Tag Archive: park


A VOAG Reader’s March 26th, TUC Protest Report.

It was an impressive show of strength for trades unionism in Britain with 500,000 people heeding the TUC call to demonstrate. Anyone who thought trades unions were dated or irrelevant should think again.

It was the largest demonstration I’ve ever witnessed, but also the quietest. There was very little chanting and the march moved very slowly. The demonstration was so large that those at the front of the march arrived at Hyde Park, the finish point, several hours before others had even started. The TUC was showcasing its “modern trades unionism”. Gone was the sea of red and brass bands- and in its place was a multicoloured, blue, yellow and purple river of people. This was “family-friendly trades unionism”.

I walked quicker than the march. I wanted to see as much of it as possible. Every so often I passed a samba band or individuals in fancy dress. There were small clusters of ‘black blockers’. They were not engaged in direct actions and many appeared to be wearing masks as nothing more than a  “protest fashion”.

I saw no confrontations along the march itself. Whilst the demonstration was still progressing, splinter groups were defacing shops in Oxford Street. However most protesters weren’t aware of what was happening in other parts of the City.

I stopped for a break at Trafalgar Square. College students had made a ten foot wooden horse and were parading it around the square. An hour later I watched them set it on fire in the middle of Oxford Circus. Once I reached Hyde Park, I took a walk down Oxford Street. I saw paint splattered windows and the remains of small fires on the road, but the confrontations that had accompanied the limited damage had died down- or had moved on.
I turned towards Trafalgar Square. As I reached the Square, I came across a sound system on a trailer being pulled by a bicycle. It was travelling up the Mall in the opposite direction. A dozen people were following it, dancing as they went. It was playing a mixture of drum and base and dub-step, with an MC chanting through a microphone. I turned around and followed it up the Mall, back towards Oxford Street.

As the sound system made its way to Oxford Street, many others started to follow the sound system. In no time, there were two thousand youth behind us. Dancing, and chanting along with the music. Shoppers and bystanders looked on totally bemused.

This was a different kind of demonstration. Vibrant, energetic, but entirely peaceful. Those that controlled the microphone constantly reminded all those that followed: “This is a peaceful demonstration” and “we are not here to be violent or to vandalise”. Two thousand of us danced up the street chanting along with the music: “Down with the government down” and “One solution revolution”.

We made our way back to Hyde Park, and after a short break turned around, to return once more to Trafalgar Square.

The routes back to the Square were blocked by police –and what followed was a cat and mouse game through side streets to get around the police blocks. We eventually squeezed down an alley and into the Square to be met by cheers and applause from those already there.

We came to a stop beneath Trafalgar’s lions, music still pumping- and there we stayed. As the evening drew-on our numbers thinned to around five hundred. Groups were sitting round small fires, chatting and sharing food and wine. Many people were sitting on the steps in front of the National Gallery, listening to the music. Police were wandering around the square, but keeping a low profile- and were generally friendly.

At 11pm, a hundred riot police appeared on the North side of the square, by the side of the National Gallery. Without warning they charged into the people sitting on the stairs, kicking and hitting them with their shields and batons. As the people fled, those that were hit or were slower, were herded into one corner and detained.

More police appeared at the southern side of the square, behind Nelson’s Column. Without warning they charged at the people who were either dancing or sitting around. As police lines formed, to encircle the entire square and to “kettle” all those inside; a few of us managed to escape to the last train back to Guildford.

NOTE:
Video Report on the March (Not the author)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zii2qzGbaM&feature=player_embedded

For another account of Trafalgar Square:
http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/laurie-penny/2011/03/trafalgar-square-police-young

“The choice before humanity is socialism or barbarism. … When Rosa Luxemburg made this statement, she was speaking of a relatively distant future. But now the situation of the world is so bad that the threat to the human race is not in the future, but now.”…..Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

 This month marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Luxemburg. This article, which draws on some of her most important writings, was first published in Socialist Voice in July 2008.

 From the first day it appeared online, Climate and Capitalism’s masthead has carried the slogan “Ecosocialism or Barbarism: there is no third way.” We’ve been quite clear that ecosocialism is not a new theory or brand of socialism — it is socialism with Marx’s important insights on ecology restored, socialism committed to the fight against ecological destruction. But why do we say that the alternative to ecosocialism is barbarism?

Marxists have used the word “barbarism” in various ways, but most often to describe actions or social conditions that are grossly inhumane, brutal, and violent. It is not a word we use lightly, because it implies not just bad behaviour but violations of the most important norms of human solidarity and civilized life.

The slogan “Socialism or Barbarism” originated with the great Polish and German revolutionary socialist leader Rosa Luxemburg, who repeatedly raised it during World War I. It was a profound concept, one that has become ever more relevant as the years have passed.

Rosa Luxemburg spent her entire adult life organizing and educating the working class to fight for socialism. She was convinced that if socialism didn’t triumph, capitalism would become ever more barbaric, wiping out centuries of gains in civilization. In a major 1915 antiwar polemic, she referred to Frederick Engels’ view that society must advance to socialism or revert to barbarism and then asked, “What does a ‘reversion to barbarism’ mean at the present stage of European civilization?”

She gave two related answers. In the long run, she said, a continuation of capitalism would lead to the literal collapse of civilized society and the coming of a new Dark Age, similar to Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire: “The collapse of all civilization as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degeneration — a great cemetery.” (The Junius Pamphlet)

By saying this, Rosa Luxemburg was reminding the revolutionary left that socialism is not inevitable, that if the socialist movement failed, capitalism might destroy modern civilization, leaving behind a much poorer and much harsher world. That wasn’t a new concept – it has been part of Marxist thought from its very beginning. In 1848, in The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote:

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles…that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”

In Luxemburg’s words: “Humanity is facing the alternative: Dissolution and downfall in capitalist anarchy, or regeneration through the social revolution.” (A Call to the Workers of the World)

Capitalism’s Two Faces
But Luxemburg, again following the example of Marx and Engels, also used the term “barbarism” another way, to contrast capitalism’s loudly proclaimed noble ideals with its actual practice of torture, starvation, murder and war.

Marx many times described the two-sided nature of capitalist “progress.” In 1853, writing about British rule in India, he described the “profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization [that] lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked.”

Capitalist progress, he said, resembled a “hideous, pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain.” (The Future Results of British Rule in India) Similarly, in a speech to radical workers in London in 1856, he said:

“On the one hand, there have started into life industrial and scientific forces, which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected. On the other hand, there exist symptoms of decay, far surpassing the horrors recorded of the latter times of the Roman Empire.” (Speech at the Anniversary of the People’s Paper)

Immense improvements to the human condition have been made under capitalism — in health, culture, philosophy, literature, music and more. But capitalism has also led to starvation, destitution, mass violence, torture and even genocide — all on an unprecedented scale. As capitalism has expanded and aged, the barbarous side of its nature has come ever more to the fore.

Bourgeois society, which came to power promising equality, democracy, and human rights, has never had any compunction about throwing those ideals overboard to expand and protect its wealth and profits. That’s the view of barbarism that Rosa Luxemburg was primarily concerned about during World War I. She wrote:

“Shamed, dishonoured, wading in blood and dripping in filth, this capitalist society stands. Not as we usually see it, playing the roles of peace and righteousness, of order, of philosophy, of ethics — as a roaring beast, as an orgy of anarchy, as pestilential breath, devastating culture and humanity — so it appears in all its hideous nakedness …

“A look around us at this moment shows what the regression of bourgeois society into barbarism means. This world war is a regression into barbarism.” (The Junius Pamphlet)

For Luxemburg, barbarism wasn’t a future possibility. It was the present reality of imperialism, a reality that was destined to get much worse if socialism failed to stop it. Tragically, she was proven correct. The defeat of the German revolutions of 1919 to 1923, coupled with the isolation and degeneration of the Russian Revolution, opened the way to a century of genocide and constant war.

In 1933, Leon Trotsky described the rise of fascism as “capitalist society … puking up undigested barbarism.” (What is National Socialism?)

Later he wrote: “The delay of the socialist revolution engenders the indubitable phenomena of barbarism — chronic unemployment, pauperization of the petty bourgeoisie, fascism, finally wars of extermination which do not open up any new road.” (In Defense of Marxism)

More than 250 million people, most of them civilians, were killed in the wars of extermination and mass atrocities of the 20th Century. The 21st century continues that record: in less than eight years over three million people have died in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Third World, and at least 700,000 have died in “natural” disasters.

As Luxemburg and Trotsky warned, barbarism is already upon us. Only mass action can stop barbarism from advancing, and only socialism can definitively defeat it. Their call to action is even more important today, when capitalism has added massive ecological destruction, primarily affecting the poor, to the wars and other horrors of the 20th Century.

21st Century Barbarism
That view has been expressed repeatedly and forcefully by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Speaking in Vienna in May 2006, he referred explicitly to Luxemburg’s words:

“The choice before humanity is socialism or barbarism. … When Rosa Luxemburg made this statement, she was speaking of a relatively distant future. But now the situation of the world is so bad that the threat to the human race is not in the future, but now.”

A few months earlier, in Caracas, he argued that capitalism’s destruction of the environment gives particular urgency to the fight against barbarism today:

“I was remembering Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg and the phrase that each one of them, in their particular time and context put forward; the dilemma ‘socialism or barbarism.’ …

“I believe it is time that we take up with courage and clarity a political, social, collective and ideological offensive across the world — a real offensive that permits us to move progressively, over the next years, the next decades, leaving behind the perverse, destructive, destroyer, capitalist model and go forward in constructing the socialist model to avoid barbarism and beyond that the annihilation of life on this planet”.

“I believe this idea has a strong connection with reality. I don’t think we have much time. Fidel Castro said in one of his speeches I read not so long ago, “tomorrow could be too late, let’s do now what we need to do.” I don’t believe that this is an exaggeration. The environment is suffering damage that could be irreversible — global warming, the greenhouse effect, the melting of the polar ice caps, the rising sea level, hurricanes — with terrible social occurrences that will shake life on this planet.”

Chavez and the revolutionary Bolivarian movement in Venezuela have proudly raised the banner of 21st Century Socialism to describe their goals. As these comments show, they are also raising a warning flag, that the alternative to socialism is 21st Century Barbarism — the barbarism of the previous century amplified and intensified by ecological crisis.

Climate Change and ‘Barbarization’
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been studying and reporting on climate change for two decades. Recently the Vice-Chair of the IPCC, Professor Mohan Munasinghe, gave a lecture at Cambridge University that described “a dystopic possible future world in which social problems are made much worse by the environmental consequences of rising greenhouse gas emissions.”

He said: “Climate change is, or could be, the additional factor which will exacerbate the existing problems of poverty, environmental degradation, social polarisation and terrorism and it could lead to a very chaotic situation.”

“Barbarization,” Munasinghe said, is already underway. We face “a situation where the rich live in enclaves, protected, and the poor live outside in unsustainable conditions.”

A common criticism of the IPCC is that its reports are too conservative, that they understate how fast climate change is occurring and how disastrous the effects may be. So when the Vice-Chair of the IPCC says that “barbarization” is already happening, no one should suggest that it’s an exaggeration.

The Present Reality of Barbarism
The idea of 21st Century Barbarism may seem farfetched. Even with food and fuel inflation, growing unemployment and housing crises, many working people in the advanced capitalist countries still enjoy a considerable degree of comfort and security.
But outside the protected enclaves of the global north, the reality of “barbarization” is all too evident.
*2.5 billion people, nearly half of the world’s population, survive on less than two dollars a day.
*Over 850 million people are chronically undernourished and three times that many frequently go hungry.
*Every hour of every day, 180 children die of hunger and 1200 die of preventable diseases.
*Over half a million women die every year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of them are in the global south.
*Over a billion people live in vast urban slums, without sanitation, sufficient living space, or durable housing.
*1.3 billion people have no safe water. 3 million die of water-related diseases every year.

The United Nations Human Development Report 2007-2008 warns that unmitigated climate change will lock the world’s poorest countries and their poorest citizens in a downward spiral, leaving hundreds of millions facing malnutrition, water scarcity, ecological threats, and a loss of livelihoods.

In UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervi’s words:
“Ultimately, climate change is a threat to humanity as a whole. But it is the poor, a constituency with no responsibility for the ecological debt we are running up, who face the immediate and most severe human costs.”

Among the 21st Century threats identified by the Human Development Report:
*The breakdown of agricultural systems as a result of increased exposure to drought, rising temperatures, and more erratic rainfall, leaving up to 600 million more people facing malnutrition.
*An additional 1.8 billion people facing water stress by 2080, with large areas of South Asia and northern
*China facing a grave ecological crisis as a result of glacial retreat and changed rainfall patterns.
*Displacement through flooding and tropical storm activity of up to 332 million people in coastal and low-lying areas. *Over 70 million Bangladeshis, 22 million Vietnamese, and six million Egyptians could be affected by global warming-related flooding.
*Expanding health risks, including up to 400 million more people facing the risk of malaria.

To these we can add the certainty that at least 100 million people will be added to the ranks of the permanently hungry this year as a result of food price inflation.

In the UN report, former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu echoes Munasinghe’s prediction of protected enclaves for the rich within a world of ecological destruction:

“While the citizens of the rich world are protected from harm, the poor, the vulnerable and the hungry are exposed to the harsh reality of climate change in their everyday lives…. We are drifting into a world of ‘adaptation apartheid’.”

As capitalism continues with business as usual, climate change is fast expanding the gap between rich and poor between and within nations, and imposing unparalleled suffering on those least able to protect themselves. That is the reality of 21st Century Barbarism.

No society that permits that to happen can be called civilized. No social order that causes it to happen deserves to survive.Be part of the future: Join us on the March 26th, TUC National Demonstration against the cuts. Subsidised  transport is leaving from Guildford, Staines, Woking and Redhill. Only £2.00 RTN. Buy a ticket online, using a secure Paypal at www.saveourservic.es -OR- Email: guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk

Activists from around the UK are planning to occupy Hyde park for the night, after the March 26th TUC demonstration against the cuts.

Their plan, says organisers, is to participate in the TUC demonstration and various actions on March 26th, then occupy Hyde Park as a temporary free zone. A village in the center of London where people can camp, organise, relax, eat, dance and hatch plots.

“Hyde Park should be used as a launch pad and base for actions, and demonstrations for the following 24 hours. A safe convergence space for spontaneous marches and demonstrations throughout the weekend”. “A space to create a micro society based on mutual aid, respect and combined power to hold a siege of London which will have those in power running for the panic room”.

Marching from A to B, listening to some speechifying bureaucrats, and then going home empty-handed is not an option. Thousands have already pledged their support. The Facebook event has 1500 people attending –and the number is growing daily.

The idea of the occupation is to reach out to layers of trade unionists and others who would otherwise just get the coach home. People who share the view that the TUC leadership’s gestures and speechifying aren’t enough- but who are not yet ready to occupy buildings or break the law. We need to find a way to reach out to people like this – and this could be it.

The vision is for the “Temporary Occupied zone of Hyde Park” to be the RED BASE from which a hundred tentacles reach out. Hyde Park will prove to be as big and as powerful as the March itself, and who knows what a radicalising  experience it might be compared to a deflating coach ride home? The demo itself will be a truly historic occasion with over 1 million people expected to attend. The largest march of its kind in UK history. It’s the first national demonstration called by the TUC since 1926- And that one ended in a general strike.The STAY 4 1 DAY will only work if people keep spreading the word on social networking sites. So make the effort to spread it round. Think of the Ceaucescu like look on Brendon Barber’s face as the cry of STAY reaches him from the back of the Park. The game will be up

Egyptian oil workers hear of the Hyde Park occupation in London

 

Facebook event for STAY 4 1 DAY – http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=196454957048306 Spread like wildfire!

Remember: There is subsidised travel leaving from Guildford. Just £2.00 RTN (If you don’t fancy staying and partying in Hyde Park)
Coaches are subsidised by Surrey Unison. All are welcome. Buy a ticket online at www.saveourservic.es or email: guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk.

For more details see the events page on Guildford Against Fees And Cuts Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Guildford-Against-Fees-Cuts/167151436659040?v=app_2344061033&ref=ts#!/event.php?eid=178381258861986&index=1

Rumours of Anne Milton’s Tory Sleaze Continue! 

Yesterday we put out the call for some local Tory sleaze. “If you have some dirt on Anne Milton share it with us” we said. – “We will always post it and we never give away our sources”.   

Since then The Voice of Anti-Capitalism HQ, has been receiving a trickle of tit bits about the conduct of our local Tory adminstration. We’ve had reports of a Tory slander campaign against Anne Milton’s opposition, unethical electioneering practices, and accusations of the bullying of Anne Milton’s rivals. Follow the link for the full story:
https://suacs.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/tories-in-surrey-tory-sleaze-theyre-the-same-everywhere/

We’ve learnt that Anne Milton’s Tory team have even made repeated nuisance phone calls to the work places of Anne Milton’s opponents. 

Today We’ve received the vid, embedded below from an anonymous ‘fighter for truth and justice’. Or more likely – a local malcontent, just as right-wing and dodgy as Anne Milton herself

However all donations are gratefully received. We liked the Vid and hope you do too.

If you have any dirt on Anne Milton – Give it up, don’t be Shy
And remember Only the Lib Dems can keep the Tories out.

For More updates join our Guildford Against Fees And Cuts Facebook page.

Or for more stories of miss deeds:

Visit Surrey Tories:
http://surreytories.wordpress.com/2006/01/04/guildford-mp-awol/
Visit Bloggerheads:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/anne_milton/labels/royal%20surrey.html