Alex - BLOG

On Saturday 20th March, 250,000 people came together for the People’s Assembly End Austerity Now demo. Only 60-70,000 people were estimated to attend, showing that people across the UK are far angrier about the recent cuts than anyone could have predicted.

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CW: Police brutality
So, you’ve decided to flex your right to protest and are going to your very first march, demo, or other direct action. Great! More people should be politically active and in these trying times, every activist counts. Chances are, you’ll have a good time, will meet other politically-engaged people and can feel proud that you took a stand and fought for something you believe in.
It’s good to be prepared. I’m not an experienced activist by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m lucky enough to know some protest veterans and I’ve been cobbling together information so that I can share it with other newbies. In addition to reading this article and other information available on the web, I highly recommend attending a Green and Black Cross workshop. I went to one of their workshops (they’re free, so there’s no excuse not to) at the Protest, Policing and Civil Rights event held at SOAS Student Union a few days ago, and it was well worth it. The workshops go into more detail than I’m sketching out below, and going through the information with real life people will help you to retain the information and give you the opportunity to ask questions. The Green and Black Cross are brilliant at giving protesters information and support – please check out their website.

disobedient

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) currently features ‘Disobedient Objects’, an exhibition which covers protests from around the world and the objects which aid and sometimes drive these protests. The V&A describes the exhibition as “the first to examine the powerful role of objects in movements for social change. It demonstrates how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design.” The objects are donated by the activists who created them, and these activists have been involved in protests against a huge range of Big Bads: gender stereotypes, sweatshops, the Iraq war, mass lay-offs, nuclear power, and government inaction during the AIDS crisis, among others.