Join the Anti-Capitalist Week of Action in London Against the G8


I just have time to throw out a quick reminder that tomorrow, Tuesday June 11, there’s a Carnival Against Capitalism taking place in London’s West End, beginning at 12 noon, at the start of a week of action against the G8, which takes place on June 17-18 in Northern Ireland. There are two suggested meeting points — one at Oxford Circus and one at Piccadilly Circus — and this is what Milena Olwan, a social worker, told the Guardian about the protests against the G8, echoing what many people think, as politicians meet, who, at best, are deluded, and at worst, like the Tories, are revelling in the opportunity to impose savage austerity cuts on the most vulnerable members of society.

“The G8 are anti-democratic, unaccountable, and they represent an extinct world order,” she said, adding, They embody the old ways of protectionism, imperialism and greed … [W]e will show them that ordinary people coming together taking action can forge alternatives that do not destroy lives but create a life beyond capitalism.”

This is how the organisers describe the Carnival Against Capitalism:

This action will only be as effective as the people participating in it. We have not negotiated with the police and we will not be controlled. If we look after each other, stay mobile, don’t get caught in kettles and are ready to make quick decisions about what to do next we can make the most of the day.

They also write:

Their London?

London is right at the heart of global capitalism. And the West End of London, including elite areas like Piccadilly, Mayfair and Knightsbridge, is where power and greed are most concentrated. The West End is home to:

  • Corporations. Many of the world’s most brutal and polluting companies,  including oil and mining giants, arms dealers, and the businesses profiting from cuts and privatisation.
  • Vulture funds. Global base of the “hedge fund” and “private equity” industries, laundering the world’s blood money to invest in war, food speculation and debt slavery.
  • Tyrants. Government offices, embassies, cultural and commercial fronts of  colonial powers and murderous regimes.
  • Playground of the mega-rich. Middle Eastern dictators, Russian mafia oligarchs, and home-grown parasites all see London as a “safe” place to hide and spend their loot.

Our Carnival.

Traditionally, carnival is the time where the people take over the streets, the bosses run and hide, and the world gets turned upside down. It is a time to celebrate our resistance and our dreams, to bring music and colour to the streets. And also to show our strength and our anger.

The powerful feel safe in London so long as they go unchallenged. But the people looting our planet have names and addresses. On #J11 we will party in the streets, point out the hiding places of power, and take back the heart of our city for a day. Our streets. Our world.

Join us.

Like any good carnival, everyone’s invited: this will be an open, inclusive, and lively event. There will be a main route with sound systems and public meeting points. Bring music, costumes, banners, friends, ideas. We also encourage independent actions, and will publish soon a detailed map of the area to help you make your own plans. The Green and Black Cross group will provide experienced medical and legal support.

That detailed map is here, and it is something of a masterpiece, a guide to 100 “hiding places of power in the West End,” including banks, hedge funds, private equity offices, arms dealers, courts and police stations, “Dens of the rich,” and the headquarters of corporations involved in energy, mining, pharmaceuticals, property  and security, as well as representatives of foreign governments, and those involved in PR, communications and the media.

A street party at an undisclosed location will end the day at 5.30pm. For the latest updates join (and share) the Facebook page, and follow @stopg8uk on Twitter or visit the Network 23 website which contains listings of all the week’s events. You can also Tweet using the hashtag #j11.

On Wednesday June 12, there will be an anti-militarist action in the West End, with protesters meeting at 2pm. For more info visit the Disarm DSEI website.

On Thursday June 13, a solidarity action is planned in support of prisoners in the criminal justice system and migrants in detention centres, although details have not yet been announced.

On Friday June 14 there will be a day of creative direct action at Canary Wharf involving UK Uncut, Occupy and other groups. Meet at Jubilee Plaza outside the west exit of Canary Wharf tube station at 12.30. Join the Facebook page for the latest details or check the website at They Owe Us (Shift the Debt), where the following information is provided:

In response to the combined crises of cuts and climate chaos, and the call for a week of action against the G8, we have come together to organise a gathering of those who want to stop the assault on people and planet. In the penthouse suite of global capitalism, in front of the eyes of the financial elite we will demand that They Owe Us.

Canary Wharf is the epicentre of the economic crash and a stronghold of the 1 per cent. This is the home of many of the big financiers and corporations that are doing the damage, whose interests will be defended at the G8 and whose influence most needs to be curbed.

We plan to appear in Canary Wharf to reclaim and transform a space, bringing beauty and hope to the soulless heart of Capitalism.

  • A SPACE TO RESIST: We will speak out about the debt that is owed, and celebrate our resistance in speech, music and performance.
  • A SPACE TO CREATE: We will build a symbol of their debt to us – right under the noses of the banks and corporations that both fund and profit from these crises.
  • A SPACE TO IMAGINE: We will share the alternatives that we know can be created when we empower people rather than crush them.

And finally, via Johnny Void, who reminded me about this week’s actions on Twitter, here, “to get everyone in the mood [is] a video of the Carnival Against Capitalism held on June 18th, 1999, spotted via urban75“:

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

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20 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    Do check out the map, a guide to 100 “hiding places of power in the West End”:

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Kent Spriggs wrote:

    Party down, Andy. Wish I were there.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Kent. If only. The police raided a squat that was being used as a convergence centre this morning, and when I arrived i Oxford Street, at about 2pm, there was not a single protestor to be seen. As I cycled around, I saw armed police guarding various locations – presumably locations on the excellent guide to 100 “hiding places of power in the West End,” and I’m pretty disgusted that, because of fears that a small number of people might try to cause trouble at one or more of these places, the whole event was shut down.
    I very much hope that Friday’s event in Canary Wharf will be allowed to go ahead.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Kent Spriggs wrote:

    Ah yes. Two great democratic nations!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Ha ha, Kent. Yes indeed. It would be nice if there was some mischief afoot when you’re here, wouldn’t it? Is everything proceeding according to your plans?

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Sharing this, Andy.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George. The Guardian has an article about the police closing down the convergence centre of the protests, which, ironically, was a former police station in the West End. That irony alone ought to have been sufficient for the protestors to be left alone!
    Seriously, though, I’m appalled that the police were so heavy-handed. The protestors weren’t hiding. They had a flag hanging up outside the building that stated, “What if we smash the G8?” but a police spokesperson said they obtained a search warrant “relating to intelligence that individuals at the address were in possession of weapons and were intent on causing criminal damage and engaging in violent disorder.”
    Come on, if they were “intent on causing criminal damage and engaging in violent disorder,” they wouldn’t actually have hung a mildly provocative banner outside; they’d have been hiding in the shadows.
    This is regular behaviour by the authorities, unfortunately. If I recall, there were raids before the royal wedding and before the Olympics too. What happened to the presumption of innocence, or, for that matter, to the recognition that a few people might indeed want to cause trouble, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to shut down events and harass people when no crime or disorder has actually taken place.
    We continue to sleepwalk towards the complete stifling of all potentially meaningful dissent …

  8. damo says...

    there were not enuff of us there yesterday andy the police had free raine to beat us and arrest us and they did i liked the video i was there if only we could get that amount of people

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I thought the overkill was completely unacceptable, Damo, but then the G8 – or the G20 – is always a nightmare. Remember Ian Tomlinson, killed at the G20 protest, or the mobilization of what appeared to be every police officer on the UK to go to the middle of nowhere in Scotland to take on a bunch of clowns in a field at the G8 in 2005? (Not to mention that then 7/7 happened, while London was empty of police). I too was at the J18 in 1999, and looking back on it, it seems like an optimistic time, when we still thought some sort of change was possible, which now, sadly, is like ancient history.
    Yesterday, as I cycled up Oxford Street, looking in vain for protestors, and then headed into Mayfair, all I saw was the sad triumph of consumerism. Shoppers in their thousands, but not one of them actually looking happy. I didn’t hear laughter until I was cycling back through the Aylesbury Estate in Walworth – in the process of being shut down for its “regeneration” i.e the replacement of social housing with more “affordable” (in other words, unaffordable) new housing. But that’s another topic …

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote, in response to 7, above:

    Presumption of innocence goes out the window, with such broad statements like that. I’m pretty sure that law-writers etc compose such texts and laws, to look precise while actually giving an authority maximal discretionary power to enforce whatever they wish to fall under such laws. Several years ago I had to read a law to help a friend. I was surprised to see that legal texts, which are supposed to be precise enough to exclude misreadings, are often vague, I think intentionally vague.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, that’s interesting, George. I think that’s partly true, although I think it’s also true that, in this age of spin, politicians pass imprecise laws designed to appeal to focus groups and newspaper editors, rather than to actually be useful or necessary.

  12. damo says...

    lol oxford street is like whats that film aah yes george a romeros 1974 film …DAY OF THE were they play that comic music and the zombies all shuffle around and around and around in circles while decomposeing ,lol what sort of time are we liveing in half the world is starveing and in flames[at least the greeks,turks arabs have the balls and guts to rebel] while here the zombie cretin simpletons shuffle around and around and around in circles to music from britons got talent,lol …someone get me a qualude and a large scotch please ..i need to be anithitised,lol,lol dxxx

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Ha, thanks, Damo. As for George A. Romero’s zombie films, the one I’m thinking of is “Dawn of the Dead” (1978), his anti-consumer society masterpiece, set largely in a shopping mall.

  14. damo says...

    lol yep thats the one…lol.its true go down oxford street and its full of the liveing dead,lol

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    I’ve become very sad realizing that people no longer aspire to making the world better for those less fortunate than themselves, Damo. It’s all just Shopping and Having Fun and Me Me Me.

  16. damo says...

    the sad thing is your right but only it seems overhere ..thank fuck…i just had a run in with a bunch of socialist workers,lol a clueless dumb bunch of middle class graduate types all pointless degrees and no common scence or social skills,lol yes there right get the tories out but dont try and whip up hatered against the white working class were not all members of the edl and bnp whom they seem to think every white working class male is a member of..theres facists and monsters in every part of society no one is holyer than thou ive encountered monsters from every walk of life as well as saints and good people,,as we all have they just seemed to have no common scence.esp being there in the ruffer part of west london,lol,lol

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Oh dear, are we the lost cause here in the UK, Damo? Or even just England. I hope not. I was rather sad looking at footage of J18 from 1999, and wondering how the killer decade – the 2000s, the “noughties” – were so destructive in terms of solidarity and righteous anger and indignation. What, did we really all get rich and live happily ever after?

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Bill Anderson wrote:

    It’s NOT capitalism you guys are railing against ! Get real…. to find out what capitalism “would” be if ever it was allowed to exist.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Bill Anderson wrote:

    Great work on Guantanamo, Andy !

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Bill, for the supportive words on Guantanamo. As for “capitalism,” I guess that may be a mistaken term for the system we have now, but I think it’s one people understand in reference to banks and corporations out of control, government complicity, artificial austerity, environmental blindness, and a dumbed-down “culture” devoted to making people horribly self-obsessed and materialistic.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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