Monday, June 13, 2011

Ten days in and outside Nottingham - first report

I write the words as they come, as the thoughts and impressions keep rushing through my mind. Sunday October 9th there was a major protest in Hyde Park. On Wednesday 19th people gathered outside the parliament against the new legislation debated inside, the Criminal Justice Bill.

I haven’t all the details yet, but the law seems first and foremost to be against squatters, protesters in general and people protesting against fox hunting (Hunt Saboteurs) in particular and in favor of nobles, fox hunters, property speculators and factory owners. For instance, walkers in the wilderness and elsewhere can, according to the proposal be arrested for being in a given place. The right to roam is drastically reduced. And you will no longer benefit from staying silent after being arrested. It can, on the contrary be used against you.

That I came to find myself at Parliament Square this hot afternoon was a bit of a coincidence. I was told the conference had started early and felt very uplifted.

The ruckus started almost before I arrived. It was a strange experience. I’ve never experienced it quite like that before. Time seemed to be crawling (even though I didn’t look at my watch, not once). I saw everything in an eerie slow motion, and I felt my blood boil.

The attack started imperceptibly. Then they came like a tsunami, the police, in full body armor, and started beating up on us. I saw blood flow from skulls, saw people crouch on the ground and scream in pain, and I wondered when the same would happen to me.

I was hardly more than a step away when a police club hit an arm. I heard the bone break. There was hardly a conscious thought in my head when I ran and ducked and howled in savage rage.

Some claim that what happened in Hyde Park was worse. That is hard to imagine. Raw, brutal memories keep flowing through my mind. I don’t know how many we were, but we were many. In spite of this, the cops, the «anti-terror» cops quickly gained the advantage, or rather kept the advantage they had from the start. They have the power and the armament on their side. We fled to all sides. After an indescribable run I jumped off a tall wall and down to the Embankment somewhere and I saw only a few others around me. I was limping a bit after the rough landing. Except from that I had escaped without a scratch.

Words… fail me even more than usual. Everything feels like finding yourself above a ravine. You’ve already jumped from one side and don’t know if you will reach the other.

I heard later on the radio that the police, after having removed «the worst troublemakers» gave those remaining an ultimatum. They asked people to «clear the area» and those still there complied. At ten o’clock there were only cops left. What an anticlimax.

In an unknown, dank apartment later that night:

I try to sleep. It isn’t easy. I don’t know where I am and don’t care. What matters is this evening, this night, how excited it has made me. There are others here as well, other strangers. Their eyes twinkle like mine. Their blood is boiling like mine. I feel sleep come in the tiny apartment, but I am more awake than ever. I am, and they are, too. We chuckle in our ecstasy and compare ourselves with sardines in a box, but we feel like eagles.

I don’t think it has dawned on me yet how big this is. It’s Friday morning and the first meeting starts 7.30 tonight. This has already surpassed what I dared hope for in advance. Doubt sinks in, if it’s the right thing to do to go deeper into this cauldron of rebellion and fire. Well, the warrior poet shouts, it might not be wise… but it is right.

Not for other’s sake, not even for the sake of the planet.

For my sake.

Amos Keppler

London October 21, 1994

Arrived yesterday.

Looking forward to live today and tomorrow…

If tomorrow comes.

This is a translated version of an article first appearing in the Norwegian magazine Nemesis in 1994.

It is my first account of several, old and new from the «Ten days that shook the world» an anarchist conference of workshops and protests all over London.

A record speaking for itself


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