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(en) Britain, Freedom* January 2012 - A YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY - A round up of Freedom in 2011

Date Sun, 19 Feb 2012 09:59:49 +0200


It is perhaps an appropriate time to take a breath and consider the last twelve months, and reflect upon Freedom’s contribution to the discourse. If, as is so often stated, history only emerges in retrospect, we’d like to think Freedom was there when that history was being made. ---- January ---- We fanfared the beginning of the year with a headline that turned out to be entirely prescient of things to come. Boldly asking the question ’2011 – year of rebellion?’ we were perhaps the only radical news outlet to predict that the next twelve months would produce something special. And discounting the most ardent cynic it turned out to be an incredibly potent year of resistance. As we wrote at the time about a new generation who were “prepared to take on the institutions of power without any formal consent or approval, where traditional political organisations were not required to give form to the anger being expressed. For many this is just the beginning”. Little did we know just what that beginning would eventually lead to.
» 2011 – The Year of Rebellion? article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/02/07/2011-year-of-rebellion/

February
A traditionally slow period in the political calendar we first documented the start of the Arab Spring with “Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi poured inflammable liquid over his body outside the local municipal office in an act of public protest” an incident that would trigger a seismic wave of unrest throughout the Middle East – Syria, Yemen, Egypt, with the masses openly confronting previously impervious authoritarian regimes.
» Riots in Algeria and Tunisia article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/02/09/riots-in-algeria-and-tunisia/

March
The first signs of things not going according to the script. The big TUC demo on March 26th saw the arrival of an active and militant black bloc that planted itself on the political map and drew disparaging headlines, and even more dazzling images, from the media. It was neither expected nor predicted although Freedom did more than suggest a black bloc would be present on the day on our popular ‘Meet the anarchists’ action map.
» March 26th Action Map
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/03/23/action-map-march-26th-demo/

April
The police came under attacked at the inquest into Ian Tomlinson’s death. Again Freedom was prescient in our analysis at the start of proceedings. Unfortunately some at Freedom got cold feet and suggested we add a question mark to the headline, a decision I regret as the jury returned its verdict the following month of unlawful killing. We were present most days at the inquest which was a chilling and incredibly emotional experience.
» Tomlinson’s killer? article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/04/09/tomlinsons-killer-2/


May
We added our voice against the repression of the student movement by suggesting a strategy of state intervention was “to criminalise student dissent and punish peoples’ participation with the intention of sending out a message to the rest of the student movement and quelling future unrest”. This became all too clear on the next big student protest of November 9th when we were afforded the first glimpse of the new policy of ‘total policing’.
» Education Backlash article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/05/21/education-backlash-2/

June
After the Arab spring came the Spanish summer and what was a precursor to the occupy movement when the ‘indignados’ of Madrid occupied the main square in May and kick-started the next stage of a global phenomenon. We interviewed a spokesperson for the movement dubbed ‘Real Democracy now’ which were to lay the foundations for the occupy movement.
» “We are angry, We are upset, We are the indignants” interview
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/07/14/we-are-angry-we-are-upset-we-are-the-indignants/

July
Another shift: the popular reactionary tabloid institution News of the World folded amid evidence of illegal activities surrounding phone hacking and payments to police. The implications went as far up the chain to Rupert Murdoch and his family who own News International, the global media empire. It was also a time to reassess our solidarity priorities as the first trial of anti-fascists ended with six convictions. As we speak five remain imprisoned for their activities against neo-Nazis.
» Comrades jailed: anti-fascist prisoners article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/07/26/comrades-jailed-anti-fascist-prisoners/

August
Widespread riots across England. Four days and nights of unmediated rage. Cities burned in the biggest outbreak of social unrest since the 1980s. The Freedom headline simply echoed the feeling of those participating: We have had enough! Freedom editors were out on the streets during that time which perhaps was reflected in the tone of the front page article “When you take away more of our basic needs, offer us nothing but penalties we can never pay off, when you threaten us with greater poverty, and punish us if we resist, when you bully us into believing we are not worth the profit we make on your behalf something has to give. In the gloom of a poor north London suburb, something eventually gave”.
» We’ve Had Enough! article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/08/13/weve-had-enough/

September
What began as an invitation to Occupy Wall Street in New York City organised by Adbusters activist media group and promoted by Anonymous computer hacker network has developed into a massive global project. By October Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 95 cities across 82 countries, and over 600 areas in the United States. We have documented the movement since the beginning, often critically, although Freedom has always been stocked and available to read at both Occupy London sites.
» Occupy London article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/10/14/occupy-london/

October
Officially the start of Freedom Press 125th anniversary year and when we re-launched as a monthly paper. There has been a massive upsurge in interest about radical, and particularly anarchist ideas give the period we are in. The anti-cuts movement had stalled slightly although we have attempted to write about as much radical activity around the anti-cuts movement as possible.
» Fighting Talk for the Future article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/10/01/fighting-talk-for-the-future/

November
Two big mass marches bookended the month. The student demo on the 9th saw an overwhelming police operation smother the demonstration by sheer weight of numbers. Described as a moving kettle students were ushered through the streets of the capital then ushered out again. At the other end of the month was the second massive public sector strike. Freedom had a stall at the march in London, perhaps the only anarchist group to do so, giving out as much radical literature to the strikers as possible.
» Everybody Out! article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2011/11/28/everybody-out/

December
We ended the year as we began exposing political policing and looking forward to a brighter anarchist involvement in the current climate of social dissent.
» Gang Warfare: the New Era of Political Policing article
http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2012/01/18/gang-warfare/
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* Anarchist journal
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