The Vanished

If a riot is the language of the unheard then the government and judiciary intend to keep it that way.

Only a smattering of photographs from the first batch of rioters have been shown and, after intervention by the police, government and CPS directive, virtually none now are being bailed.  All are in cells, vans or prison – unseen and unheard.

Amongst the thousands of unfortunates picked up by the police there are thousands of stories with them that will disrupt our national narrative of the restoration of English decency backed up by vengeance,.

The only images we see – of those that we have up until this point ignored – are the ‘wanted’ pictures.  Typical grainy images that instantly denote ‘criminal’ ‘dangerous’ ‘different’.  We will probably never have seen ourselves on CCTV footage or police mugshots, but we see our ‘enemies’ regularly in these frames as categorised by the state.  The wholesome image of the Hackney tea party or Clapham broom army juxtaposed with darkened, blurred hooded figures from a completely different planet to ours stand alongside each other in the newspapers.  Some of ‘these people’ are still out there.

Tip offs, stop and searches and unfortunate ‘shoppers’ leaving it too late to grab some loot seem to make up the bulk of the first mass wave of imprisonment.   Houses are raided violently at dawn for tennis rackets, shorts and T-shirts, children beaten up in shops for chewing gum, bottles of water and ‘looking around’ the day after.  They are then vanished into the judicial bureaucracy that has been tasked with appeasing an angry country and re-affirming the English way of life, whilst simultaneously making a mockery of the law by ripping up sentencing guidelines and ruining people’s lives for very minor offences.

Widespread are the stories (although not in the media) of people who have simply disappeared. Friends who went out on Monday night and never came back.  The numbers are too large for a proper accounting of everybody.  This is not fightback its payback.  Payback to people hardly involved in the riots at all – payback to a class.  It is usual for whole ranges of these offences being considered for people to arrive at court by appointment, however journalists stand and wait outside magistrates courts increasingly accepting that they are wasting their time.  Serco vans with blacked out windows are driven past at speed regularly, (24 hours a day as we are repeatedly told), into the bowels of the court.  The defendant is brought up the stairs to the screened dock – blocked off from the bureaucracy that is to study, judge and decide on them.  They are jailed taken back down the stairs into the van and are vanished once again.  The only words confirm names and dates of birth.

This silencing is ensuring the complete seperation of ‘them’ and ‘us’, the decent, ordinary, hardworking majority and the feral underclass, the morally sick that threaten our decent streets.  Nothing is being allowed to disrupt this narrative, to set up the permanent persecution of a class that is on its way.  Next time we do see ‘them’ will not be to hear voices but to further complete the monopolisation of an authentic ‘English’ community and complete this seperation.  Nick (‘new age of freedom’) Clegg has promised an angry public ‘they’ will be in ‘highly visible orange clothing’ making amends to ‘the communities’ they have damaged.  The only funny side to all this is how it is such an insignificant and supposedly liberal figure as Clegg can unironically slip into the role of a world superpower enabling the suspension of citizenship and the practice of such fascism through his designation of criminals as outsiders who are at once those who wear the orange suits and nothing but the orange suits they wear.

How recently it was that ‘decent’ people locked up faceless ‘threats to civilisation’ in Guantanamo bay to the horror of many now cheering on excessive jail terms for faceless minors.  ‘They’ too vanished in dawn raids (also from tip offs settling old grudges).  From the Bagram airbase holding cells to Guantanamo Bay a process of ripping up ‘legal frameworks’ and inventing new ones to justify the kidnap of ‘others’ ensued.  Serco doesn’t do extraordinary rendition flights (although they certainly will have looked into the possibility of such) but they are making a killing from keeping ‘these people’ in a vanished state.

The consequences of this monopolisation of authentic English communites in opposition and exclusion to an unseen unwanted other is obvious.  Even the BBC ran its report of 16,000 police militarising the streets of London under the rolling headline of ‘England Fights Back’.  If ‘we’ are England who are they?

Of course ‘understanding’ is not sought by politicians as they ride the wave of public fear.  To understand would be to open up the possibility that we in fact don’t live in a defined ‘community’ (a community being rapidly constructed in opposition to and in conflict with Untermenschen), but in fact a society.  A society that is based on class conflict and competition over resources.  A society that is at war.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A message to a country on fire

We offer unapologetic solidarity and support to those involved in the UK uprisings these past nights. This sentiment extends to both the rioters and to those communities affected by them. We also acknowledge that the unrest has ruined many people’s livelihoods, and homes have been burnt and agree that these will always be the wrong targets for attack. But we know that this sort of looting and destruction are the last actions of the completely impoverished and disenfranchised.

Once again, politicians, the media, and police chiefs tell us that ‘criminal elements’ have ‘hijacked’ legitimate grievances and that ‘thugs’ and ‘outsiders’ are responsible. As the riots spread across the capital and country there are fewer and fewer ways to be an ‘outsider.’ If not ours, then from which society are these rioters?

If the media want to deny one thing, it is that these riots are popular. But surely thousands of masked men and women cannot be “no-one”? Or are they to be deemed of less worth simply because they are unemployed in a country with no more jobs.

Theresa May tells us that ‘violence is never justified’ – yet the police killed Mark Duggan and our government bomb Libya every night. Nick Clegg has said ‘this is nothing but pure criminality’ – yet he predicted exactly this unrest in the election campaign when warning against austerity measures implemented by a government with no mandate. And Boris Johnson, naturally, informs the public that the only people to blame for the rioting are the rioters themselves.

We believe a state monopoly on violence will always destroy communities. We believe that criminality is no good test of whether an action is right. We put the blame for the riots solely on the structural inequalities inherent and persistent in our country and the continued theft of the material resources of the working class. Simply put, the conditions of many today are poverty, experienced alongside marginalization and racism at the hands of the state. They call this an “austerity programme.” They shall reap what they sow.

Community leaders have been wheeled out to continue the division of communities into the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, as if their communities are not united in suffering oppression and poverty. We urge them not to desert anyone from their community. The Labour Party has clearly abandoned any pretence of representing the working class we see on the streets. MPs Dianne Abbot and David Lammy premise their condemnation of the unrest on the bizarre opinion that those involved are not “representative of the community” but when whole council estates in Hackney come together to destroy CCTV cameras, and attack the police who routinely brutalise tenants, we know this premise is false. In the last few days we have seen an alienated working class on the streets, young and old, multicultural – and united.

The spark for this uprising was the police killing a man, which they subsequently misinformed the family and the public about. From Blair Peach to Cynthia Jarret, from Ian Tomlinson to Smiley Culture and the 1000s of others killed in police custody down the decades, the police kill people and then they lie about it. No-one honestly doubts this any more, and the police surely cannot have expected to continue this disgusting pattern with impunity forever.

The combustion on the streets of London is an indictment of the state of the country, the tragedy of lost homes a painful indictment of today’s society. And yet these events will continue to be likely whilst the working class and black communities suffer oppression at the hands of global corporations, austerity measures, and the police. When the working class community begins such a fight, there can be no doubt where loyalties should lie: With ALL of them and against the police and government.

Posted in Uncategorized | 69 Comments

Hundreds Gather Outside Spanish Embassy in London as Protest Movement Grows Ahead of Forthcoming Elections

Communique from Acampa da Londres which is currently in Belgrave Square opposite the Spanish Embassy in London

On the 21st of May, over 700 people gathered in front of the Spanish embassy in London, supporting what is now known as the ‘Spanish Revolution’. This movement only started a week before, and has already spread all over Spain. Demonstrations are not only occurring in Spain, but also all over the world. Rome, Berlin, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and a long list of other cities have seen people take to the streets to fight for their rights. And now, this movement is also taking place in London.

Raquel Clifford, a spokesperson for London’s Social Spanish Movement, explains the situation, “We are here to claim our right. The right to a real democracy. We are tired of the current system. We are outraged, knowing that our voices are not really heard. We are angry because the people that are supposed to represent us aren´t doing so. We are sick of this system, and we wont have it.”

The demonstrators have divided their tasks into different groups, such as press, planning, online media, and visual media.

Hugo de Armas, who has been part of the demonstration since the beginning said, “We have the duty of spreading this movement as far as possible. Because the same problems that affect us affect them too.”

The atmosphere of the protest has been a peaceful one. People have demonstrated by shouting canticles, jumping around, and clapping. Guillermo Lopez a spokesperson for Democracia Real Ya, said about the day to day plans, “We have arranged a cacerolada (which means saucepan in Spanish and consists in making  a lot of noise with cutlery) and have been staying overnight since Friday. We plan on staying at least until Sunday, which is the day of the municipal elections in Spain. We have been working since dawn ipreparing all of our daily activities. We hold large group discussions regarding the current political situation, encourage everyone to express their concerns, and read the manifest our comrades in Spain are currently writing and debating”

“Politicians don´t represent us” the crowd said.

Esther Romero, who is in charge of the press, wants to make clear that the process does not belong to a certain political agenda “Conservative, Liberal, socialists, religious, non-religious, pro-monarchy, republicans, etc. are here together because of the rejection of our current political system. It is not the movement of a specific party.”

Photos are here

Twitter: @acampadalondres

The Facebook page is here

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communique from Universidad Nomada Regarding Events in Spain

The following is a communique from the Universidad Nomada to Edufactory/ The Knowledge Liberation Front regarding events in Spain.

IT’S NOT JUST INDIGNATION. Inventing new ways of doing politics.

It’s true that we’re indignant. But not just that. If it were just indignation that brought us together in the streets and squares of our cities, the movement would have less force. Once the moment of excitement had passed we would have gone home. That is not what is happening. After the demonstrations, groups – some larger, some smaller – have camped in the squares and after being evicted, have returned again and again. This shows a will to be heard which goes far beyond mere indignation, a will which is opening up new means of doing politics on the basis of the idea that “politics” is not only nor principally a profession – the “business” of the so-called political class – but rather that politics is the only way we have to resolve problems collectively. The capture of politics by those professionals who have turned it into their exclusive terrain, reducing it to a matter of representation and exercising it against the interests of a large part of the population, takes out of our hands those tools without which we are doomed to savage competition amongst ourselves, war between the poor.

The increasing intensity of the crisis has made this model of politics blow up. It has shown clearly that the current politicians use the legitimacy which the voting box grants them in order to make citizens ever more impotent against the demands and requirements of a global capitalist class which the politicians either do not know how to or do not want to tame. No one said things were easy. What we are saying is that we need the tools of politics, of a new kind of politics, in order to find solutions to the current situation.

The partial movements that have emerged recently give us hints in this direction. All of them, from platforms like “Victims of Mortgages”, “Real Democracy Now”, “Youth with no Future”, to the offices of social rights, the social centers, and the assemblies of the unemployed as well as many others have shown a tremendous capacity to oppose the measures imposed by the public administration, to construct partial alternatives and to attempt to disrupt the privatization measures and impoverishment which are underway.

So here we have a social Left which does not coincide with the political “Left.” The latter has been absorbed by economic elites to such an extent that it is difficult to distinguish between the recommendations of the big business groups and the decisions of the politicians. The narrow filter of party democracy impedes meaningful participation. This is why it is now time to get our imagination rolling and seek new forms of articulation which reinvent the political community, putting our collective intelligence to the test. The internet networks are at work; they give shape to the new virtual political space. But we need more: popular citizen assemblies, open encounters, public discussions, institutions which supervise and control the political parties… it is our future, this is our moment.

Montserrat Galcerán of the Nomad University

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Facebook Purge: Corporate power, political influence and the need for alternative networks

There has been much debate as to what impact the internet in general and ‘social media’ in particular will come to have on our politics. It is clear that in developing countries, particularly those of the ‘Arab Spring’ – where the world has seen the downfall of regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and now it seems possibly Libya and Syria – many of the tools of the ‘network society’ such as SMS messaging, e-mail and social networking sites, all had major roles to play. The role of SMS and e-mail in particular – tools not present until the last decade in these countries and rare enough in the OECD countries until the 21st century was massive and can not be understated.

Social media (socially co-produced media that is “many-to-many” and is horizontal in distribution rather than vertical) such as Facebook and Twitter allowed Tunisians to inspire Egyptians and Egyptians to inspire Wisconsinites. With these new tools, news of events were easily shared, undermining the established intermediaries of information within the mainstream media that have tended to reproduce the lines of governments and powerful corporations.

Subsequently, some spoke of how social media could signify a triumph of non-hierarchical communication over hierarchically authorized ‘information’. This seems an unprecedented gain for those passionate about undermining the ability of the powerful to frame debate on their terms while enhancing the ability of the ‘powerless’ to co-ordinate in dissent and political contention.

The Facebook Dilemma – surrendering power to the powerful?

There have been privacy concerns with Facebook for quite a while – especially sinceZuckerberg hired Beltway Security experts in December 2009 so as to maximise profits from passing on user data to companies such as Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft.

Yesterday however may have marked a bell weather moment for Facebook and its willingness to compromise users, their privacy and their ability to freely associate and organise. As Guy Aitchison put it,

Profiles are being deleted without warning or explanation. In the last 12 hours, Facebook has deleted over 50 sites. It may well be that these groups are technically in violation of Facebook’s terms of agreement, which state that participants in social media must not make use of a “fake name”. But the timing – on the royal wedding and May day weekend – is deeply suspicious. We don’t know for certain, but this purge of online organising groups could be linked to the wider crackdown on protest by authorities in Britain. Either way, it is a scandalous abuse of power by Facebook to arbitrarily destroy online communities built up over many months and years. These groups provide a vital means for activist groups to communicate with their supporters.

While these profiles were technically in breach of terms of use, only British anti-cuts profiles were taken down during the 12 hour period. This all being within the broader context of an offline repression of dissent that involved dozens of ‘pre-emptive’ arrests on charges as Kafkaesque as ‘Conspiracy to cause a public nuisance’. There were also raids on squats in London, Bristol and Brighton, heavy handed policing of public assemblies in Glasgow and Bristol and nearly a hundred more arrests on the day itself in and around central London for crimes such as having placards in bagsand potentially offending royalist and homophobic sensibilities. 

It appears that Facebook may have had contact with elements within the British establishment, be it the Home Office or the London Met. Given that these profiles could have been pulled on a technicality anyway, Facebook may have been quite willing to collaborate in shutting down these accounts, denying activist groups the ability to quickly organise around an event the authorities were determined to see pass off without the slightest possibility of protests or disruption. If this is the case and there has been interference from a political authority of some kind then this simply can’t be permitted to set a precedent. Whilst it is possible to claim that these accounts were de-activated en masse following a concerted malicious campaign by right-wingers “reporting” the accounts using the capacity offered to users by Facebook, this seems implausible given the broader context.

Will Facebook abide by the ECHR and the Convention of Human Rights when it is listed for IPO?

If Facebook have acted at the request of a state body of some sort then the ‘Facebook Purge’ is an issue with freedom of association and assembly at its very heart. Here then seems an opportunity to establish whether in the era of social media, corporations are allowed to create “private interest” commons, effectively – gated communities in public discourse, effectively – over the public interest. This would mark a massive reduction in the ability of social media to truly empower the powerless.

Facebook is itself a year away from floatation on the stock market and will persistently reiterate the point of ‘technical issues’. However even if it is the case that accounts were closed on a technical basis at the request of state authorities, Facebook still needs to be given a powerful enough incentive to resist pressure from the police and national security services in the future.

The question then is this. Does the scope of UK law cover the “social impacts” of political oversight over Facebook as set out in (a) Article 20 of the UN Declaration of human rights and (b) Article 11 of the European Convnetion on Human Rights? The answer, in brief, is that it doesn’t.

As a multinational corporation Facebook has a duty to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights outside the framework of national law be it British or otherwise. Indeed the declaration applies to all humanity,


Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Once listed, will Facebook meet the burden of reputational risk associated with protecting the articles as listed above in both the ECHR and the Universal Declaration of human rights?

The ‘burden of proof’ upon the state should be extremely high if they want to curtail people’s right to exercise fundamental freedoms to associate and assemble through social media (if indeed, they should be permitted that right at all). Comparatively, a phone tap requires the Home Secretary’s permission. Such powers as might have been exercised in contacting Facebook with regards to the listed pages that were pulled down, should be no less. What needs to be established is if such powers were invested in reasonably medium-ranking individuals within the Home Office or Scotland Yard in charge of recent anti-cuts policing operations.

The Need for Distributed and Non-Corporate Social Networks

Regardless of who authorized or contacted Facebook with regards to these sites, it is nevertheless a highly significant event that has shown that social media is too precious to allow corporate monopolies to arise. In recent months we have seen its ability to empower the powerless, from the occupations of Wisconsin’s Capitol building to events in Egypt and Tunisia and the highlighting of arrests of dissidents such as Ai Wei Wei in China.

Social media has to go open-source now and move from a client-server model run by a multinational corporation as is the case with Facebook and Twitter to distributed, self-hosted and open-source models such as Thimbl, Diaspora During the golden age of hacking some twenty years ago, the internet was powerful. Now, with two billion users globally, it is popular. Within the context of Facebook listing for its Initial Public Offering next year our mission is to render the internet and social media powerfully popular. This requires us to start using and building viable alternatives that are in every sense of the word ‘ours’, meaning that they are commons-based in production, distribution and ownership.

We have an opportunity to ensure that a once in centuries technology is not held hostage by money or governments and that a historically unprecedented means of democratic and non-hierarchical communication is not compromised. These tools are making the ‘people’ increasingly powerful, let’s keep it that way.

This has been cross posted from Open Democracy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Facebook forced to respond to our campaign for restoration of accounts

Our campaign against Facebook’s arbitrary (and suspiciously timed) deletion of political accounts has forced a response. If an account you administer has been affected and you want to keep your Facebook presence we highly recommend you migrate your Profile to a Page, as described below. We’re still waiting for a full response from Facebook as to why this happened. As Jim Killock, of Open Rights Group, has written we are calling on Facebook to:

  1. Work with these users to transfer their contacts and other information to whatever format Facebook regards as reasonable (eg, users to pages)
  2. Reinstate the suspended pages, with whatever technical changes such as addition of organisation URLs;
  3. Devise a notification system rather than simply deleting content;
  4. Devise a process to migrate “profiles” to “pages”

This is the email activist groups have received from Facebook.


As you may know, Facebook profiles are intended to represent
individual people only. It is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of
Rights and Responsibilities to use a profile to represent a brand,
business, group, or organization. As such, your account was disabled
for violating these guidelines.

If you would like to continue representing your organization on
Facebook, we can convert your profile to a Page. During this process,
all the friends of your profile will be converted to followers of your
Page (i.e., people who like it). In addition, the account associated
with your profile will be converted to a business account, from which
you can administrate your Page and your ad campaigns.

If you use this account to manage any groups, please note that you
will lose your administrative rights to these groups once your profile
is converted. To prevent this from happening, we recommend appointing
a new admin to each of your groups before beginning the conversion

For further information regarding this process, visit the Help Center, here:

When you’re ready to convert your profile to a Page please respond to
this email at

If you have additional questions regarding Facebook products and
features, please visit our Help Center, here:


User Operations

This has been cross posted from UCL Occupation

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Political Facebook Groups Deleted On Royal Wedding Day

The Anti-Cuts Space London facebook group has been taken down without warning or permission. In the last 12 hours, facebook has deleted around 50 sites. Message people in extant groups to warn them, and tell them to get on your email list or twitter account instead. Screw you Zuckerberg.


Open Birkbeck
UWE Occupation
Chesterfield Stopthecuts
Camberwell AntiCuts
IVA Womensrevolution
Tower Hamlets Greens
No Cuts
ArtsAgainst Cuts
London Student Assembly
Beat’n Streets
Roscoe ‘Manchester’ Occupation
Bristol Bookfair
Newcastle Occupation
Socialist Unity
Whospeaks Forus
Ourland FreeLand
Bristol Ukuncut
Teampalestina Shaf
Notts-Uncut Part-of UKUncut
No Quarter Cutthewar
Bootle Labour
Claimants Fightback
Ecosocialists Unite
Comrade George Orwell
Jason Derrick
Anarchista Rebellionist
BigSociety Leeds
Slade Occupation
Anti-Cuts Across Wigan
Firstof Mayband
Don’t Break Britain United
SWP Cork
Westiminster Trades Council
York Anarchists
Rock War
Sheffield Occupation
Central London SWP
North London Solidarity
Southwark Sos
Save NHS
Rochdale Law Centre
Goldsmiths Fights Back
Posted in Uncategorized | 95 Comments