Saturday, 26 March 2011

March For The Alternative 26th March 2011

The demonstration had an estimated 250,000 people on it. There were people from many different trades unions and community groups. We marched over Waterloo Bridge, down one side of the river, back over the next bridge, back up the river and down to Westminster, then down Whitehall. My friend and I left the March at Trafalgar Square as it was already 4 o'clock and by the time we had got to Hyde Park where the march finished, the speeches would have been over and we would have then had to make our way back to Covent Garden where we were going out. So we dipped out and headed off for some food. I am glad I went though as it is a worthwhile thing to be protesting against-the cuts the government are making to public sector services will have the most impact on those people with the least.

The atmosphere of the march was cheerful and peaceful from all that I saw. There was some music from various sound systems, people with random instruments, and a little pipe band (I don't know who they were but they sounded good!) People were friendly and conversing with strangers. I was offered a Socialist Worker magazine by a very polite and smiling young man and when I said no thank you he continued to smile. So, it is galling that a small minority of people choose to use violence for their own ends and that the media choose to focus on that. There is always this element of violence at these big demos and it is always said to be Anarchists. I have been reading a long and fascinating wikipedia article on Anarchism this morning as my knowledge is patchy. I can't say whether these modern day violent protesters are Anarchists or not, or whether they believe that what they are doing will make a difference to society. I do feel that there might well be those who just like a fight. Anarchism seems to be such a diverse movement with many ways of being, and violent protest is one. There was one part of the article that summed up how I feel about the way the media coverage just likes to focus on the violence though. It is in the part about contemporary Anarchism.

"Around the turn of the 21st century, anarchism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalisation movements.[103] Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight, and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction, and violent confrontations with police, and the confrontations were selectively portrayed in mainstream media coverage as violent riots. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs; other organisational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralised technologies such as the internet. A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999."

The last few photos are the window of The Salisbury on St. Martin's lane where we went to celebrate my friend Clare's birthday. When we left and walked down to Charing Cross we saw one of the fires the papers talked about. We also saw a cyclist fall off their bike and two police officers rush to help him get up. The helicopters were hovering over us all night.

Happy birthday to Claire Birch if you are reading. Your card sat in my bag all day so has been on the demo-but I forgot to post it! Louise and Paul were on the march and we saw them in the pub too!


Linda Sue said...

Well done! Relieved that you did not end up in the pokey. I think that the number of protesters is equivalent to the population of the entire state of Wyoming! Amazing that is was so peaceful- there are always a handful of jerks- no matter where humanity gathers. Glad you are OK.

Leenie said...

I saw the news coverage of The March and wondered if you were there. Good on you for your participation. I don't understand why education seems to be one of the biggest targets for budget cuts. It seems like the pigs at the trough in administration would rather the children and the teachers and the whole future suffer than they give up some of their own prosperity.

I'm glad the march was not as wild and as filled with violence as portrayed on the media. Cool to know you are so close to all those landmark places in London.

lynne h said...

as goofy as it sounds, i felt proud to know someone (you) that was there, taking a stand... it made the news here - i'm happy to say.


Ned Trifle said...

CVB is in bed but I'll pass on the message. I'm glad that something connected to us was on the march!

Dawn Elliott said...

As a 25 year veteran teacher, I know just how how difficult and underappreicated teaching can be. Support from all sectors is huge! Thank you for taking part and for sharing your experience.

Lynne said...

Hi Sarah, good to hear that it went okay for you. I watched some of it on the telly and was thinking about you.
Well done!

Tracy said...

WOW--tremendous gathering! Well done to you all! I love such solidarity! And glad you didn't get knicked! ;o) ((HUGS))

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(Sorry for mistakes, I'm still learning English)
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The House of Lisa said...

Well done!

Helen McCookerybook said...

Glad you went Sarah! I was roadying in Derbyshire for Martin but I was there in spirit and was on virtual strike on Thursday to protest against the cuts.
I feel so sorry for students- and our managers are running round like headless chickens getting us to do all sorts of meaningless things because they don't know what to do!
I hope we are making those bankers deeply uncomfortable, for gambling our nation's money away and then skimming off massive bonuses all for them.

nana_ang_poppaphil said...

Good for Sarah for taking part in something that is so important.

Unfortunately the media focused on the violent side of the demonstration here in New Zealand. What a shame they didn't enlighten us more.

Anonymous said...

I am glad it went well for you! The media wants excitement and I guess the peaceful part just wasn't doing it! That's the media for you!

cloudbusting2 said...

Good that you didn´t have to use your "get out of jail for free- card."