Green and Black Cross are having their 5th birthday party this Friday at DIY Space for London. Come down to support their brilliant work and celebrate five years of premier legal support.
Green and Black Cross Legal is five this winter, born out of the police clampdown on student resistance to increased tuition fees under the coalition government. From stop and search, through mass arrests to political prosecutions, the group works to counter state violence toward protesters and has grown into a fascinating anarchist experiment. In that time we’ve supported thousands of people from many backgrounds in their rebellions and protests. From a 24/7 legal support hotline to legal observers on the streets, a hub for gathering evidence from the public on big demos, to facilitating defendants’ groups after arrest.
We believe in and support the kind of democratic change that comes from below. Our emphasis is on support for people rising up and taking control of the direction of their lives. Many issues occur over and over for a broad range of groups – from housing and climate justice campaigns, to actions by feminists, migrants, anti-fascists, squatters, students, disabled people and more, we see important social struggles being met with repression and prosecution. And within the common themes, there are important variations: we’re currently collaborating on new training sessions for people of colour and trans* and non-gender binary folks, whose particular experiences of policing have much to teach us. GBC is committed to non-hierarchical structures, and almost all our work is voluntary. As we supported an increasing number of actions and arrested people, our admin load became overwhelming and we now have one part-time paid worker to specifically help with this.
The London group meets monthly, and people take turns to be part of the team who manage developments between meetings. As a network across England and Wales, we juggle the tensions of autonomous local groups working alongside the behemoth that is London. Anarchist legal support is done in solidarity, rather than following a ‘service provider’ model. This includes training groups, where they desire, to become self-sufficient in skills for observing and interacting with the police. Our quarterly Legal Observer trainings are a good place to start for those who want to support dissent but aren’t clear where to start. They deliver practical knowledge of how to observe policing and disseminate useful messages about people’s rights, equally for those looking to work with a particular group and those who want to use the skills more generally. We also run Know Your Rights workshops, to build confidence for protesters to know what they’re getting into legally, knowledge that can undermine the intimidation and harassment practiced routinely by police forces around the country. Have a look for a leaflet by us and our great chumrades at Legal Defence & Monitoring Group about why you should give some money to movement legal support. And more importantly, all celebrate at our 5th birthday party, Friday the 4th of December at the DIY Space at 96-108 Ormside Street, London, SE15 1TF