Aphorisms on the attack on Tory HQ

This post was written by Jacob on November 11, 2010
Posted Under: Uncategorized

The views of many of the demonstrators were anathema not only to incoming government policy but to the NUS. Within the confines of yesterdays organised demonstration there was no means of expression of this heterodox viewpoint. To go along with the demonstration as it was planned, would be to submit to a world of politics we have no time for. The action at Tory HQ was a fuller expression of views of students than the demonstration could ever have been.

——

To us, desecration, destruction in the symbolic realm, is nothing compared to real destruction. To them it is everything, and destruction of the real is a mere parlour game.

——

Politics is gritty, like glass under your shoes. When it’s shiny and slippery it is almost always not politics, but self-congratulation. The Soviet Union demonstrated this in its highest form. Even something as shiny and slippery as Aaron Porter’s face is likely to feel a bit gritty under your shoes.

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Some of us do a lot of activism. We are jaded. We are cynical. We don’t see the necessity of going on a demonstration as an opportunity to pat ourselves on the back, but rather a necessity to express ideas that would otherwise be systematically suppressed by the state. We achieve very little. We have no choice, with our Weltanschauungen, but to go on fighting. La lutte continue!

——

Do you know what NUS President Aaron Porter says should happen after we lose the vote in the commons on the 24th November that brings in the new fees structure? He wants to start a campaign whereby we can “re-call” MPs, particularly lib dems because they lied in their election campaigns. Seriously.

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Some protesters did not act sensibly. For this there is no defense, but in many ways it is countered by the extreme sense with which people attacked Tory HQ.

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When we mourn violence done against buildings more than violence done against people, we have totally internalised capitalist rationality. Perhaps attacking buildings is the only way to reassert the importance of being human.

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Reader Comments

julia

Quite right. The broken windows and uprooted pot plants are a minuscule fraction of the destruction being wreaked on people’s lives and futures (though I did feel a bit sorry for the cyclamen that I saw being thrown at the riot police).

#1 
Written By julia on November 11th, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

research and destroy.

#2 
Written By richard on November 11th, 2010 @ 4:19 pm
Bec

Quite wrong

“When we mourn violence done against buildings more than violence done against people, we have totally internalised capitalist rationality. Perhaps attacking buildings is the only way to reassert the importance of being human.” – what?

Firstly – the protest is about education. This is no more a person than is architecture.

Secondly – the building is not mourned, the action of students and the ill-preparedness of the police is mourned.

Thirdly –
The right to shelter is not capitalism.
The right to have a safe place of work is not capitalism.
The right to ones livelihood is not capitalism.

Yesterday’s action was selfish, short sighted, reckless and tragically misguided.

‘Occupation’ as a means of protest can be done by peacefully in a place you are allowed to enter. Legal inconvenience that grabs a headline with a striking visual image, that doesn’t harm the place or the people.
But smashing windows, ransacking offices, spraying walls, hurling fire extinguishers, starting fires… well it’s rightly called mindless violence. Not an advert for what is good about university education be any means.

There was a lot of sympathy for what the march was all about – and we actually stood a chance of convincing the minority party in the coalition to change their stance. Very different to the political situation at the time of Iraq.

Now the yobs fill the news, not the 50,000 who had something legitimate to say.

This completely sidelines the ethic whilst teaching kids not long out of school that destroying livelihoods is ‘OK’ in order to make a point. We can’t implore the government to have humanity if we condone that sort of loutish behaviour. It makes no sense whatsoever to make things more difficult for some so as to grab a headline for others. That’s just as selfish and greedy.

Besides, everyone is effected by the financial situation. Architects were in that building, and this action destroyed their offices.

The more I think about it today, the more I think we have to sort this out quickly as a movement because it’s only going to get worse.

I think NUS should call a special conference, and I hope you would come along and be prepared to defend your opinions.

But then I’m not sure you subscribe to democracy.

#3 
Written By Bec on November 11th, 2010 @ 5:30 pm
Gloria

‘This completely sidelines the ethic whilst teaching kids not long out of school that destroying livelihoods is ‘OK’ in order to make a point’

This may be obvious, but I can’t see how anyone’s livelihood was destroyed at Millbank yesterday. The livelihoods of those families and students who rely on small benefits like EMA, or the mobility component of the Disability Allowance, or the services of small non-governmental or governmental services that have been or will be withdrawn, or who see the prospect of never getting a decent house; you might find this is closer to the destruction of livelihoods.

I think I know why you think as you do. I think the people who occupied and damaged part of that building also had something to say. But you might have to try a little harder to work out what it was they said, and why they chose to say it like that.

#4 
Written By Gloria on November 11th, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

@BEC, I quite agree

#5 
Written By Owain on November 11th, 2010 @ 6:27 pm
Alex

The “re-call” campaign is very weak: it’ll achieve nothing. What happened at Millbank yesterday achieved far worse than nothing.

I think the organised demonstration was a far better expression of the views of the vast majority of students than the riot was.

#6 
Written By Alex on November 11th, 2010 @ 10:53 pm
Hugh

My fav is this one:

“To us, desecration, destruction in the symbolic realm, is nothing compared to real destruction. To them it is everything, and destruction of the real is a mere parlour game.”

I think it might be why I am a Tory. Or at least an Older sort of Hegelian.

#7 
Written By Hugh on November 11th, 2010 @ 11:55 pm
#8 
Written By Owain on November 12th, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

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