Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Anarchy (banned) in the UK

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.

9 Comments

  1. So is it actually against the law to be an anarchist now?

  2. PeterT says:

    No, and its not against the law being an islamist either. But the powers that be still think they should be allowed to make your life miserable by monitoring you as a security risk. Not a perfect comparison but the ‘threat of the rule of law’ and all that.

    While this seems to be the act of an over enthusiastic copper rather than government policy, it does chill speech. I lose count of the times I have loudly declared in public social settings that the best way of solving the country’s problems is to let loose 50 hungry tigers into the house of commons and lock the doors. But then again I am a basically a pacifist so this plan is unlikely to go anywhere (not mentioning the problems of practical implementation).

  3. cuffleyburgers says:

    Well I never thought I’d find my political beliefs put me in a proscribed group – ho hum!

    What a bunch of absolute fucking tossers.

  4. Ian B says:

    To be fair, unpleasant though it is, I suspect they’re actually thinking of the black flag anarchists, like that mob of elderly punks from Whitechapel who turn up at every SWP organised riot; in other words the Left Anarchists rather than our sort of tweedy professors talking about extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem free markets. In the pdf file, the quote is under the left-anarchist “A” logo thingy.

    Still stupid, totalitarian and all the rest, but I doubt PC Rozzer has even heard of anarcho-capitalism.

  5. Norf says:

    You can see why, though. Anarchy is, er, without an archy. As in Oligarchy, Monarchy, or even Leftyarchy (made up).

    But having no archy means no taxes. No taxes means no focus desk. No focus desk means, er, no reason to oppose anarchy.

  6. john in cheshire says:

    I suggest that you note the address of your local police station and then write to your MP saying you know of a faction of fascists in your area. That should put the cat amongst the pigeons.

  7. RAB says:

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    So up to the minute our cutting edge modern Police force, er Service eh?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Was_Thursday

  8. Laird says:

    I wish I had anarchists living next to me.

    But, God, what an awful song!

  9. Gordon Walker says:

    It reminds me of when I read that some pet shop owner had been tagged after having been found guilty of selling a goldfish to an underage boy.
    Now in my youth I must have killed more goldfish than Crippin killed women.
    Still, now each time I open a tin of sardines I wonder if they were put to death humanely by stunning before their throats were cut or are they just kosher or hallal.
    Actually, I think you people are too philosophical and that the answer to any of these excesses is to sack 50 000 policemen.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: