6th May 2024

You never forget your first police violence.

Some of us, we grown up with the boot tight on our throat, casually accepting the daily PMCs and pushing about, cops and security watching your every step in town and vans of thugs shoving you to the ground on the slightest provocation. We accept it as the background music to our lives, whether we rally against it or accept it, reality none the less. We know before we're teens that nothing pisses the policeman off more than staring that fucker in the eye and refusing to bow to his authority it's woven into the tapestry of estate living early. Still, that first police violence comes as a shock, the last residue of the persistent lie “The policeman is there to defend you” is ripped away with a snarl and a snap as the baton comes down and it leaves a scar in your mind.

We know the state won't keep us safe, but that the reality still knocks you sick. PC Plod will knock your teeth out and laugh about it later.

For some, their lives are little more charmed, I don't hate them for it, it's the circumstances of their birth, still it's the first thing I hear about the wave of protests, occupations and encampments that has ramped up over the past week or so.

That was the first salvo.

These kids have money.

They are not like you.

Look at their privilege.

I read it from reactionaries looking to dismiss them as impotent spoilt children and I read it from the “left”, who either seek to dismiss them on lines of privilege or vanity. I read it from Anarchists keen to reduce the “libs” for not agitational enough (something near always proclaimed by people not involved in anything) or because they've not taken to our chosen tactics or argue our case for us.

“If they wanted divestment, they'd leave the comfort their privilege brings, quit college, live elsewhere...” blah blah blah the same circumlocutive distraction pieces the reactionaries always bring, chalk it up there with “protestors in nice clothing” or “povos with a flat screen”

Here in the UK, a certain-set of anarchists declare solidarity with the people of Palestine tacit nationalism and seek to shame anarchists who march/protest under the flag. The internationalist solidarity of these anarchists being as deep as a puddle of piss they look upon “Pro-Palestinian” actions as “Pro-Hamas” and mewl “Neither Israel, nor Hamas” offering the same tears for the dead as the politicians who beam at the few parcels of aid they drop on the victims of the very instruments of suffering they continue selling. “Toffy spoilt libs supporting terrorists” I read, as no doubt, many others did.

Palestinians aren't Hamas any more than Jewish people are Israel. The nationalist twist seeks to make the state/authority and the peoples one, but this is, and always has been, a lie used to excuse the most horrific courses of action, and to excuse inaction, where solidarity is checked by the echoes of nationalist logic and pathetic mumbling about flags.

Oh you can hold the casus belli of the horrific and unconscionable terrorism of October 7 up as an excuse all you want, but the vicious and genocidal continuing onslaught of the Israeli state should shock anyone with a moral compass. It cannot be justified with any honesty. It's pure callus vengeance fuelled by racism and reductive conjunction of peoples and state.

Those who profiteer from such reckless brutality are the enemy of all people of conscience and Ivy league they might be, these kids know this and decided to act. They';ve have watched in horror for months, as we all have, the bodies of children pulled from rubble, the manufactured famine laying waste, the vitriolic rage and racism of settlers and fundamentalists barely restrained by their merely nationalist and patriotic compatriots.

They have anger in their eyes, behind the tears and the pain. It's fire.

They can't affect that war, but they can affect the policies of their institutions.

And so they took action.

It started April 17 the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” kicked off at Columbia University (New York), before most people had even heard about it the university president gave the green light for police response.

Then the bulls rocked up and gave these kids of privilege a new first memory.
The right wing so opposed to the violence of a tent, delighted in police aggression.

The method is clear, “Shock and Subdue” is a doctrine, 90% of the time, that would of been it. Put them in their place, the protest comes and goes like so many.

Didn't fucking work tho did it.
These kids held fast.

We know that nothing pisses the policeman off more than staring that fucker in the eye and refusing to bow to his authority.

The camp was re-established the next day on the adjacent lawn. Later on they took a building.

No sinister figures coordinated this. No liberal agenda to have a few days of protest.

It's autonomous rage targetted at specific institutions with specific achievable demands. It's fucking beautiful and rather than spit vinegar, it's been delightful see a different set of Anarchists stepping up and getting onboard, they've been part of these camps without distracting from the focus, elsewhere they've lead the way, distros have made a point to get on down stalling encampments, book stores offering free shipments of lit, fundraisers shared and solidarity being expressed.
Actual solidarity existing and making shit happen.

And so the second salvo comes in, administrative punishments and attempts to undermine popular support by labelling these peaceful protests as something fuel by hate.

The university started handing out suspensions and locking people out of their housing.

The press reported Anti-Semitism hurled at students, things like “Free Palestine” and “Stop Genocide”. A few agitators-cum-marytrs try to sacrifice themselves to the “anti-Semitic mob” by walking into the demo with Israeli flags or T-shirts declaring there are Jewish.

These videos are hilarious as no one bats an eye, and in one you can see the sacrifice standing their all expectant as people barely look up from their books and behind her you can see people tidying up their “Jews for Palestine” banner. If they'd bothered to look they'd of realised the occupation would have a large number of Jewish students participating, they were keenly and actively practising their faith alongside Muslim and Christian students.

Further to this the camp would pro-actively remove actually anti-semitic sovereign citizens who came along trying to co-opt things, Hamas supporting fundamentalists, as well as white supremacist Jackson Hinkle and red fash bellend Infrared Haz, who would then rather comically declare the occupations as Zionist for not platforming them.

For a liberal peaceful occupation, they're doing a cracking job of keeping out the wingnuts and despite the occasional breach, such as the fascists “citizen journos” and the odd idiot getting aggy or saying some shit they shouldn't, they continue holding themselves up against ridiculous media attention and police aggression

The media literacy and consciousness of organisers and attendees both has been bloody outstanding. Entirely aware of ' narrative exercises and the right wings troll punditry looking for that clip to spew ad infinitum, they're locked them out. The best they have is “THESE KIDS WONT TALK TO US, HAVE THEY BEEN SILENCED OR BRAINWASHED?”, which can only possibly take them so far as even a casual browse of any of the live streams show you diligent youth, keeping the space clean, reacting to violence in the calmest of ways, and generally being legends.

By the 20th, student groups across the country were cooking up plans.

By the 22nd, Columbia would be joined by dozens of other occupation camps, over the following week this would see over a hundred camps across the US, from Ivy League Schools to Community Collages. Some in general solidarity or aligned with the anti-war position, some making demands upon their own institutional support for the Israeli state and it's military.

These are overwhelmingly peaceful demos, pretty much a part of student life.

The normal course of things, is leave them be, the energy waxing and waning, Protests happen, Especially amongst the student population, it's a time for many of political consciousness and capacity and each and ever educational body expects this.

Most camps have been overwhelming peace and handled with a degree of decency by their administrations. Some have chosen to placate their students, Brown (Rhode Island) offered to consider a vote in October (wild that this was seen as a victory), Rutger (New Jersey) agreeing to 8 of 10 demands, mostly around engaging with Palestinian students, increasing awareness etc and Evergreen (Washington) (The school Rachel Corrie attended) in fact agreed full divestment. Mostly tho, the default position has been maintained and administrations have acted earnestly and simply maintained security or light police presence “to keep everyone safe” as per the commonly accepted notions of peace and “order” in the liberal capitalist sense.

However elsewhere the violence steps up.

The universities Cal Poly (California), UTA (Texas), PSU (Oregon), UCLA (California), have all seen particular brutality at the hands of police with horrific violence being brought down on these camps.

When you refuse to submit to order, their only recourse is violence and they have carte blanche authority to secure “order”.

A particularly disturbing event was the mob raid on UCLA.
This came after right wing news feed Visegrád 24 shared footage taken by self proclaimed “Zionist” Eliana Jolkovsky, claiming that a woman had been surrounded by “five people wearing keffiyehs and bludgeoned in the head while they stomped on her Israeli flag” and that she “lost consciousness and was carried away” being sent to ER. This was a lie.

It's clear in footage that she and other nationalists are attacking a group of protestors behind a barricade, she is pulled away by her peers and falls over. She had a graze on her head and is quite conscious as someone wrapped her head in enough bandages that Saul Goodman would have been delighted. Now of course any head injury should be taken seriously, and sure, just maybe in the scuffle she had been hit by someone defending themselves before being pulled away, but even my their own metric of what violence is acceptable, this was just standard protest shit, she “fucked around of found out” perhaps. But no, a lie is a weapon.


The further way from the source, the wilder the story goes.

That night, the keen and aggressive police presence fades away, a calm night then?

No. Some 200 men launch a brutal and sustained attack, attacking an older woman, gang stomping individuals and slamming 2x4 over peoples heads as they crawl on the ground. For four hours the camp had to defend itself.

For two of those hours the police stood on the far side of the aggressors doing nothing.

Not so often they just give up pretense and we so blatantly see the cops and the nationalists go hand in hand but there you have it.

Of course the people who are so horrified by the violence of a bit of shoving, some smashed windows, or encampments existing at all due to the military history of the word (yeah really), don't bat two eyelids are this open and brazen violence, in fact they celebrate it.

The people who moan “outside agitator!” and “paid for protestor” oblivious and apathetic to the hundreds of grown men, organised, and armed for violence who all too suspiciously knew the right time to rally up and attack and who for some mysterious reasons got a free pass for hours and saw no arrests. They pretend to ask questions, but then so selectively.

The hypocrisy is rife.

The third Salvo is this barrage of lies and obfuscating nonsense, to confuse the issue and make it about something else. Make it so the casual observer can't tell who is doing what and make it too much effort to parse. Confuse matters internally and fragment solidarity.

These same people who spend hours asking “WHO IS FUNDING THE STUDENTS” while posting pictures of bulk bought tents and crates of water, don't ask about the $80k and rising fund for the “counter protest at UCLA” or the some $400k raised for the UNC frat boy who “defended their flag”... you know, the one organised on behalf of Susan Ralston, Bush's Special Assistant. The same frat who elsewhere face investigation of the mass distribution of date rape drugs and a hazing ritual they call “race war”.

Fraternal orders have seen a lot of use through this mind, straight up working with police to clear encampments, engaging in psychological warfare across the night to give “no peace”, and some days after the raid they came in force at several universities and colleges at the same time, carrying dozens of Stars and Stripes and spend the day barraging camps. Entirely without external organising and not orchestrated I'm sure.

The idea here is to position the Palestinian solidarity and anti-genocide position with a broad Anti-Americanism. This is a trap really, to associate the camps with a much more ingrained concept in American society.... “They oppose the slaughter of children”, changes to “They oppose my flag and country”, it seeks to divide protestors and views at home alike. The purpose to this is try and drive wedges on capitalism, on two state solutions, on Ukraine, on Biden, and so on and so forth, hoping to break the focus, hoping to split the movement and build as many “they don't represent you” moments for the viewer at home as possible.

This is why folk like Greta Thunberg refuse to give a position on Nuclear power. Fuck their attempts to build wedges.

Whatever the anarchist take, truth of the matter is you can hate children being murder en-masse and your educational institution profiting from this while also, you know, being a patriot or thinking communism isn't for you. The protests are diverse in nature and wedge-politics like this are a weapon to divide movement into factionalism and weaken popular support.

In this case, no such defence was needed, there is a litany of footage that undermines the nationalists... “You know they are homophobes in Gaza don't you, you fucking faggot”, A Frat boy makes Monkey noises at a black student, In Chicago a gaggle of douche bags with flags high march under “Born in the USA”, showing the depth of their media literacy. Top Brass with the NYPD Military make arses of themselves on TV claiming the bike locks they sell on campus and Oxford Press books on Terrorism show a clear and sinister intent and purpose.

Still the narrative comes the morning after with news feeds of “violent protests” and photos of detritus strew across lawns. They give the police man and administrators plenty of news time, the occupiers, supporting professors and wider community none. They neglect to mention who brought the violence and why. You see, A lie is a weapon.

As I finish typing this section, the fourth Salvo drops, the declaration from authority.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton (Receiver of $237,077 from pro-Israel lobbyists) gives a cypto-fascist speech from behind the official seals of his office about “Little Gazas” and the denouncement of “liberal administrators” (That would be the one's not utilising police violence on their student body), straight up declaring these pockets of community standing up against the profiteering from an ongoing slaughter as “disgusting cesspools of anti-semitic hate full of terrorist sympathisers, fanatics and freaks”. It's absolutely removed from reality and the legislative step towards even more violent oppression.

The people are hold told to shut up and stop thinking, the people in the know who own you have told you these are terrorists and will be dealt with shortly. We didn't spend all those years building in the vernacular we can use to make you disengage with any cause only for you to start questioning it now. Support the camps and you're a terrorist too.

The usual media pundits and fascist mouth pieces are eating all this up and bemoaning “Hamas youth” and “pro-terrorist” . They want you either hiding away, fearful of association or if you're the side of life and liberty to spend your time addressing these lies rather than echoing the cause which saw the tents hit the crowd.

There is an ongoing, brutal ethnic cleansing going on. A famine has been manifested with popular support, many western educational institutions are not only party to this but profiteer from it.

As I write some 2000 are in lock up, dozen in hospitals.

These bastions of resistance are reflected by camps Australia, Argentina, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, Tunisia and elsewhere. Here in the UK, come Mayday the camps Housing Rebellion camp in London and BLM action in Cardiff would be joined in occupation by student bodies and Plastinian solidarity groups in a dozen places, Bristol, London, Manchester, Newcastle. Swansea, Sheffield, Warwick and no doubt several more.

As an existential threat to their profit margins, university chairs and boards keenly called the police in, who have taken to the task with relish. These kids, out there, occupying camps and buildings are being declared enemies of the state. They've tasted the violence of the police and unchecked nationalists and they are still there.

They are angry and anger is a gift.

Solidarity with them, Stay frosty. Stay free. ■

Peter Ó Máille

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