Floating Anarchy on The SUWA Show (June 2016)



today’s episode of The SUWA Show features Coggo of the Melbourne Street Medics and Alana Lentin of the University of Western Sydney.

nb. 3cr held a radiothon june 6-19. you can still donate to the station to halp keep people-powered radio on air; if you wanna support The SUWA Show nominate it when you donate!

links of relevance:

Too diverse?, David Goodhart, Prospect Magazine, February 20, 2004
Austerity and war against multiculturalism, Alana Lentin, openDemocracy, June 21, 2016
Island retreat: on hate, violence and the murder of Jo Cox, Aaron Winter, openDemocracy, June 20, 2016
Racism and the EU referendum: a state of emergency, Brendan McGeever, openDemocracy, June 21, 2016
Refocusing anti-racism: delineating and combatting opportunistic racism in the mainstream, Aurelien Mondon, openDemocracy, June 22, 2016

pro-tips [via melbsmc]:


This Sunday: it is best to assume that we are safer – together – in a large crowd.

Difficult situations such as confrontations with fascists can be frightening but it is important to spread calm in the crowd at all times.

A normal response to high intensity situations is often to speed up – freeze, fight or flee. Sometimes these instincts are necessary to our survival but spreading calm means knowing when to slow down, breathe and assess the situation.

Another great way to spread calm is not to run.

Running sends out confusing signals: it’ll cause the counter rally to loose cohesion, it’ll create panic and most devastatingly of all people WILL get left behind!

In crisis situations people tend to mirror the emotions of those around them, so if things are appearing a bit [chaotic] stay calm and suggest a safer position by saying something like “I think we should walk over there”, rather than shouting something alarming like “RUN!”

Good communication with your buddy, the people around you and the marshals means we are all acting in solidarity with each other … and no one gets left behind!


Victoria Police have an ever increasing record of pepper spray deployment.

The very best advice regarding pepper spray is to not get sprayed or contaminated!

Consider wearing a scarf, mask and/or eye protection to the action.

If you see that pepper spray is about to be deployed:
– STAY CALM AND DON’T PANIC. There are lots of good reasons to avoid panic: panic is contagious and if groups of people panic, they almost always make poor decisions and quickly descend into chaos
– WALK, DON’T RUN away from the pepper spray
– AVERT YOUR EYES, MOUTH AND NOSE (calling loudly: “Pepper spray! Cover up!” is a comradely thing to do also); bury your face into a scarf or under your shirt

If you are contaminated either by primary or secondary exposure, here are some crucial tips to get you through it:
– STAY CALM. Exposure to pepper spray is awful but this is the worst part and with prompt aftercare, things will quickly begin to get better. Opening your eyes will be the most difficult moment but acute symptoms can usually be overcome within 20mins-2 hours, with appropriate aftercare
– COME STRAIGHT TO THE STREET MEDICS! Work together with your buddies and the crowd in getting all casualties quickly to the Street Medics. Loudly call “MEDIC” and others will know to assist. Melbourne Street Medic Collective members are trained in pepper spray decontamination and use protocols in alignment with global street medicine practice
– DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES RUB YOUR EYES and avoid touching yourself altogether (if however you are wearing contact lenses, these must be removed as soon as possible)
– DON’T SCREAM. This will only draw the chemicals deeper into your airways

If you are exposed to pepper spray you will need to change your clothes before going indoors or entering a vehicle or public transport and you will also need to take special care when you arrive home. The Melbourne Street Medics can provide more information in the event of exposure.


At the very least, bring one trusted friend/family member (but ideally 2 or 3) to buddy with at a rally. You will be their rock and they will be yours; stick together like glue.

Sometimes things will get out of hand, especially if <> are involved and you WILL need each other. Use the buddy system to assess each other’s mental & emotional state, get a second opinion; share supplies; be each other’s advocate, especially if you encounter the police or need the assistance of street medics. Most of all you can help keep each other safe.

Before the rally kicks off, write the phone number of buddy(s) in permanent marker on your arm . Being a buddy means you never leave your partner(s) field of vision but, if you do get split up during the action, be certain to have a back-up plan or meeting place in mind so you can hook up again later.

Leave the rally with your buddy(s); seeing each other off home/on public transport/to their bikes/cars etc out of harm. Under no circumstances should members of your organisation be left abandoned, by themselves, without transport, as has happened at previous actions.

Check in with them over the next days with a phone call/face to face contact/social media. If you have to come alone, please try and make your presence known to another approachable, friendly looking comrade who you can mutually have each other’s back for as per above.


It is very important that you have enough basic supplies to keep yourself warm, hydrated and protected from the elements at political actions, particularly when they could go for a while. This makes it easier on you, and ensures you respect the people around you by not assuming they will just take care of everything for you.

First and most importantly, bring a bottle of water – dehydration can creep up on you, especially in cold weather when you’re less likely to be conscious of drinking water. Street medics can’t carry enough water for everyone, and this goes double if pepper spray is deployed and we need to conserve water for decontamination. A couple of low-GI snacks such as bananas and muesli bars are also good to have on hand, as going without food can lead to low blood sugar levels and put you at risk of dizziness, fainting, and not thinking clearly (try to eat at least a small breakfast too).

Sensible wet weather clothing and enclosed shoes are also important – standing around cold and soaking wet is a surefire way to speed up hypothermic symptoms, especially if you have been exposed to pepper spray, and thongs are a bad idea with crowds of people or police horses about!

If you take medications (or have an asthma inhaler), please remember to bring a small supply with you, particularly in the case of arrest or if you find yourself being unable to leave an area for an extended period of time.

And, finally, try to bring a small amount of cash (enough for a taxi) and a Myki card with a little bit of money on it, ensuring you are able to leave if a situation becomes unsafe.


About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2023 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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