reclaim the streets, stop the city, carnival against capital


Lessons I Learnt From J18 (June 18th 1999)

Morning small actions followed by an afternoon big action cause problems. For example, some people chose not to take risks in the morning as they had roles in/didn't want to miss out on the afternoon carnival. Conversely, others were worn out from their morning actions or didn't wish to draw attention to themselves after whatever they'd been up to, and therefore decided not to take certain actions in the afternoon they would otherwise have wanted to. Simultaneous everything might be better next time.

Black masks on an event like this in fact usually conceal the faces of people who have, after much discussion and reflection, decided to take risky action for political reasons. While they're doing this is not the time to try and debate it with them. Having tactics debates is vital but there are far better occasions.

More tools of different kinds would have been good.

Events such as these should be advertised as camera-free, and we should all take responsibility for stopping people putting others at risk by taking pictures of them, explaining why if possible.

Running from police means we empower them, lose ground, cause panic, and are also likely to injure each other. Moving slowly and looking out for each other, and communicating the important of this to those around us as we do - "Slow down! Hold the space!" - empowers us and is more effective.

Having a flag is brilliant - a place to rest, to leave tat with those resting, to find friends, to make plans, etc etc

All attending such an event, not just the "organisers", need to share responsibility for what's going on - as in asking yourself - where does this crowd need to be going? What street are we in now? What buildings are here? What can be done here? What stuff is available to us and what can we do with it? What different things might happen and what positive responses could I make? In what way might people get hurt and how can I help avoid it? What do the police seem to be doing now? No matter who you are, your contribution in being aware is vital.

The predictable mainstream press follow-up emphasises how important it is that we use our own alternative media, create more of it, and put time into distributing it, as well as other ordinary-people-friendly methods of communication such as film nights incorporating discussions etc.

If we take time to discuss and build on our experience this time, next time we'll be even stronger...


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