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I'm Tav, a 29yr old from London. I enjoy working on large-scale social, economic and technological systems.

Pedipeace (Part 2)

[This is a reposting of an email that I had sent to some close friends on March 26th 2003 @ 05:35.]

|  george> The theory of blocking off central London is a good
|  george> one but it will still piss people off to fuck.
| true. but, we should frame it as pedestrianising for peace as opposed
| to blocking off central london.
| although it amounts to the same thing, one is confrontational, the other...
|  george> Sounds like the stuff Reclaim The Streets tries to
|  george> do but with better ideas, dialogue instead of
|  george> marching. But that affair always gets hijacked by
|  george> rioters who are pissed off at the police.
| surely we shouldn't resign ourselves to accepting that as the only
| possible outcome? if everyone is aware of it before, can't we take
| precautions against it?
| on a side note, are people familiar with the roerich banner of peace?
| it's the three red dots symbolising art, science, and religion, with a
| red circle around them representing the totality of culture. the red
| itself represents the colour of the one blood that unites us all.
| (btw, can someone come up with an alternative meaning for the third dot?
| religion can be quite shitty...)
| here is a quick quote:
| //
|   The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace movement grew rapidly during
|   the early nineteen-thirties, with centers in a number of countries.
|   There were three international conferences, in Bruges, Belgium, in
|   Montevideo, Uruguay, and in Washington, D.C. The Pact itself
|   declared the necessity for protection of the cultural product and
|   activity of the world-both during war and peace-and prescribed the
|   method by which all sites of cultural value would be declared neutral
|   and protected, just as the Red Cross does with hospitals. Indeed,
|   the Roerich Pact was often called The Red Cross of Culture.
|   Just as the Red Cross is embodied in a protective sign and banner,
|   so does the Roerich Pact also designate a symbol-the one seen on
|   this page-to be displayed on a banner, The Banner of Peace. This
|   Banner, flown at all sites of cultural activity and historical value,
|   would declare them neutral, independent of combatant forces.
| //
| i suggest we adopt the banner of peace for the pedipeace movement. that
| nicholas roerich and ghandi knew and influenced each other lends us even
| more weight.
|  george> possible problems could be the way people would
|  george> be spread so thinly that it would be easy for
|  george> the bacon patrol to break up these small groups
|  george> and arrest/beat people without getting too noticed.
| good point.
| we need to keep the number of circles down until we've gathered enough
| people then. as long as we make people aware of issues like these, then
| they are likely to be relatively sensible?
|  george> Do you really think they will allow sound systems
|  george> and parties in the street? They will seize your
|  george> equipment straight away because of that repetitive
|  george> beats law.
| then, let's find out more places like those UCL halls on oxford street,
| where we could have sound systems blasting from within the buildings
| themselves.
| the key is to get awareness out there. if it's just isolated pockets,
| then it is very easy for them to picked off. but if everyone is doing it...
|  george> A huge fiesta taking up the whole of zone 1
|  george> would be amazing though. A lot of people
|  george> would go just for a good time, not caring
|  george> about the causes, and the more people the better.
| yes! yes! yes!
| (but even those who don't care so much will have their interest piqued
| by the dialogues, and would hopefully gradually end up participating).
|  george> But a lot of people that live in central are
|  george> rich and old and used to the world and happy with
|  george> the way things go on, so they won't support
|  george> you, but get pissed off by all the rowdiness.
| now, this does worry me. how can we minimise this?
| how can we also minimise the impact of the extremist militants / agent
| provocateurs?
| how do we ensure that the police will never be able to resort to
| truncheons and tear gases?
|  george> It seems the whole protest/marching thing is
|  george> still popular (though showing lack of imagination)
|  george> when people feel strongly about a cause, but a
|  george> lot of the people who do care won't go because
|  george> they won't see the point, so many marches and so
|  george> little effect. The whole idea is stale and so
|  george> usual it goes unnoticed.
| right, we all know people (including ourselves), who although they agree
| with the sentiments of no war, at times, don't think it's of any use to
| go down to the marches.
|  george> Expressing your discontent is no good if
|  george> no-one listens.
| *nod*
| one of the reason i find marches such a farce is because of the way they
| are isolated from the rest of society. even on feb 15th, with a million
| odd marching through london, to most londoners it was just a normal
| day... the protests completely separate from their lives.
|  george> This is a foolish attitude because it is because
|  george> people choose not to join in that there are not
|  george> enough people to make a difference.
| how do we get people to realise this? and, more importantly, to act on it?
|  george> If the whole country united for change it
|  george> could come about but too many people take
|  george> the 'one man can't make a difference' attitude.
| well, with the dialogues, i'm thinking that we could reverse this mentality.
| basically, if you aren't there participating, then you effectively lose
| your voice. so as to encourage all people to come and participate.
|  george> Basically, i think the number of people taking
|  george> part in ya proposed idea would be outweighed by
|  george> the number not, and it would be hard to
|  george> organise them.
| but, if only a hundred thousand participated on the first day, that's
| still substantial?
| do it on a nice sunny sunday... get half a million people down?
| i agree about it being difficult to organise them, but it's not impossible.
|  george> I think you have too much faith in the genral public.
| the general public has to come to realise their own power. otherwise,
| there is no hope.
|  george> Although many will agree with you 'in theory' only a
|  george> much smaller hardcore will be motivated enough to
|  george> actually get organised about it...
| let's get *everyone* down. this isn't going to be a short war.
| we just need to create enough inertia to push people past the "agree in
| theory" phase. it needs to be such a definite, that people will not even
| think of using their cars on that day.
| let's sort out alternative bus routes. let's sort out routes to the
| major hospitals so that people's lives aren't endangered.
| let's sort out routes for the police so that they can clamp down if
| anyone starts throwing rocks at starbucks. let's sort out traffic routes
| to direct people. let's sort out toilets and dustbins.
| let's get people like ms dynamite weaving their magic in the streets.
| let's get *everyone* involved. not just radicals. let's have members of
| parliament having dialogues with the average man on the street. let's
| have policemen participating. let's have teachers. let's have doctors.
| let's appeal to mothers of conscience to stand in protection of the
| circles. will police dare beat up pregnant women? will police dare to
| beat up young children? will police dare beat up respected religious
| leaders? will police dare beat up the elderly?
| let's have an independent media coverage throughout london. let's setup
| terminals at all tube stations. where people could come and at the push
| of a button print out the latest summary of events and dialogues.
|  george> Keep trying and thinking about this hoipefully people
|  george> will soon not be resigned to acceptance.
| deep in their hearts, i believe people are tired of the bollocks that
| they put up with on a day to day basis. i believe that people do want a
| better future. they just don't see how it will be possible or what they
| can do.
| once they realise that it is possible and that they can help make it a
| reality, i believe that they will awaken.
|  george> Also, we are only slaves to oil because we are not
|  george> given alternate energy sources to meet all our needs.
|  george> Sure they exist but reamin out of our hands.
| true. but something as simple as not using our cars. and switching over
| our electricity to ecotricity would be a good start...
|  chris> i think you can reach people and get them motivated,
|  chris> its all about language.
| agreed. it's all about perception.
|  chris> Create your own infastructure and co-opt the existing
|  chris> one to reach people.
| from a media perspective, i think we are onto a winner here.
| see, most road blockades and marches don't get any press coverage not
| because of some global media conspiracy (yes, there is a certain element
| of that), but mainly because it's not news that sells.
| *oh look! yet another student has chained herself to a tree!*
| just not interesting enough.
| we need something that is dynamic. something that will get people's
| minds and hearts racing. something people (i.e. the populace as a whole,
| not just a minority) can get passionate about. something they will buy
| the next days papers to read about.
| we can do that here.
| we have a sensationalist background of conflict. this will keep people
| on their toes. the police will be out in the thousands. the people will
| be out in the hundreds of thousands.
| but that will merely be a backdrop. the key is to refuse to let that
| become the key issue. if we do, then all is lost. so, we should maintain
| the sensationalism of that, yet focus on the dialogue that is important.
| let papers be filled with reports sent in from the various circles. let
| papers create maps of what's happening at which crossroads. let papers
| be crammed with wonderful photos of people celebrating life.
| let the banners of peace fly. let wonderful smells fill the air. let the
| magical sounds of music sweep people up into ecstasy. let love blossom
| under the spring sun.
| we could do experiments in art and science. in art, maybe as a grand
| symbol, we could build a wall around the american embassy like they did
| in rome! in the sciences, we could create community based wireless
| networks! we can do fun things. we can push the boundaries.
|  chris> no-one told people that they have to take responsibility
|  chris> for what their country is doing, educate themselves and
|  chris> regain control of their lives. They just used language
|  chris> that contained no responsibility.
| chris (and others), could you have a go at phrasing what i am saying
| into "better" words please. i think i am reasonably good at avoiding
| trigger words, and in fact constantly make up new words in order to do
| so, but am sure it could all be phrased a lot better.
| thanks!
|  matt> If you try to make this happen and advertise it as if
|  matt> it will be fluffy and lovely and discursive, you will
|  matt> just be fooling people who will end up with a truncheon
|  matt> in their face.
| i beg to differ.
| yes, i agree, the inertia is currently against our favour. but we don't
| have to let it be so. the key is for us to strike pre-emptively. not on
| the streets. but in the court of public opinion.
| i have been thinking that we should perhaps highlight events such as the
| tiananmen square massacre and genoa. make people aware of what really
| happened. (funny, those chinese were asking for more democracy and
| accurate press coverage just like we are doing so now...).
| the developments that took place in the lead up to those events needs to
| become common knowledge. the key here is to do it such that the police
| would not be able to tear gas innocents without a public backlash. at
| the same time, we must take care to avoid instilling paranoia, e.g. the
| black bloc in genoa...
| also, what are famous scenes from movies? star wars is pretty good. we
| should make use of strong imagery in movies, books and songs to get the
| point across. we should emphasise the history of the likes of ghandi.
| (perhaps we should all dress up like him?)
| the police are, at the end of the day, people just like the rest of us.
| they are influenced by the opinion of others just as we all are. they
| too have children, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers,
| friends, lovers. they too are influenced by what those people think.
| london can ring with more than that of the truncheon thing! london can
| ring with hope and love. we can take the first step towards creating the
| world we want.
|  matt> There will (it looks pretty certain) be a large event
|  matt> within the next three weeks in London which will
|  matt> (hopefully) be similar to the event that happened in
|  matt> San Francisco....roving groups of people stopping
|  matt> business as usual, along with people blocking key
|  matt> intersections to shut down the city.
| why hopefully? sf was a disaster.
| the actions in san francisco have been counter-productive. it:
|   a) as chris says, polarised both activist+public opinion.
|   b) gave the polcie (SFPD) a good excuse to use rather draconian
|      measures. (in related news, didn't a police van drive over a
|      protestor in washington dc?)
|   c) annoyed enough of the public so that many actually support the
|      SFPD "peace forces" in clearing out the "troublesome protestors".
|   d) instilled paranoia and fear into many protestors. trust has
|      started to break down for fear of infiltration. and some are
|      afraid of doing any form of direct action for fear of their
|      lives.
|   e) has started to splinter a movement into militant and non-militant
|      factions. seeing the horrors has made some people more militant.
|      but at the same time, the moderates are shying away. and without
|      strength in numbers, any action will get stamped down very quickly.
| we need the majority of people to stand up and support us. we should be
| the people. not some "enlightened" minority.
|  matt> I am well aware that this will not perform an educative
|  matt> function, but I think something like this is needed to
|  matt> hammer the point home that people will not stand for being
|  matt> screwed. If not now, when, if not us, then who?
| i am tired of seeing some trying to make martyrs of themselves. what
| does blocking roads, and bridges and intersections achieve by itself?
| what does chanting against the police achieve by itself?
| notice how words like "anarchists", "hackers", etc. are constantly
| misrepresented? notice how these forces are the ones that actually
| provide some form of real alternative, and thus a real threat?
| the point here is that the "establishment" would use any excuse to
| misrepresent all actions. and escalated direct action with no dialogue
| would only serve in their interests. gives them an excuse to represent
| _all_ the "remaining" protestors as extremist troublemakers.
| and, is it me, or do people seriously underestimate the might of the
| armed forces? as it stands, there is no hope for reclaiming the bases.
| all it does is provides an excuse for the militant faction of the
| movement to be labelled as "terrorists who pose a threat to national
| security".
| reclaiming the bases, if it's to be done, has to be done from the
| inside. with members of the armed forces refusing to refuel the bombers.
| with dockers refusing to load arms shipments. with loved ones of
| soldiers writing in to them to give them support to stand up against
| their superiors.
| by chanting outside bases, all we do is cultivate an "us" and "them"
| mentality. so instead, let's:
|   1) listen to each other. listen and learn. let's have a war on
|      ignorance.
|   2) empower ourselves with dialogue and try to come up with
|      solutions. it's easy to shout *NO* to things. but, without
|      providing alternatives, the shouting is meaningless.
|   3) celebrate life. this *is* your life, and it *is* ending one
|      minute at a time. enjoy it. end the solitude. choose life.
|  giles> the problem with direct action is that most of the
|  giles> public think, whether right or not, that its just
|  giles> of bunch of thugs/peaceniks/hippies/wasters etc..
|  giles> and will therefore never listen to what they are
|  giles> saying although they may actually find they agree
|  giles> with it if they took notice.
| *nod* we need to cater for everyone.
|  giles> the answer isnt becoming more extreme but playing
|  giles> them at their own game and although it seems slower
|  giles> you cant change people's opinions overnight. i you
|  giles> act in a way that the media/politicians/public can
|  giles> find fault with then it'll make a much stronger
|  giles> point.
| (surely you meant can't?)
| in either case, i both agree and disagree. i agree that we should not be
| extremist. at the same time, we must make a strong statement.
| blocking off central london is, in my book, a strong statement. yet, the
| idea of dialogue is about toning down from extremist direct action and
| instead focussing on education and empowerment.
| i think we have a good balance here.
| help me. i am just one person. i can't do this alone. but together,
| anything is possible.
| --
| peace is now, tav