reclaim the streets
my day out
oh to be an Anarchist!
>> my day out (2)
suits you sir!
so why the city?
more to come?
Lovely day in the sun
My day out (2)
Didn't start on time, as I was waiting for a friend to arrive from Germany. After a quick breakfast, we put on some party clothes and headed off to town. A spot of confusion with the buses left us with a 20 minute wander to get to Liverpool St. but it was hot and sunny, so we didn't mind.
We arrived at London Wall just before the police and the party, and had a pleasant few minutes chatting to strangers and trying to explain direct action ideology and the inherent problems with capitalism (as distinct from monetary systems) to a few suits (who were enjoying the sun, beer and car-less streets).
The party arrived, in indomitable amoebic fashion, but so did the pigs (any copper who chooses to wear a hot balaclava in summer, full riot gear, carry a steel hammer and utter nothing than 'get back', 'I'm the law' and 'I don't have to tell you anything'; has been reading too much 'judge dred', and is a pig). After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, with us trying to walk west, and the police getting in the way, they decided that bringing a bunch of riot vans and (huge!) horses in would be sensible. I didn't like to see animals made to suffer, so I suggested to an important looking police man that they'd be much better off just letting us get on with it, and we left.
Wandered around a bit more, trying to find a sound-system, chatted to a few more suits, and found the start point at Liverpool st. Workmen were already removing banners from the buildings. Looked for the helicopter, and followed it down to threadneedle street, where there were bongos, drums, whistles and lots of smiling people.
We then went on a guided tour of the financial institutions, waved and whistled at the office workers crammed at the windows (we tried to convince them to come and party, but they weren't having any), watched the suituational comedy at the stock exchange (along with some motorbike policemen, who were quite chatty), listened to a hot debate between a crazy Italian crusty and a crazy be-suited gentleman ("brrr bbrr. you're mad, you fucking mad man", "and you, sir are a disgrace, by this afternoon you'll be converted to jesus!") then headed off after the helicopter again.
We then found where the party had been. There was a line of very agitated policemen, a floor-full of sitting protesters, a huge fountain in the distance and plenty of drumming, whistling and laughing. Couldn't believe that the police were actually issued with steel hammers, so had a discussion with one (who was very open to debate) about the morals of carrying such a weapon, he was obviously a bit embarassed about it, since he hid it behind his back after a bit.
Unfortunately the pig next to him wouldn't look me in the face, or communicate in any fashion. I can understand their feeling of needing to defend themselves, they don't understand, so are bound to be a bit fearful, but I wish they could realise that if they didn't continually hit people, trample over them, drive into them and generally abuse them, then we would be much more likely to try to stop the more violent protesters from having a go (and succeed, no one really likes to go against the prevailing mood). A friendly face is just that, a faceless plastic machine is just that. Perhaps that's the point, their task-masters aren't stupid, after all.
Anyhow, don't like violence, and there was tension building, so headed off to London bridge, for some fresh air, and a nice view. Feeling much more relaxed and happy, after some pleasant exchanges from home-going suits (The car-free bridge was much appreciated). We then had a bit of an adventure trying to get past the police cordon near the trashed Mcdonalds, since they had deemed it useful to surround a large and empty square, which made them perfect targets for the bottle-throwers.
It was all worth it, though, since we then found the proper protesters, the smiling, happy bunch who just wanted to make their point, spread a bit of love and community, and dance to the tribal beat. We mingled for a bit, meeting old friends, making some new ones, feeling happier and more carefree, then got on the move! There was a group of beautiful drummers, who struck up a regular beat, and marched off, with the singing heads in tow, along embankment, towards Trafalgar square. Passing through some nameless tunnel, we danced and cheered and whistled as we were drenched by the fire-hoses, then arrived in sunlight to the sight of a little sound system, and a party atmosphere.
The police had relaxed, and were back in their everyday clothes, the workers were smiling, talking and taking the mick and everything had lightened up. we wandered to Trafalgar square and sat in the shadow of the fountains, chatting, listening and enjoying life.
It had been a long day for me, and bed was beckoning, so we headed off into the sunset.
My impression of the day were pretty positive. I think a strong part of the message communicated was 'PEOPLE', society is made up of humans, not wads of cash, not endless profit seeking. Happiness comes from the social network, and finding a place within it that fits, not questing after someone else's dream, or in the case of capitalism, nightmare.
It's our interpersonal interactions that make us human, and it's when we lose that individuality of expression, to submerge ourselves in an unhappy movement, that we lose our freedom to feel, and start trying to desperately justify what we have become by putting others down. Hopefully a few trapped workers have seen a glimpse of a life they could enjoy, and will question their financial imprisonment a bit more, hopefully a lot will lose their belief in profit, and unchecked 'growth', hopefully the cancer that's eating away our world will lose it momentum, perhaps even die, as the mood inexorably turns against it. Hopefully people will stop being murdered by the mindless greed of the city.
I love days like Friday. They help remind me of the important things in life. What can you bring?