Leninism & Lifestylism

FLICKING THROUGH the pages of the London Evening Standard after the ‘riots’ at Euston station late last year, I noticed the appearance of at least one member of the Revolutionary Communist Group who was familiar to me from early work around the launch of the IWCA, (but more about that later). The Met Police remember had ‘lost control’ during this pre-planned event, when a few hundred ‘anarchists’ had ‘gone on the rampage’ setting a police vehicle alight.

Speaking as someone who has been a member of some formidable AFA stewards groups who have been barely able to step outside their own front doors, before being placed in sealed trains and trans­ported across the breadth of London, filmed, summarily arrested and detained for hours on end, without being provided with so much as an explanation, let alone charge; this becomes somewhat perplexing (Fascists have also been similarly dealt with. In just twenty minutes 400 of them were scooped and placed on police coaches while on the Edgware Road in 1993).

That is of course, unless the timing of this ‘outrage’, so readily condemned by all the usual sources, just so happened to coincide with the new anti-terrorist legislation being passed through the House of Commons at the time. The new legislation, marketed by Millbank as being necessary to deal with dangerous animal rights and Islamic groups, is draconian enough, Human Rights campaigners acknowledge, to have led to the jailing of anti-Apartheid supporters based in London during the ANC’s armed struggle.

This is not to say that I, let alone Red Action, condemn the actions of people that night or consider them to be consciously operating to any kind of ‘state agenda’. I’m all for people letting off a bit of steam at the expense of Plod now and then. But equally this does not mean that the state is not able at times to deliberately manipulate the situation.

Red Action was, to our knowledge, the only publication, which pointed out the ‘strange’ fact that as the 1990 Poll Tax Riot in Trafalgar Square was reaching its climax and the police appeared to be ‘losing control’, hundreds of their colleagues sat calmly sipping coffee in Whitehall, literally yards away. While the event supplied a number of RA members with a fresh collection of entertaining anecdotes and Class War its backlog of photos for the next decade; the Anti-Poll Tax Movement was effectively criminalised in the subsequent hoo-haa, leading to vastly depleted numbers on later demonstrations as the participants were reduced down to the ‘politicos’.

Which brings me back to the aforementioned ‘former comrade’. The spectacle of “Marxist-Leninist’s” who deserted a fledgling IWCA for the ranks of the ‘tree people’, tailing the Anarcho-Green movement, probably says far more about the RCG and the present state of revolutionary struggle in this country, than it does about their new­found, fatigue-clad friends. The December/January edition of the RCGs’ Fight Racism Fight Imperialism! reassures us that this adven­turism will continue, they’ll be “out there on the streets” involved in “mass direct action”, presumably swapping their Leninism for Lifestylism!

The excitement in Seattle will only encourage them further. It appears that this coalition of the middle class left, students, Greens, ‘eco-warriors’ and pacifists, is now being touted around as the ‘great white hope’ for the world’s ‘oppressed’. And the working class No mention of them I’m afraid, but plenty of exotic types telling any reporter who would listen that “this is just like ’68 all over again”. Exactly. Mmm. Sobers you up a bit doesn’t it. Later suckers...

Steve Potts

Reproduced from RA Bulletin Volume 4, Issue 5, Feb/March '00