Protest on trial: A fringe event

The ‘Protest on Trial’ fringe event has attracted 40 people to discuss the role of violent action.

Having shown a video: “Interview with an anarchist,” the speaker drew upon a history of violence. Much discussion seems to be historically focused. One student aired their views: “It is said that a broken window pane is the most important part of our history. How come we draw on a history of violence but condemn it now.”

It is argued that we need to not quickly denounce violence. With reference to recent revolution, many similarities are drawn: “The fight may be different but the tatics are not. The state is using violence to surpress protest.”

Confrontations with the police and violence of the state seems to be the flavour of the day.

Someone from the floor clarifies complaints about police violence. It is argued that using violence as a protest tool seems “counter-intuitive” and it would be wrong to engage in violence on a peachful protest. But, if you are engaging in violent protest then you should expect violent back.

SWP member: “Very few people go into protest with violent intentions.” It is said that violence comes from anger of the oppressive system “that showed itself at Millbank. It happened to an even greater degree when we were attacked on December 9. It works in a two-way stream.”

So, what do people think of violence? UCL student from “non-violent direct action” that was the UCL occupation. “As students we have a way of doing things non-violently.”

By Ben Parfitt




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