On 15 February, British anarchists will mark their first ‘Aggravated Activist Day’, after the event was called by participants in a workshop at the Anarchist Bookfair in London last September.
The workshop was run by Netpol, the Network for Police Monitoring, which pointed out in March 2021 that the police had stopped using the label ‘domestic extremist’, and replaced it with ‘aggravated activist’.
Anarchists are classified by the police as taking part in ‘high-level aggravated activism’ because ‘dismantling of the state or rule of law (eg anarchism)’ is seen as an immediate ‘substantial’ political objective.
‘This higher level of “threat” is handled by Counter Terrorism Policing, a network of regional police intelligence units coordinated by the National Police Chiefs Council,’ Netpol pointed out in an article on the Freedom website.
Netpol suggests ‘Aggravated Activist Day’ could be a chance to challenge state propaganda and to ‘publicly celebrate the many campaigns and community initiatives, influenced by anarchist principles, who are trying to assist working class and racialised communities to survive and to resist a government that is interested only in the interests of the rich and powerful.’
The group points out that a lot of anarchist activity is ‘rooted in everyday practicalities: through mutual aid projects such as local food banks, through renters unions, in workplace solidarity and in anti-raids or police monitoring groups.’
Netpol quotes from the film Pride, about lesbians and gay men supporting miners during the 1984 strike: ‘There is a long and honourable tradition in the gay community and it has stood us in good stead for a very long time. When somebody calls you a name, you take it and you own it.’