The Jubilee is a national sedative; this is a national wake up call
By Anna Walker, a campaigner from UK Uncut
Cameron wants to see ‘the mother of all parties’. The Queen is old – celebrate! The Olympics are in town – celebrate! Ignore the fact that we are screwing you, your parents, your grandparents, your children, your friends and neighbours. Ignore the fact that we will monitor your emails, tap your phones, sell off the hospitals and schools brick by brick to the private companies. Have an extra day off, have a party, drink some tea, preferably drink some Pimms. But whatever you do, don’t remember the unemployment figures, the number of disabled people who are killing themselves because their benefits are stopped or the number of services you use that are being scrapped.
Don’t dissent. Don’t resist. Don’t protest. If you do, you are unpatriotic, a killjoy, a ‘dangerous anarchist’. We will arrest you if you put an anti-Olympics poster in the window, we will stop and search if you’re wearing a hoodie too near the Olympic stadium. We will pre-emptively arrest you and slap an ASBO on you if you dare to suggest that all is not well and try to do something about it.
UK Uncut also wants to party – but for completely different reasons. We want to undermine the government’s propaganda and the Jubilee pageantry. The idea of UK Uncut holding street parties of resistance came from anger that the government will use Jubilee celebrations as a national sedative and a justification to clamp down on political protest. We want people to remember and to resist the cuts being rammed through by the government. We want people to celebrate a different future, determined by everyone.
The last time the Olympics were held in London was in 1948. The country had an enormous national debt yet the NHS and welfare state were introduced. We are not saying that we wish we could go back to this time, but that the introduction of free healthcare for (almost) everyone is a good thing. That it is better to have some form of support for disabled people, children, single parents and people without work than not. We are not saying that Britain was a perfect place for everyone then or now. Discrimination against people of colour, women, disabled people, LGBT and queer people, migrants, travellers and Roma people was rife then and remains today. Colonialism was vicious and persists in new forms today. The flag is a symbol which means very different things to different people from pride to football hooliganism to far right extremist views. What does it mean to be British? Again, it’s different for different people, so we’ve asked people with different perspectives to write guest blogs which will be posted on the UK Uncut site next week.
We live in communities that make up this country. And those communities are suffering. We are asking what do we want society to look like in a future Britain? You decide. You decide together how you want resist the attack on our services, rights and future. Do what works for you wherever you live.
As opposed to the sedative effect of Jubilee parties, UK Uncut’s street parties are intended to wake up new ideas, new connections and new collective power. They are not about celebrating Britain as it is or as it was in 1948. They are about defiance and the definition of a future that we want to see, where we live – that is determined by us all – not for us, by a bunch of men who think they own power, money, business, government, us and our future.