Pix-&-Vidz of Haringey Independence Day 2009Tagged as: autonomous_spaces bon-croissant-collective campaigns climate_chaos cooperatives culture education haringey-independence-day housing_transport john-hegley privatisation_enclosure worker's_struggles
Dateline: Haringey, London, UK, Sat 30 May 09 – On a gloriously sunny Saturday in May, Haringey Independence Day 2009 provided discussions, workshops, stalls, films, socialising and refreshments for everyone who cares about their community, environment and workplace and wants to change them for the better.
I lived in Haringey in the 80s, married into the local Greek Cypriot community, and was active with Dave Morris and many others in the successful Haringey Anti-Poll Tax Union, so I was happy to see that the grassroots organising carried on by the emergent Haringey Solidarity Group in the decades since was being so vibrantly expressed through a second annual gathering – Haringey Independence Day 2009 (HID.09).
"A grassroots gathering for local change
Unhappy with the way things are?
Want to see things changed for the better?
Worried about local services being carved up for private profit?
Fed up with government attacks on civil liberties?
Think people should fight back and organise for themselves?
Then Haringey Independence Day is for you. It's a day of independence from party politics, religion and government agencies, where individuals and groups in Haringey can organise collectively, exchange ideas and make their own decisions that affect their lives. So come and get inspired, share news, and celebrate the good things happening in the community."
As I told the comic/poet/musician genius himself, what better way to begin such a day than with a participatory performance by John Hegley? By kind permission of John and ukulele songstress Jane, here are some video highlights of their uplifting, engaging and endearing performance. And congrats -&-kudos to the Kids' Collective Community Arts Group for booking such a class act.
John Hegley at HID.09 -- A & C
- Ameoba and Captain (a Pirate Song inspired by "When I Was One" by A.A.Milne)
John Hegley at HID.09 -- D, F, G
John Hegley at HID.09 -- S, T, W
- Ain't She Sweet?, Toby the Armadllo, and Waving
The diversity of local campaigns and groups at HID.09 was most impressive, from the Back to Earth Project to the Wards Corner Community Coalition...
• List of names of groups with stalls:
• Active groups in Haringey, name/info/website/contact:
Between them, these organisations presented:
• 14 meetings and workshops – http://www.haringey.org.uk/independenceday/meeting.html
• 9 other activities – http://www.haringey.org.uk/independenceday/other.html
Like the Glastonbury Festival or the London Anarchist Bookfair, there were so many attractive activities running concurrently that it just wasn't possible to get to enjoy or participate in all the possibilities I'd have liked to have joined. So here are my highlights.
History on the streets: a local history walk celebrating our community
Following last year's popular walk by local resident Mike Berlin, he again led a stroll, around the corner into the the immaculate Downhills Park. With expert advance preparation, Mike gave us each a handout of A3 photocopies of seven maps of West Green from the medieval to the modern. We processed around the carriage turning circle and up the hazel avenue that once led up to the C18 Downhills House. From the C11 Norman subjugation of local Anglo-Saxons to C19 Old Bailey court reports, Mike told us of the local aspects of the anti-poll tax Peasants' Revolt, the Great Rising of 1381; the Diggers colony on Enfield Chase, 1649-1659; and much more besides. I was honoured to be asked to orate the opening of "The True Leveler’s Standard Advanced" by '17th Century Communist' Gerard Winstanley – probably for the first time, in the open air of West Green, in centuries.
The Bon Croissant Collective
A 'loose group' of musicians rather than a band, the Bon Croissant Collective meets for a monthly Saturday afternoon jam – folk, a bit of rock and roll, blues, even a bit of classical sometimes – at the excellent Bon Croissant cafe in Crouch End. I'd brought my ultra-portable drum-&-percussion instrument collection along, and greatly enjoyed joining in some spontaneous music-making with the nine-strong collective.
LBCC at HID.09
Next jam session: Sat 20 Jun 09, 14:00-16:30, at Le Bon Croissant, 85 Weston Park, Crouch End, London N8 9PR
Climate Change and Copenhagen – what is it all about and what does it mean for us in Haringey?
IMO, it's likely the biggest issue humanity has ever had to confront, jeopardising as it does the continuity of human civilisation and threatening the mother of all mass extinctions. But in the late afternoon of a sunny May Saturday, only a handful of folk gathered to discuss this 'elephant in the room'. Views ranged from fatalist/pessimist – "you'll never get Westerners to drastically cut their consumption to a sustainable average, around the living standard of a Chinese or Moroccan peasant", to revolutionary/optimist – "coming on top of the global ecological crisis, and the world wide economic crisis, now comes the political crisis in the UK, and huge numbers of people are waking up to how business-as-usual just CANNOT continue; so the seeds of our radical ideas for a positive, co-operative, ecologically harmonious future are falling on ever greater swathes of fertile ground", via the pragmatic/realist "the timeframe for drastically reducing human greenhouse gas emissions is so tight, we have to works with political realities as they are now, if we're to have a world in which a grassroots revolution can unfold." We were united in our contempt for corporate greenwash and vulgar individualist solutions (eg: blaming individuals for not living "green" enough lifestyles), and support for major social solutions, such as investment and expansion of transnational renewable energy generation infrastructure. Thanks and kudos to Sustainable Haringey for organising this meeting.
Active Feedback – What next for community action in Haringey
A well-attended 45 minute gathering, utilising intermittent small group discussions in which summary notecards were written, rounded off the meetings schedule with a positive review of HID.09 and a future gazing outlook. We considered future HIDs, a physical local Social Centre, and a persistent online Virtual Centre, from which emerged many positive ideas and concrete offers of assistance and collaboration.
Overall, HID.09 was a grand example of what can flow from grassroots local campaigning when focussed through the lens of a day-long gathering of our local forces for positive change. I know it's predicated on nearly two decades of successfully spreading the ideas of ordinary folk taking charge of their neighbourhoods, workplaces and environment, but the sooner such Independence Days can be emulated in other areas of London, the UK, and the global human community, the closer we'll be to being able to secure the Earth as a Common Treasury of relief for all, Male and Female, Beasts, Birds and Fishes alike.
"They will try to break our spirit
And at times they may succeed
But our love for the world
Is stronger than their greed
As the movement grows
There will be hills and bends
But at the center of the struggle
Are your lovers and your friends
And the more we hold each other up
The less we can be swayed
Here's to love and solidarity
And a kiss behind the barricades"
from "Behind the Barricades" by David Rovics, 2001
» streaming audio, free download and lyrics – http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6265014
Up the Revolution,
Tim Dalinian Jones
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