(at The Bank of England, April 1st 2009)
by Nathan Coombs
First was the March 28th ‘Jobs, justice, climate’ rally: a quickly forgotten TUC organised trot through central London. Second was the April 1st protest at the Bank of England, where the four horsemen of the apocalypse descended on the Bank, against a fever pitch expectation set by the police and the media about the eruption of a ‘summer of rage.’ Something like 5,000 to 10,000 joined the protest at Bank, and conferring to a well recognised pattern the protest was not so much a unified event, as a conglomeration of events – in a similar vein to the ‘anti-globalisation’ movement of the 1990s and beyond.
In the sense of history repeating itself, Chris Knight, the ‘martyr’ of the G20 Meltdown movement, declared an impending “Velvet Revolution”[i] in the week running up the protest, and the media were quick to invoke parallels with the May Day riots and to label the assorted anarchists groups and hodgepodge of protestors as ‘anti-globalisation activists;’[ii] even in the absence of any anti-globalisation banners, chants or slogans. Needless to say, neither the revolution, nor the anti-globalisation protest materialised. Or in other words, the form of the protests might have stayed the same, but the content had not. Yet surveying the post-mortem commentary about the protest on the left, the blinkers still seem to be on those that only saw what they expected to see, nevermind what was simmering in a inarticulate bubble beneath the surface. Continue reading “the g20 protests: the devil against the detail”