Solidarity with those in Trafalgar Sq.

by Arran James

Whatever we think of celebrating the death of a woman, let’s not forget that Thatcher wasn’t simply a woman. Is this a celebration of the death of that woman, or the death of a name? People say it is bad taste- others say they are trying to be as in bad taste as possible: but taste itself is a bourgeois category. As I sit here, as I walked here earlier on, I found myself overcome with a surge of manic energy. The demand to participate is affective as much as it is anything else; it is impersonal and arises in the interpellation of a call. Its not a matter of desire but of compulsion- and here, where I am in Dundee (without even enough money to get to Glasgow), there is nowhere that this compulsion can be expressed.

I am with those in Trafalgar Sq. despite my distance from them. I am telepresent with them, but I am also present in the sense that I stand with them. If nothing else, even if it is around a death, this is an example of joy arising on the left for once! The moralism against joy risks condemning us to sinking back into a defeated sadness or an impotent rage. In fact, to ask the question outright, is anything other than a celebration not just an affirmation that there is no “we”, no “left” to speak of? Is it not to capitulate, just before we return.

Here is a live stream from the protest:

Plenty of laughter, plenty of whistles, a spirit of carnival. And the man who is streaming this insists he is in Traf Sq. for a birthday party, and claiming it is a sunny day! haha!

Just now a young woman has said to the man recording the stream- after having established that she was not alive during Thatcher’s premiership- that she is at the protest

“not to celebrate Thatcher’s death, but to celebrate the resistance and the beginning of the end of Thatcherism”.

This is an ebullient optimism the left doesn’t often allow itself.


a second live feed:

one of the messages that is being repeated on the live feed from within the Trafagar Sq. protests is that no one is celebrating the death of Margret Thatcher, that they are in fact celebrating “the people’s resistance” and the “beginning of the end of Thatcherism”. watching the feed- though its nothing as to being there would be- you get a sense very clearly of ebullient optimism, of joyful conviviality, that is completely lacking in sad passions, resentment or impotence.

Coming as it does at the same time as calls for Left Unity, as the explosion of interest in SolFed, as the SWP begins to give way, and as groups like UKUncut indulge in direct actions… is it time for the left to have a little confidence? A confidence in its own ability to begin again… to be a force again… to organise.