Enter your email address here to receive updates from the team.
Those of us who were proudly and peacefully protesting in Hyde Park resent being associated with the
Special Offer: Get 12 issues of New Statesman magazine for just £12
Tags: Cuts Protest Spending Cuts Trade Unions
I don't recall much talk of replacing the EMA before Tory HQ got smashed up. The poll tax riots led to the end of the poll tax (twice!). It's been said many times before, but it is a truism, they really don't like it up them.
I didn't get home to watch Dancing on Ice, sadly. After the march I attended the rally. Then I went to Oxford Street to bear witness, to talk to frightened shoppers, the police and to the "protesters". I then went down to Trafalgar Square to witness events outside of the kettle and take some pictures.
I agree that different actions have their place at different times, but that deciding when and where to enact them is a question of political judgement.
We should continue to be creative in our protest but I think Saturday should have been about the march of the half a million, and not distract the media from the main message.
I think the alternative actions on Saturday were poorly judged, and I don't think that being a bit self-critical within the movement is selling anybody out. We can disagree and still stick together in our fight.
Well what's the deal Mehdi? Is the truth in my posts too much for you to live with? Deleting my posts is such an Islamic thing to do, don't you think so? Why don't you delete this one while you are at it? It's not as if you are in a position to sever my head. What a cowardly creature you must be, and then you don't even have the balls to admit it's you doing it to us. What’s next, a NS apologist saying he did it and it was nothing to do with you? After all, it's only your article.
I think this article:
suitably demonstrates the naivety of the F&M occupation apparent to me whilst holding what Mehdi describes as a 'rather simple and old-fashioned view'.
I will continue to fully support UKUncut. We all make mistakes. As long as there is learning from them there will be progress.
I find the idea of anarchists who are protesting for bigger government rather hilarious.
We, unlike a lot of other countries, have a democratically elected government, if you don't like this government then vote for the other side. If you don't like the result, well tough, its how a democratic society works.
Labour had 13 years to change the tax laws to prevent tax avoidance, but they didnt. Why is there is such a big fuss about it now?
Government spending went up during Labour, but rather than increase tax to cover that spending they chose to increase borrowing, and borrowing has to be paid back at some point and there is a limit on how much you can borrow. We should have rules to force government to balance the books and only use lending in emergencies.
UKuncut does the debate a disservice by picking some very bad examples of tax avoidance. They need a better understanding of tax law and do more background research.
Tax avoidance isn't just a UK problem, the US has similar problems too. Its a problem with global companies in general and that needs cooperation with all the major tax jurisdictions.
I agree with Mehdi : "rewarding right-wing, pro-cuts media outlets with the negative headlines and imagery that they had so craved. "
I was aghast at the TV image of the Santander Bank's window being smashed with what must have been up to 50 press photographers all lined round in a semi circle but no police present at all...
How was it that the Press knew where the "action" was and the police somehow didn't? - with all their undercover agents and social website monitoring etc.
I think we agree on the substance. Just for clarity on the censorship point. The passage was:
"And it’s a serious misjudgment of the New Statesman to allow copy that not only insults the intelligence of its readers but also insults their actions and conviction - many of its readers were on the march. A hasty apology and retraction of that part of the piece would be welcome."
It wasn't a call for censorship. It was questioning the platforming of a portion of a blog that so clearly insulted many NS readers who were on the march. Perhaps like you they just thought it silly. Perhaps not. I thought it designed to insult which is why I wrote that I felt an apology would be welcome (from Laurie preferably). It's really up to you. But you can't publish and platform things and then say 'nothing to do with us, guv.' If you're happy with it then fine. Just as it's up to me whether I comment on what is on your blogs or in the magazine both from a commentator and editorial perspective- or is that not allowed? At the end of the day the readers of LabourList and NS will decide.
Nice vid though and from where I was standing people enjoyed your spot. Fair cop- perhaps I should have mentioned it. Happy to as I hope you'll be happy to acknowledge that I wasn't suggesting any sort of censorship- just a different negotiated editorial decision; the sort you will make week in, week out with any cries of 'censorship'.
The so called anarchists committing criminal acts and daubing anarchy symbols on Oxford St need to get informed on anarchy and see they are the antithesis of it.
If UK Uncut want to break away and engage in civil disobedience in F & Ms then fine but the Trafalgar Square and Oxford St masked marauders need to see they discredit everything we are fighting for.
There will now ensue more erosion of our civil liberties, our right to protest will be even more curtailed because of the repeated mindless criminality that says bugger all other than I am a thug, I behave no better than an EDL member or a BNP member out on protest.
Civil disobedience by all means but criminal behaviour - let's face it we're only talking a few broken windows that will be claimed off the insurance - will affect no change whatsoever in regards to the governing of this country.
Whilst not supporting the idiot fringe, if you look around the World, our protest has so far been pretty peaceful.
Non-Violent Direct Action is a valid tactic, but Mehdi is right - Uk Uncut should have chosen a different day...
UKuncut are frankly naive if they think they've done anything for the "cause." They've done about as much as the Black Bloc have done for anarchism.
So what, UKuncut got in the media. There are many pointless people who are famous.
What UKuncut and its supporters have got to realise is that if you want to change things then you need people power. 500,000 protesters was pretty good going and could have persuaded more people to attend a future rally, but is less likely now given that your average person watching the news on TV will feel that they have little in common with UKuncut and the violent protesters.
If UKuncut care so much about solidarity then why do they not take into consideration the views of others in the anti-cuts movement rather than just expect everyone to back them up no matter what they do?
Have Mehdi Hasan and Laurie Penny had an awkward moment at the coffee machine, yet?
I reckon Mehdi's got the hots for Laurie. No self-respecting gentleman would write an article slagging off a woman unless he fancied her.
Question is, does Laurie fancy him?
mehdi- you don't know what you're talking about. Hummus gives chickpeas a good name
Lazy unionists destroyed every good industry this country had. Now complaining that your non jobs have been scrapped. Demonstrations and pickets are the only time you lot exert any energy and do anything that resembles work. You people dont represent the working class you are all parasites of the working class.
Wow, what a bitter article. Like many others from the mainstream (and now largely irrelevant) centre-left, it attempts jealously to define the parameters and methods of opposition. And then has the cheek to try to appropriate the word 'solidarity'. While criticising everyone who didn't do precisely what the TUC (and by extension Labour) told them to. Sorry, that level of Pavlovian reaction is long gone.
Sadly the parliamentary route (which includes the basic march) has proved entirely useless in the last few years (decades, actually), so when you say you want to change things it rings painfully hollow.
Apologies for the same post being up twice, thought I'd been moderated with comment not appearing so pasted and rephrased only for the original comment to appear some time after.
Your reference to hounous-eating reminds me of the name a friend of mine had for the Camden Council New Labour group, who could apparently be found sometimes in a trendy Greek restaurant in Primrose Hill: "taramasalata socialists".
and one of the the right ons who spent the night in cells was Adam Ramsay, who managed to tear himself away from his hideous poverty at Bamff House, which has just had a £40,000 central heating system fitted via the poor old taxpayer!
Still never mind POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Come give me a hug-you got alot of anger
Hi Stuart I will remeber the X! and thank you for you words, and yes of course no body should pay attention to that jumped up self important little pr*ck 'Alex'
Why so many commenters who think in terms of either/or? It's as if the triumphant show of strength in Hyde Park didn't happen because headline writers can only write one headline. You are WAY too mediatized if you think anything was 'spoiled'. The Suffragettes; American Civil Rights; none of the people Ed Miliband was praising up the road were either/or.
I know tons of people who don't have the guts to join the Black Bloc, who do indeed march peacefully with the "mainstream majority", but who - in their hearts - identify with the anarchists. But the sort of disgusting rhetoric we're hearing now from the centre-left - referring to the Black Bloc as "idiots" (step forward Sunny Hundal and Johann Hari) - puts us in a very difficult position. Whereas we could march peacefully without actually necessarily being identified as taking sides with the centre-left, this kind of rhetoric from centre-left figures essentially forces us to actively identify with one side or the other. You will push a few more into joining the Black Bloc. But I fear that you will push many more out of active political engagement altogether - and at a time when it was both necessary and exciting again.
You're on the verge of destroying a movement. You fucking arseholes.
"So you could say, that the smashing of the Santander window, was worth it, just to keep the ant-cuts protest on the news agenda all day and into the night and had many people discussing the issue, where otherwise they may have ignored it."
Santandar didn't claim a single penny of bail-out money, and were an example of responsible banking. Don't try and claim they were a legitimate target. The vandalism element to the march had no organisation nor plan whatsoever. It was smash stuff up then run away.
I agree in principle with the peaceful sit in at Fortnum and Mason, and I think UK Uncut are a very intelligent and forthright movement. But I agree that they got it wrong on March 26. March 26th was about Solidarity, and they should have been with myself and the TUC marchers.
@ Mark - 'You're on the verge of destroying a movement. You fucking arseholes.'
Wow. You sound like a defender of religion. If the 'movement's' thoughts, feelings behaviours are so easily 'destroyed' then you undermine your own argument. Your analysis is flawed.
I was proud when I non-violently marched against Hitler, and i wrote some jolly stiff letters about those there death camps. Sure there was a pile of corpses, but at least I didn't do anything remotely effective to challenge the status quo. Anyone who did fight for the Jews or the Communists or the Gypsies should be reviled for creating disorder and not contributing to our lovely pointless march.
What analysis? I'm reporting what I'm feeling and what large numbers of my friends right now are feeling, reading rubbish from the centre-left. These are facts not analysis.
And if you think that left unity isn't traditionally a very fragile thing and that a movement towards unity can indeed be wrecked by moves by a faction (in this instance, the centre-left), then that tells me you must have been involved in left politics for about all of 5 minutes.
The Black Bloc are not anarchists they are police agent provocateurs .Plenty of evidence to support that re the Toronto G20 last year .Expect similair revelations concerning last weekend to emerge over the next few weeks .
I certainly agree that it is counter productive to sneer at the hummus-munching marchers (of which I was one for a significant proportion of the day), but I think it's equally counterproductive to conflate the views of UK Uncut with your fellow blogger and use it as a stick with which to beat them.
Unions have been very supportive of UK Uncut, even though they were aware of the action that was being taken on 26 March. And let's be honest, the occupations would have been relegated to a back paragraph if it weren't for the actions of a few unrelated individuals and the decisions the police took.
Dear mehdi I enjoy some of your articules though wonder at your own agenda. I know some of the "thugs" and voiced my misgivings at smashing windows though fully support unkuncuts and there action on saturday. i was on the main march all the way yet at no time did i fool myself into believing it would make one bit of difference, see vince cables comments. The march for many is not just about cuts but the break down of democracy in this country, i spoke with lots of protestors and a common theme was this sense of corporate take over and a move to autocracy. Something is very wrong and yet you never address it. I always watch that propganda show question time and when I first heard you felt some sense that someone with a voice for the people had arrived yet now I wonder where your 'balls' have gone. i mean this with respect as i beleive you are in a fantastic position to be a voice for millions if only you would step up to the plate. ghandi supported non violent direct action and as both a believer in the great Mahatma and buddhist I pray that you will take the brave next step before its to late. can you imagine what impact it would of had instead of a chitchat in hyde park at the end all half a million of use went and just sat in the shops, streets, roads, squares and brought London to a standstill for the day - what a message. I'm forty this year, was on the marches of the seventies with my father, at the poll tax protests and many more and know that marches and speeches do not work anymore the time has come for more challenging actions, after all the govvernment cannot arrest half a million people or indeed dish out half a million criminal records.
I'm older, wiser yet the flame of revolution burns wildly within me. trust in the people and people will make a better Britian for us all, ignore them at your peril.
Likewise. Never been able to appreciate the 'delights' of hummus or alfalfa or linseed. Give me rice and lentil or a biryani, non-veg please, anyday.
The days of sandal wearing cheese eating veggy protesters is over. Once typical Liberals now a part of the Establishment brigade. With their mobiles they can zoom in on any target. Most are I am convinced, and no one has produced any evidence to the contrary, Agent Provocateurs, parachuted in to cause trouble to decent law abiding marchers. Un-Cut is an offshoot of MI6.
No UK Uncut were the victims of an undercover police operation which used the mayhem created by the Black Bloc agent provocateurs to arrest and demonise those engaging in peaceful direct action at F &Ms .UK Uncut just made a bad tactical mistake in trying to organise such a protest in an environment where they could not control who got involved in the protest .That`s why they were all arrested ;unlike the Black Bloc of course .
What relevance is that to your point that 'Muslims in the West keep imposing Shariah on us?' a point that I asked you to provide the evidence for?
You clearly don't know anything about UKUncut. They do not control who gets involved - the structure is radically democratic. Anybody can set up an action through Twitter and so on... Which means that your paranoid conspiracy theory doesn't hold up. If agent provocateurs really wanted to undermine UKUncut, all they would have to do would be organize an action themselves and turn up and trash the place. Think about it for goodness sake.
Whatever they say - and people certainly had every right to march peacefully to make their point - the Labour politicians and many trade unionists, journalists and such like KNEW there would be trouble.
They did not organise it nor seek to ferment it. They did not have to. It's the old story: one can troll along to make fine speeches and sing songs of solidarity free in the knowledge that others will surely be dumb enough to make the real headlines.
Publicity is what it's all about and many, though certainly not all, who attended March 26 will gladly use it to their advantage whilst claiming innocence. They're not innocent.
Just to be clear: criminal damage, stealing and throwing light bulbs full of ammonia gas at police officers whose job it is to police the streets whilst hiding one's face under a hoody or a mask is rightly condemned and illegal. You can't pick and choose what shall be defined as wrong.
The immoral yobs who took part in the violent affray and damage to property do it every chance they get. The police know it, we all know it. They can't wait for the next opportunity. Frankly the cause is of no relevance. They deserve all they get from the law, and I hope they do get it.
The truth is that whilst they can all go home thinking how marvellous they are, for every one person who cheers there are hundreds who are disgusted. They are self-indulgent, hypocritical fools who only ever wish to rebel like perennial teenagers and who are simnly not serious about really wanting to change things, because they will never accept responsibility for anything.
This has been the message of the Labour Party and so many people on the Left of the political spectrum for many years, through rhetoric, through policy, and especially through the personal and collective conduct.
Although, Steven, I will grant you that even that idiot Johann Hari seems to subscribe to a similar narrative about Saturday's events - and I didn't actually have him pegged as certifiable. Not particularly bright, sure, but not actually certifiable.
Spot on. Thanks Mehdi
"But I'm entitled to my views...." ???>
You don't even believe that, Mr Hasan. When people criticise The Religion of Peace, you are the first person to say that it is an outrage.
People are not allowed to criticise The Religion of Peace, are they ????
So who is entitled to his views ?
Bring on the Islamic Republic of Britain !!!
Bobby the Shoe
If, as you say, these people never miss an opportunity to cause damage, then why don't they use UKUncut to cause trouble every weekend?
Perhaps it's because they have a much more subtle understanding of when violence is and isn't appropriate than you give them credit for. And why aren't you giving them that credit? Let me tell you - it's because to do so would undermine these attempts by the centre-left to gain some ground in the argument. Quite pathetic, really.
@ Lou, Sharia in our freedoms
You feel strongly against the bible..and I would like you to burn a Bible and film it...nothing will happen to you.
I would like you to burn a Koran....
I would like you to draw a picture of Jesus's head on the body of a dog...nothing will happen.
I would like you to draw a picture of Mohamed head on the body of a dog...
Another pompous article from a arrogant person - UKuncut have nothing honest to say because even the labour party recognise that cuts in the public sector are necessary - thanks to their own legacy.
@Julia: 'Why should we give a platform to an take seriously anyone who supports such an oppressive and regressive ideology'
First off I don't think Islam is a repressive ideology. it's a religion in the same way Christianity is. In fact both are interrelated. Muslims recognise that the Bible is part of Mohammed's prophecy.
Julia you are focusing on what militant groups of Muslims have done and taring all Muslim and the religion with the same brush. It is quite clear to me that Medhi is not a militant Muslim but essentially a peace loving one. The very fact that he condemned the 'violent' antics of Laurie Penny's mates indicates this.
The other thing you have to consider is that you need people to 'represent' the views of Muslims in Britain. And if the representation is in form of educated words then surely this is better than violent actions. If you dismiss the talkers then you have the thugs.
I realised Medhi has labelled you as 'bonkers' which immediately means you are personally hostile to him. However I think you need to appreciate the positive attributes of Islam and the need for dialogue.
I don't think the problem was UK Uncut. I think it was the link with Black bloc and their attacks on theRitz. As a trade unionist, I really value and welcome them to the movement and am proud they were part of Saturday and indeed other events. As a mother of a sixteenyear old I've encouraged her to go along to bail ins and get involved and she was going to go off and meet up with them on Saturday. But the black bloc tactics were different. Whether they like it or not, their presence at events is unnerving, not to police, but to other demonstrators. My daughter asked me who they were and when they ran off from the demo, she changed her mind about heading to Oxford Street.
So we need to draw a distinction between the groups as well. And it would be good if some groups could treat some genuine questioning of their tactics not as evidence that we are the enemy and traitors but as debate.
@Buckskins: How do you know it is Medhi doing the deleting and not the 'unknown' moderator?
The post about Medhi and the bus ticket was the one deleted. Well, you've got to admit that was a bit too close to the racist bone.
I realise that you two are against Islam but I think that you'll find that Medhi is a decent bloke. Just because someone is a Muslim doesn't mean they are a bad person (remember I too am Muslim). None of us really know exactly what he is like but my feelings are positive.
British society needs more people like Medhi who is prepared to talk about the racial issues facing modern society and I for one hope he continues his prominence in the British media.
Get a grip sunshine, you've blown your cover: "Perhaps it's because they have a much more subtle understanding of when violence is and isn't appropriate".
Yet again a dumb leftie piucks and choses his morals to suit his own particular tastes: police violence is evil, but ours is holy, because "we're right".
Grow up Mark.
Terry, I didn't say anything about police violence.
But, please, do tell me why - if you are right that these troublemakers never miss an opportunity to cause trouble - they don't hijack UKUncut every weekend?
I really hope you understand that unless you can actually provide some sort of response to this, then it is you that will be written off by everyone here as the idiot who needs to grow up, not me.
I still prefer this video of Medhi
Join the Anti-Protest League.
While the traditionalists are out in the streets shouting, some of us are building our communes and making own co-ops stronger.
Away from the publicity is where the real left wing action is.
You're playing semantics. Always? Put it this way, whenever there is a major march or event of this kind these angry anarchist-types, hearts full of envy and hatred and spite, get in there and do what we saw two days ago.
It's pointless denying it because the entire nation watches it each time it happens. I make no comment about any particular group, just about those involved in what went on. They love it and strike me as being both immature politically and extremely narcissistic and self-indulgent. That is my view. And having heard her interviewed on Newsnight I would the New Statesman's 'Penny Red' Laura Pennie in with that group.
Mr Diwine, what load of cobblers, its not only militants groups...look at the Middle east...every country that is Islamic is backward and repressive.
Its Muslims in the west who keep imposing Sharia onto the rest of us. Who dont obey the law of the land and want to live in Britain under Sharia. No more freedom of speech and expression - Show a cartoon of Mo and you get hacked to death, look at the madness in Afghanistan what they did over the Koran burning - that didn't even happen- its sick. Criticize Islam publicly and you'll get death threats...
And don't give that nonsense that Islam is similar to Christianity. Christianity teach love thy neighbor and forgiveness, Islam teaches Jihad and Matrydom.
I am really not offended by the bonkers comment, it actually made me laugh out load.
Medhi: You can think you can change things by marching but Dan Hodges is closest to the truth than any of you NS bloggers when he says protesting is ineffective.
Energy for change must be properly directed. Protesting is wasted energy. It really is. Start making those communes and coops, then you'll see change. it'll be small and 'unexciting' but it'll exist and grow.
Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.