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Saturday, July 29, 2006

PROTEST MARCHES: Brief thoughts on thier validity

After about two months of record-breaking heat, the day the heat wave would break was bound to coincide with ‘The Left’ organising a march though Cardiff.

There was not a massive turn out, about 200, but by Cardiff standards, in the rain, that is not bad. They had gathered to protest about the Israeli attack on the Lebanon.
As well as the ‘usual suspects’ from the Left, there were quite a few Muslims present, which was cool to see because it demonstrates we are all speaking with the same voice.

I have my doubts about the ability of these set piece marches from A to B to actually make a difference to anything. I marched with 2 Million others through London to stop the war on Iraq, but Bush and Blair carried on regardless. When it comes together, with hundreds of thousands marching, the Government may carry on regardless, but they do take note that large numbers of voters may be thinking of not voting for them in the future. At the end of the day they cannot survive without a popular mandate and although the impact of large marches are often not seen immediately, they can send out ripples that change things a little bit at a time.

They do serve another purpose though; they enable people to network, to allow people with similar views to come together and meet new people; and it gives a focus, something to campaign around, a reason to reach out and talk to people. It also gives the left an opportunity to sell more newspapers. This might sound condescending, but they are all useful tools for building ‘The Struggle’.

I am in the middle of writing an article, ‘Summit Mobilisations: what’s the point?’ so will leave it at that for now. If you have any thoughts on the meaningfulness of popular protest please e-mail me or post a comment.

I think a lengthy rant like blog on the goings on in the Middle East is also on the cards, but i want to spend some time on that.


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