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  • Protests in London this week - who’s going?

    by Sunny
    27th March, 2009 at 5:51 pm    

    I’ll be in London tomorrow at the Put People First / Stop Climate Chaos march/protest. Anyone else coming? On Wednesday, I’ll be going to the anti-G20 march, as part of the environmental strand, because I want to and have to write it up for the Guardian. Who else will be around?

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    1. pickles

      New blog post: Protests in London this week - who’s going?

    1. Riz Din — on 27th March, 2009 at 6:21 pm  

      I would come if I lived around London dude. Even as a pro-capitalist, there is much in the Put People First Agenda that is worthy (from my perspective).

    2. Riz Din — on 27th March, 2009 at 6:33 pm  

      Apologies for the blasting of the comments but I just used my ‘precog’ connection to bring up advance footage of the march and had to share:

    3. Sunny — on 27th March, 2009 at 7:05 pm  

      haha, quality pic riz!

    4. Andrew Adams — on 27th March, 2009 at 7:29 pm  

      I may well be there tomorrow.

      I will certainly be in the City on Wednesday, because I, er, work in the City.

    5. fug — on 27th March, 2009 at 8:36 pm  

      the alternative summit at UeL should be interesting. Which horseman are you riding with?

    6. The Dude — on 27th March, 2009 at 9:14 pm  

      I hope to be there with my little but tough Canon G7 camera, taking pictures. It’s going to be one hell of a week.

    7. MaidMarian — on 27th March, 2009 at 10:08 pm  

      ‘the Put People First/Stop Climate Chaos march/protest’


      It sounds a bit like how, ‘stop the war,’ suddenly became, ‘stop the war/freedom for Palestine,’ almost without anyone noticing.

      This sounds a bit like we may end up with another panto horse of a protest where the imperative is numbers of feet on the ground and pictures on the news rather than speaking coherently.

      While an approach, ‘what are you protesting against - what have you got?’ is well and good it hardly makes for deep politics, still less conviction. Like STW/FFP, this all looks short-termist at best.

      And that is before we ask whether putting people first and stopping climate chaos (whatever that means) actually reconcile. Goodness only knows which end of the panto horse is which.

      I like my politics at a level that runs a bit deeper than getting it all off my chest for a day in front of the TV cameras.

      I long for the day when a movement comes along that I can put my shoulder to the wheel for - generalised anti New Labour (and let’s be honest - that is what this is really about first and foremost) does not cut it. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know.

    8. Nyrone — on 28th March, 2009 at 12:49 am  

      LOL, great picture Riz..

    9. Sunny — on 28th March, 2009 at 2:27 am  

      I like my politics at a level that runs a bit deeper than getting it all off my chest for a day in front of the TV cameras.

      Sure, but no one is denying that. That’s what we do all day here… but protest is part of any democracy. I don’t see why people feel the urge to constantly undermine it.

    10. fug — on 28th March, 2009 at 4:15 am  

      Its the destructive, conservative contrarian spirit of humankind. a lot of people dont understand the demonstration scenario and have strange expectation and.

    11. Bert Rustle — on 28th March, 2009 at 8:49 am  

      Riz Din 2 Can you do one with Daniel Hannan?

    12. damon — on 28th March, 2009 at 10:00 am  

      I’m about to set off for the demo in a few minutes.
      But I think I’ll be more of an observer than an actual participant. There’s something about these leftist protest marches that leaves me a bit cold these days.
      Before it was those Tony Blair masks, and those paper mache large George Bush heads that I found somewhat inane. (And those blokes on recumbent bicycles who cycle in and out and around the place and seem to think they add something to the protest).
      And the confused cocofany of the whole thing.

      I don’t really want to be part of a demonstration that includes the likes of ‘Plane Stupid’. Or to be honest, those ‘direct action’ climate camp types either.

      And as for those childish ejits who want to have a confrontation with the police and smash up a McDonald’s or Starbucks?? Those people should be seen as the enemy of a protest march like today’s.

      Hope it doesn’t rain too much.

    13. MaidMarian — on 28th March, 2009 at 11:10 am  

      Sunny (9) - ‘ I don’t see why people feel the urge to constantly undermine it.’

      I’m not unermining protest as such - just the terms that 2000s brand protest seems to have taken. Let me perhpas put this another way, ‘put people first/stop climate chaos,’ is not a cause. It’s a conflation of things that barely, if at all reconcile.

      In the early 1980s, CND had a million plus paid up members (in a recession) and a coherent message. They did not need violence to capture the media’s attention.

      I’m not running down protest Sunny - I just don’t see why, if I want to protest about putting people first it means I have next to someone who thinks I should go and live in a yurt.

      CND had its share of dreamers and naive idealism, no question. But current day protests just feel as though they would protest against motherhood and applie pie if Brown said those were good things.

      I don’t undermine protest Sunny, the protest leaders do a perfectly good job themself with their silly desire to create protests more panto horse than streamlined throughbred.

      I’m off to Aintree.

    14. Riz Din — on 28th March, 2009 at 11:20 am  

      Here you go Bert:

      And really, I’m not sure what Sunny is up to here - my mole took this picture from the pre march meeting:

      Maybe the joke is on us?

    15. Riz Din — on 28th March, 2009 at 11:23 am  

      MM - Perhaps you should get out there and protest against protest…no, hold on, that doesn’t work.

      ; )

    16. damon — on 28th March, 2009 at 3:31 pm  

      I’ve just done the whole thing from start to finish, but couldn’t be bothered to stay around for the speeches from the stage as there was a delay. (So said Tony Robison off the TV programme Time Team)

      If anyone else was there, tell me about the demographic make up of the people.
      Was it just my cynical eye that saw it as mostly the ”usual suspects”? The tired old left - all those SWP’ers and Stop the War people (”From the river to the sea - Palestine shall be free”) Yawn.

      The black clad anarchists are a joke these days. I was next to them when they went past downing street.
      Not even an empty Special Brew can was thrown.
      What ever happened to the crusties of old?

      As for ethnic representation - the march as a whole was unrepresentitive of London … or even the Home Counties.
      Where were the Asians and the people of Afro - Caribbean origin?
      (In any numbers I mean. Of course there was every kind of race or demographic represented there, but I’m talking about people in numbers).
      I didn’t see one MAB placard. (Or hijab for that matter).

      It finished in Hyde Park up near Speakers Corner, and I just walked up to this internet cafe on Edgware road where I am now. So much Arabic and Middle East influence here where I am now, but it seemed that the demonstration that I have just left made absolutely no impression here.

      When I talked like this on another left wing website I had people calling me a racist.
      For just saying what I saw.
      But from what I saw today, much of this green/eco/anti-bankers sorts of protest is middle class and white, … with some union activists thrown in for good measure.

      Actually, there was a group of ”right working class blokes” in GMB T shirts, but they were almost an exotic subspecies on the day.

      This march (I’m affraid to say) did not deserve the media publicity it has had. It was dull.

    17. marvin — on 28th March, 2009 at 5:33 pm  

      Hahaha those pictures are brilliant Riz Din!

      Thanks for the report Damon…. Sorry, no offence… but of course it was white middle class though! Largely poor little rich kids from Surrey! That’s what does annoy me. I’d like to add up the wealth of all the kids parents who attended the march. I reckon it would be an astronomical amount!

    18. damon — on 28th March, 2009 at 6:13 pm  

      No Marvin, I didn’t mean (as you say) ”Largely poor little rich kids from Surrey”. It wasn’t really like that.
      In fact the average age of the marchers in general was probably well above 30. It wasn’t kids, unless you count the usual SWP newspaper sellers, who are (or look like) college students.

      Far from being youthful, there was more of an air of a CND march about the event. (ie: lots of OAP’s in sensible outdoor clothing carrying thermos flasks).

      So the thing about them being all spoilt little rich kids, is quite a way off I think. That sounds a bit like those ignorant radio talk show hosts who talk about ”rent-a-mob” and about how protesters are likely to be ”unwashed and on the dole”.

      As it just gets a little bit dark as I write this back at West Croydon, my prediction is that any eco-warriors that have gone over to Canary Wharf to try to do some direct action for this EARTH HOUR, are going to be pitifully exposed as being out of their depth.
      No ”enforcement” of the ”lights out” thing can possibly occur.

      This Class War twat (Ian Bone) was still at it on the local radio this week - even thogh he’s now in his 60′s
      I’m just thinking about him and a little crew of anarchists at this moment, wondering how they can storm number one Canada Square.
      They have no chance (I go to Canary Wharf as a delivery driver - the security is very strong).

    19. marvin — on 28th March, 2009 at 6:38 pm  

      Right. OK. Well off the mark. Grown up poor little rich kids, then! Yeah. I’d expect there to be ageing crusties too. They think it’s Vietnam all over again.

      Still 80% White middle class would you agree? :P

      That sounds a bit like those ignorant radio talk show hosts who talk about ”rent-a-mob” and about how protesters are likely to be ”unwashed and on the dole”.

      I’m sure when you hear all these old crusties talk about the capitalist class they are all spot on. Now there’s some people who talk sense! Not these radio presenters! … Power to the proles! Stop the climate! Eat the bankers! Forgive me for being incredibly cynical. I do admire the fact these people got off their arses to a rally in this weather though. I imagine it was an enjoyable day out for many. I just hope we dont get any silly wankers disrupting public transport as I’m off to support the economy with a night out on the tiles.

    20. MaidMarian — on 29th March, 2009 at 12:19 am  

      Riz Din (15) - Yes, I recognise that I could be seen as being guilty of the self indulgence I condemn!

      I just maintain that this protest seems more interested in getting exposure in the meja than id does in beng right.

      I, of course, respect the rights of those that disagree.

    21. dave bones — on 29th March, 2009 at 3:02 am  

      I think a couple of us are making some pictures of Lula da Silvamade captioned DOWN WITH THE HONKYS and we are going to go around blaming every white person we see. Thats not racist is it?

    22. fug — on 29th March, 2009 at 3:34 pm  

      The Sherif of Nottingham, tony robinson,was compering, and mark thomas made a good contribution (we are hear to kill neoliberal capitalism).

      On the ‘where were the browns’ whinge, I’ll remind the colour blind that there were many there, this was a coalescence of the development, green, anti war, socialist and anti globalisation types, with a little icing on top from a think tank or two. (very 6 billion ways). Edgeware road and bond street are in a way irrelevant sirtes of consumption.

      There were lots of speakers for the chocolate coloured periphery, who were a lot clearer in message than some of the union speakers.

      religious man from zambia (was couhging a lot, it was cold)
      guitar player from mauritania
      cool indian south african activist fresh from hunger strike
      philipino lady from Focus on the Global South

    23. damon — on 30th March, 2009 at 9:17 am  

      My comments on saturday afternoon may have been a bit a bit negative, but my comments of it being overly white were fair enough I think. Not from the speakers from the stage (who I didn’t stay around to listen to - but just the make up of the body of the march. Of course there was every kind of person there, and looking at some youtube clips of it this morning there were obviously people and some groups I didn’t see at all on saturday (for example the group of Free Tibet protesters, (that I presume might have been Tibetans themselves).

      But about what fug said about ”On the ‘where were the browns’ whinge, I’ll remind the colour blind that there were many there, this was a coalescence of the development, green, anti war, socialist and anti globalisation types ..”

      Sure you can turn it back on me, (and maybe it’s true that I was overlooking individual people of BME origin - as they were with friends and colleagues and so didn’t stand out as being a part of a particular community in the way that you see when the MAB show up in force on a demonstration, or if it was an issue that concerned a particular community in a particular way.

      Whether that be Israel’s attacks on Lebanon or Gaza, or the possible bloody end of the conflict in Sri Lanka (which drew thousands of English Tamils out on to the steets of London).

      This post may sound disingenuous but it’s not meant to be. But I thought the anarchists were pathetic and juvenile, and the drum and whistle people … while I actually like the beat, turn me off as much as the Socialist Workers and Lindsay German do.

    24. fug — on 30th March, 2009 at 10:27 am  

      Then do you wonder if you are just a little too fussy. or maybe the trick is not to really bother too much about the baggage your fellow demonstraters carry.

      It didnt have, as a whole, the bone crunching power of an anti war type march. But that is because the issues at the heart of it appear less immediately bloody.

      I believe there was an MCB banner in there somewhere, but couldnt really get to it nor be particularly bothered to aim for it. I saw lots of families and hijabans incidentally as i was leaving (after mark thomas) and at embankment spoke to a bunch of sisters who had come from manchester having made three rather gorgsous banners. stop the war on gaza placards were visible also.

    25. damon — on 30th March, 2009 at 11:34 am  

      I think I was being fussy.
      And I did see some women in hijabs too. It was right after I posted at 3:31pm from Edgeware Road and I saw a hijabed young woman (maybe mid 20′s) in a Starbucks (or costa coffee) ask two much younger girls she was with (in hijabs too and wearing ”peace” T shirts and with placards) what it was they wanted, - and the thing that struck me, was that she spoke to them in a striking ”Keira Knightley” kind of accent.
      Pure middle class English.

      (Meaning I suppose, that she wasn’t a local/part time Edgeware Road semi-resident.)

      I didn’t stay for the speeches like I said.
      But those wanabee crusties are a joke aren’t they?
      Unless they get suplimented by the real nutty European version of our black clad anarchists, then it’s going to be a bit embarrasing.
      The British crusties need some reinfocements from Italy, Germany and Sweden this week (how tedious).
      I was looking at some of the standofish British Anarchists on saturday …. pulling on face masks and face scarves and trying to be a bit leary. But not doing anything. (Wankers aren’t they?)

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