On 2 March Hackney council passed its budget. As in other boroughs local activists demonstrated against the meeting. The road outside the town hall was blockaded and activists inside chanted slogans at councillors, disrupting the meeting at one point, before agreeing to let it continue. I was glad to be there.
That said, more would have been possible if Hackney Alliance activists had developed a plan to disrupt the meeting. We have since learned that the Lambeth Town Hall occupation was the product of a lot of preparation (see Solidarity 195). In Hackney, and I’m sure elsewhere, there is a feeling that direct action “just happens”, that crowds act completely spontaneously to carry out very radical tactics. This is simply not true.
Security was very tight at the Hackney budget meeting, but it was not beyond the capability of the Hackney Alliance to organise chanting inside that would have halted the meeting a second time. This might have allowed us to at least stage an occupation of the public gallery and offered a greater spectacle of resistance to the council and local people. It could have all gone wrong, of course, but better preparation would have given us more chances.