Opinions are divided about Saturday’s demonstration. Some suggest that the ‘black bloc’ faction, who were largely responsible for the window breaking and fire setting on Saturday, are just scarily narcissistic young people who really do believe that their actions are more important that the activity of the 400,000 or so others who marched peacefully.
Others felt that this up-surge of anger among young (often very young) people is evidence of welcome radicalisation. In between we have heard numerous comments.
Some parents felt that they should leave their children at home rather than risk taking them into a possibly dangerous situation. Young families are probably the group with the most to lose from the cuts. If they feel unable to join future demonstrations the ‘black bloc’ tactics could, arguably, play into the government’s hands by making demonstrations smaller. They reason that the government would be more worried by one million middle Englanders marching against the cuts, than by a small group of masked heroes breaking windows and getting arrested.
On the other hand, some are concerned that the ‘black bloc’ are not getting a fair hearing and that they are not involved in random violence but in direct and specific action against organisations and individuals associated with the cuts: in particular the banks.
Many also felt that the media were remiss in confusing the tactics and actions of UK Uncut (who occupied Fortnum and Masons) with those of the ‘black bloc’ (who attacked banks and the Ritz). While UK Uncut have not condemned the actions of the ‘black bloc’ they have been very quick to disassociate themselves and to re-iterate that their action was not violent and they didn’t damage anything. They explain on their blog here. While the various groups of the Solidarity Federation, including the South London branch, which formed the ‘black bloc’ have issued their own response here.
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