Alarm has been going for approximately a year, since over 80 people attended the founding meeting on 15 May 2011. There have been some fun times and some frustrating ones. When numbers dropped and meetings began to feel stale, we knew something had to change – it was time either for a drastic overhaul or to quit and humbly call it a day. But as this is the year of the olympic games, the jubilee and all this under a conservative Government, it’s crucial despite everything that we organise and think smart, because the poor will get poorer still and the rich drip in riches before our very eyes. While more and more children in the U.K. classify as living under the poverty line for example, as Anarchists we cannot afford to ignore this urgent matter. Continuing with internal squabbling any longer when the situation is critical is counter revolutionary. And we need to each ask ourselves; as Anarchists do we want to be a part of the struggle against the system or do we do nothing and as good as lay down and die?
For some of us who are losing our jobs, our public services, our benefits and our homes there is no option left but to fight. Because governments and power concede nothing without a fight.
We met up for an AGM after a lengthy break to reflect on our time together as a collective working as Alarm. The meeting was held at the same place we held our very first meeting. But this time the mood was very sombre. We all took it very seriously and there were splits of opinion as to the future of the group. Around 15 turned up and we all awaited our turn to share our thoughts. Nearing the end of our first half of the meeting was a vote. The results were worthy of any satanic cult. 666. 6 abstained, 6 wanted to keep Alarm and 6 wanted to see it die. But at the end of the day the group is bigger than any one individual. It has managed to sustain this long and we have a bunch of amazing organisers ready and willing to work with one another. The spark that enlightened the very idea of Alarm is still very much alive and hasn’t gone anywhere. So thank you to all those that have put anything towards Alarm. It has been a memorable journey to say the least.
The second vote at the end of the meeting counted a higher percentage of people who abstained. So that means that only around 3 people who attended the meeting actually quit for good. The condition for the abstainers was that they could change their mind and re-join at any point should they wish. But those that wanted to continue were free to, and also entitled to keep the same name and all that goes with it.
As Alarm, some of the things members past and present have done thus far is to create a well read blog and a vibrant facebook page, set up a phone tree, hold Red & Black socials, expand Mixed Martial Arts, and help with demos such as the one against Eton that Ian Bone was a part of.
Off the top of my head here is a list of our achievements so far:
- July 2011 – ALARM street meeting at Marxism (ULU)
- August 2011 – ALARM paper – riot special
- September 2011 – Anti EDL mobilisation in Tower Hamlets
- October 2011 – Stall & meeting at London Anarchist Bookfair
- November 2011 – ALARM talk at Bank of Ideas
- November 2011 – Attended N9 student demo – handed out leaflets / bust cards produced for the occasion
- November 2011 – The Only Cuts We Want to See poster / paper – distributed on N30 ant-cuts demo
- January 2012 – ALARM conference
… And more recently we got swanky new badges made.
We realise that we need not replicate what is already in existence. For example we want to start supporting other libertarian groups that are doing an amazing job. Radical London for example is one that we will make every effort to hook up with and intend to work alongside. To offer assistance where we can for local community based issues and act with speed.
Also we have talked about practical measures we can take as citizens relating to housing evictions. The poor in London will face one of the heaviest gentrification wars we’ve seen yet and if we have the will and the numbers we could resist hundreds of evictions across boroughs and keep families with a roof over their heads instead of just doing nothing whilst homelessness increases in multitude. The state and the police don’t have the resources to quell a major disturbance on that scale. We could make a fuss of ourselves on behalf of and with working class families – especially mothers and children, the disabled or the elderly who are always the biggest victims of austerity measures. All this takes is dedication to re-affirm our community strength. People will fight back no matter what. They do not need much encouragement or explaining to about the current affairs. They live the struggle, day in day out. These are the people that make up part of the public. These we’ve failed to attract. But we need to start to appeal to them and they should know that an viable alternative exists. What we need is a safety net in place that is effective in supporting people and winning battles. We don’t have time for hollow words. But we must all pull our socks up and do our bit. Don’t ask what Anarchism can do for you. But what you can do for Anarchism!
We want to create a safe space where everyone feels they can contribute ideas and participate straight away. We don’t count how long you’ve been in the group. Rather what is valid is what you’re doing right now. With the refurbished, new-and-improved, teamwork-like spirit, Alarm means business. We will set out a strategic plan of clear aims and how we propose to achieve them. We would like to build links with other Anarchists nationwide. We intend to carry on meeting regularly as and when (depending on the events on that week). This is all yet to be discussed and finalised at our next meeting (details below). So far Alarm has got members from FemCells, Sol Fed, anti fascist affinity groups and others and we hope to strengthen our relationship with Radical London, No Borders, Environmentalists, Fit Watch, Space Hijackers, the Anarchist Book Fair team and the RMT to name a few.
Where our strength could lay as a group is propaganda. Propaganda is one of the most effective ways to spread our message in this concrete jungle. We would like to create a constant street presence and be creative with it. And never compromising on the tone of our radical voice. In the Anarchist movement since Class War and also W.A.G there has been plenty of room for new groups to break boundaries and to offend the rich, the corporations, the royals, the bankers, the crooked MP’s and all the other undesirables of this society. With the gusto of Anarchist Lucy Parsons we shall proceed to ruffle a few feathers along the way! Until then keep and eye on our facebook for updates of actions/events/skill shares/meetings and general info coming up.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday 18 May from 6pm till 8pm at the London Action Resource Centre (LARC). The Red & Black Club social (its 2nd anniversary!) will follow from 8pm, and promises to contain a hub of activists, organisers and all that jazz. Although we had a rough patch, this does feel exciting again and the potential is enormous. We gotta finally turn this ‘scene’ into a movement. Are you with us?
Minutes of part two of Alarm AGM 13 May / Agenda for next meeting
In the second half of the AGM we discussed future Alarm activities listed below. These form the agenda for discussion at the next meeting on Friday 18 May 6pm at LARC:
- Elect new treasurer and secretary
- Bring out newspaper
- Explore potential affects of changes to London over coming months
- Offer assistance and support to already-existing groups and organisations that appeal to our politics
- Co-sponsor events with other groups e.g. Radical London
- Eviction support – push out from squatter movement to local communities
- Skill shares and workshops on evictions and more
- Re-evaluate and improve electronic communications (including setting up author accounts for Alarm blog)