A really big anti-austerity demo

The Bloco Liberdade samba band in the Strand on today's anti-austerity demo

The Bloco Liberdade samba band in the Strand on today’s anti-austerity demo

A huge number of people were on the streets in the UK today, protesting against the austerity policies of our vile Tory government. The media reported that the London march had well over 100,000, possibly 250,000, people on it. (The Guardian’s numbers were among the lowest, the Independent confidently went with a higher figure.)

I am a veteran demo-goer, and I thought today’s crowd was younger, and less affiliated to specific organisations (unions, left wing parties, or whatever) than usual. That’s good.

A friend was playing in the terrific Bloco Liberdade band, made up of members of Eri Okan, the London School of Samba, Barulho and the Brighton School of Samba, so I walked with them. They had some fine rhythm, and attracted more and more drummers, dancers, and people who just liked joining in, in the three hours it took to march from the City of London to Parliament Square.

I’ve put some movies on facebook here and here. Thanks to my photographer M! No doubt there will be more to see on Bloco Liberdade’s facebook page soon.

Today’s demo seemed important as an indication of the way people might react to the brutal onslaught on social and health services now planned by the hate-filled Eton schoolboys running the government. The political dilemmas faced by this movement in the UK (where I live) is not something I’ve covered on this blog … just because we can’t all write about everything that’s important, well I can’t anyway. I have been to some meetings organised by Plan C (who were also looking lively on the demo today). There’s been an interesting debate about where things are going in the UK, with an article by Plan C and a response by the Angry Workers of the World. GL, 20 June 2015

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3 Responses to A really big anti-austerity demo

  1. Mick says:

    And why do you think it’s “good” to have young people unaffiliated to any organisation and what evidence to you have to support that or even that those around you were as you describe?

  2. Gabriel Levy says:

    Hello Mick. It was just an impression. It was a crowd of 250,000 and, just walking around keeping my eyes and ears open, that was what struck me. The reason that I think it’s good – if my impression was correct – is that part of the failure of the trade union movement and “official” labour organisations to challenge anti-austerity and other reactionary policies effectively has been the failure of many of them to say anything meaningful to big sections of the working class – the unemployed, the precariously employed, the non-trade unionists, migrant workers. Many activists have been trying to move towards a movement that embraces both those in the unions and “official” organisations, and those outside. If my impression was right, then maybe they are starting to be successful.

  3. Jacques Hughs says:

    Well, yes, it was a very big demo… But haven’t we been here before? Demos addressed by wannabe Labour Party leaders and photogenic celebrities? Endless slogans against “the Tories” when most people know perfectly well that the labour Party would do all the same horrible things if they were in power…? Union leaders pretending to be on the side of the workers (while doing everything they can to stop workers actually fighting back against austerity measures) ? As far as I’m aware there wasn’t even any heckling of Labour Party hacks! Really this could be almost any “anti-Tory” demo from the last 40 years, apart from the very few that were associated with significant movements.
    My favourite heckle from the 1970s:
    LP-supporter speechifying: “This is the most reactionary government since…”
    Heckler: “…Since you were in power!!”

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