With unemployment rising, cuts to just about everything and the Arctic ice rapidly disappearing while business continues as usual, it’s easy to feel powerless. But it was people power on the streets that stopped the poll tax, blocked new coal power stations, stalled plans for a third runway at Heathrow, ignited the Arab Spring and made bankers’ greed and tax avoidance toxic. It’s time to fight back – and plans are coming together for a UK summer of mass resistance linking the struggles against cuts, climate and corporate capitalism.
This summer will see some significant decisions being made by government leaders that will dictate our economic and environmental future. 2013 marks the year for the UK to host the annual jamboree of the G8. Cunningly, or cowardly, Cameron has chosen a luxury golf course in Northern Ireland to host the meeting. But for people in England, capitalism and its dirty secrets are to be found closer to home.
The Stop G8 Network has called a week of action and events between between 8-15 June in London, including talks, films, workshops, discussions and mass action. Tuesday 11 June will see a Carnival Against Capitalism take over the streets in London’s West End – the hiding place of power – ‘to celebrate our resistance and our dreams, to bring music and colour to the streets, and to show our strength and our anger.’
At the end of the week – Friday 14 June – a gathering in the private corporate zone that is Canary Wharf will bring beauty and hope to the dark, beating heart of capitalism. Themed around re-framing debt, rejecting the idea that individuals or countries are in debt to financial institutions and that austerity and privatisation is needed to remedy it, They Owe Us aims to bring together those angry about cuts and climate crises in one space to resist, create and imagine.
Though Canary Wharf is an overt icon of modern capitalism, the damage it causes is displaced and often unseen. It resides in the final demand letter landing on the doorstep, the early morning queue at the job centre, the silent tears shed behind closed doors. This is an action to make them visible.
Later on in the summer, there will be another opportunity for those fighting the cuts and the climate to come together for mass action. Last October, 21 environmental activists shut down EDF’s West Burton power station for a week in protest at the government’s new ‘dash for gas’. West Burton is the first of up to 40 new gas fired power stations being planned. With mass public support, including a solidarity petition signed by 64,000 people, they fought off energy firm EDF’s attempt to sue them for £5 million. This summer, inspired by their action, a wide coalition of groups and individuals will be coming together to Reclaim the Power at a four-day camp and protest at West Burton power station from 17-20 August.
All these events consciously reassert the need for mass protest, assembly and direct action on the streets and in our public spaces. The interlocking series of crises facing us today have meant that social movements have become more dispersed. While the internet and social media has created the communication networks and the resonance for popular protest to ignite and spread in new ways, the biggest threat to the status quo is when we all take to the streets. We cannot afford to give up on public assemblies and demonstrations as political levers. These are the moments when we feel our power, courage, strength and unity; when we are transformed and when change is possible. This year the summer won’t be a disappointment.
#226 Get Socialism Done ● Special US section edited by Joe Guinan and Sarah McKinley ● A post-austerity state ● Political theatre ● Racism in football ● A new transatlantic left? ● Britain’s zombie constitution ● Follow the dark money ● Book reviews ● And much more
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
Organisations and individuals including Kehinde Andrews, Hanif Kureishi, Ahdaf Soueif, Gillian Slovo, Robert Del Naja and Anish Kapoor urge BAME and migrant communities to vote for Labour
Sam Gregory of Now Then magazine reports on the candidates vying for votes in a key Lib Dem-Labour marginal
Racism marred the Manchester derby this weekend. This blemish on the game is an echo of our Prime Minister’s words, says Remi Joseph-Salisbury.
If elected, the next Labour government can finally depart from the neoliberal consensus and deliver a major shift in wealth and power, argues Adam Peggs
Simon Hedges shares his famous-on-Twitter analysis of the state of the left today
As Sanders and Corbyn head to the polls, Peter Gowan describes a new spirit of international collaboration on the left
The 2017 Labour election manifesto was good but the 2019 version is the document we’ve really been waiting for, argues Mike Phipps
In 2017, Labour won Kensington by just 20 votes. Brian Eno explains why he's backing Emma Dent Coad in the seat - and why voting Lib Dem is ‘voting Tory without admitting it’
Following Labour’s manifesto pledge to educate the public on the histories of empire, slavery, and migration, Kimberly McIntosh explains the dangers of colonial nostalgia in the national curriculum
The stakes could not be higher during this election. Help us cover what's really happening
The Scottish struggle for independence is one of several issues at the centre of debates over where power in the United Kingdom should be located, writes Isobel Lindsey