the Disillusioned kid: Real Straight Bananas
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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Real Straight Bananas

The demonstration in London last Saturday can broadly be considered a success insofar as it brought between 50-100,000 people onto the streets and attracted at least a modicum of media attention. Obviously it didn't stop the war or end the occupation of Iraq, but then nobody seriously suggested that it would. All of that aside there is one aspect of the demonstration which leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but which was largely unknown amongst the participants: the question of Europe.

The decision to organise demonstrations on March 19 was made during the European Social Forum in London last November, during the Assembly of Social Movements. Originally it had been agreed that the demonstration would tackle both the issue of the war and the European Constitution in light of the meeting of the European Council in Brussels from March 22-23. The statement of the Assembly reads:
On March 22 and 23 the European Council meets in Brussels. March 20 2005 marks the second anniversary of the start of the war against Iraq. We call for national mobilisations in all European countries. We call for a central demonstration in Brussels on March 19 against war, racism and against a neoliberal Europe, against privatisation, against the Bolkenstein project and against the attacks on working time; for a Europe of rights and solidarity between the peoples. We call all the social movements and the European trade union movements to take to the streets on this day.
Somewhere along the way, however, the other issues dropped by the wayside, apparently because the British left consider the question of Europe unimportant, uninteresting or both. Indeed it is unlikely that more than a handful of those on the march were aware that the question of Europe had ever been broached.

In light of all this and the general disinterest towards the European project amongst most (but not all) British activists, I found myself nodding along with this piece from Apostate Windbag (via Dead Men Left). With the ongoing attack against workers by Europe, the approaching referenda on the Euro and the European Constitution and Britain's forthcoming presidency of the Union later this year, it is to be hoped that this disinterest doesn't last much longer.

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