Pix-&-Vidz - Dancing on the Grave of Capitalis

Tagged as: actions_protests canary_wharf dancing halloween samba
Neighbourhoods: canary-wharf

A Spectre was haunting Canary Wharf, I tell ye the Spectre of Halloween! Or was it Communism? ?? ???
When the cause of all humanity's woes enters its death throes, the time's arrived for a solemn funerary ceremony, followed by a joyful participatory wake. Several hundred souls seemed to agree, and converged on the West Plaza of Canary Wharf, in the fibrillating heart of? London's Financial District, to hold a Halloween Street Party celebrating the demise of the Tyranny of Capital.

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See also: Witness Appeal

Vidz @ YouTube

DotGoC! 1 of 16: Four Horsefolk on foot

DotGoC! 2 of 16: One Solution -- Revolution!

DotGoC! 3 of 16: Anticapitalista!

DotGoC! 4 of 16: We've Gotta Get Rid of the Rich!

DotGoC! 5 of 16: Circle Opening Ritual

DotGoC! 6 of 16: The Four Horsefolk Get Dancing

DotGoC! 7 of 16: Dancing to That Samba Beat!

DotGoC! 8 of 16: Police Attack Students, 18:14

DotGoC! 9 of 16: Police Prevent Freedom of Movement

DotGoC! 10 of 16: And The Band Played On

DotGoC! 11 of 16: Ghost Djembe Drummer

DotGoC! 12 of 16: Who's Streets? Our Streets! Clearly Not!!

DotGoC! 13 of 16: Dance of the Red Communist Horseman

DotGoC! 14 of 16: SWP Bosses Quit Early

DotGoC! 15 of 16: The Wicked Witch of the Wharf

DotGoC! 16 of 16: Hot Rations for Cold Witches and Wizards

Several hundred ghouls, goblins and wee timorous ghosties ? believed by bourgeois apologists to be long dead and buried ? arose from their graves to laugh out loud in the face of their class enemy's 'little local difficulty'. O'course, we all know that these days, the given value of 'local' = global. So it was, when the intrinsic, systemic, and irreversible Tendency for the Capitalists' Rate-of-Profit to Fall [1] found expression in the current highly infectious crisis of Finance Capital ? the bursting of the US sub-prime mortgage boil sent septicaemic pathogens coursing through the venous conduits of Transnational Capital, demolishing bankers' share prices, crashing whole stock markets and wrecking entire national economies. Some of us have barely been able to stop laughing since Capital's economic crisis counted coup on its most significant scalp: erstwhile Wall Street stalwart Lehman Brothers (1850-2008, Rest in Pieces). So, soon after its fatal collapse on 15 Sep 08, a determination arose to Celebrate the Death of the Albatross of Capitalism that has hung around humanity's neck for waaaaay too long [2] ? by Dancing on the Grave of Capitalism, outside Lehman Brothers European Headquarters, at Halloween!

Old comrades, long thought to be politically deceased, were reanimated by the tumultuous twists and turns of events. New alliances were struck, as an enthusiasm to celebrate Capital's fatal collapse spread as quickly as toxic shock gripped the body economic. In quick order...
Samba bands signed up ? thank you very much indeed to Lionel Sims and to all you dedicated sambasistas for your delicious dance music ? you lovely folks continue to provide the Soundtrack to the Revolution, love on ya
Creative Imaginations engaged ? the Imagination being the only nation worth defending; see The Imagination below my sig
Gigantic anthropomorphic personifications took shape ? we repurposed the canonical delusional ravings of John of Patmos in his Book of Revelation [3] to imaginatively synthesise the Four Horsefolk of the Anti-Capitalist Apocalypse:
?? ? Anarchist, in Black, wielding a Monkey Wrench
?? ? Communist, in Red, wielding a Bloody Sword
?? ? EcoWarrior, in Green, wielding a Bow and Arrow
?? ? Revolution, the Pale Rider, in silver, wielding a Scythe
?? Many thanks to Lucien Windrich and the props team for your magnificent enormous effigies!
Unifying rituals and mortuary ceremonial rites were co-created [4]
Flyers, stickers, programmes placards and lyrics sheets were published [5]
Beautiful banners were brought into being [6]
Teh InterWeb was enrolled [7] to broadcast the shout out loud-&-clear: Let's Dance!

Aware of the historical and ever present danger of police violence against anti-capitalist events, we endeavoured to ensure a peaceful, light-hearted and child-friendly evening would ensue by event design and advance publicity. As a consequence, and in a remarkable feat of self-confidence, charm and persuasion, we secured the backing of Tower Hamlets Council's Events & Festivals Committee, and permission from both the heads of Canary Wharf's private security company and also the Metropolitan Police. [8]

But the best laid plans of mice and men ...

We set out a Sacred Circle of Jack O'Lantern Pumpkins, but lighting their candles in the stiffening and freezing breeze without wind-proof lighters proved to be tricky; and many thanks to a handful of young Asian folks for helping us get 'em all lit up. Our stewards were due to keep the Circle clear of party-goers, but didn't show up in time, so the Jack O'Lantern Circle gained little to no ritual significance and kinda just became a tripping hazard. And we thought our Circle Opening Ritual would work with unplugged raised voices, whereas radio mics, an amp and loudspeakers would have been the only way most folks could have appreciated the proceedings. Still, there's nowt much wrong with being TOO imaginative and ambitious, eh?

  • "I'm a witch and I believe in the self-regulation of nature and not the self-regulation of markets. This is a rite and a celebration, but it's a political and spiritual statement at the same time. Many of us have been struggling against capitalism on protests for the last 40 or so years. Now the cracks are beginning to appear and we want to replace the deadening hand of macho hyper-capitalism with a Pagan, Mother Earth-loving way of living."
  • Jocelyn Chaplin, Ritual Ceremonial Officiant [9]


So we Opened the Circle, we held a symbolic Burial Ceremony for the corpulent corpse of Capitalism, but the plan to hold a two minute silence for the victims of Capital ? especially the war dead of Afghanistan and Iraq ? floundered on our lack of amplified speech. Still, it's not the End of the World ? only the Death of Capitalism, and good riddance to bad rubbish, too! So, it was "On with the Wake!", and let's celebrate the opportunity for our biosphere to breath a sigh of relief, and for humanity to build a humane, rational and ecologically sustainable economy. Strike Up The Band!

The King's Drums Samba Band did us proud, with Brazilian dance music to bring a smile to the lips, a tapping to the toes, and more often than not a wild wiggle-giggle to the hips. However, this wasn't Mardi Gras in Rio, but Halloween in London ? and the wind chill factor meant a sub-zero RealFeel temperature, which unfortunately wasn't too conducive to dancing with gay abandon. Still, our huge Four Horsefolk of the Anti-Capitalist Apocalypse ? Anarchist, Communist, EcoWarrior and Revolution did cut a dash on the Dance Floor, and some sensible folk generated internal warmth by obeying their 'Dance, Now!' urges.

  • "There hasn't really been a public protest or an expression of anxiety or anger. But if it's our money that's being used to bail out the system, we should have a right to say what we feel about it. This is where it all kicked off, so we're here for a bit of street theatre. If the world has been turned upside down, it's time for the underworld to have its say."
  • Lionel Sims, pall-bearer of the Coffin of Capitalism, convenor of The King's Drums [9]


Other reports cover the antics of the SWP bosses and the cops, locked in a stale, formal pas-de-deux, the better to exhaust the righteous anger of cash-strapped students mobilised by the SWSS ? see especially Sna's excellent 'Canary Wharf demo: Wasted Anger'. I did a thorough video/photo reconnaissance of Canary Wharf's West Plaza and it's overground/underground environs a week before for our organising team, so I'm 94% confident that, should I have wanted to out-manoeuvre the cops in the way we did on the March on the City on Fri 10 Oct 08, it could have been done with relative ease. But Martin Smith (National Secretary, SWP) just acted like the Grand Old Duke of York, marching 'his' demonstrators up to a police line at one end of the Plaza, and marching them down again.

  • "It's about putting this protest on the map. People should defend themselves against the bailiffs and fight back. It's not our fault. It's their fault. A lot of people out there think there's nothing they can do about it, but of course there is. They should come up to the next demonstration, whenever that may be."
  • Chris West, Luton-based student [9]


But the warning signs were there when we invited the SWP to mobilise ? Andrew Bergin (National Publicity Officer, Stop the War Coalition) was so outraged by the suggestion folk might like to behave in ways outside the narrow, blinkered, stereotypical confines of the Brit-Trot Demo-Mentality like respecting silence to lend an ear to non-megaphoned voices, or engaging culturally by dancing joyfully, or singing, or telling jokes ? that he walked out of our meeting! Martin Smith stayed, but made clear we could only expect a subset of his narrow id?e fixe repertoire: sectarian stewarding, disruptive marching about, amplified slogan shouting. We cordially invited some unity in action, and the SWP bosses delivered disunity and futile scampering around. And at 19:07 the SWP donkeys decided to 'lead' their young lions away via the Canary Wharf DLR <sigh, rolls eyes skywards>. I'd suggest there may be a few lessons to be learned here too ? around advanced reconnaissance, tactical imaginative flexibility, and perhaps not following donkeys (or any other sentient ? think for yourself, and trust your intuitions).

Our stewards came from Brixton on a coach ? and were predominantly black folks. So their arrival were much delayed by the privatised security staff (unlike our prop-vans, which were driven by white folks) ? and eventually found their way over to the Street Party. But all the cops ? Met, City & British Transport ? were white, and reacted to the arrival of dozens of black faces with extreme prejudice. A women and child were knocked flying as a snatch squad charged into a peaceful, dancing crowd to pin several black fellas up against the wall, search and question them.

Welcome relief from the biting icy wind arrived with a contingent of cyclists from the London Critical Mass ride. A cycle-towed cart arrived holding a Huge Orange Pumpkin Flag, a Large Steel Flagon of Hot Pumpkin Soup, and lashings of thermal insulation ? HURRAH! [10] Our other best laid plans ? for helping kids enjoy their Halloween evening, for DIY Cabaret, for Social Singing, for a Closing Circle Ritual ? foundered for several reasons: cops confiscating trick-or-treat sweeties, our stewarding being lamentably poor, our Jack O'Lanterns being trampled, our voices being blown away by the icy wind, and our costumed arses being chilled to the bone.

  • "If I can't dance, it's not my revolution!"
  • Emma Goldman, from Beyond the Grave


A slightly disappointing number of promissory notes remained unredeemed as some folks' courage failed, and they neglected to heed Woody Allen's oft quoted aphorism, "90% of success is just showing up!" But here's Big Kudos going out to the hundreds of people who marked the momentous convulsions wracking Capital's decadent cadaver by celebrating its demise. We DID Show Up! And although a few mistakes were made, many lessons were learned, ... and a shed load of folks had a whale of a time on a Halloween Night that'll linger long and fondly in our collective memory, as we Danced on the Grave of Capitalism!

Up the Revolution,

Tim Dalinian Jones


The Imagination

The only nation worth defending
a nation without alienation
a nation whose flag is invisible
and whose borders are forever beyond the horizon
a nation whose motto is why have one or the other
when you can have one the other and both
a nation whose badge is a chrysanthemum of sweet wrappings
maybe
a nation whose laws are magnificent
whose customs are not barriers
whose uniform is multiform
whose anthem is improvised
whose hour is imminent
and whose leader is me.


John Hegley


Footnotes

[1] The intrinsic, systemic, irreversible Tendency for the Capitalist's Rate-of-Profit to Fall: see, eg: Capital, by Karl Marx ? http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/

[2] Celebrate the Death of the Albatross of Capitalism that has hung around humanity's neck for waaaaay too long: see http://tinyurl.com/graveyard-albatross

[3] The canonical delusional ravings of John of Patmos in his Book of Revelation: Thomas Jefferson omitted Revelation entirely from the Bible he edited, and wrote that he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams"; Robert G. Ingersoll branded it "the insanest of all books".

[4] Unifying rituals and mortuary ceremonial rites were co-created: inspired by the imaginatively creative dramatics of the pagan tradition in general, and Passages Camps plus the Halloween Bash (thanks to Jean Ellis of Caduceus Pagan and Witchcraft Festivals) in particular; blessings be upon Camilla Power, Nigel Drew, Marina Pepper, Jenny Almeida and Jocelyn Chaplin for playing Ritual Ceremonial Officiants with such aplomb.

[5] Flyers, stickers, programmes and lyrics sheets published: a big slap-on-the-back to our helpers-out in the University of East London for putting the event down in black-&-white (and CMYK too ;-) ? ta very much, dudes.

[6] Beautiful banners were brought into being:
?? ? Dancing on the Grave of Capitalism! Halloween Fest
?? ? Capitalism Isn't Working ? Another World Is Possible
?? ? The Servicemens' Union

Many thanks and Massive Kudos to Ed Hall for demonstrating such exemplary banner making skills.

[7] Teh InterWeb was enrolled: I saw a need for online presence facilitation and helped to fill it, with...
?? ? a public website ? http://graveyard.at
?? ? a public Location+PublicTransport map ? http://tinyurl.com/graveyard-map
?? ? an organisers' collaborative wiki ? http://graveyardat.pbwiki.com/
?? ? multiple point-of-contact email addresses and two email lists (thanks to ana @ AktiviX) ? http://tinyurl.com/graveyard-contact
?? ? an Event and Group at Facebook (with thanks to Mark Barratt and Jody Boehnert):
???? ? http://tinyurl.com/graveyard-FB-event
???? ? http://tinyurl.com/graveyard-FB-group
?? ? multiple online calendar entries and event listings, eg:
???? ? http://london.indymedia.org.uk/events/105
???? ? http://libcom.org/forums/announcements/dancing-grave-capitalism-canary-wharf-halloween-fri-31-oct-08-25102008
Interestingly, media coverage often referred to 'information circulating on the internet', without always linking to graveyard.at

[8] The backing of Tower Hamlets Council's Events & Festivals Committee, and permission from both the heads of Canary Wharf's private security company and also the Metropolitan Police: mucho Kudos Grande to Chris Knight for ample demonstration of high-level negotiating skills; and thanks to Nick Green, Keith Trobridge, Richard Kemp, Daniel Guilfoyle, and Samantha Lockwood for their co-operative approach.

[9] Quotes from Jocelyn Chaplin, Lionel Sims, and Chris West: quoted in 'Toil and trouble at Halloween bank bail-out protest', The Wharf; thanks to John Hill for the excellent journalism ? http://www.wharf.co.uk/2008/10/toil-and-trouble-at-halloween.html

[10] Welcome relief from the biting icy wind: thanks also to Witchy Marina Pepper and Wizard Robbie for serving Hot Black Tea in a Bone China Teacup & Saucer ? bless?d be!

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