Tahrir Square in February 2011

There is a peculiar trend within the activist community that all occupations, all protests, and all protesters must be defended at whatever cost from the tyranny of the state. That’s a fair enough stance to take, though I think given our manpower compared to that of the state, that’s too optimistic for me to agree with. What annoys me however, is when people ordering me to get to whatever occupation of five is being threatened by police this time assume that, if I don’t immediately head down there, its because I’m just staying in my nice warm house because I can’t hack “real activism”. The fact that I’m not at Occupy!Manchester sitting in a tent is because I’m just not good enough.

I can’t hack it? Yeah? Were you kettled for eleven hours until 1am while the police started snatching everyone who got too near them, and then when you got out, spent the night punctuated with warnings of police raids, sleeping on a freezing cold office floor under a foil blanket? Have you been a medic the night that the police tear gassed a rave and had to stay up ’til 3 in the morning in a Danish winter telling drunk and pissed off person after drunk and pissed off person to take their clothes off before entering our accommodation? Have you ever had to spray antacid into the eyes of someone who’s been pepper sprayed while they have a panic attack? Have you ever launched yourself at a policeman who’s threatening one of your friends and forcibly dearrested him? Have you ever formed a line with a whole bunch of strangers and waited as column of riot cops slowly march towards you with the express intention of knocking the crap out of you?
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