Archive for the ‘Protest’ Category
Writing from Occupy LSX, Ian Chamberlain argues the real power of the movement is the new world of possibilities it has created, built on consensus, cooperation and a rejection of the corporate-guided, party-political approach that has dominated the country for generations.
I now know that I’m hardly alone in thinking, and feeling, that for too long the views and needs of ordinary people have been ignored by our “democracy.” The sense of powerlessness that I experienced after I lost my job, when I saw so many opportunities disappear – such as going back to college or university to re-train, as fees tripled beyond my reach and as I struggled to find enough work to pay the rent – I experienced this as an individual, but now I see it throughout my South London community.
…on a carpet of shimmering police epaulettes
I started the day with a group of people who practise anarchist principles everyday. We met at 11am in a plain old building just off the Strand in Westminster. As we drank our pre-march coffees with curdled soya milk and ate our home-baked chocolate cup cakes, we discussed plans for the day ahead.
A half-hour moment of reflection, we stood in silence on the street outside as confused by-passers, not used to the sight of silent protest, read our banners and slogans. The group’s commitment to equality, autonomy, justice, a mistrust of leaders, icons and concentrations of power, and a long history of confrontation with the state, protest and non-violent direct action for causes ranging from slavery to war, reveals a lot in common with anarchists. They just happen to be called Quakers.
We joined the march at Trafalgar Square, greeted by an enormous, and insanely friendly, Unison contingent high on the delights of whistles, chanting and waving mass-produced union flags and balloons. Standing, as I did, at the front of our block holding a “Quakers for Justice” banner, I enjoyed many frivolous reactions from fellow protesters, from “it must be a bit noisy for you lot” to “the problem with you guys is that you give religion a good name” but also joyous banter as we marched together as one.