Seriously? A ‘Day of Rage’?
The problem I have with this protest in London is two-fold. The first is wanting to ‘bring down the government’ (according to the event page on Facebook), which is totally wrongheaded.

And I say this as someone who generally supports Jeremy Corbyn.

The second reason is much more ominous to me – and is to do with language, branding and connotations. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Anyone who reads this blog often enough knows that I’m not defending Theresa May’s government. And most of the reasons people are angry with the government and protesting against it are reasons I entirely agree with.

And, although I generally identify with the left (and I generally identify with the reasons stated for this protest), I try always to be objective here and to not stay stuck in my natural biases. And I worry about some of the hard-left activism – or, perhaps, dubious elements that seem to attach themselves to otherwise genuine protest operations. The same sort of thing happens in America and in lots of other places.

In this current case, there has already been a protest to demand the Conservatives step down from government after the election result; and now the Grenfell Tower tragedy – rightly or wrongly – seems to have provided a catalyst for further protest.

I am generally avoiding conspiracy theories about the Grenfell Tower fire – though there are a lot of them about – but it is worth saying that people and family members associated with the tower were apparently complaining about the protest and about their situation being hijacked and exploited by other groups with their own agendas.

The march yesterday in Whitehall was organised by something called the ‘Movement For Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ)’; in the end, only about 500 people turned up, so it wasn’t anything like as big as expected.

But the main concerns I have with this – and it’s the reason I’m bothering to post about it – is the very dubious ‘Day of Rage’ branding. In fact, it’s only when I heard it being referred to as a ‘Day of Rage’ that I started paying more attention.

Now, ok, ‘Day of Rage’ has become a popular branding for these things – and yes, I know that the term goes back to the late sixties and the protests against the Vietnam War. But, in more modern terms, the ‘Day of Rage’ is associated with the Arab Spring, and in particular the ‘protests’ that hit Libya and Syria in the beginning of 2011.

The protests against Gaddafi in February 2011 were literally branded the ‘Day of Rage’ and were organised outside of Libya and via Western intelligence-agency fake social media. I covered in a book how the fake social media accounts were created by the US military (the relevant sources and links are in the PDF) and the ‘Day of Rage’ was concocted by agencies in London and France.

It’s purpose? To collapse the state and plunge Libya into chaos. Here’s some archived media coverage of the ‘Day of Rage’ in Libya (see Al-Jazeera and The Independent coverage from 2011); and here’s some of the ‘Day of Rage’ in Syria (here and here).

In Libya, it was the trigger for the catastrophic sequence of events that destroyed that country; in Syria, it was the trigger for the brutal, bloody ‘Civil War’ that has torn that country apart for six years.

So I get very suspicious when I see an organised ‘Day of Rage’ in London, whose stated aim is to ‘bring down the government’ and ‘shut down London’. Maybe I shouldn’t be so touchy about it – but that branding has very ominous connotations and I get defensive any time I hear it.

Along similar lines, the ‘Movement For Justice’ brand also concerns me a little, as it evokes – again, maybe just to me – the ‘Movement for Justice and Development in Syria’: a political party and movement founded in 2006 and based in London. Its purpose has always been regime change in Syria and the overthrowing of the Syrian state. It is also linked to the discredited Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – a UK based regime-change propaganda organisation that has been highly active in the Western propaganda content for the regime change in Syria, and to the London-based Syrian opposition satellite channel ‘Barada TV’, which has been exposed as having been massively funded by the US State Department.

For the record, I’m not condemning people involved in the London march or people protesting the government. I’m just saying I’m a little suspicious about some of the language, branding and associations.

It is interesting that protests in America in 2016 under the banner of ‘Day of Rage’ were claimed to be organised or called for by the ‘Anonymous’ hacktivist group were then also disputed by sources claiming to represent the same Anonymous collective. In other words, various operators were trying to push the ‘Day of Rage’ events in multiple US cities as ‘Anonymous’ operations, but they appeared not to be.

The problem with something like Anonymous is that it is so open-ended and impossible to define that, essentially, anyone can post or organise anything under the ‘Anonymous’ banner, but that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s the branding that’s potent and popular and imparts a kind of added legitimacy or coolness of brand recognition; where often, in essence, people have no idea who is behind a particular push for unrest or demos.

These things are open to manipulation and infiltration and to being steered in directions that aren’t in anyone’s best interests.

That’s why I’m always cautious towards these things. I saw, up-close, how quickly these things can spiral out of control – I was caught up in the London Riots in 2011. Those riots – which spread across much of the country – were, initially, based on a dubious protest against police, but almost instantaneously descended into mindless anarchy, vandalism, violent crime and mass looting. Hardly anyone involved in that violence and rioting was politically motivated – they just wanted chaos, to lash out at society, and just wanted to steal stuff.

Again, I’m not saying the people organising this London march are in the same category, because I don’t think they are: but it is very, very easy for your own events or agendas to be taken over by other parties and taken in other directions. Agent-provocateurs or ‘agents of chaos’ can very easily be inserted into these things.

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The group behind the London event is being described in some places as a hard-left Marxist group, and also as ‘militants’. Some of this is, no doubt, deliberate language in right-wing media to ridicule or discredit leftist organisations.

For the record, I dislike Theresa May’s government almost as much as I dislike Donald Trump’s – but there’s no point in calling for her downfall via threats of unrest or mob rule, given that we just had an election and her government – technically – got more votes than the opposition.

Not for the first time, I find myself being highly dubious about a protest operation – even though, on the surface of it, I probably agree with most of the underlying issues and stated grievances. I had the same issues with the protests against Trump’s presidential election victory: even though I probably agreed with most of the reasons people were opposed to Trump, I also found it a little troubling to be protesting the result of a democratic election, even if it was a very dubious election.

It also concerns me that some of this kind of stuff serves to actually undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s position at a point when he was actually in a very good position after the election.

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Comments
  1. Couldn’t agree more really. I believe there is actually strong evidence that Trump stole the election, but the main protests in the US never bothered to raise this – Jill Stein was bothered and many did back her campaign but no-one took to the streets. Instead they complained about the electoral college system which is just as pointless as moaning retrospectively about results thrown up by our first-past-the-post system. Under PR the Tories would be ousted and this would be the fairer result, but instead, as you say, they now have the legitimate right to form a very weak government. I wish Corbyn and McDonnell would publicly acknowledge this. Protests on the streets are a dangerous way forward. We must beware of being led into greater chaos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ebolainfo says:

    Yep, you see the “socialist worker” banners at rallies. I have interacted with this group and consider them dubious.
    They are as despicable as the Nasty Tory party to use Grenfell for their own ends.
    If these agitators were sincere, then help identify, expose and bring the colluders to book.

    Like

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