Cricket, football and an anarchist picnic in the park
For the first time in five years, there was no anti-capitalist event this year in London.
The London Mayday Collective website decided to abandon the event after several 'disappointing and poorly attended meetings' failed to produce any 'concrete proposals' for a unifying theme that could be developed.
Intimidating and heavy handed policing have also played their part in Mayday's demise with the prospect of a truncheon on the head - or being illegally penned in for 7 hours in the rain - discouraging people from taking part.
So this year, the collective invited anti-capitalists to join them for a MAYDAY PICNIC on Saturday 1st May from 3pm in St James's Park, central London.
Naturally, we had to come along too!
It has to be said the attendance was most definitely on the sparse side, with no more than 150 people turning up for the picnic.
Clearly, the police were expecting more, with vanloads of police parked up in and around the park.
Here a posse of unimpressed press photographers and police mingle inconspicuously with anti-capitalists in the park.
After the full-on anarchist argy-bargy of previous Mayday protests, it has to be said that this was rather a sedate and curious affair.
We arrived just in time to see the Anarchist Mayday Cricket game starting up, put on by those mischievous chaps, the Space Hijackers.
The players were nicely turned out in full cricket whites, with a small gazebo serving as a club house and pavilion (serving up lashings of Pimms).
Billed as 'Smash Capitalism for Six!', the accompanying leaflet from 'Not Cricket*' implored you to "Bring your trusty wooden bat, swing for glory and whack capitalism across the boundary". (*Not Cricket = Nice Overtly Tailored Chaps Rebelling Insisting Capitalism Kills Everything Totally)
Because ball games are outlawed in the park by-laws, the cricketers played with an imaginary ball instead and took the virtual game very seriously indeed. The police looked on somewhat baffled.
Although cricket is all about following the rules, you can't expect anarchist cricketers to obey silly park laws, so a proper cricket ball was soon located and the reassuring sound of leather against willow resounded across St James Park.
Unlike evil capitalists, fair play was upheld and applauded by all. Spot on, chaps.
The caption reads: 'Kristoff the Clown says Capitalism is Letting Us All Down'. Clowns, eh? Don't you just love 'em?
No? Me neither.
'No Bombs, No Bosses, No Borders'. Neat poster in St James Park.
The woman with the guitar belted out highly abrasive acoustic versions of punk classics. The police van wisely retreated to a safe distance. We backed off.
Picnickers, Mayday 2004, St James Park, London. Note the cricket game in the distance.
Oh great. A singing clown and a trumpet player too. And they're destroying Beatles classics. Eek!
The chaps relax in the Anarchist Cricket Pavilion after a top-hole game.
After several hours of caterwauled folk singalong classics, the arrival of a mobile sound system was a welcome treat, blasting out a lively mix of ska and punk tunes.
A large and unruly football game kicked off, starring several urban75-ers with differing levels of fitness and skill.
Teams were initially split into those wearing black versus the others, but being an anarchist event meant that the 'black' team was somewhat over-subscribed.
Thankfully some charming ladies in colourful cocktail dresses were on hand to restore the balance.
An ad hoc adherence to the rules was adopted, with the occasional 'pile-on' adding interest.
I scored a fantastic goal (well, OK, the defender was only 11 years old and the goalkeeper was on the phone at the time, but it still felt good).
The opposition's secret weapon. No wonder we found it so hard to score with this evil dribbling Bush mask draped over the goalpost.
To be honest, I've no idea what the point of this year's Mayday was.
But it was a hell of a lot of fun.
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