Everywhere and always, the possibility of combative autonomous self-organisation scares those in power, and those waiting to take power.
Whether it be the governments of Liberal or Labor; Greens or One Nation, the aim is always the same, even though the approach taken may differ slightly.
Ultimately the goal is to demonise collective acts of resistance and refusal by everyday people, allowing the government of the day to uphold the legitimacy of the State and attack those that fall -or begin to fall- outside of their control.
To achieve this, the pillars of government and the media make use of all the power and authority at their disposal to set about demonising not just ideas, groups or organisations, but moreover tactics – this is the real goal of the apparatuses of control. Because when it is possible to make evil and wrong the choice to resist, it means that the State can do anything.
So when the poor and workers begin to recognise all the tools at their disposal; just when people all across the world start to take seriously blockading, rioting, occupying and a diverse range of tactics of counter-attack and self-defence, there is predictably by the State, either of the Left or the Right; by the media and the union leaders; by the pacifiers and progressives, condemnation of these tactics.
Why? Precisely because as people become aware of the tools at the disposal of everyday people, and as the scope and possibilities of autonomous resistance become stronger and wider, it becomes a threat to both the legitimacy of the State, as well as to those waiting to take power because autonomous organising offers an alternative to electoral politics and party building, to the hierarchies that exist everywhere from the workplaces to the trade unions.
When the police arrest someone at a demonstration for simply lighting a flare, they fear ten more being lit; when the State and the media condemn and introduce new laws to prevent workers organising and going on strike, they fear the workers demanding more and more until they become aware of their situation and rise up in revolt against the capitalist system; when they condemn and demonise an individual or group for attacking and smashing a bank window, they fear the destruction of all private property, and thus the monopolisation, exploitation and control it allows.
The State, and the system it upholds, is based on an everyday violence which it holds as part and parcel to its own maintenance; its own functioning. It exists simply because it is based on a violence to ensure it exists.
Yet diverse forms of resistance, when they come from below; when they threaten the ability of the regime to function: to police, to govern, these forms of resistance are only what is deemed violence; are always seen as exceptional, and must be stamped out at all cost, to be discouraged and to be sidelined in the minds of millions.
So instead we are offered the spectacle of shows such as the ABC’s Q&A, told that these platforms are a signal of the freedom and open nature of our system where our representatives -and those somehow more special people who are tasked with explaining to us how and why things happen- can take part in debate before our very eyes, and we sit back and watch and listen to all the drama unfold.
But that is all we can do, because rest assured, that is all we are “allowed” to do.
A recent article from the liberal media outlet The Guardian perfectly highlights and supports this agenda with the publication of an article following protests against the eviction of homeless people camped outside of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. The article went on to describe the “ugly side of the Melbourne activist scene” as one where people had chosen to “spread fear” and to “assault” the police. And continued: “By all means, protest. But protest the lack of mental health outreach services, the shortage of addiction treatment beds, the limited long-term social housing options and the cruel media campaigns demonising the vulnerable. Donate to social services. Write to council and politicians demanding funding and solutions.”
Where even to begin addressing such an outrageous, ignorant and prejudiced article which continues the mythical narrative that protesting peacefully can bring about any lasting and meaningful changes. Again it misses the point.
Instead it seeks to demonise the most combative elements that make up resistance struggles. It seeks to paint them as outside agitators and instigators of random acts of violence, dangerous to all and not emanating from a community of support that social struggles are always borne from.
Maybe if this parrot from the mainstream media stopped spitting out their drivel for one moment and opened their eyes and truly listened, they would recognise that people are forced to come up against the violence of the State and the police every single day and yet choose to not just lower their heads, but to resist and to organise and demand alternatives; they would see the refusal to participate in the dead end approaches of simply donating or writing a letter/email to the council and politicians; they would recognise that, to begin with, not all violence is equal. There is the violence that is permitted. This is the violence that comes from above, from the State; the violence that arrives in police bullets and drone strikes.
If these clumsy journa-cops really looked beyond their position of self-importance they would see the endless ways in which people all across the world have been forced to resist “violently”; have shed their blood and worked tirelessly to collectively build networks of community care; of self-defence; who have built structures which have emerged in spite of, or which have replaced those decimated by the State and Capital.
To make out that those choosing to resist against the State and the police could be anywhere near as harmful to the people than those they arm with guns; than the repressive laws they introduce; than the policies they drive through parliament in the middle of the night; than the poverty and misery and everyday violence they inflict on all the working and poor people across the world, is a clear indication of what everyone is up against.
The imbalance of power which exists all around us, and the demonisation of combative autonomous resistance aims to keep control, legitimacy and power firmly entrenched at the top. To ensure the continuation of a “social peace” that keeps us as passive bystanders to what goes on around us.
Let’s keep this in mind as we continue to organise, push forward, protect each other, and build our movements for freedom.
Remember, the only thing that matters is us, as people, standing collectively together. The political merry-go-round that is the spectrum of Left or Right only seeks to keeps us blind and on our knees.