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1st-6th April 2005
Organised by Corporate Pirates
Having discovered this event on the IndyMedia London Calendar, I arrived at Old Street tube station, studied the local street map and memorised the route, then headed for the surface. Ascending the ramp, the sound of Magazine (MP3) was progressively drowned out by the pulse of Samba (live). Yep, one of London's most persistently radical protest samba bands, the Rhythms of Resistance
were warming up for a procession to the offices of Windrush Communications Ltd. Who they? They're the crooks who organise Iraq Procurement Conferences, where the west's corporate imperialist vultures gather to pick over the carcass of the Iraqi economy, and they're sponsored by the likes of Shell, Exxonmobil and Bectel -- details at: .
So we set off down City Road in high spirits and making a rousing revolutionary racket. In the great April Fools Day tradition of turning the world upside down, those sly monkeys at Corporate Pirates had invited anti-war protesters to, "A party outside the offices of corporate pirates Windrush Communications Ltd. to celebrate the privatisation of Iraq. Come as pirates and make the pro-plunder celebration!" And boy had people taken the cue to dress up to heart, as I hope these photos ably show.
As our procession headed east along Leonard Street, my memorising the route paid off, as I prevented overshooting the right turn into Paul Street, which led us directly to Mark Street and a delightful city square in front of the Windrush offices. The Party itself was a joyfully anarchic mix of dancing to samba rhythms, poetry from the Theatre of War , DIY speeches explaining the significance of the action and the target, and copious amounts of hammy swashbuckling-type pirate-related buffoonery and "Ooo-arrr"ing. We learned that we had in fact effectively closed down Windrush for the day, and their offices were as empty as the Marie Celeste! Unfortunately one of the organisers had to hang back aways, to avoid getting fingered by the filth for breaching bail conditions arising from a previous direct action targeting these very offices. In Dec 04, four anti-war activists disrupted the offices of Windrush by laying siege to the entrance to their offices for three hours. Thankfully, the bosses' state has charged them with aggravated trespass, which by definition means disrupting the 'lawful activity' of a business -- and opens the way to the defence of proving in court that the business in question's activities are in fact illegal in the domain of a 'higher' law: in this case international law, and specifically Articles 47 and 55 of the Hauge Regulations (to which both the UK and USA are signatories) under which looting and pillaging the economy of a militarily conquered/occupied country is an 'unlawful activity'. In my personal experience*, beating the aggravated trespass rap in this way works a treat, and embarrasses the bejesus out of the corporate enemy -- so here's hoping these defendants' plans to call the Attorney General as a defence witness really ups the ante.
*10 hours atop a Sainsburys articulated lorry, blockading Sainsburys national distribution depots in protest at their distributing GM-feed derived animal products in the human food chain
In the same way dirty-and-dangerous Winscale became shiny-happy Selafield, Windrush has spawned four bastard sons: UK-Iraq Supplier, The Iraq Development Programme, The Iraqi British Business Centre and Iraq Procurement. The only one of these front outfits that isn't quartered in the offices of Windrush is the insidiously named Iraq Development Programme, who are just around the corner in Great Easter Street. So to conclude the days celebration of capitalist rapacity, we marched through the busy city streets to the offices of the Iraq Development Programme, where further pirate-inspired hornpiping, hootenanying and speechs transpired.
Congratulations to the organisers for creating such an uplifting, creative and subversively comical protest, and thanks to all participants for making it so. The remaining events in the Week of Action Against the Corporate Plunder of Iraq are as follows -- hope to see you there.
Sat 2 Apr 05 -- 12:00-17:00
Nonviolent Direct Action Training Workshop
A workshop exploring the principles and practicalities of taking part in NVDA.
RampArt Social Centre, 15/17 Rampart Street, London E1
Mon 4 Apr 05 -- 19:30 Public Meeting
Buried Treasure: Corporate Plunder and the Reality of Occupied Iraq
Yaser Hasan - Jubilee Iraq
Haifa Zangana - Iraqi writer, exile from Saddam's regime
Ewa Jasiewicz - human rights activist
Speaker from Rising Tide
Room D202, Clement House, London School of Economics, Aldwych, London W1
Tue 5 Apr 05 -- 08:30
Vigil Outside the Offices of Windrush Communications
Mark Street, London EC2A
Tue 5 Apr 05 -- 19:00
Films, discussion and much more.
London Action Resource Centre (LARC ), 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1
Wed 6 Apr 05 -- 12:00
Say Farewell to Windrush
Protest outside their offices in Mark Street, London EC2A
For the most politically astute coverage and analysis of the ongoing UK/US barbarism in Iraq (42 stories and counting), I recommend the International Communist Current's 'War in Iraq' portal page: http://en.internationalism.org/taxonomy/term/70
In International Solidarity,
Tim D Jones
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Copyright ©2005 Tim D Jones
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