Antifascism, Militant/ Re: Challenge to Cockshott

Jeffrey Booth booth2 at
Fri Sep 8 09:44:25 MDT 1995

	Here we go again...

On Fri, 8 Sep 1995 wdrb at wrote:

> On the big London Poll Tax riot:
> my impression was that there were at least 100,000
> there that day. I've been on dozens of big London
> marches and in loads of big football crowds.
> I don't think I'm exagerating the numbers.
> The rioting started about 2pm outside
> the entrance to Downing Street
> with Whitehall and Trafalgar Square
> packed with demonstrators.
> The demonstrators were a cross section
> of the working class. You cannot
> devide them into a small number of middle
> class anarchists and a mass of 'ordinary
> workers' being 'led' by a militant
> leadership.

	Who led the march?  The rioting was started by a small group.

That is a ludicrous misrepresentation.
> Much of the crowd was very working class.
> All were angry and determined. The rioting
> went on all afternoon with fighting
> in Trafalgar Square and into the evening
> with the West End in the hands of the rioters
> until midnite and selective attacks and looting
> of rich peoples shops and cars and clubs.

> The whole crowd supported the rioting

	Outrage at the ensuing police riot is different from supporting a
riot.  Did people say that morning:  "Well Luv, we're off to the riot
now!  Make sure you bring the nappies for the kids... ."

> and as with all riots peoples participation
> varied from very brave hand to hand fighting with
> the police to less brave or physical people
> (like me) shouting and chanting. But there
	I guessed the bit above already.

> was no doubt in my mind where the feelings
> of the crowd lay.
> And the riot rocked Britain. Imagine
> half a million people rioting around the
> Whitehouse for 12 hours out of the control
> of the police. Has that ever happened?

	One persons riot is another persons uprising.  I call what
happened in LA, an uprising.  I call what you're referring to, a fantastic
demonstration fucked-up by agent provacateurs and Yobbo Anarchists.

> And (if my memory serves) Strangeways
> prison in Manchester erupted that
> night in the bitterest prison riot
> in the UK this century.
> Of course Thatcher was bought down by the whole
> campaign, the hundres (perhaps thosands)
> that went to jail, the riots and violent
> protest in towns and cities throughout the country
> and the millions who refused to pay.

	That's the Laddie!

> But I can remember with absolute vividness
> standing on top of a builders porta-cabin
> in the afternoon in Whitehall watching a major
> riot developing and knowing for certain that
> Thatcher was finished.
> As the good class struggler you are Jeff,
> if you'd have been there you'd have a different
> view of it than the one you have which seems to me
> to be a story designed to emphasise the importance
> of Militant at the expense of what happened.

	Not emphasing anything.  The thread started (at least in my mind)
with a misrepresentation of the forces on the Left in Scotland.  Maybe
you believe mass, protest movements arise spontaneously.  I know from
experience that while there is an element of spontaneity in any movement;
most organizing is hard, slogging work.

> Theres lots of very militant and very brave working
> class people in britain, only a small proportion
> have ever been in any trot vanguard party>

	It may come as a suprise to you but your knowledge of Militant
Labour seems very limited.  This is a good example.  Militant Labour does
not consider itself a vanguard party.  And god knows what you're
definition of "Trot." is.

 And anarchist ish militant culture and attitudes
> are very strong in popular youth culture.
> Punk was massive in the UK. Punks didn't join
	I know a few Punks in Militant.

Militant or the SWP. The people on the poll tax
> riot were a whole mix of labour, trade unionists,
> .....
> to divide it into politically innocent workers
> needing leadership, worthy Militant leaders,

	Now see here my good man... don't go putting words in my mouth
that I didn't say.  (How's that Chris B. ?)

> middle class anarchist wankers might help
> your world view but it doesn't bare
> much relation to what was there.

	If you think rioting is the way to go then I might suggest next
time you get your hands dirty and join in yourself.  Until you're willing
to do that, you might want to avoid the romantic excesses of
Anarcho-Syndacalism that you seem intent on propagating.  (I hope you're
reading this Chris B. !)

				-- Jeff Booth  In The Belly of the Beast

> Will Brown  Bristol  England

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