Daylight in the Heart of London: Student Protest, 10 Nov 2010

Today students brought daylight into the dark heart of London.

They were not just protesting under the banner of the NUS. They were not just protesting fees. They were not just students, or just protesters, or a minority.

They went a-marching because they could not stand any longer to sit by and watch the atrocity exhibition unfolding before their eyes.

Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, said:  “It is not acceptable. It’s an embarrassment for London and for us.” The message to the protesters was that they could not get away with “that kind of behaviour in daylight on the streets of London”.

That was the shock: the march of students from across the UK and beyond into the stronghold of power. Politicians, Financiers, Capitalists of all hues  and the Personal Army of the State (da Pigs) expect to do as they please in the broad daylight of London town, unquestioned. And here were over 50,000 (a conservative estimate) fighting back.

Understandably, the Pigs are embarassed, and in typical Mafia fashion have called a vendetta against these youths: “We’re coming for you – we’re going to fuck you up for what you did to us.”

As for that Blairite lackey Aaron Porter, he has commented: “Disgusted that the actions of a minority of idiots are trying to undermine 50,000 who came to make a peaceful protest.”

A few notes. Firstly, out of its immediate context, we might think that this applies to a) MPs; b) the Police; c) the media; d) himself and the NUS stooges. This is supported by the strange hesitancy of his grammar: it is the ‘actions’ (rather than the minority) which are trying to undermine an attempted peaceful protest. Secondly, Aaron Porter doesn’t speak for anyone – not a single student; most students think he (and that shit Wes Streeting, his predecessor) are a minority of idiots, undermining student politics. Thirdly, he is wrong: the crowds didn’t stop the occupation, but supported it. It wasn’t simply a minority of trouble makers, but a part of the body of people who went down for the march. It cannot simply be marginalised or expelled. This is a typical right-wing nonsense. Nor did they ruin anything (except his street cred with politicians?), by overrunning NUS attempts to self-police the protest (though obviously the idea of “self-policing” becomes problematic in the face of Porter’s “us and them” discourse).

Now, I read somewhere the comment: “Wow it’s like Mai ’68… not”. A stupid comment, worth a moment’s unpacking. Firstly, who said this protest was equivalent with Mai ’68? It’s not just that this is another time and place, but this is a very different beast. It was an organised student union protest march; it was not co-ordinated with workers’ actions; it was quite small. It was an achievement – but not by any means the start nor the end of opposition to changes to HE, Austerity, or the general trajectory of society.

So… more to come, I hope!

Solidarity!

Wit

share your comments, experiences of the day, of protest at your uni or against cuts, photos, etc.!

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~ by Wit on November 10, 2010.

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