The demographic most responsive to the call to dissent are the youth. Both the Gaza demonstrations of 2009 and this fateful November have been fuelled by the passion of mid-to-late teens. This world is theirs to inherit, they will not accept the perpetuation of settler colonialism, backed up with mass murder. Likewise, they will not accept a cuts agenda that stratifies society to protect the capital of the elites at the expense of the vast majority.
When blatant injustice is seen, known, yet unchallenged in the mainstream – grassroots protests will emerge and mushroom. However, since the violence of 2009 outside the Israeli embassy and the catastrophe of the G20, there has been a palpable difference in the policing of public dissent. The more recent demonstrations have seen a “hands off” approach by the police. An A to B to protest that disperses after a rally is easier to leave to its own accord than it is to contain. However, when there is a popular will to stop the agenda of the elites by any means necessary, the State will emerge as a Leviathan supported by its hound dogs, the right wing press, rabietic in their enthusiasm for criminalisation.
The intent of the students: to stop these cuts by any means necessary, is known at all levels of the State. Hence, we see a marked difference between 10/11 and 24/11. The return of kettling and baton charges on the streets of London is something that is not welcomed, but is indicative of the greater situation. When the police charged at the demonstrators in Kensington of January last year and kettled climate campers on the streets of London. They acknowledge that without such draconian policing measures, the will of the people could lead to something completely outside of what is currently considered possible – the breaking of the government agenda. 24/11 showed us the same thing.
We, therefore, find ourselves in a game of chicken. For those who do not know, “chicken” is a test of nerve. The typical example is of two cars coming at each other in the same lane. If both continue on their path, both will die. The game is won by the person who does not swerve, the person with the resolve and fortitude to stick the course. The students resolve is now being tested, but they have certain things in their favour. Unlike the Gaza demonstrators, the students are predominately white and middle class. The State racism that made pro-Palestinian demonstrators guilty of quasi-terrorism in the eyes of Joe Public cannot be replicated. Therefore, draconian sentences will lack legitimacy if handed down in the same way as they were for the public disturbances in Bradford and Kensington. The students must exploit the gaps afforded to them. Our state is racist and xenophobic. For too long, in spite of these conditions, the oppressed communities have taken the frontline in the struggle. Finally, the student movement has stepped up. It must stick the course and not swerve first. The path this government is on, is its own destruction.
We at GDSC fully support the students in their militant approach, knowing it is the only way to change this government’s agenda.