Choose Your Shield

7 02 2012

Which do you like better?

Climate Camp's "Face Shields" 2007, precursor to the Occupy movement

Climate Camp's "Face Shields" in 2007, precursor to the Occupy movement

Or would you consider to be more effective?

#OO shields #J28

Shields in Oakland on #J28 (via SF Weekly)

The answer may depend on one’s intentions, but consider this about the former:

The Face Shields were used as part of a mass action at Heathrow against the proposed third runway. The shields featured large-scale pictures of real people whose lives had been affected by climate change. These images were put on cardboard boxes, and handles were attached to the backside. Inside the cardboard boxes was not only stuffing to protect protester from police batons, but pop up tents. In this fashion the tents were able to sneak past police lines and once at the targeted destination, British Airport Authority, they were used to camp overnight forming a blockade. Such occupations by Climate Camp are a precursor to the occupy movement.  (more on Face Shields here)

Versus the headline that goes with the latter:

Occupy Oakland: Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Protesters

Here’s what the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination‘s brilliant A User’s Guide to Demanding the Impossible has to offer (our emphasis):

During recent demonstrations in Rome, students brought out shields to defend against police batons, with book covers painted onto them. Culture itself appeared to be resisting the cuts. During the 2007 Climate Camp protests in London, shields appeared with huge haunting photographic portraits of the faces of climate refugees upon them. The TV cameras caught the police striking these faces with their batons to contain the crowd. Such re-engineering can be directly functional as well as symbolically powerful.  (Link to download book here)

Again, it all gets back to the question of the movement’s intention, now and for the future, and how much of that is about growth.  In the context of the battle for hearts and minds taking place via the mainstream media, it’s something to seriously consider on a tactical level.

Additional links and free publications produced in the midst of student uprisings:

We Demand The Impossible: An Interview with John Jordan and Gavin Grindon. – 19 July 2011.  Marc Garrett interviews John Jordan and Gavin Grindon about their collaborative publication, A User’s Guide to Demanding the Impossible.

Occupy Everything! Reflections on why it’s kicking off everywhere – 28 Jan 2012.  Ed. Alessio Lunghi & Seth Wheeler

Penned after the 2010 European student unrest and before what is now commonly referred to as the “Arab spring” began to escalate, BBC Newsnight economist Paul Mason’s “20 Reasons Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere” sought to establish an understanding of the motivations behind these globally disparate, yet somehow connected struggles.

What roles do the “graduate with no future,” the “digital native” or the “remainder of capital” play in the current wave of unrest? What are the ideas, ideologies, motivations or demands driving these movements? How is struggle organized and coordinated in the age of memetic politics and viral ad campaigns?

This collection of essays seeks to further explore Paul Mason’s original 20 Reasons in an attempt to better understand our turbulent present.

(Link to Scribd and free download).




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