I’m sure there are many people who will be doing retrospectives at the moment of the bombings that took place last year, some may also touch on the Live8 concerts. I was not a part of either of these events, I was however involved in the demonstrations in Edinburgh and Gleneagles which also took place this time last year. It is a participation of which I am proud, but I am disappointed that the impact of our actions was even less than our low expectations might have led us to believe.

There was a lot of hope from many quarters before the Make Poverty History march but this was largely from the liberal wing and the people excited by the frisson of doing something in protest that they wouldn’t normally have done. Those of us who’ve done this before at the ESF or the StW marches and politically-motivated marches in the past were not quite so hopeful. It’s nice that new people were involved and the atmosphere in Edinburgh was indeed very special but the rot had started some time before I arrived.

The decision some time after the MPH march in Edinburgh had been announced to host concerts on the same day in both London and Edinburgh seemed baffling, it would surely fractionalise the numbers attending the MPH march. The march had been arranged for the 2nd of July so as to coincide with the G8 Summit taking place in Gleneagles some miles to the north of Edinburgh starting on the 6th. Other events had been planned for the days in between but it was the MPH march which was to be the unifying force so to speak. It was to many of us a problem that the MPH campaign sought to distance themselves from seriously political intent, this was undoubtedly in order to maximise its appeal to those not usually interested in politics.

However being sceptical about a movement’s naivety and its likely failure to achieve objectives does not mean if those objectives are just that one should not lend ones support and seek by participating to make the movement stronger. Such a movement can only be changed and made to understand its shortcomings by those within and to carp from the sidelines but refuse to involve benefits no-one except those we are all opposed to.

The Live8 gigs seemed to be a popularisation of the issues, something designed just for a PR victory rather than serious intent. On a recent BBC TV program about the time last year one source within the Live8 camp stated, “Bob Geldoff wanted the big aerial shot of Hyde Park to show that there was this mass of people demonstrating for Make Poverty History” This of course is a ludicrous assumption. Most of the people at Live8 would have gone along regardless of whether there was a message behind it, it was a pop concert with lots of famous people and an event that would go down in history. You could have made the concert about some filthy rich woman’s anniversary and people would still have queued for tickets, oh wait sorry they did do that it was the Queen’s Jubilee concert at Buck House, oh sorry I forgot they claimed the reason for that was entirely philanthropic didn’t they, funny how suddenly the monarchy deigns to allow its subjects in, nothing to do with PR there either then.

However of course it wasn’t just Live8 which diluted the message and the impact of the MPH march, it was cleverly derailed from within by Gordon Brown and Hilary Benn who came out offering their full support. I remember all of us thinking at the time that the cynicism of this coming from the people who genuinely could make a difference if only they really wanted to.

It is easy to see that the genuine aims of the more serious political demonstrators were not shared by the political establishment because once the happy church groups and liberals had gone home from Edinburgh after the MPH march and the politicians had barricaded themselves behind the Gleneagles perimeter fences the full force of the police was brought to bear on the remaining protesters. Whilst I will not claim that I have Vietnam vet style helicopter flashbacks I will not forget

The sight of Geldof’s head on Blair’s shoulder coupled with the vacuous promises of the G8 leaders who simply repackaged measures they had already agreed to, whilst putting even longer time limits on them was sickening. The media lapping up this huge PR machine where the governments and rich elite sought to make people believe that they wanted to do something about the world’s poor was no surprise after all they are all part of this leviathan of exploitation. Let’s face it if the governments and rich really wanted to do change the world they’d do so not try to spend time and money convincing us to try to help them do so. We wouldn’t need to do anything except watch them redistribute the wealth but they won’t because they’re cunts and that’s why they have to be forced to do so by those of us with at least some sense of the moral outrage that is the state of the way the world is run.

And that is why we keep marching and writing and talking, to make people realise that this isn’t going away and they aren’t going to stop it because they are the ones responsible so we have to do it. The consequences of not doing so are all too evident of the other series of events which unfolded this time last year on the London Underground.

*I use the word cunts advisedly, not to try to be all vernacular for the sake of it but because it is perhaps the last taboo word left in modern English, a word with genuine impact and when it comes to the description of those that have raped the world and billions of those who live in it, I think its use justified.

Song Of The Day ~ Lush – Deluxe

Original Comments:


haywood made this comment,
Yes the smell of defeat is ripe, we must fight off this creeping malaise of apathy. On my second reading of 1984 I have come to many dulling truths. First most, we must realize a combination of laziness, stupidity and indifference has aloud small faction of fascists to take control.
The stage is set for 1984

The inner party of wealthy capitalists, controlling the air we breath

The outer party , any one that votes and tries hopelessly to change there fate while barely scraping by.

The “proles” basically the population south of the equator.

George Orwell, I miss you…

comment added :: 8th July 2006, 08:20 GMT+01 :: http://cjh9999.blog-city.com

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