Event Date: 14 October 2012
University of London Union
Defend the Right to Protest 2012 National Conference
AUSTERITY, INJUSTICE & THE POWER OF PROTEST
Across the world people are resisting austerity. They also have to confront violent tactics by the police and the draconian use of the law.
In Britain students demonstrating against fees were subject to kettling and mounted horse charges. In Quebec the authorities responded to an all out strike with emergency laws.
Governments are attempting to undermine effective protest at a time of unprecedented cuts. Faced with public sector strikes, Coalition ministers threatened to introduce more hard line anti-trade union laws. Such attacks also take place against a wider context of injustice and clampdown involving stop and search, police racism and deaths in custody. They include the use of protester “ASBOs”, pre-crime arrests and other infringements of civil liberties as seen around the Royal Wedding and the Olympics.
This conference will take place as people prepare for an autumn of struggle: the TUC march against austerity, the NUS education demonstration and strikes in the private and public sector. It will examine the nature of the current attacks on protest, what laws and tactics are being employed and why. It will look at how protest movements have confronted these challenges in the past and discuss the future of resistance here and internationally. Practical workshops will also inform people of their rights and how to run a defence campaign.
The plenary sessions and some of the workshops have been recorded. You will be able to listen to them below:
Opening Plenary: Resisting the Clampdown – Policing in the Age of Austerity
Introduction by Susan Matthews (DtRtP national secretary).
John McDonnell MP
Sheila Coleman (Hillsborough Justice Campaign)
Jules Carey (lawyer representing Ian Tomlinson’s family)
Darcus Howe (writer and activists)
Alfie Meadows (student defendant)
Janet Alder (sister of Christopher Alder)
Hannah Dee (DtRtP Chair)
Workshop 1: From Egypt to Quebec – organising Solidarity with Global Protest Movements
facilitated by Nina Power
with Nadine El-Enany (Egyptian activist), Jérémie Bédard-Wien (Quebecoise activist) and Artem Proubnikov (Russian activist) [via Skype]
Workshop 4: Reading the Riots
facilitated by Sara El Sheek (student defendant)
with Fahim Alam (aquitted defendant and film maker of riotsreframed.com), Sadie King (Stop criminalising Hacknet Youth) and Brian Richardson (campaigning lawyer)
Closing Plenary: When Fear Changes Sides – The Power of Protest today
Introduction by Rachel Harger (DtRtP).
Tony Kearns (CWU senior deputy general secretary)
Gareth Peirce (campaigning lawyer)
Marcia & Sam Rigg (Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign)
Owen Jones (author of Chavs – the Demonisation of the Working Class)
Toni Pearce (NUS VP)
Dean Harris (We are Waltham Forest)
Jelena Timotijevic (DtRtP convenor and UCU NEC)