Wednesday, 1 December 2010

There remains scarcely any doubt that youth will be the first to savagely confront power. These last few years, from the riots of Spring 2001 in Algeria to those of December 2008 in Greece, are nothing but a series of warning signs in this regard. Those who 30 or 40 years ago revolted against their parents will not hesitate to reduce this to a conflict between generations, if not to a predictable symptom of adolescence.

Reading on the train to Eindhoven, powerless in more ways than one, I turned to a book I had bought sometime before, a slim blue volume. The Coming Insurrection occupies a controversial position in both French law and anarchist discourse. The book was a central piece of evidence in the case against the Tarnac Nine. The implication of the French Minster of the Interior at the time was that reading or authoring the book was a terrorist act.

The third day of student protest and action in the UK yesterday, brought me back to the opening passage in the book. Many questions, as friends occupy university buildings and continue to march on institutions, remain as to the longevity and impact to the UK demonstrations of 2010. How do demonstrations sustain themselves? When do peaceful marches turn to rioting? When do the streets become occupied and parliament becomes a target? What would it take to reach that point? Should it ever?

The conflagration of November 2005 [Clichy-sous-Bois riots] was not a result of extreme dispossession, as it is often portrayed. It was, on the contrary, a complete possesion of a territory. People can burn cars because they are pissed off, but to keep the riots going for a month, while keeping the police in check - to do that you have to know how to organize, you have to establish complicities, you have to know the terrain perfectly and share a common language and a common enemy. Mile after mile and week after week, the fire spread. New blazes responded to the original ones, appearing where they were least expected.

Lenin's Tomb, K-Punk and Infinite Thought are this emigrant's current barometers of unrest.

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