**Please circulate widely**
The project is actively recruiting research participants who plan to attend either (or both) upcoming protest events in London, UK:
- BRITAIN NEEDS A PAYRISE demonstration organized by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Saturday 18th October 2014. More details can be found here: http://britainneedsapayrise.org/
- FREE EDUCATION: NO FEES. NO CUTS. NO DEBT demonstration organized by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) on Wednesday 19th November 2014. More details: http://anticuts.com/
The expectation is that (a) participants are committed to attending either or both of the above events, (b) they are willing to record their involvement using a personal video camera or other device (smartphone etc.), (c) desire to be interviewed on the footage at a later date, and (d) be willing for the recorded data to be used in further analysis across the course of the Playing with Protest research project.
Any and all attendees are welcome to sign-up. Participants with specific mobility needs are especially encouraged to get in contact. There is no expectation that participants walk or otherwise participate in the ‘official’ routes/route lengths in its entirety.
More details will be given to prospective participants once they have signed-up. To do so, please fill in the contact form on the Participation Sign-up page on the Playing with Protest website. If you have any questions regarding ethics, practicalities, technology use or other such issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
At London Student. From within:
One increasingly observes a shift to highly choreographed, state-sponsored protest as the only legitimate form of political action on the [UK] street[s]. Simultaneously, the police are becoming ever more determined to make arrests before protests have even occurred, preferring not to deal with finer details such as whether or not the law has been broken. All of this – the data collection, the pre-arrests, the mass arrests, the assaults on activists, the malicious prosecution – is done to actively undermine free assembly and association.
A 10 minute video on the police tactics employed during OWS nearly 2 years ago on the eve of its anniversary (via the sparrow project). The narration grounds the visual evidence of multiple arrests in relation to their apparent arbitrary nature, based on clothing, personal appearances and facial hair. Interesting in light of the mass arrests in Tower Hamlets recently.
It is also worth noting the similarity to the strategies employed by the London Metropolitan Police Force over the last few years. Although I would perhaps break from the videographers’ narrative to suggest that onward movement during such events is not necessarily a bad thing, and can in fact, as the Met well know, create even more problems for the police.
A Comment is Free video over at the Guardian. Aside from taking rhizomatic as his own concept, this is a relatively good introduction by Manuel Castells into the dynamic of protest movements, urban space and what he calls ‘cyberspace’. I’m always a little wary of the latter category hence the scare quotes.
I find it a little odd people like Castells are still trying to make sharp boundaries between urban (‘physical’) and cyber (‘non-physical’) space. The city is full of digital technology – in fact, contemporary cities are positively built on it, so why when it comes to discussing protest movements do we essentialize urban space as being pure, physical, non-digital space? Conversely, why do we see the digital as not having an effect on ‘on the ground’ protest? It patently does.