|All pics shamelessly nicked from
World Day for Animals in Laboratories has long been a compliant A to B march a long way from the militant spirit displayed at the World Days of old. In the 'old days' (and I am actually only talking a few years ago) there was always a spirit of non-compliance and resistance. This spirit fed the movements energy and manifested itself in a movement that was ready for action and ready to be effective.
While resistance on an A to B march is not as effective as covert direct action it feeds an attitude that allows other resistance to take place but also is an effective tool as part of a diversity of tactics.
This year in Manchester we began to see a return to this spirit from the young, fresh progressive faces within the movement. Although not everything attempted was successful the spirit is something we need to build on, not just at World Day but through out the movement if we are ever to return to the level of effectiveness we had prior to the SHAC trials. There are a number of groups that are pushing forward in this regard including recent SHAC actions and the campaigns against importing animals for experiments.
The first act of mild resistance on the march was an impromptu protest outside a Manchester lab building which saw marchers crossing the road away from the agreed route. While this may seem like nothing it is a mental barrier of authoritarianism being lifted slightly and moves the protest back into the control of the participant, away from authoritarian sterility.
The second action was securing the safety and release of an activist who was attacked by security and detained by police. A reasonable sized group assisted with this and this is the minimum any activist should expect in terms of solidarity from other activists. The activist thanked everyone for their assistance at the end of the march, but there was no need at all. The only regret is that more did not assist.
The next bit of creative, independent thinking was when a sit down protest was attempted by some activists and although this was short lived is exactly the type of autonomy we need to see.
Evidence gatherers attempted to film and photograph the sit down but were unable to do so effectively due to activists employing FITwatch tactics. After the sit down was over three activists then continued the FITwatch action that eventually led to the removal of police evidence gatherers from the march.
There was also a protest against fur (in the middle of in all) at Armani, now that is creative thinking at its best! We should all think about how we can use A to B marches more effectively and not wait for others' instructions.
This is a significant step forward towards the non-compliant World Days of old and a move back to the days of an effective anti-authoritarian movement where the words 'there are no leaders' actually means something! Well done to all involved!