The London demonstration had been organized by the Trade Union Congress. Labour leader Ed Miliband spoke at the event, in front of a banner calling for jobs, growth, and justice. This is a senseless mixture of words. Governments can only create jobs by taxing others in the private sector. The more jobs a government creates, the fewer real jobs there are to tax. Decline, not growth, results. Justice -- that word habitually dragged into every Left-wing protest, but never explained – is a Shibboleth to radicals everywhere. Communists use it. So do Islamists. Even though it means something different to each, it is safe to say that it hints at the kind of radical change that most people would not like. “Justice” is simply more marketable than “Marxist economics”, or “sharia”, as the case may be.
For Miliband, the demonstration was an extension of nothing less than the Suffragettes, the American civil rights, and African anti-apartheid movements all rolled into one. The smashing up of shops by men in black conjures up rather more sinister episodes in history; though, as the economy falters, so the militant-Left is emboldened, and, once again, such scenes are played out. It is the most radical element that drives these anti-government protests, and they are no doubt delighted by the influx of their March Violets. It is the well-meaning, but politically ignorant, who dutifully protest to save public-sector jobs as the revolutionaries dream of seizing power. Or, who protest against “Israel: apartheid state” while Jews are assaulted on the edges of the march. Or, call to prevent the university tuition fee being raised as the socialist organizers call for “a wider revolt” and “a revolt against the whole capitalist system.”
Here is the tactic of the revolutionary-Left: exploit real concerns, foment dissent, stage demonstrations, call for mass protests, force workers to strike, and grind the nation down to the point where it lacks the will to resist the revolutionary violence that inevitably ensues. The revolutionaries – who barely disguise their aims – are unlikely to succeed, but they are almost guaranteed to provoke widespread unrest, and to damage both property and the economy.
On the 26th about 500 on the hard-Left broke away from the main demonstration, and -- as Miliband spoke -- attacked shops, banks, the police, and other targets. ITV reported that “Protesters from UK Uncut and the Socialist Workers Party occupied Fortum & Mason on Piccadilly, with scenes of chaos outside and displays of confectionary and cakes wrecked inside.” The SWP itself posted a photograph of the scene outside Fortnum & Mason, in which a SWP banner is prominently featured, and stated that “Posh food shop Fortnum and Mason has been occupied as was the Ritz Hotel earlier,” although it stopped short of claiming responsibility. UK Uncut did issue a press release, accusing the government of protecting wealthy tax dodgers, and claimed, “activists from UK Uncut turned banks and tax-dodging stores on Oxford Street into hospitals, libraries and homeless shelters.” Are we really supposed to believe that these Leftist hooligans brought along a library and medical equipment?
Since the outbreak of revolution in the Arab world, earlier in the year, the SWP has been enthusiastically debating whether something similar could happen in Britain. No doubt reflecting wider socialist opinion, Joesph Choonara in the Socialist Worker Online believes, “Revolution in Britain is not an immediate prospect. But the instability of capitalism means that one day London’s Trafalgar Square really will feel like Cairo’s Tahrir Square.” Nevertheless, he also observes, correctly, “Revolutionary outbreaks always begin with struggles to reform the system. In a crisis, the fight for reforms can take on a revolutionary dimension.” So perhaps revolution doesn’t seem so far away, after all.
The SWP itself has hosted several public meetings on “Arguments for Revolution,” linking the uprisings in the Middle East with the student protests in Britain. According to the SWP:
The resistance has to spread to involve workers and the unions as well as students.
The demonstration called by the TUC on Saturday 26th March is a crucial part of this. We need to put hundreds of thousands on the streets. The bigger it is the greater confidence it can give to workers and students to organise and fight the Tories. It can be a springboard for strikes, co-ordinated action and a general strike.
With a weak economy, and cuts in public spending, the revolutionary-Left is ready to receive its March violets, and to use them for their own ends,
The aim is not to represent the electorate, to address people’s grievances, or to defend minorities. It is simply to “transform society.”
Consider this: about a month ago, The Daily Mail claimed that “Left-wing protestors” had shouted anti-Semitic insults at the president of the student union, Aaron Porter. The reference to the Left was later removed. (Presumably the newspaper received complaints. The revolutionary-Left opposes fascism and anti-Semitism, correct?) A video later surfaced of a crowd carrying SWP flags and chanting: “Aaron Porter we know you, you’re a filthy Tory Jew.”