What should you do if you discover an anarchist living next door? Dust off your old Sex Pistols albums and hang out a black and red flag to make them feel at home? Invite them round to debate the merits of Peter Kropotkin’s anarchist communism versus the individualist anarchism of Emile Armand? No – the answer, according to an official counter-terrorism notice circulated in London last week, is that you must report them to police immediately.
Ah, the Met! Haven’t they got totally innocent Brazilian electricians to shoot?
This was the surprising injunction from the Metropolitan Police issued to businesses and members of the public in Westminster last week. There was no warning about other political groups, but next to an image of the anarchist emblem, the City of Westminster police’s “counter terrorist focus desk” called for anti-anarchist whistleblowers stating: “Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police.”
They have a “focus desk“. Well fuck me! As to what I bolded… I’m vaguely in agreement. Not that that is the point. Our freedom is too precious to be “freedom, except…”. Yeah, I’m a genuine liberal. I believe in the fundamental right of people to be obnoxious to me as long as they do not do me (or others) specific harm. It is, of course, astonishingly easy to be OK with people doing things you might want to do yourself but the litmus paper for a real liberal is saying, “whatever!” about something they either aren’t into themselves or don’t actually care either way about. It’s called being an individual (whether an anarchist or a classical liberal minarchist like moi or whatever).
It’s staggeringly easy to be liberal about things you approve of. I like to think I’m liberal about things I don’t personally like. I think that defines liberalism for me. I know it sounds unpopular to say but I don’t support gay marriage for example. I quite simply don’t care about any marriage but my own. And neither should you (about your own – not mine – obviously). If, like various US politicians, you believe gay marriage corrodes “proper” marriage then I ask you to look at your own relationship (or the deficit – you know, like something to the sodding porpoise which is going to bugger every American whether gay. straight or in-between). I can honestly say that Sir Elton formalising his relationship with David Furnish (who brought a full dining room set to the match) made not a jot of difference to my marriage (to a woman of the other sex with like tits and everything!). At a more technical level I fail to see what marriage has to do with the state anyway. And yes, given my day job, I do have a dog in this fight.
Or to put it another way. My co-conspirator here RAB is a keen golfer. I will happily go to my grave without playing a round. RAB likes his golf. Fine. I retreat into my shed to play Civ. We are all individuals. We are not replaceable parts in a system called “society”.
The move angered some anarchists who complained that being an anarchist should not imply criminal behaviour. They said they feel unfairly criminalised for holding a set of political beliefs.
Frankly my bowels think Nick Clegg ought (for a certain value of “ought”) to be in jail (with Vince “Merlin” Cable) but I don’t think with my bowels. He should be as free to spout shite as I should be to shout spite. But Jeebuz Chris Cringle on a turbojet powered ice-sled aren’t we supposed to be a free country? “Mother of the free” and all that jazz?
The feeling of disproportion was compounded by the briefing note author making a similar request about Islamist terrorists a few lines further down. Under an image of flag with a gold dot beneath some Arabic script it added: “Often seen used by al-Qaida in Iraq. Any sightings of these images should be reported to your local police.”
Islamists are not anarchists. Indeed they are the utter alternative. They believe in a state which controls everything. Fine. I doubt they will get much traction. Well not whilst I have my puff, anyway. My general view on this is along the lines of, “If they want to slavishly follow rules from the Dark Ages then fuck ‘em”. Oddly enough this seems to be very much the opinion of every single Muslim I have ever actually met.
It also seems to be a bit useless as a way of gathering intelligence. It isn’t focused on anything specific and they are just asking for general information. Imagine calling up and saying ‘there’s an anarchist in my building. What should I do?‘ It doesn’t make sense.”
There’s an anarchist in the building! Arrgh! Call The Mail! It must be wrecking havoc with property prices!
The note was issued from Belgravia Police Station as part of Project [Nick?] Griffin which aims to “advise and familiarise managers, security officers and employees of large public and private sector organisations across the capital on security, counter-terrorism and crime prevention issues”.
Sod off. I mean what are they going to do? Organise an aggressively unlicensed “Circus Skill’s Workshop*”. Yeah and the government is plundering £12,000,000,000 to do much the same next year. So, basically fuck off already.
The next big anarchist event in London appears hardly likely to concern the police. It is a book fair in October with “all-day cabaret starring assorted ranters, poets, singers and comics; all-day film showings and two kids’ spaces“.
The revolution starts with crèche facilities. Dear. Sweet. Fucking. Hell. Truly it is The End of Days.
*I’m actually with Alexei Sayle on this, “Anyone who uses the word ‘workshop’ who isn’t involved in light engineering is a twat”. Fair comment and very true but we can’t make being a twat against the law otherwise half to two-thirds of the population would be in jail. Apologies to Harry S Truman for that. He said it about generals. I think his exact phrasing about MacArthur was, “dumb son-of-a-bitch”. Anyway the last people I saw into “Circus Skills” were the Nottingham University Christian Union who were quite literally a bunch of wankers. They seemed to think (pathetic non-fuckers they really were) that juggling was an effective alternative to pre-marital sex. The rest of us looked on in something between disbelief and discombobulation. Not least my pal Phil who was vice-president of the Catholic Society (or indeed my Muslim friend Zuliana who thought them raving mad). Perhaps I shall say more about the UNCU in a later post. They were a right lot of coves.