Voices of Resistance from Occupied London *4

Voices of Resistance from Occupied London *4

February 2009. “Between a present yet to go and a future yet to come”. Illustrations by Berlin artist Max Andersson.

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Voices of Resistance from Occupied London (also known as Occupied London) is a free anarchist journal founded in 2007 in theUnited Kingdom. The journal was launched with the aim to provide a platform for discussion across the wider social antagonist movement and has seen significant success in doing so, with contributors spanning across that political spectrum (anarchists,autonomists and others from the wider non-orthodox Marxisttradition). They have so far included - among others - Mike Davis,Zygmunt Bauman, Manuel Castells, Richard Pithouse from South Africa's shack dweller's movement Abahlali Base Mjondolo andGeorge Katsiaficas.

The influences of the journal are diverse, including insurrectionist,situationist, poststructuralist and some elements from theautonomist tradition. Occupied London has featured analyses on contemporary urban culture across Europe, South Africa, theUnited States and other parts of the world. Focus has also been on the present and future of the so-called anti-globalization movement, as well as discussions about the structure and operation of occupied social centres.

Since December 2008 the journal has been running a blog covering the civil unrest in Greece.



And it’s 2007. Eighteen years have passed since Fukuyama proclaimed the “End of History” and his arrogant statement never fails to deliver a good laugh. When did history end? It certainly did not go up in the flames coming out of the Parisian suburbs last year. It was not trampled under the feet of the Latin American populations rioting against president Bush’s visit to their continent last week. It did not disappear in the fields of the Chinese rural populations constantly uprising against their masters, nor did it collapse along with the twenty-four year old now evicted Ungdomshuset social Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark – an eviction only made possible after seven hundred youths were arrested, spectacularly marking the end to the country’s social consent model. How could history end? Capitalism’s contradictions, it’s very own integral accidents make for a promising future. We live in exciting times: gone are the depressingly quiet nineties, ours could truly be an era of resistance and revolt.


And yet, for all his injudiciousness, Fukuyama can ostensibly gain hope by gazing at very specific parts of the globe and London would probably be one of his favourite places to do so. Non-abiding to the physics law that action brings reaction, our city is one of the most tightly controlled and repressed urban spaces in the world yet resistance seems to be scarce. But how did we even get here? The capital city of the Fallen British Empire knew only too well how to go down in style, just like the fallen empire itself: Timely retreat and careful absorption of colonised populations into the ‘homeland’ have made sure that exploding suburbs remain a spectacle to be seen just on the other side of the English Channel. Centuries of experience gained by colonial rule guaranteed that when the colonial process was to be internalised and applied to the homeland’s own populations and cities it would be done so at utmost perfection. Contemporary Britain boasts the most advanced and widely applied surveillance technology systems in the world; control encroaches all elements of the everyday lives of what seems to be a spectacularly apathetic population.


Voices of Resistance from Occupied London was born some 10,000 km away from the British capital, in rural South Africa. One of the oddest things about London is how it is always easier to understand and interpret some of its most striking features from a safe distance. Indeed, the view of our city from afar dictated a need for a strong anarchist presence: If we can do London, we can do any place, we can do all places!


…and most places are not even like London at all. Live here for too long and it becomes only too easy to forget that this condition is an exception, not the rule. Luckily, this is a fact constantly reminded to us by comrades and friends arriving and leaving the city in an endless flux, in turn comprising one of the city’s most promising features. One of the journal’s main aspirations is to use itself as a medium to facilitate the exchange of such experiences and ideas, galvanising links between us here and our friends and comrades ‘abroad’.


In the process of interpreting what it is that represses us in the city we have sought and received the most welcome help of contributors not necessarily abiding to our own ideas and principles. This is an anarchist publication aspiring to offer space to all people from the wider spectrum of the antagonist social movement.