For some nice Anonymous stencils why not visit The Amp…

The World Health Organisation has revealed that Glasgow’s wealthiest live on average 28 years longer than its most deprived inhabitants. The British government’s belief that a compassionate ‘Big Society’ will make up for savage cuts in public budgets is not likely to narrow that gap

Julien Brygo: writing in Le Monde diplomatique

And the British media have the cheek to portray anarchists as violent!


Typical behaviour from the MET, although journalists are never as keen to put this in papers or on out TV screens as they are a few panes of broken glass.

A message from Resist26

STAY 4 ONE DAY IS NOT CANCELLED

Facebook have kindly cancelled the facebook events (Stay 4 One Day, Seed Drop etc) not to mention accounts that were linked to the events. Apparently we aren’t allowed our own facebook revolution (too many paid advertisers in the west) 😀

Please help us get the word out by posting on your blogs, tweeting and changing your facebook status to the following in solidarity!

“PLS SPREAD! Hyde Park Occupation is still on, cops closed FB event and accounts. More information http://www.resist26.org

The 0742 Club is a new social centre in a squatted bank on The Moor, Sheffield. They’re planning art events, music nights, film screenings, info stalls, talks, workshops and much more. This will also provide a much needed space for the anti-cuts movement in Sheffield.

They’re in urgent need of residents! So if you’re in Sheff pop on down to the Moor and offer your support.

0742 is the old area code for Sheffield. It was also the name our dearly departed mate Mozaz used on his Urban Exploration posts. We can think of no more fitting MO-morial; Mark would have loved it – though he’d probably have banned the middle class from the place 😉

The Beautiful Idea

March 13, 2011

More often than not we anarchists are portrayed as violent, thuggish, punks who just want to smash everything – the system, capitalism, the state, etc, etc. Sometimes it’s a fair comment – the Brigade look forward to the day when they corner Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and a bunch of assorted royals (except for that Andrew fella, he looks like he can handle himself) in a dark alley with no CCTV 😉 – but this is not the whole story.

Anarchism was once widely known as ‘the beautiful idea’, and for good reason. At it’s core is a general and genuine love of human freedom. As Mikhail Bakunin said in 1870:

We wish, in a word, equality – equality in fact as a corollary, or rather, as primordial condition of liberty. From each according to his faculties, to each according to his needs; that is what we wish sincerely and energetically.

Ok, so it’s not as catchy as ‘Friggin in the Riggin’, but it’s hardly the maxim of an angry, anti-social misfit. The Brigade will always be punk at heart, but we recognise that anarchist ideals should be more widely celebrated, so Warren has decided to accentuate the positive and create a blog dedicated to anarchy as ‘the beautiful idea’.

He’s collecting influential pieces from people who are not always considered anarchist thinkers to show the depth and passion of the anarchist philosophy…

http://thebeautifulidea.wordpress.com/

Magic MOments #1

February 2, 2011

We came across the following video on Incurable Hippie‘s blog. For those who never knew him it sums up Mo perfectly…

Julia Bradbury, eat yer fooking heart out.

RIP Mo. One Luv Bruv x

Coppers & Careerists

January 25, 2011

The following article is of immense importance to anyone involved with campaign groups in the UK (or beyond). For us the situation regarding undercover cops and blatant careerists helps to illustrate some of the reasons why we believe that you should bring your politics into your everyday life, rather than build subcultures which make politics your entire life. Until we learn to work within existing communities the anarchist movement as a whole will be open to this kind of manipulation. The worrying story regarding Indymedia’s willful censorship of the piece can be found here – http://turbellaria.blogspot.com/2011/01/mark-stonekennedy-looking-beyond-grassy.html

A View From The Grassy Knoll

In recent days the media have been fixated with the tale of Mark ‘Flash’ Stone (real name Mark Kennedy), the undercover cop who for seven years infiltrated the environmental movement, and who supposedly ended up supporting the movement he was helping to destroy. This Hollywoodesque portrait of Kennedy as some downmarket Donnie Brascoe has appealed to lazy hacks out for a juicy story and denied contact with everyone involved except for a few low-rent media whores and outright traitors. Yet the truth is very different.

The early part of the unmasking of ‘Mark Stone’ will be familiar to activists, or at least the bare bones of it will. He was infiltrated into the movement in 2003, moving to Nottingham, going to the Sumac Centre a few times, and then turning up at that year’s Earth First! Summer Gathering where he began to become known. Over the next seven years he became a main player in the UK environmental movement, going on numerous actions, attending conferences and gatherings, and generally making himself useful, primarily as a driver. He also infiltrated or attempted to infiltrate other movements, both here and abroad.

long-term girlfriend within the movement found a passport in the name of Mark Kennedy, ‘Stone’s real name. The passport also contained the details of a child. Kennedy span an elaborate tale to account for the find, which his girlfriend appeared to accept. Eventually though she spoke to friends about it, and after an investigation traced a birth certificate for the child which gave his father’s occupation as “police officer” (as his paternal grandfather had been) a rather disparate bunch of friends, six in all, confronted their erstwhile comrade. The undercover cop had obviously been trained in how to act if his cover was blown, and after his excuses fell on deaf ears, he burst into tears, seeking the sympathy of those he had so thoroughly betrayed.

The group questioned Kennedy; primarily about themselves it seems, but also about another suspected undercover cop, formerly based in Leeds. Controversially, Kennedy confirmed that she was part of the same unit. How long the questioning went on we do not know because the fruits of it, if there are any, have not been shared with the movement. Kennedy was allowed to go on his way unharmed.

In fact, far from being harmed or intimidated, immediately following the encounter, Kennedy was still so clear-headed, that he telephoned another long-term partner, who the Group of Six had failed to warn, confessed his occupation, and drove some distance with the aim of seeing her. She is merely one of many women within the movement who Kennedy exploited and betrayed during his seven years undercover.

Within days of Kennedy’s ‘outing’, a short piece appeared on Indymedia making his true identity public. There was also a photo of him wearing a large hat which covered his forehead, hair, and ears. This was later supplemented by a second photo, though this seems to have been regarded by many Indymedia posters as little better than the first. Among the incredulity, shock, and disbelief in the 174 comments (plus many more that were ‘hidden’, or censored, by Indymedia moderators) which followed the post were numerous requests for more information and better photos, requests that were for the most part met by irritation by the cognoscenti and their allies.

While many of the close friends and comrades of Stone/Kennedy, outside of the Group of Six, were in fact offered very little forewarning, support, or protection, there was much talk, both on the net and at a well-attended Anarchist Bookfair meeting, about protecting “those closest to him” and about the need for “security” (a bit like closing the barn door after the pig has already bolted). It appears to have been understood by many however, that further information about Kennedy would be made publically available, not least to ensure that his career as an undercover cop really was well and truly over. If assurances were made, as has been claimed, those assurances were broken, no more information has been provided to the movement by the Group of Six, and information posted to Indymedia by others has been subject to censorship at their direction.

Kennedy had lived at several addresses in Nottingham (and obviously elsewhere as a cop), but at the time of his fall from grace he was living on a canal barge he had bought at the beginning of 2010. The boat, called Tamarisk (of which there are several registered narrow boats), was moored close to Nottingham, and in lieu of Kennedy himself, was an obvious target for those he had betrayed. Members of the Group of Six, or others very close to them, apparently assured other activists that the boat would be dealt with. Instead however, it was allowed to simply sail away, much like Kennedy himself. The name of the boat was only exposed as frustrated activists became more and more angry at the lack of any further information about Kennedy and one of them posted it to a heated Indymedia thread, in which the Group of Six were accused of ‘protecting’ Kennedy. That post was ‘hidden’ following a request on the Indymedia moderation list (received on 10th January 2011) from “some of the people directly involved” for any reference to Kennedy’s canal boat, even its very existence, to be expunged from Indymedia. Now why would they want to stop people finding out about Kennedy’s boat?

The only thing surprising about the recent explosion of coverage of the Stone/Kennedy affair is that it took so long to happen. The story first appeared in The Sunday Times on the 19th of December 2010, with a particularly nauseating political slant, and an even more nauseating photo of the (thankfully disbanded) Clown Army. The piece appeared to be largely culled from Indymedia, and was reasonably sympathetic to both Kennedy and to the wet-end of the environmental movement who had clearly planted the story. As with the avalanche of coverage which would come a few weeks later, one of the common themes was the utter worthlessness of the UK environmental movement in terms of infiltration, a slant on the story that appears to have come from the environmentalists themselves and that they would later shamelessly parrot endlessly for the bourgeois media. The cops it seems should have been focussing their resources on less ‘fluffy’ activists than these “hippies and tree-huggers”.

It was the second Ratcliffe-On-Soar trial, which led to the real media frenzy. The story was that a group of protestors had planned to invade and occupy a power station at Ratcliffe, and Kennedy had been a key-player, and arguably an agent provocateur, in the operation. Naturally the cops were tipped off, and swooped arresting 114 activists, and Kennedy, while they were discussing the action at a meeting in Nottingham. Charges were eventually dropped against most of those arrested, including Kennedy of course, with 26 going on to face trial. Despite their knowledge of Kennedy’s involvement, the first group of 20 chose to fight the case on the basis of climate change and an appeal to the liberal sensibilities of the jury, a principled stand which resulted in them all being convicted. Through their lawyer, the remaining six challenged the prosecution’s lack of disclosure regarding Kennedy, and were discharged before their trial could even begin. Despite the media lie that would dominate coverage for days to come, the trial was NOT halted because Kennedy had offered to give evidence for the defence.

What had actually happened was that one of the 6 defendants, Dr Simon Lewis, an inveterate careerist and wealthy academic, but someone with a background in Reclaim The Streets, Earth First!, Dissent, and the Climate Camp (as well as a friend of Special Branch tout and Clown Army founder John Jordan), was so frightened of having his lucrative career damaged by an actual conviction that he contacted the cop, Kennedy, and appealed for his help, insisting that he never intended to go on any action in the first place (which to anyone who knows Lewis is entirely believable). In taped phone conversations which were later acquired by the BBC, Kennedy whines self-pityingly about how much he hates himself, before mumbling about possibly helping. This is as far as any help went. Kennedy’s assistance was of course not required anyway, it was his activities and the fact that they had not been disclosed that was important, not any assistance he might give to a grovelling sell-out like Lewis, someone who is happy to talk to cops to save his own skin.

The false story that the media seized on was that Kennedy had “gone native” and that the trial had collapsed because of his offer of help. It was a lie they were able to run with because of the assistance of traitors who have collaborated with the press, often they have been people who barely knew Kennedy personally. Either way, they have queued up to do the media’s bidding, with Simon Lewis’s posh girlfriend Sophie Stevens, an ‘activist’ with all the pedigree of a Hush Puppy, even appearing on Newsnight. While the media frenzy has been useful in terms of Steven’s CV, and the egos (and perhaps pockets) of the other media whores, the truth about Kennedy “going native” is that it has since transpired he is now working for a private security company.

Yet, despite its nauseating slants and untruths, many activists will have learned more from reading between the lines of the bourgeois media than they ever have from the supposed comrades who conducted the investigation into Kennedy and who have been steadfast in their refusal to disclose further photographs of him or any further information, including his whereabouts. While they may not have anything more to say to the movement, at least one of their number certainly had plenty to say to The Guardian.

Despite being an undercover cop, Kennedy’s vanity meant that he was always posing for photographs, there must be hundreds in existence, yet the Group of Six and their associates have repeatedly claimed they had none. Again, it’s funny how they were available to The Guardian.

Having been allowed to escape, Kennedy now supposedly lives abroad at a location known to the Group of Six, but which they have adamantly refused to disclose on the basis that Kennedy has a wife and teenage son who must be protected. This position is not only a dereliction of duty and an abuse of both power and of trust, but it is a vicious smear against the movement who they are implying are no better than TV gangsters. Such reactionary prejudice has at its basis the innate middle-class fear of ‘the other’, of the uncontrollable ‘mob’ who (in this case) cannot be trusted to deal responsibly and intelligently with information their betters hold safely in keeping. In this they have sided with a cop and with the state.

In the UK Mark Kennedy may have primarily engaged in political activity with ineffectual liberals, and indeed spent most of his time partying in the sleazy semi-retired eco-activist scene inhabited by those now protecting him, but he travelled widely, visiting 22 countries according to The Guardian, and in most of those countries he comported himself differently and mixed with a more militant class of activist. Some of those comrades certainly have more to lose than a few months on a probation order, yet they have been hung out to dry by a tiny clique of party-heads and one-time eco warriors in Nottingham. At the very least they deserve to know that Mark Kennedy is not living on the next street to them.

German activists recently uncovered their own undercover cop, it took them seven months rather than seven years, and the subsequent international press release contained as much information as they were able to gather, as well as excellent photographs. Kennedy spent long periods infiltrating German activist groups, and they are both shocked and astonished by the way things have been handled here. With questions being asked in the German parliament, they may eventually get more answers from the authorities than from their UK comrades.

Despite heavy censorship on Indymedia frustration among some activists is beginning to turn to anger, and the Group of Six have been accused of an unspoken agreement with Kennedy – That he would protect them as best he could, and that in return they would let him walk away, leave his boat alone, not post their archive of photographs and personal information to the net, and not disclose his whereabouts or those of his family. With every day such a theory becomes more compelling.

There is no doubt that Kennedy’s former close friends must be extremely distressed and traumatised by the events of the past six months, but those in the Group of Six have to realise that Kennedy’s activities have implications way beyond themselves, and that they need to behave with a sense of responsibility to the wider movement. Divesting themselves may also help take them towards closure in the affair, instead of prolonging it (by intervening on Indymedia for example). They did a good job in tracing Kennedy’s real identity, but it might then have been better to hand the matter over to other activists who were less emotionally involved. That they did not, and let Kennedy walk away, is unfortunately symptomatic of the middle-class ‘activist’, they never imagine that anyone might be better qualified than themselves. As for Kennedy, he should certainly not have got off so lightly.

Another preoccupation both of the press and of some activists has been how bad poor old Mark Kennedy (the cop who lied to those around him for seven years and betrayed his closest friends and comrades) must be feeling now. We neither care nor are interested. Kennedy supposedly spent his working days hanging from a rope, and we can only hope that one day justice finds him at the end of one.

The Boys on the Grassy Knoll

December 9th, 2010, will go down in history as a good day for liberty, justice and freedom. A combination of the student demo and Anonymous’ Operation: Payback activity has empowered thousands of people.

Nobody was under any illusion that government would do anything else but protect the interests of the rich – even if this meant condemning the poorest people in this country to greater deprivation in an uncertain future. Student fees are to be tripled, loss of EMA makes it impossible for many kids to go to college, and an 80% cut in university funding will have a detrimental effect the quality of education on offer (although it’s always worth bearing in mind that Poll Tax was also passed in parliament, so it certainly ain’t over yet!).

It might have been a bad day for education, but LESSONS HAVE BEEN LEARNT!

  1. So called ‘representative democracy’ has been completely unmasked. Many students voted for the Lib Dems because they knew the Tories were scum and that Labour introduced the fees in the first place. Now they can see the truth. Democracy has become little more than smoke and mirrors used to disguise the fact that the rich use the political and legal systems to rob the poor. Wikileaked runs a constant stream of stories which show that supposedly democratic governments are simply the pawns of corporations (i.e. collectives of rich scum who hide behind a wall of greedy little shareholders) and banks (with the same collection of rich scum in the driving seat). The students were quick to point out that ordinary people stood outside parliament while a collection of bloated millionaires decided upon their future!
  2. This, in turn, further strengthened the battle-lines which are becoming ever clearer to more and more people. We are engaged in out-and-out CLASS WAR – unfortunately, as things stand, we’re losing. In affluent times it was too easy, for too many people, to ignore the truth. They didn’t mind that the rich were getting richer as long as they still got their share of the crumbs. This was a time of a Cold-Class-War in the UK (though globally it was a different story), where the poorest were marginalised and working class communities were denied a voice by virtually all political parties. But when the banks fucked-up somebody had to pay, and it wasn’t going to be the rich!  There are some token gestures from a minority of rich scum, but are we really supposed to be impressed when a handful of billionaires give away some of the fortune when they stole it from the poor in the first place? Now, however, the times they are a changing, the Class War is getting hot and the slums of London are stirring!
  3. Not only are they stirring, but they’re learning new tactics on a daily basis. Despite the media myths about ‘an-aargh-kist influence’, the movements we are witnessing are both organic and horizontal. Yes, as anarchists, we welcome this uprising, but it is a groundswell that is completely independent of any of the usual political parasites. They’re learning as they go and they’re learning fast. The decision to breakaway from kettles and the use of harris fencing to defend themselves from police charges were not the result of an anarchist plot, they were ideas generated moment by moment on Twitter (the harris fencing tactic was actually suggested by a copper on Sky News before being tweeted!).
  4. Twitter also helped to further unmask the media for what they truly are. A combination of Tweets and live TV feeds painted a very different story from the one journalists were portraying. 14 yr old kids being charged by police horses is “crowd control” in media speak. A girl stripped of her clothes by cops is no longer a ‘student’, somebody somewhere decided that reporters should use the word ‘protester’ to help disguise the fact that they’re talking about grown men fighting with teenage girls (Sky’s Kate Burley even called them ‘insurgents’!) Lots of shots of paint-spattered coppers, but none of the wheelchair left empty after the police had dragged the occupant from it. Lots of talk about ‘hospitalised police officers’, but no mention of the 20 yr old student who required emergency brain surgery! We could go on, but you get the drift about the so called ‘free press’ – and MediaLens is far more eloquent about describing the lack of press freedom than we are.
  5. Communication and information technology also came into it’s own when Anonymous (irc chat network irc.anonops.net (6667) – channel #operationpayback) continued their attacks on the corporations complicit in the dirty tricks campaign against Wikileaks (a current list of Wikileaks mirror sites can be found here). The power of this campaign is the fact that the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) application can be downloaded and used by almost anyone regardless of their technical know-how. Obviously we would never encourage illegal activity (but it’s always worth bearing in mind who’s laws we’re talking about here), but the implications are fascinating when some of the most ICT literate people in the country are exactly those who are currently being attacked by the government. Cyberspace is one battlefield where the underdog can still deliver damaging blows to the rich and powerful.
  6. The same technology also renders the bloated bureaucracy of government completely obsolete. The dream of non-hierarchical participatory democracy is now more possible than ever before. Can anybody, anywhere, honestly tell us why the fuck do we need parliament in the third millennium?

As this Boing Boing article shows there are now over a 1000 Wikileaks mirror sites on the internet. Foreign Policy have also launched the incredibly handy Wikileaked website which breaks-down of all the revelations emerging from Wikileaks’s leaks, including the latest batch of #cablegate leaks.

With sympathy sites on the rise – and thousands more people saving the ‘insurance’ file on these sites to portable hard-drives 😉 – other people, who shall remain ANONYMOUS, have been involved with OPERATION: PAYBACK, who utilised the easy to use LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon) app to shut-down VISA and disrupt Mastercard for their refusal to handle donation payments to Wikileaks.

This, friends, is anarchy in action. It’s also a battle that governments and corporations have little chance of winning… as long as we stay vigilant, and remain active!

Join the Hive, join the revolution!