Today we visited Occupy Leicester. These are incredibly brave young people beginning a conversation about the world that we live in. Beginning a conversation about a world that is fore-closed. There are some fotos here, here, here and here.
Anyway, we thought we might offer some thoughts on occupation and protest. Just to keep safe and warm, you know. They are not perfect. We are all learning.
1. On keeping warm
See Vinay Gupta’s lovely advice, because it will get cold http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/advice-for-occupy-avoid-winter-war-2881
2. On the Police’s Stop-and-Search powers
Ifyou are marching on November 30, and thereafter, from GBC (trusted and on most marches): http://ldmg.org.uk/files/bustcard26march2011.pdf
The advice is print the second of these off and carry a few for yourself and friends. Write the phone numbers on your arm, and if you are in London on November 30 add-in solicitors ITN: 020 8522 7707
Check the GBC Legal website for more info: http://greenandblackcross.org/legal
3. On keeping safe
The Police’s kettling tactics are well known. Use Sukey to track what’s going on, and to contribute to the monitoring of the Police by protestors. See: http://sukey.org/
However, consider a SIM-only phone [web-enabled so you can track what's happening assuming network availability]. The police may try to confiscate a smart-fone and take your data. Just keep basic info – legal numbers, friends on the march, home numbers etc. – either on that SIM or the fone, in case the SIM gets taken.
If you take a smart fone, consider a back-up power supply. See for instance: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Back-Battery-Power-Station-iPhone/dp/B001N527CU or
Take video/fotos of incidents. Publicise them.
See if any Apps support your protest: http://www.movements.org/how-to/entry/how-to-organize-a-protest-using-the-protest4-app
For some free learning and information on demos/protests follow these guys and girls on Twitter:
Make sure that you follow/use the relevant hashtags: #sukey; #n30; #solidarity; #occupylsx; #occupyleicester etc.. You will get real-time updates about the police/kettles etc..
Beware people you do not know. Police infiltration is increasing and has historical precedent. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_kCB54oi04
4. On being kettled: keep mobile and try to avoid it, it’s a pain in the arse. Or maybe it gives us battle scars. However, advice at:
See also Fitwatch: http://www.fitwatch.org.uk/
If you are going to protests in a group avoid coaches if you can – the police stop them/search you; agree a strategy for keeping mobile, keeping in contact, agree meeting points and consider a buddying system. You need to keep in constant communication, including with home. If things feel like they are getting tense reconsider your options.
5. On occupations
There are a number of occupations now. They all need support/educational engagements. We can all teach. We can all learn.
6. Some reading
On occupation and the University, see: http://www.scribd.com/doc/54768353/Roundhouse-Journal
On alternative education, see also: http://www.learnex.dmu.ac.uk/2011/11/10/a-teach-in-at-tent-city-university-and-the-struggle-for-alternatives/
On the crisis see http://Libcom.org
John Holloway’s How to change the world without taking power: http://libcom.org/library/change-world-without-taking-power-john-holloway
Hardt and Negri’s Empire: http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/negri/
David Harvey’s Reading Capital Volume 1: http://davidharvey.org/reading-capital/
We also recommend Paul Mason’s blog: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/
Faisal Islam’s blog: http://blogs.channel4.com/faisal-islam-on-economics/
Automatic Earth: http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/
But most of all…
Stay safe. Remember that the work of change takes protest and activity, but also lots of conversations and deliberations and education. Over, and over, and over again.