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“Every generation needs a new revolution” Thomas Jefferson
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THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED A BOOK ABOUT PROTEST
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CONTENTS / 9
PREFACE MAI 68 ATELIER POPULAIRE THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL G20
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Have we lost our will to protest? Does protesting make a difference? â€ƒ In the late sixties, aggravated by the Vietnam War and burgeoning capitalism in the West, millions of people took to the streets to protest. One of the most striking events of this era was the student riots in Paris, May 1968. This book pays homage to the revolutionary spirit of that time; examining the influence of The Situationists and the incredible posters, slogans and graffiti which were used to spread the word. â€ƒ The book continues by comparing May 1968 to the G20 protests of 2009, asking: is there an imbalance between then and now? Is that spirit of revolution is still alive?
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MAI 68 Originally sparked by student protests in Paris, the wave of rebellion spread across France and the rest of the world. The prolonged strike involved ten million workers for two weeks in a row, and its impact was such that it almost caused the collapse of the government of President Charles de Gaulle. Such explosion was provoked by groups in revolt against modern consumer and technical society, embracing left-wing positions that were even more critical of Stalinist totalitarianism than of Western capitalism. The movement contrasted with the labour unions and the French Communist Party, which started to side with the de Gaulle government in the goal of containing the revolt. Many saw the events as an opportunity to shake up the “old society” and traditional morality, focusing especially on the education system and employment. It began as a long series of student strikes that broke out at a number of universities and lycées in Paris, following confrontations with university administrators and the police. The de Gaulle administration’s attempts to quash those strikes by police action only inflamed the
(previous page) SLOGAN FROM MAI 68
situation further, leading to street battles with the police in the Latin Quarter, followed by a general strike by students and strikes throughout France by eleven million French workers, roughly two-thirds of the French workforce. The protests reached such a point that de Gaulle created a military operations headquarters to deal with the unrest, dissolved the National Assembly and called for new parliamentary elections for 23 June 1968. The government was close to collapse at that point (de Gaulle had even taken temporary refuge at an air force base in Germany), but violence evaporated almost as quickly as it arose. Workers went back to their jobs, after a series of deceptions by the Confédération Générale du Travail (the leftist union federation) and the PCF. When the elections were finally held in June, the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before.
May 1968 was a political failure for the protesters, but it had an enormous social impact. In France, it is considered to be the watershed moment when a conservative moral ideal (religion, patriotism, respect for authority) shifted towards a more liberal moral ideal (equality, sexual liberation, human rights) that today better describes French society, in theory if not in practice. Although this change did not take place solely in this one month, the term ‘mai 68’ is used to refer to this general shift in principles, especially when referring to its most idealistic aspects.
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KEY EVENTS the largest general strike that ever stopped the economy of an advanced industrial country.
2 MAY Prime minister Georges Pompidou leaves for official visits to Iran and Afghanistan. Courses at the faculty of letters are uspended at Nanterre after incidents there. 3 May Police clear the courtyard at the Sorbonne. Violence in the Quartier Latin results in more than 100 injured and 596 arrested. 4 May Courses at the Sorbonne are suspended. The UNEF and the Snesup call for unlimited strikes. 5 May Courts convict 13 demonstrators; give four jail terms. 6 May Battles in the Quartier Latin: 422 arrests; 345 police and about 600 students are hurt. Students at universities throughout France pledge support. 7 May At the tomb of the unknown soldier at Etoile: 30,000 students sing the â€˜Marseillaise.â€™ 9 May The Minister of Education forbids the reopening of the faculties. 10 May Night of riot in the Quartier Latin: police assault 60 barricades. 367 are hospitalized of which 251 are police; 720 others hurt and 468 arrested. 60 cars burned and 188 others were damaged. The Minister of Education says of the protestors, "Ni doctrine, ni foi, ni loi."
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The revolution is incredible
because it’s really happening.
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11 May The major unions, the CGT, the CFDT and the FEN, call for a general strike on 13 May. Back in Paris, George Pompidou, announces the reopening of the Sorbonne, also for the 13 May. 13 May The general strike puts hundreds of thousands of students and workers in the streets of Paris; the Sorbonne is occupied by students. 14 May The National Assembly discusses the university crises and the battles of the Quartier Latin. President Charles de Gaulle leaves for Romania. Workers occupy SudAviation in Nantes. 15 May The theatre de l’Odéon is occupied by 2,500 students and the Renault factory at Cléon is occupied by workers. 16 May Strikes hit other factories throughout France, plus air transport, the RATP and the SNCF. Newspapers fail to be distributed. 18 May President de Gaulle arrives back from Romania, 12 hours earlier than expected. Cinema professionals occupy the Cannes Film Festival. Major French directors withdraw their films from competition and the jury resigns, closing the festival. 19 May At the Elysée palace, President de Gaulle says, "La réforme, oui; la chienlit, non" 20 May An estimated 10 million workers are on strike; France is practically paralysed.
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Art is dead, let’s liberate our everyday life.
Coming soon to this loc
Humanity won’t be happy till the last capi with the guts of the last bureaucrat.
â€? Live in the moment.
italist is hung
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22 May A censure motion by opposition leftists falls 11 votes short of a majority in the National Assembly. Union confederations say they are willing to negotiate with the employer’s association and the government. An amnesty for demonstrators is passed by the Assembly. A demonstration is held in Paris to protest the withdrawal of Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s residence permit for France. 24 May President de Gaulle announces a referendum on radio and television. Overnight rioting in Paris sees 795 arrests, and 456 injured. An attempt to torch the Bourse is made. Other incidents throughout France; a Commissaire de Police is killed in Lyon by a truck. Committees for the Defence of the Republic – CDR – are launched.
25 May France’s state radio and television – the ORTF – goes on strike: no TV-news at 20:00. Prime Minister Georges Pompidou negotiates with everybody. 27 May Agreement is reached between the unions, employer’s associations and the government. Minimum wage is to be raised, working hours cut, reduction in the age of retirement, and the right to organize. Workers at Renault and other big firms refuse to return to work. At 17:00, 30,000 students and workers march from Gobelins to the Charléty stadium, where they hold a meeting, which Pierre MendésFrance attends.
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I take my desires for reality because
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I believe in the reality of my desires.
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Graffiti, Paris 1968
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Nature created neither servants nor masters. I want neither to rule nor to be ruled.
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28 May Georges Pompidou accepts the resignation of the Minister of Education. 29 May President de Gaulle cancels weekly ministerial meeting and arrives at Colombey-les-DeuxEglises at 18:00, after making a secret visit to General Massu, who leads French troops stationed in Baden-Wurttemberg. A demonstration called for by the CGT brings out several hundreds of thousands in Paris. 30 May By radio, President de Gaulle announces the dissolution of the National Assembly and says the elections will take place within the normal timetable. Georges Pompidou remains Prime Minister. An allusion is made that force will be used to maintain order, if necessary. Tens of thousands of government supporters march from Concorde to the Etoile. 31 May The cabinet is reshuffled and elections are announced for the 23 and 30 June. Exchange controls are re-established and demonstrations of support for the government are held throughout France. 1 June The Pentecost long weekend is welcomed with the return of fuel to gas stations and truly huge taffic jams throughout Paris and France. The minimum wage is raised to three francs an hour.
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Live in the moment Abolish class society Down with consumer society
Letâ€™s not change bosses, letâ€™s change life The more you consume, the less you live
Power to the imagination Those who lack imagination cannot imagine what is lacking
Boredom is counter revolutionary
We want to live
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On Tuesday, after the weekend, most of the strikes were gradually abandoned and workers returned to their jobs. Clemency was accorded to OAS members and Georges Bidault returned to France while Raoul Salan was released from prison. On TV, President de Gaulle said that he had considered retiring on 29th May. The election campaign started on the 10th June, whilst there were still some violent incidents, especially on 11th June when 400 were hurt, 1500 arrested and a demonstrator was shot and killed at Montbéliard.
The next day, demonstrations were forbidden in France. The day after, students were evicted from the Odéon and two days later, from the Sorbonne. In the first round of the elections, the federation of leftist parties and the communists lost ground. In the second round a week later, the parties of the right won an overwhelming majority.
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During the turmoil of the May Uprisings, the ATELIER POPULAIRE was formed. The faculty and student body of the Ecole des Beaux Arts ‘POPULAR WORKSHOP’ were on strike, and a number of the students met spontaneously in the lithographic department to produce the first poster of the revolt, “Usines, Universites, Union.” On May 16th, art students, painters from outside the university and striking workers decided to permanently occupy the art school in order to produce posters that would, “Give concrete support to the great movement of the workers on strike who are occupying their factories in defiance of the Gaullist government.” The posters of the ATELIER POPULAIRE were designed and printed anonymously and were distributed for free. They were seen on the barricades, carried in demonstrations and were plastered on walls all over France. Their bold and provocative messages were extremely influential Above: and still resonate in our own time. ‘Factories, Universities, Union”- The first poster produced at the Atelier Populaire. Left: SCREEN PRINTING AT THE ATELIER POPULAIRE.
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‘WE ARE THE POWER’ (above)
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What are we fighting against? We are fighting against a class university, we want to organise the struggle in all the following aspects: 1.
We criticize the social selection which operates at every stage of education from primary to university level, to the detriment of working class children and those of poor peasants. We want to fight the system of competitive examinations which is central to that selection. We oppose the emptiness of the education content and the pedagogical manner in which it is put over. Because everything is organized so as to ensure that the system produces human beings without a critical awareness both with regard to knowledge and to social and economic reality.
L E T
R E I A O L UI U P O P IER
1. He does what he wants to do, he believes that everything is possible, he is accountable only to himself and to Art.
If we try to be precise about the words we have written at the entrance to the studios and to comprehend what they mean, they will direct to us the main lines of our future action. The words indicate that it is not in any way a question of reforming, that is to say of bettering what already exists. Any improvement implies that basic principles are not to change, hence that they are already the right ones. We are against the established order of today. What is bourgeois culture? It is the means by which the forces of oppression of the ruling class isolate and set apart the artists from the rest of the workers by giving them a privileged status. Privelege locks the artist in an invisible prison.
2. He is a “creator” which means that out of all things he invents something that is unique, whos value will be permanent and beyond historical reality. He is not a worker at grips with historical reality. The idea of creation gives his work an unreal quality. In giving him this privileged status, culture puts the artist in position where he can do no harm and in which he functions as a safetyvalve in the mechanism of bourgeois society. This is the situation of every one of us. We are all bourgeois artists. How can it be otherwise? This is why when we write the Atelier Populaire it cannot be a question of improvement, but of a radical change of direction. It means that we are determined to transform what we are in society. Let us make it clear that it is not the establishment of better contracts between artists and modern techniques that will bind them closer to all the other categories of workers, but opening their eyes to the problems of other workers, that is to say of the historical reality of the world in which we live. No teacher could help us to become more familiar with that reality. We must all teach ourselves.
R G U E O O B I S R E N I O L N E T
We oppose the role which society expects intellectuals to play, along with the technocrats, as the watchdogs in a system of bourgeois economic production, seeing to it that each man feels happy with his lot, especially if his lot is one where he is exploited.
At the entrance to the studios they wrote:
The fundamental concepts which underlies this action this act of isolation which culture brings about are: the idea that art has “gained autonomy” (Malraux - see the speech made at the time of the Grenoble Olympic Games -the defence of ‘creative freedom’: culture makes the artist live in the illusion of freedom.
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â€œThe posters produced by the Atelier Populaire are weapons in the service of the struggle and are an inseparable part of it. Their rightful place is in the centres of conflict, that is to say, in the streets and on the walls of the Factories.â€?
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THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES (left) LIGHT WAGES - HEAVY TANKS (opp)
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Situography and Situlogy: Drawing from the artistic Lettrist praxis of hypergraphy as well as older developments in mathematics and topology in Henri Poincare's Analysis Situs, the main theorist of the SI Asger Jorn formulated theories of plastic, anti-Euclidean geometry and topology which was at the heart of Situationist critiques of urbanism and other manifestations of contemporary capitalist culture and politics. The Situation: This concept, central to the SI, was defined in the first issue of their journal as "A moment of life concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of a unitary ambiance and a game of events." As the SI embraced dialectical Marxism, the situation came to refer less to a specific avant-garde practice than to the dialectical unification of art and life more generally. Beyond this theoretical definition, the situation as a practical manifestation thus slipped between a series of proposals. The SI thus were first led to distinguish the situation from the mere artistic practice of the beat happening, and later identified it in historical events such as the Paris Commune or the Watts riots, and eventually not with partial insurrections, but with total revolution itself. The Spectacle: Debord's 1967 book The Society of the Spectacle attempted to provide the SI with a Marxian critical theory. The concept of 'the spectacle' expanded to all society the Marxist concept of reification drawn from Marx's Das Kapital, entitled "The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret thereof" and developed by Georg Lukács. This was an analysis of the logic of commodities whereby they achieve an ideological autonomy from the process of their production, so that “social action takes the form of the action of objects, which rule the producers instead of being ruled by them.” (Marx, Capital) Developing this analysis of the logic of the commodity, The Society of the Spec-
tacle generally understood society as divided between the passive subject who consumes the spectacle and the reified spectacle itself.
Unitary urbanism: "Unitary urbanism is one of the central concerns of the SI" (Internationale Situationniste #3, December 1959). This was originally developed by the Lettrist International and the International Movement For An Imaginist Bauhaus, and then taken up by the SI. This development marked a move away from metagraphy and towards the use of Dérive and psychogeography and also situgraphy. Following expulsions and the move towards the theory of the spectacle, UU became a lesser concern for the SI in later years. See separate articles on Unitary urbanism, Dérive, and psychogeography.
Recuperation: "To survive, the spectacle must have social control. It can recuperate a potentially threatening situation by shifting ground, creating dazzling alternatives- or by embracing the threat, making it safe and then selling it back to us" – Larry Law, from The Spectacle – The Skeleton Keys, a 'Spectacular Times pocket book.
Detournement: "short for: detournement of pre-existing aesthetic elements. The integration of past or present artistic production into a superior construction of a milieu. In this sense there can be no Situationist painting or music, but only a Situationist use of these means.", Internationale Situationiste Issue 1, June 1958. One could view detournement as forming the opposite side of the coin to 'recuperation' (where radical ideas and images become safe and commodified), in that images produced by the spectacle get altered and subverted so that rather than supporting the status quo, their meaning becomes changed in order to put across a more radical or oppositionist message.
The conceptTHE ofREVOLUTION detournement WILL BEhas TELEVISED had a/ popuG20 / 46 lar influence amongst contemporary radicals, and the technique can be seen in action in the present day when looking at the work of Culture Jammers including the Cacophony Society, Billboard Liberation Front, and Adbusters, whose 'subvertisements' 'detourn' Nike adverts, for example. In this case the original advertisement's imagery is altered in order to draw attention to said company's policy of shifting their production base to cheap-labour third-world 'free trade zones'. However, the line between 'recuperation' and 'detournement' can become thin (or at least very fuzzy) at times, as Naomi Klein points out in her book No Logo. Here she details how corporations such as Nike, Pepsi or Diesel have approached Culture Jammers and Adbusters and offered them lucrative contracts in return for partaking in 'ironic' promotional campaigns. She points out further irony by drawing attention to merchandising produced in order to promote Adbusters' Buy Nothing day, an example of the recuperation of detournement if ever there was one. Klein's arguments about irony reifying rather than breaking down power structures is echoed by Slavoj Zizek. Zizek argues that the kind of distance opened up by detournement is the condition of possibility for ideology to operate: by attacking and distancing oneself from the sign-systems of capital, the subject creates a fantasy of transgression that "covers up" his/ her actual complicity with capitalism as an overarching system. In contrast, evoLhypergrapHyCx are very fond of pointing out the differences between hypergraphics, 'detournement', the postmodern idea of appropriation and the Neoist use of plagiarism as the use of different and similar techniques used for different and similar means, effects and causes. Another (possibly less contentious) extension of the concept of detournement lies within the technique of sampling in music production.
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The Situationist International (SI)
was a restricted group of international revolutionaries founded in 1957, and which had its peak in its influence on the unprecedented general wildcat strikes of May 1968 in France. With their ideas rooted in Marxism and the 20th century European artistic avant-gardes, they advocated experiences of life being alternative to those admitted by the capitalist order, for the fulfillment of human primitive desires and the pursuing of a superior passional quality. For this purpose they suggested and experimented with the construction of situations, namely the setting up of environments favorable for the fulfillment of such desires. Using methods drawn from the arts, they developed a series of experimental fields of study for the construction of such situations, like unitary urbanism and psychogeography. They fought against the main obstacle on the fulfillment of such superior passional living, identified by them in advanced capitalism. Their theoretical work peaked on the highly influential book The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord. Debord argued in 1967 that spectacular features like mass media and advertising have a central role in an advanced capitalist society, which is to show a fake reality in order to mask the real capitalist degradation of human life. To overthrow such system, the Situationist International supported the May â€˜68 revolts, and asked the workers to occupy the factories and to run them with direct democracy, through workersâ€™ councils composed by instantly revocable delegates. After publishing in the last issue of the magazine an analysis of the May 1968 revolts, and the strategies that will need to be adopted in future revolutions, the SI was dissolved in 1972.
THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED / THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL / 48 Though the SI were a very small group, they were expert self-propagandists, and their slogans appeared daubed on walls throughout Paris at the time of the revolt
"Down w the guarantee th starvation has been guarantee that we w
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with a world in which hat we will not die of n purchased with the will die of boredom." Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution Of Everyday Life
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p o l i t i c s f r o m s e p arat e d art a n o f
The Situationist International, in the 15 years from its formation in 1957 and its dissolution in 1972, is characterized by a Marxist and surrealist perspective on aesthetics and politics, without separation between the two: art and politics are faced together and in revolutionary terms. The SI analyzed the modern world from the point of view of everyday life. The core arguments of the Situationist International were an attack on the capitalist degradation of the life of people and the fake models advertised by the mass media, to which the Situationist responded with alternative life experiences. The alternative life experiences explored by the Situationists were the construction of situations, unitary urbanism, psychogeography, and the union of play, freedom and critical thinking. A major stance of the SI, was to count on the force of a revolutionary proletariat. This stance was reaffirmed very clearly in a discussion on “To what extent is the SI a political movement?”, during the Fourth SI Conference in London. The SI remarked that this is a core Situationist principle, and that those that don’t understand it and agree with it, are not Situationist. Reactionary forces always try to hinder the still topical power of the working class. It was not by chance that May ‘68, whose main feature was the largest general strike that ever stopped the economy of an advanced industrial country and the first wildcat general strike in history, was instead depicted by most media outlets as “student protests”. That was precisely to mystify the still very topical role of a revolutionary proletariate.
R e j e c t i o n
A n t i - c a p i ta l i s m
f o r
h u m a n
l i f e
Core principles, methods and goals Since its foundation in 1957, the SI rejected the concept of a 20th century art that is separated from the topical political events, as that fails to grasp the present mission of the artistic avant-garde, and plays the game of reactionaries. The SI noted how reactionary forces forbid subversive ideas from artists and intellectuals to reach the public discourse, and how they attack the artworks that express comprehensive critique of society, by saying that art should not involve itself into politics. A precise mechanism followed by conservartives to defuse the role of subversive artists and intellectuals, is to reframe them as separated from the most topical events, and divert from them the taste for the new that may dangerously appeal the masses; after such separation, such artworks are sterilized, banalized, degraded, and can be safely integrated into the official culture and the public discourse, where they can add new flavors to old dominant ideas and play the role of a gear wheel in the mechanism of the society of the spectacle. Artists, and intellectuals, that accept such compromises are rewarded by the art dealers and praised by the dominant culture. The SI received many offers to sponsor “creations” that would just have a “situationist” label but a diluted political content, that would have brought things back to order and the SI back into the old fold of artistic praxis. The majority of SI continued to refuse such offers and any involvement on the conventional avant-garde artistic plane. This principle was affirmed since the founding of the SI in 1957, but the qualitative step of resolving all the contradictions of having situationists that make concessions to the cultural market, was made with the exclusion of the Spur group in 1962.
Influence of Debord
Many consider Guy Debord the main intellectual of the SI. Debord's work The Society of the Spectacle (1967) established Situationism as a Marxist critical theory. The Society of the Spectacle is widely recognized as the main and most influential Situationist essay. The concept of revolution created by the Situationist International was anti-capitalist, Marxist, Young Hegelian, and from the very beginning in the 50s, remarkably differently from the established Left, antiStalinist and against all repressive regimes. Debord starts his 1967 work with a revisited version of the first sentence with which Marx began his critique of classical political economy, Das Kapital. In a later essay, Debord will argue that his work was the most important social critique since Marx's work. Drawing from Marx, which argued that under a capitalist society the wealth is degraded to an immense accumulation of commodities, Debord argues that in advanced capitalism, life is reduced to an immense accumulation of spectacles, a triumph of mere appearance where "all that once was directly lived has become mere representation". The spectacle, which according to Debord is the core feature of the advanced capitalist societies, has its "most glaring superficial manifestation" in the advertising-mass media-marketing complex. Elaborating on Marx's argument that under capitalism our lives and our environment are
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continually depleted, Debord adds that the Spectacle is the system by which capitalism tries to hide such depletion. Debord added that, further than the impoverishment in the quality of life, our psychic functions are altered, we get a degradation of mind and also a degradation of knowledge.In the spectacular society, knowledge is not used anymore to question, analyze, or resolve contradictions, but to assuage reality. Such argument on the Spectacle as a mask of a degrading reality has been elaborated by many Situationist artists, producing dĂŠtournements of advertising where instead of a shiny life the crude reality was represented.
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G20 APRIL 09
â€ƒ The 2009 G-20 London summit protests occurred in the days around the G-20 summit on 2 April 2009, which was the focus of protests from a number of groups over various long-standing and topical issues. These ranged from disquiet over economic policy, anger at the banking system and bankers' remuneration and bonuses, the continued war on terror and concerns over climate change. â€ƒ Although the majority of the protests and protesters were peaceful, the threat of violence and criminal damage were used by police as a reason to detain, or "kettle", protesters as part of Operation Glencoe. A bystander, Ian Tomlinson, died shortly after being pushed to the ground by a police officer. A second post-mortem has revealed that Tomlinson may have died from an abdominal haemorrhage. A police officer has been questioned under suspicion of manslaughter as a probe into the circumstances surrounding this death continues.
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KEY EVENTS 28 March 35,000 people joined the peaceful "March for Jobs, Justice and Climate" in central London, which was organized by "Put People First", a civil-society coalition organised in response to the London summit of more than 160 development nongovernmental organisations, trade unions and environmental groups. Their 12-point economic plan for democratic governance demanded democratised financial institutions to deliver secure jobs and public services, an end to global poverty and inequality, and a green economy. The movement was initiated by the Jubilee Debt Campaign, Trade Justice Movement, British Overseas NGOs for Development and TUC. â€ƒ A peace activist climbed over the railings into the Houses of Parliament as a symbolic gesture of 'power to the people'. When arrested by police he explained that "This is the people's parliament, and I am one of the people". â€ƒ Marches in several French cities were organised by Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens. 1 April -12 noon Around five thousand people joined the G-20 Meltdown protest outside the Bank of England. G-20 Meltdown was a radical anti-capitalist, socialist organisation conceived in Paris and formed in London in January 2009 prior to the G-20 summit. As well as the protest, they organised four nearby squats. Much of the protest, which was "kettled", was peaceful although there were violent confrontations. The police used batons and dogs and at least one policeman was injured; some protesters broke into a branch of RBS and a bystander, Ian Tomlinson, died after being hit with a baton from behind by a police officer near the protest.
1 April -12:30pm Climate Camp in the City - 1st April 4pm About two to three thousand people joined the Climate Camp in the City outside European Climate Exchange on Bishopsgate, which was peaceful except for when minor scuffles occurred after riot police 'kettled' the event at 7:30pm. The street was cleared at about 2am following day. 1 April - 2pm 28 March 35,000 people joined the peaceful "March for Jobs, Justice and Climate" in central London, which was organized by "Put People First", a civil-society coalition organised in response to the London summit of more than 160 development nongovernmental organisations, trade unions and environmental groups. Their 12-point economic plan for democratic governance demanded democratised financial institutions to deliver secure jobs and public services, an end to global poverty and inequality, and a green economy. The movement was initiated by the Jubilee Debt Campaign, Trade Justice Movement, British Overseas NGOs for Development and TUC.
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1 April - 4pm A peace activist climbed over the railings into the Houses of Parliament as a symbolic gesture of 'power to the people'. When arrested by police he explained that : "This is the people's parliament, and I am one of the people". Marches in several French cities were organised by Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens.Several hundred people joined a peaceful Stop the War Coalition march from the American embassy in Grosvenor Square to Trafalgar Square which brought together protesters from the Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, The British Muslim Initiative, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
A guide to G20 protests taken from the guardian 23rd march 2009 The G20 summit in London next week will be the target of widespread protests, many of which are being organised online. City workers have been warned that they might be targeted and police are preparing a massive security operation. But who are the protesters and what are they planning? G20 Meltdown An alliance of anti-capitalist groups organising a carnival, headed by "Four Horsefolk of the Apocalypse", which will converge in front of the Bank of England on 1 April. The organisers' aims are set on their website: "G20 Meltdown calls for the G20 ministers to own up to their mistakes and admit that their global dominance – the dominance of finance capitalism – is the problem, not the solution to the current economic, ecological and political meltdown." Meltdown's Facebook group has more details of marches from four London underground stations. Organisers hope a videoclip on YouTube will help rally protesters to the event. There also regular updates on Twitter at G20Meltdown. Anarchists The group London Anarchists has called on its followers to join in "fucking up the su1mmit and other adventures". It is planning action in London on 1 April and at the site of the summit at the ExCel centre in Docklands on 2 April. "Join thousands of disgruntled, angry, pissed off people on the streets of the financial district. As the bankers continue to cream off billions of pounds of our money let's put the call out – reclaim the money, storm the banks and send them packing," reads a statement by the group, published by Ian Bone, founder of the anarchist magazine
Class War. [A previous link has been removed due to doubts about its authenticity.] The latest issue of Class War depicts the former RBS boss Fred Goodwin in a guillotine under the headline "Ready to Riot". The Whitechapel Anarchist Group has more details about how word has been spreading about the protests. Climate Camp The group, which organised previous protests at Heathrow airport, will march on the European Climate Exchange on Bishopgate at 12.30pm on 1 April. Climate Camp is planning to "swoop in from different directions and under different means to all arrive within a minute or two of each other. We therefore advise that people meet up with their mates early, and somewhere within easy reach of the Climate Exchange. Then, at the appropriate moment, leave quickly, and timed to arrive at exactly 12:30. You may even want to practice beforehand." It has Twitter updates at ClimateCampLdn
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2 April An 'alternative G20 Summit' with speakers including Tony Benn, Ken Loach, Ken Livingstone, John McDonnell and Caroline Lucas was scheduled to take place at the University of East London which was close to the main G-20 Summit venue. At the last minute the university announced that the whole university would close for the duration of the summit on safety grounds, also that Prof Chris Knight, an expert in anthropology at the University for 20 years, had been suspended for "inciting criminal action, specifically violence against policemen and women and damage to banking institutions", and that the alternative summit was cancelled. In the event, the summit did go ahead and was held on the lawns of the university and started an hour later than planned and an attendance of 200-300 people. Around 200 people gathered for a vigil outside Bank following news of Ian Tomlinson's death, and were subjected to a police 'kettle' despite the vigil being peaceful. 200 anti-war protesters from the Stop the War Coalition protested at the ExCeL Centre. 'Spiderman', the French climber Alain Robert, climbed the Lloyd's building and unfurled a banner saying '"100 months" to save the world' in reference to the urgency of tackling climate change.
Government of the Dead The group describes itself as "a varied bunch of radicals, drawn together by the fickle hand of fate and a joyful determination to build a better world for humanity, our biosphere and all the descendants thereof than the train wreck bequeathed to us by the decadent, decomposing corpse of capitalism". It is urging supporters to take to the streets on 1 April and the next day for "the trial and execution by beheading of capitalism featuring the final repentance of the accused for crimes against the planet". Put People First This TUC-backed march in London on Saturday (March 28) starts at Victoria embankment and ends in Hyde Park. "Put People First is a coalition of development charities, trade unions, faith groups, environmentalists and other organisations, formed in response to call for a fair, sustainable route out of recession," says the website. It has a Facebook group and Twitter updates at putpeoplefirst.
Alternative G20 Summit A few hundred paces from the ExCel summit, an alternative "teach-in" will be held at the University of East London. It is aimed at "everyone who thinks that the bankers and politicians in their pay have been making a mess of things and need to be sacked and replaced". It too has a Facebook group with details of the speakers including Tony Benn, Caroline Lucas and Ken Livingstone. Stop the War Coalition The anti-war campaign is focusing on Barack Obama’s first presidential visit to Britain to call on the US and UK to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. It is meeting outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square on 1 April and outside the ExCel centre on 2 April.
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THE G20 PANTOMIME Iâ€™ve tried previously to say something on the futility of the dominant form of contemporary protest â€“ essentially, as allowing someone better armed than yourself to start a fight, and enjoying the pantomime-style retaliation â€“ and the G20 demonstrations did nothing to convince me otherwise. One positive, perhaps, is that the media will now pay attention to the police tactic of kettling and pre-emptive aggression moreso than before; but at the same time, the opposition and dissent represented by the demonstration is obscured by arguments about the pragmatics of protesting. Whatever the causes of death of the poor man who died yesterday, one can only hope that it will be recognised that he died whilst penned in with thousands of others, refused safe exit, and denied access to food, water or a toilet. Source: http://revolutionaryboredom.wordpress.com/
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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS TAKEN FROM A SERIES OF QUESTIONAIRES ABOUT PROTEST
Are there any social/political issues you are unhappy with at the moment?
YES. Lets hope everyone can bring themselves to say yes to no.1 because striving for a more just and ethical existance is surely human nature. I'm primarily active on environmental issues at the moment but I can't escape fighting the good fight for meaning and access to higher education too... (which has tied into a bit of activism around workers issues in other sectors) 2.
If so, how do you think they should be changed?
How many words am I alowed? tEnvironmental issues- simply we need to change the linear ethos of production for one of reproduction. I also advocate a different living-earth worldview to the mechanistic means-end rationality of modern idustrial society. Politics *like* the Green Party in the UK is the easiest answer here for "how changed"... and propagating politics like indigenous MAS government in Bolivia in the international arena. Education- should be free and to teach people how to think not to be workers. 3.
Have you been on any protests?
Too many. I think at least 6 within the last month. 4.
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED Sources SEIDMAN, Michael, The Imaginary Revolution (2004), Berghahn Books ROHAN, Mark, Paris 68- Graffiti, posters, newspapers & poems of the events of May 1968 (1988), Impact Books. Atelier Populaire, Posters From The Revoultion -Paris May 1968 (1969), Dobson Books Ltd. http://www.marxists.org/history/france/may-1968/timeline.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situationist_International http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1968_in_France https://www.adbusters.org http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapus http://www.cacophony.org/ http://www.parliment-square.org.uk/ http://revolutionaryboredom.wordpress.com/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/caravinagre/3610930216/in/photostream/
Do you believe that protesting can make a difference? BASED ON THE ISTD BRIEF ‘IMBALANCE’
Social movements are the only things that ever have caused real changes in society. But the question can "protesting" make a difference is flawed... The concept should be "direct action". In this way everything we do can be protest- art, building, gardening, performance, design, conferences/rallies, diet even conversation. The key is it has to be on our terms- because protesting within the logic of the system you want to change will never be enough...
RESPONSE FROM A. FREEMAN, STUDENT AT SUSSEX UNIVERSITY.
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Published on Jun 10, 2010