Festival Of Resistance
Reclaim the Streets' biggest event this summer (July 13th 1996) saw 10,000 people dancing on the M41. Pictures by Nick Cobbing. Lyrics by RTS.
Squall 14, Autumn 1996, pp. 26-27.
Have you ever watched the movements of bodies on the street? Ever seen someone breaking into a run halfway across a zebra crossing, one small human, embarrassed or uncomfortable about making a big car wait? Have you ever watched the elderly straining their bodies to get to shore before the lights change? Often left behind when the beeps go, they shuffle their frail bodies past the growling line of metal. It inches slowly forward."
We live under a system in which walking and cycling have no economic or political value, because, unlike guzzling petrol, they involve no consumption and therefore make no contribution to economic growth. On the other hand, the gases belching out of an exhaust pipe are a visible manifestation of our gross national (waste) product. This begs an important question: what is the meaning of these economic statistics if they tell us nothing about the state of the earth... about our quality of life?"
With a metal river on one side and endless windows of consumerism on the other, the street's true purpose: social interaction, becomes an uneconomic diversion. In its place the corporate - controlled - one way media of newspapers, radio and television become 'the community'. Their interpretation of our reality. In this sense the streets are the alternative and subversive form of the mass media. Where authentic communication, immediate and reciprocal takes place."
To 'reclaim the streets' is to act in defence of and for 'common ground'. To tear down the fence of enclosure that profit-making demands. The Street Party - far from being just anti-car - is an explosion of our suppressed potential, a celebration of our diversity and a chorus of voices in solidarity. A festival of resistance!"
For a menu of many other Squall articles about the Anti-Roads Movement, including protest camps, Reclaim The Streets and more click here