Saturday, 15 March 2014

On marches.

Marches are exhilarating breaks from everyday life- chances to express solidarity and rage. They're ' Temporary autonomous Zones(TAZ )to some extent.  To recruit and radicalize they're useful.  I always say it's better to have a protest or march than to not- to have a visible show of opposition.But that's all it amounts to.

Marches are spectacles which give the illusion of action while allowing for passive involvement in the  mere appearance of resistance. Marches are symbolic acts - the bare minimum of what we should be doing. Far too many, especially the Trotskyists and Leninists, believe they represent effective resistance or enter into them uncritically. Large marches have the disadvantage of involving na├»ve reformists.

a comrade pointed out that marches leave them feeling degraded. Even if the stewards are activists themselves, they act as meditators between the oppressors and the oppressed. We must beg permission to hold the march, agree to the authorities wishes and keep within the lines of what has been agreed. We are then herded about sites of resistance like cattle or tourists. How empowering is that?

Holding too many marches is ineffective and leaves  people feeling disillusioned, and burnout. I can personally attest to this. Speaking personally about myself and my own priorities, maybe I should only go to marches when they are  for specific reforms e.g. pro-choice ,or against specific people/ organisations e.g. anti-workfare etc. If we can't get to them, there is little point.

The problem with marches against capitalism or bigger systems and issues, is we never actually confront them on the march since they are not embodied specifically in one person or thing.

Even on an anti-tory march for example, we would need to physically disrupt them to be effective otherwise it is mere theatre and play rebellion. I'm much too cynical and skeptical for that. We need direct action.  I think this is how anarchists should understand marches. It seems the right viewpoint both in theory and in practice. I think I'd probably find lots of agreement across the left.

The book Rebel Alliances: The Means and Ends of Contemporary British Anarchisms   on British anarchism and anarchist tactics  covers marches well.

 attack international's  march against anything covers this ground well too.


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