, well, let’s just say I soon realised two things, 1) At my age outrunning a police officer is best not done if your usual fitness regime revolves around walking up and down the stairs multiple times a day and 2) Black Bloc is futile with anything less than several hundred at least, let alone less than 50. 

 

Above: TUC Demo 2014, Black Bloc
 
In 2015 I decided to give my own protest a go. I thought I had a wonderful idea. Something that would perhaps even make the mainstream press, something direct without the risk of arrest, or at least a very limited probability. 6 months it was in the works, 6 months being advertised around and some of the promo videos that were done for it were well received. Turned out I may as well have been kicking myself in the testicles. 14 is the ‘official’ tally that turned up specifically for that event. 14. I guess I should have asked people to wear a mask. Maybe that would have attracted more people? Heck, I even took my own new mask to this one. This was a proper mask, snood style, skull print on the front that goes over the front of your face. Did I end up wearing it? Did I fuck. 

 

Above: Peoples Protest with Occupy and ‘Feed the Birds’ 2015
 
It seems that unless you have a gimmick, or unless you are a group with money behind it to really sell it to the people or maybe someone of ‘importance’ backing your cause you may as well piss in the wind for all the good your efforts will make. 

I have self defined as a terrorist of the state. Chances are that the state really don’t give a shit about this particular terrorist. 

Over the last few years I have seen multiple group and organisations including UK Uncut and The People’s Assembly arrange protests or call for Revolution or radical action. The only radical action I have ever seen take place is… 

… Nope. None. A few road sit down protests that disperse on sight of police is hardly radical is it? Nor is Occupy singing a few songs and occupying a statue. Radical has never really been in the equation.  

The last serious assault on the order of things was back in 2011, the year the students overran a Conservative building in central London. (The one where some idiot threw a fire extinguisher off the top floor down to the ground below). Brilliant. It really was. That though was also short lived and ultimately has changed nothing. The Conservatives were still re-elected in 2015. If the students had a message. No one was listening. 

Then we had the recent Russell Brand debacle. “Don’t vote. Revolution!” Was his mantra. Well, it sounded good. I was on board with that. Then about 1 week before the general election in 2015 he told everyone to vote Labour. If you follow his posts on YouTube now, it’s as if he is turning all spiritual. I am not sure Brand knows anything anymore. 

Part of me has come to think the People’s Assembly are nothing more than Labour supporters pushing the party behind a cloak of ‘change’. I think UK Uncut are toothless as are Occupy. I think a lot of the groups are possibly orchestrated to limit the impact on the government. How else can you explain that when on the day of The State opening of Parliament after the Election in 2015, two large demonstrations were being organised. Far from aiming to cause maximum disruption by being there during the pomp and ceremony of the Queen coming to parliament, both organisations arranged their protests to take place hours after the fact and not even at Parliament. What the fuck! Doesn’t that just smack of Controlled opposition? 

With that recent disillusionment came a clearing of the fog. It didn’t happen over night but more over the course of a couple of weeks. I had begun to question the very people I am meant to be supporting. Then came what might be the proverbial flick of the lightswitch. During a conversation with a friend I realised that it doesn’t matter who you support. What ideology you follow, what demos you attend. Tomorrow will continue as normal. You, me, them, us, today we will fight hard for justice on many fronts then come tomorrow we will take our kids to school, pay our bills, go to work or watch the TV. Life goes on and the truth is, that if you, like I have done, let it all consume you, if you follow every injustice and wrong in the world you will be at best spreading yourself too thinly to give any one cause the attention it deserves and at worst driving yourself to within an inch of your own sanity. 

You and I don’t have to be a certain way or follow a particular movement to know what’s wrong in this world. We can all do our bit when something imparticular crops up but we consume ourselves with the horrors of this world without making any particular impact. 

Could it be that I am just going through a cynical period in time? I think not. People have been talking of Revolution since 2011 (in my limited time with this knowledge) and yet we are no closer. The Turkeys voted for Christmas in the 2015 General Election, so ‘they’ are not getting the message. Nothing we have said or done as activists has got us anywhere nearer to the change we want to see and need. 

The next big Demo is on June 20th in London organised by the People’s Assembly. I wish everyone all the best but I won’t be there and I will eat my snood if anything of significance happens. Chances are whatever happens, you will be being led. Led along a path of dumbed down expressionism. To follow this lot is arguably as bad as following mainstream media. 

For me no matter how hard ‘average Joe’ tries to form a real people’s movement, a genuine people’s army, it’s just not happening. The people would rather at best be led by certain groups without question. After all, UK Uncut have officially had over 800 actions since their inception. We are no closer to change now than 800 actions ago. 

I  currently sitting in between two schools of thought. One is the ‘within the system’ scenario where we should campaign for the Swiss form of democracy. If you haven’t heard of it, I suggest you start campaigning for it. It puts Proportional representation in the shade. Then there is the ‘outside the system’ suggestion, a return to 70’s and 80’s direct underground action. It’s something we have lost. Yes it has its flaws but it definitely has more of an impact than what we have been doing the last 10-20 years. Even 1 million people’s marching against the War in Iraq couldn’t prevent us going to war. 

So what of me, am I leaving this all behind? No. Just re-addressing the balance. Realising that one man can’t change the world and that neither can a whole movement. Not one that we have seen so far at least. So what am I doing banging my head against the brick wall? Who is that benefiting? Certainly not myself and no one around me. 

It’s not just as simple as this. There are many reasons why it make sense to come to the conclusion that I have but there are far too many individual aspects to go into here in this blog post. 

I still have certain political beliefs and a utopian ideal perhaps, but i am going to stop running myself into the ground. After all, if 6 months hard work brings just 14 people together. Then count me out of the boots on the ground stuff. I’ll just stick to the online educating of the masses to the corruption. Thing is, when you have woken someone up, let them take whatever course it is they need to take. Trying to convince someone to your way of thinking is not a positive thing and actually turns you into a replica of the state. 

Me, my sanity, my family. If you can’t help Whats closest to you then you have already lost half the battle.

Help people, help others. Just remember to help yourself. You have one life. Be wise with it and with your time. Dont let it consume you like it did me. 

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