Saturday, 14 July 2018

Carnival of resistance

'I hate Trump even more than I hate crowds,' as one of hundreds of ingenious placards and banners read, so there I was among peaceful thousands for the fourth time in a month, following the People's Vote March and the Latvian song and dance celebrations. Never, surely, has there been a funnier or, weirdly, more joyous demo. It was indeed, as many banners declared, a 'carnival of resistance,' and I laughed and smiled my way from Langham Place to Trafalgar Square. This was a reminder, too, of all the vital causes the Horror Clown has been besieging, resulting in a rainbow coalition of protesters.

Worried that I might be a bit late - 2pm was the start, and I had to tidy up Glinka notes for the Proms, just past the mid-day deadline, before cycling off. I came at it all from Wigmore Street, and first joined what I was told was the back of the procession in Chandos Street, complete with Handmaids (later I saw a witty banner, 'The Handmaid's Tale is not an instruction manual').

The first three people I encountered were all sporting - albeit not wearing, in high temperatures - the 'Trump stinks' face masks I'd seen the sublime Janey Godley and friends display online, so I asked them to don the masks for a photo-op, in which they were happy to oblige.

Here, too, were an American father with his infant

and a group with the first of many dogs I saw.

This one is cutely adorned with 'Dump Trump,' and didn't seem to mind too much.

But behind us another procession was moving towards Langham Place, so we quickly joined that and found it to consist mostly of pro-Palestinian Muslims, including headscarved women

and this genial gentleman.

Behind them came orange people, in solidarity with Guantanamo inmates.

Let's feature some of the ingenious slogans and pics now. One of my favourites came from this lady

who had an equally ingenious inscription on the reverse.

This one was more earnest.

and later on, the reverse of a 'F*** Trump' spread had serious messages, too.

Demi-dragged Donald

soon joined forces with Trumpelstiltskin and 'Muggy May' (not sure I got that one)

though it was only at the end that I spied a couple of the drag-queen group sashaying away.

Americans warned to stay away by their loathsome administration were not taking any notice

and this one represented overseas voters who need to help make a difference in the mid-terms.

Humbler hand-made efforts still got their point across amusingly.

I assume this one is on the right side of humorous.

Found myself hailed by a familiar voice - that of good friend Christine, closely followed by husband Duncan, who was promming later in the day (he's a season ticket holder).

We were touched by an Indonesian gentleman who wanted to photograph my 'No man is an island, no country by itself' t-shirt, earnestly saying that we are all human beings who must join together.

The priestly community was out in force. Not sure what the lying threesome was proclaiming - couldn't read the message,

Of this genial group, the best banner - 'My boss told me to come' - isn't quite visible.

It took much longer than I expected to reach Oxford Circus, after which things moved more rapidly down Lower Regent Street. Here I caught the ingenuity of the best 'models'.

I had a nice chat with the ever-beaming lady on the left about the humour factor of it all. More mixed responses from the huge numbers of police when I remarked to the effect that it didn't look like trouble, did it? A smiling black policewoman said 'absolutely not';  a grimmer plod replied 'not yet'. Not at all, as it turned out.

Anti-fracking sideshow:

The chap just visible on the left below had a job to do, and he was getting on with it, though smiling all the while. Note ' Christian? Like Martin Luther King?'

More good signs. 'Nightmare on Any Street' was Amnesty's contribution.

EU flags still part of the picture (I now have a sticker with not only 'Bollocks to Brexit' but also 'Bollocks to Trump').

And so I took a slight detour at Piccadilly Circus, to rejoin the march at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, where the handmaids were in full spate

And on to Trafalgar Square, where I filled in a pro-EU postcard to my MP (not that Andy Slaughter needs any prompting) and the good banners kept on coming.

Poor Madge. But did she have to smile? And did Mrs Mayhem have to take the Horror Clown's hand again? Well, their charade was going on while we were part of the Real Thing. Here's a glimpse of the alternative - the Blump flew in the morning, though not very high - courtesy of Ileana Antinori, a LinkedIn connection.


Susan said...

Many striking and witty comments. The one that struck me particularly was the sign from an overseas voter. Overseas voters have perhaps the lowest turnout rate of any in the US. Here’s some information about voting rates among overseas voters: “All overseas Americans can vote by absentee ballot in federal elections, a right they have been able to exercise since 1975. But compared to the general US population, voter turnout among expatriates is low, lower even than among that most notoriously unengaged demographic: the young. In the 2012 cycle, more than 876,000 ballots were sent to overseas voters (51 percent of these were to those in the armed services, and 44.4 percent, or nearly 389,000 ballots, to ‘overseas civilians’). Of these, 69.2 percent (or over 606,000) were returned. Assuming a population of five million eligible voters overseas in 2012 (a conservative estimate), this represents a turnout rate of 12 percent. By contrast, general election turnout among 18-24 year olds was almost triple that, at 41.2 percent.”

Susan said...

If anyone you or friends know is an overseas voter who is a Democrat or Democrat-aligned, here is a helpful site:

David said...

Thanks Sue, very practical and helpful. I must admit I hadn't given that aspect much thought. Though constantly in my mind is the apathetic 40 per cent who didn't bother to vote in the most vital American election campaign of my lifetime.

Stan Smith said...

Thanks David. Great collection. Wish I could have been there. Wish I had feet that worked! Very cheering. Venceremos.

Peter Cook said...

A marvellous account of a great day. Trump was shown to the world as an adapted child and my faith in Great Britain was restored a little bit. On with the work to Break Brexit Before Brexit Breaks Britain and Dump Trump.

David said...

Thanks for visiting, both. Fascinating how viewing figures over on LinkedIn don't convert into actually clicking on the article, Really sorry for your troubles, Stan, as you know from our correspondence.

Susan said...

At the risk of being relentless and boring, I went back and saw that the overseas voter's sign you show above actually had a direct link to the vote from abroad portion of the site I linked. Here it is: Vote from Abroad (if my attempt at hyperlink code works, that is).

Yes, to your comment, the low voter turnout is beyond discouraging, though it probably bears saying that voter suppression measures promoted by the right, including a Supreme Court case substantially diminishing the protections of the Voter Rights Act, are very prevalent and had a big impact on Dem voter turnout in key swing states in 2016. It's thought likely, for example, that the vote in Wisconsin would have gone Democratic were it not for recently enacted voter suppression measures in that state. From a NY Times article:

"Nearly 17,000 registered Wisconsin voters — potentially more — were kept from the polls in November [2016] by the state’s strict voter ID law, according to a new survey of nonvoters by two University of Wisconsin political scientists.

The survey, summarized on Monday on the university’s website, is certain to further roil an ongoing debate over whether Donald J. Trump’s narrow victory in Wisconsin over Hillary Clinton was a result of efforts to depress Democratic turnout. Mr. Trump defeated Mrs. Clinton by 22,748 votes out of more than 2.9 million ballots cast. The November turnout in Wisconsin, 69.4 percent of eligible voters, was the lowest in a presidential election year since 2000. . . .

The study also found that the law disproportionately affected low-income and African-American voters: 21.1 percent of registrants earning less than $25,000 a year were estimated to have been deterred from voting, compared with 2.7 percent of registrants making $100,000 a year or more. More than 27 percent of blacks reported being deterred, compared with about 8 percent of whites."

(FYI, the above is a very low-end estimate of voters kept from the polls as a result of these measures.)

All that said, however, those who can vote MUST, yet too many don't, or throw away their votes on non-viable third party candidates. So, whenever amongst folks that may be Democratic/Dem leaning expats, do ask them to make sure they get and cast an absentee vote. They will help not only those of us in the US, but all in the world who are not eligible to vote but are nonetheless affected by the current occupant in the White House and his Republican enablers. Protests like the one you report on so colorfully here are a perfect opportunity to spread the word.

Andrew Morris said...

Would have loved to have been there! Great pics. Alas, the protest movement in rural Wiltshire is not so fervent.

David said...

Well, I suppose you're lucky if you don't get pro-Trump supporters (ie fascists, there can be no other word for the remainder now) out in force... Not sure how they fared in London today, other than the fact that the police prevented them from gathering outside the American Embassy.

Willemijn Heideman said...

Great pictures, David Nice (must say that I hate crowds too btw).

David said...

Sue - apologies for seeming to ignore your lucid argument. Very enlightening and helpful - I hope the first part of it reaches some of those who are meant to see it.

Willemijn - this has been a real education for me as to how civilized and kindly crowds can 'work'. No pushing or shoving. And the choreography for performers and audience alike in Latvia was amazing. i guess there are companies who specialise in that kind of smooth running - but rarely do they have so many people in an auditorium. Perhaps we should also praise the police for their guidance yesterday, too, though the crowd seemed mostly to conduct itself.

Pamela Williamson said...

An outstanding joyful day celebrating the finest values and British humour. Congratulations, David, on the great photos.

David said...

Wish you could have flown up from down under, Pamela. Happy winter term!

James Kent Genovese said...

I am proud of the UK, proud of London. You truly came through!

David said...

I'm proud to be a Londoner too, James - or rather a citizen of the world, seemingly very much represented on the march. Mille grazie. I hope the morale of good Americans is a little boosted by this holiday atmosphere at such a terrible time.

David Damant said...

A splendid and valuable demonstration. But not a recommendation to government. Trump is a power factor and has to be handled accordingly, maybe criticised but not abused, and not held at arms length despite his terrific unsuitability for high office. The Anti- Brexit campaign is on the other hand a recommendation to government and one can only hope for a second referendum which is the only way out of the present chaos - which stemmed from the first referendum

David said...

Agreed in general terms, though the visit should not have gone ahead after the caged-children debacle. Leaders can and should persistently criticise fascist tactics. There was no end to be sought from Friday's protest other than to give decent Americans a morale boost with a dose of high and creative spirits. In that respect it seems to have worked.

I am sorry to hear that there are Trump supporters in your club. It barely seems credible. Now, you would have to be very foolish, very rich or very malignant to agree with him.

David Damant said...

I have not met them in the Club, so I suppose that J has. Trump is a clot (= clumsy and foolish) But this ( and Brexit) is what you get if you let the people generally have their say. Attlee said that referendums were the device of dictators and demagogues ( = Putin and Trump exactly). But we need another referendum to get us out of the Brexit mess. TINA

I do not agree that one should not have meetings with regimes one heartily disapproves of. We entertained Kruschev and Co. Nor is speaking out an absolute - one has to ask what good ( or bad) does it do.....indeed it is seldom useful in the mouth of a politician. Pope Francis was right not to speak out against the Miramar regime though criticised for not doing so. He would not have been able to see the Army chiefs for a private meeting had he done so.

David said...

But that was an election, conducted under a faulty American system. A referendum is different - that's asking people to judge issues about which they haven't the faintest idea, whereas election candidates can at least appeal to folk in other sphere, even if only in the cult of personality.

Pope Francis has roundly criticised Trump at every point. We're not being soft on Putin at the moment. Trump is an unprecedented phenomenon in my lifetime, and now that it's clear he wreaks unpredictable havoc wherever he goes, he will be invited less and less. Assuming that he lasts much long, which we all hope he doesn't.