by David Broder
Friday 10th saw a demonstration in the City of London called ‘march on the City’. The organisers of the 200-strong protest were the Socialist Workers’ Party, but a number of anarchists participated (no organisations or papers though) as well as two of us and a friend, a few from Workers’ Power and one person from the Socialist Party. The large majority of those in attendance were students.
The protest reprised some of the slogans of the “anti-capitalist movement” which existed around ten years ago, and there was plenty of militancy and activist energy on show. Of course, the real aim of the protest was not to put pressure on the government or banks (to do what?) but rather to give the SWP students “something to do” as part of the organisation’s current turn from East-End electoral work towards anti-fascist and anti-capitalist “activism”.
A rather more worthwhile protest will be the Schroders cleaners’ demonstration at 5pm on Friday 17th (details in Jake’s comment here). The National Shop Stewards Network has organised a further protest on Monday 13th at noon.
Below are some photos and a video. A couple of them are ripped off other websites.
Demonstrators gathered outside the front of the Bank of England. The chant: “They say bankers, we say wankers”
The SWP has launched a “People before profit” charter with a set of 10 minimalist, reformist and welfarist demands.
We then proceeded to “march on the city” by running up the steps of the Bank of England. Unfortunately, at the top of the steps there was a “luxury shopping centre and café” rather than the floor of the Stock Exchange.
The picture cuts out the radical slogan on the Workers’ Power placard: “Nationalise all the banks: we won’t pay for their crisis”. Rather incongruous: presumably if the government nationalised the banks and took on their debts it would cover the costs with taxpayers’ money. Workers’ Power married this call for state intervention in finance with the chant “anti-, anti-, anti-capitalista”.
Police guarded the luxury shopping centre and café.
Moving across the road, another attempt to get in: could this building be the Stock Exchange?
The door to this office was firmly shut. We protested this by sitting down in the street…
SWP “theoretician” Dr. Alexander Theodore Callinicos (son of the Hon. Aedgyth Bertha Frances Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, herself the daughter of Sir Richard Maximilian Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, 2nd Baron Acton of Aldenham) arrived at the demo late. The credit crunch has forced him to trade in the Rolls for a Bentley.
Out of favour: recently purged SWP leader John Rees had to come on foot. We were surprised he was even allowed to come.
A scuffle with the police at a junction.
SWP student organiser Rob Owen got a hand in his face.
The march then made a near-180 degree turn to pass some bars and restaurants.
Socialist Worker editor Chris Bambery asks a constable to arrest John Rees for trespassing at an SWP event.
Class War leader Ian Bone watches the action…
… as do a group of City types. One of them bought a copy of the commune’s new pamphlet on workers’ management. Since these people will soon be unemployed, they were keen to learn about the experience of the laid-off Argentinian workers who seized their workplaces in 2002.
City types watching out of windows: some demonstrators shouted “jump!”
With all the swearing and pushing and shoving the police started to get worried.
This unruly dog bit an SWPer’s face.
These bankers were interviewed, expressing the view that “you have to have a bit of both socialism and capitalism”…
…but in a speech at the end of the demo Martin Smith from the SWP limited his demands to “investment in public services” and “feeding the Third World”. The march finished with this rally on a street corner in Bishopsgate.
The cavalry arrived too late to take part in the fighting.
Channel 4 News ran this preposterous, albeit very funny, video covering the demo.