Due to lack of numbers the Beating the Bounds event did not take place. Instead, the dozen or so people who did turn up at the meeting point in Trafalgar Square decided to stroll down to Parliament Square carrying a blank placard. They definitely get the prize for highest ratio of police to protesters! A comic video of their adventure has been posted on Indymedia. Apparently they left Trafalgar Square at 12:47 and had not seen or heard Critical Mass at that point. I had estimated that the Mass arrived in Trafalgar Square at 12:30 but I guess it must have been a bit later. I know we had already moved on and were in St James Park by 13:18 so we must have just missed them. If I had known they were going down Whitehall I would have tried to influence the Mass to go that way too.
There have been accusations flying around that Critical Mass was somehow "hijacked" by people who had been involved in organising the Autonomous Bloc on the TUC march. Whilst I understand the basis of the allegation, I feel that it is misleading and lacks any real merit. I have posted a response in the comments of this Indymedia UK article.
I had an excellent May Day yesterday and have written all about it in this report.
I have a few things to report and the first one is to do with the pledge to form part of a human chain around the Westminster no protest zone. The pledge was created by "Richard" on Dec 10th, with a closing date of May 1st. As early as December someone submitted a comment asking whether the action was intended to happen May 1st if the required number of people had signed up. Richard failed to clarify and people started to plan for an action on May Day. Now he has finally come out of the woodwork and sent a message to the (nearly 1000) pledgers informing them that it was never intended to take place on May Day after all. This is a good example of bad planning.
So the pledge thing is not happening but it has apparently spawned an independent plan for an event called Beating the Bounds - Mayday 2006. The idea is to assemble in Trafalgar Square at noon and walk around the zone - whether clockwise or widdershins I have no idea.
Finally there is another event to add to your list of May Day options. The Space Hijackers have posted a Police Notice on their website which calls on all police men and women to attend a big street party outside the Bank of England at 2pm (all officers are expected to be in uniform).
So how is the timeline looking?
I just noticed that Billy Bragg is playing on home turf in Barking on May Day as part of his Hope not Hate Tour. I wonder if he will be on the TUC march?
At least one of the May Day plans is taking shape, with precarity.info calling for people to join the autonomous bloc on the TUC march.
Read more on The Origins of May First: Haymarket 1886 and the "Troublesome Element".
I have developed a personal tradition of doing something in London on May Day and I don't intend to make an exception this year, when the first of May happens to fall on a Monday and is therefore a bank holiday.
On 2006-03-08 I attended a meeting to discuss this Mayday proposal. There were fair number of people there who were keen to organise something but it was recognised that we had left it too late to put anything together on the sort of scale of the events which were happening in London a few years ago. What came out of the meeting was an agreement to work on a few plans in parallel.
One plan involves a bloc on the Mayday March for Workplace Justice which is jointly organised by the TUC and LMDOC. This march will assemble at 12 Noon at Clerkenwell Green, with the rally taking place at 14:30 in Trafalgar Square. The only other firm proposal was for some sort of afternoon or evening convergence but I have no further details on that.
So what of other events? Well Critical Mass is expected to occur, with cyclists gathering under the Waterloo Bridge outside the NFT cafe at 11am. If you have any good ideas for routes, themes, stopping points etc then feel free to share them through flyers, the Internet etc.
Then there is this pledge to "form part of a human chain around the Westminster no protest zone but only if 6,000 other people will join in." I signed the pledge nearly two months ago and was the 543rd person to do so and now it is up to 819. The deadline is May 1st and people have assumed that the chain would (if it happened) be formed on May Day. It is not realistic to expect that the target will be reached in time (though stranger things have happened) but various contingencies have been discussed. So I guess something could still come of this - enthusiasm permitting:-)
That is all I can think of for now. Check back for updates and whatever you decide to do on May 1st this year, make it count. Another world is possible!
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010