"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Opinion: Ian Bone-The Great British March… “He Led Them Up…”

On November 20th the STWC is organising a march which they say is ‘crucial’ and will be ‘massive’. Organise your coach now. The route will be Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square where you will listen to Tony Benn, Lindsay German……….zzzz.

Of all organisations STWC should recognise the law of diminishing returns on repeat marches but they are totally incapable of thinking of a new tactic – leave alone acting on it. On November 6th UAF are organising a march to Trafalgar Square where you can listen to Tony Benn…….zzzz.

Next MARCH the TUC are organising what realy should be a huge march – from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square where you can listen to Tony Benn……zzzz.

None of these marches will achieve anything. The first spasms against the cuts have resulted in local marches all over the country. But what now? Go home and wait for the TUC coach to London? Phil Ochs had a great song called ‘I aint marching any more’.

The only march that ever achieved anything was the Poll Tax riot and if that had ended in just a rally Thatcher would still be in fucking Downing Street.

OK -I’m railing against an easy and well worn target here. It’s up to us to come up with something more effective rather than whining about the failures of others. Flash mobs, occupations, direct action guerilla war of blocking streets and swiftly moving on………..whatever……at least we need to have some debate and ideas.

If the sum total of our thoughts is just to go on the TUC march next year with a banner saying ‘Direct Action Bloc’ we’re fucked. Carrying a banner saying ‘Direct Action Bloc’ is not direct action. If ever the imaginaton was needed to seize power it is now. But it’s almost like there’s a psychology at work (see ‘The Irrational in politics’ by Maurice Brinton) that stops us mounting real rather than ritual opposition. How do we get off the tramlines of protest ritual?

On the Downing street march last week the COR had already set up speakers behind barriers for people to walk behind. A few hours earlier top Tory politicians – including Danny Alexander! – wandered unmolested around St. Stephens Green just down the road. Could I get more than two people to turn up for that? Imagine what 50-60 could have done.

In a cold crispy March the TUC carthorse will shift into gear nostrils flaring and lead the procession off to Trafalgar Square. Down the road in the afternoon neon and twinkling lights the cash tills in the Osborne and Little fabric shop will merrily ring away building George’s inheritance fund.

Never the twain shall meet.


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