Sunday, 23 June 2013
Peoples Assembly or a day at the races? The people choose.
Inside Methodist Central Hall Westminster the hot air rose in almost equatorial proportions. Outside a large marquee housed the Firebox Cafe, a stand up venue and the usual plethora of literature stalls. On that stone plinth that overlooks the entrance to the hall a handful of anarchists suggested possible alternatives to what was being proposed inside. I'm not knocking any of this because apart from the career politicos who think that taking the masses through the negative experience of another Labour government will somehow "radicalise" them (I'm never sure how many times this has to be experienced before the radicalising finally kicks in) there must have been hundreds of good folk who genuinely want to change the world for the better and will grasp at anything that may offer hope - and that applies equally to those inside and outside the hall. Trouble is that politicos, both amateur and professional, tend to go on a lot about "ordinary people" but frequently seem to have little connection with same. I was reminded of this when on the way to the event. Clapham Junction and Waterloo were both heaving with people dressed up to the nines and on their way to a good day out at Ascot. Just because it's "Royal" Ascot don't run away with the idea that all of these punters are toffs or in some way "posh". A day at the races is a day at the races and there is a long and honourable tradition of lorry drivers, dinner ladies and dodgy scrap metal dealers getting shit-faced and making an exhibition of themselves. The point is that all those people were off to have a good day out. They will not have heard of John Rees or the Peoples Assembly and certainly won't have much interest in us anarchists. They also dress a lot (a fucking lot) better than us. The left (even the anarchists) used to be a part of the working class milieu and somehow we have to make that connection again. I think that Class War had it for a while back in the eighties but that was then and this is now. I keep thinking of all those punters on the station platform as well as all the other "ordinary people" in London yesterday and I can't for the life of me see how they might be made to feel that Peoples Assemblies or New Movements could in any way relate to them.