London Indymedia

London Action

P | 06.07.2005 12:12 | G8 2005 | Analysis | Culture | London

A call to action in London, a call for involvement and discussion from everyone with anti-capitalist sentiments.


I have just been in Edinburgh but had to leave early. It was wonderful to be in a place where people had the energy and idealism to try and ‘change the world’. I did not agree with many things that went on – e.g. the make poverty history march, random acts of senseless violence, etc, but I still approve and admire the feeling and thought that went into them. But my time there also made me feel that the movement as a whole is attending purely to the outer world and not the inner. Hopefully I have explained what I mean by that in the course of this article.

To that end, I have used the term ‘action’ deliberately misleadingly here. I will not list details of a march in the streets, or a blockade of Shell Offices, or anything along those lines.

But I am issuing a call to action and it is one I desperately wish will be heard, because it is an action that I think is crucially important.

As far as I can see, any kind of personal involvement in a reformist (or revolutionary) movement needs to consist of two types of things. First, and most popularly, there has to be engagement with and protest against things in the world. So, for example, engagement with trade policies, protesting against the G8, blockades of nuclear plants, that kind of thing.

Second, and less popularly, there has to be a personal change in the way one lives and interacts with society. This is one of the creative sides of dissent and is particularly hard, for me, anyway, to come to terms with. On one level it involves changing consumption choices which is in principle easy, though much harder in practice. But it also involves philosophical, behavioural and attitudinal change. (This is necessarily vague because I do not have any certain answers; I am looking for others who are asking the same questions.) Essentially, I guess what I’m saying is that while it is essential to attempt to change the world, it is equally essential to change ourselves and the society we create around us – we need a solid centre from which to spread a message, whatever that message may end up being.
As importantly, if we are to entertain any thoughts of actual success, we need to develop coherent and persuasive alternatives to the existing systems. I do not see the point or the persuasiveness of simply, noisily, being against the way society is organised. Nor do I think it persuasive to suggest alternative ways of organisation without actually putting them into practice. Further, our academic ideas are properly tested by reality, and this testing is essential to the development of ideas and also their credibility.

This, so far, is pretty banal and obvious. It stops being banal (though it remains obvious) when we attempt to do something about it. To that end, here are my proposals, laid out in numbered statements so it is easier for people to argue against them:

1. The ultimate aim is to establish, maintain and develop a community that lives a moral life in every way.
2. This is the aim for 2 reasons – 1) it is good, in itself, to live in ways we think moral and correct; 2) it will be hugely helpful as an intellectual exercise, in trying to think of convincing alternatives to current situations.
3.The only real way to establish how we should live, and how societies should operate, is through trial and error.
4.To that end, we must aim to establish a physical space, that is eventually self-sustaining, that is free from the possibility of legal interruption (so, for example, I would rule out squatting as long-term solution), that is open to all and is a beacon of possibility in a world bereft of light.
5.I have ideas, but no dogmas, about how this is to proceed and on what lines we could construct our alternatives. But really, I am ignorant and seeking knowledge. So I welcome everyone, and I hope you email with thoughts and ideas, criticism and support. The plan is to get lots of people involved, with varying perspectives, skills and knowledge, and see what we can develop from there.

Incidentally, to pre-empt a certain kind of criticism, I am not arguing for an ivory-tower type of society. I think it is crucially important that we engage with the world, and that we continue to do such things as we think are necessary to make the world a better place, whether that be protest against the G8, campaign against identity cards, for asylum seekers, etc. My suggestions do not imply anything different.
I hope everyone who finds this interesting, or thinks I have a point, or wants to correct some of my ideas, gets in touch. I am very serious about making this happen, but it will only happen with the involvement of people and it will only be worthwhile with that involvement.

My email is I live in London, and will be here for the foreseeable, which is why I have titled my post London action. But everyone is welcome to contribute; indeed, I hope they will.

- e-mail:


Display the following 11 comments

  1. this is crap ... — Jon
  2. My response to Jon — P
  3. Anti-Corporation Share Prices — Jo Jo
  4. Good to read something positive — Catherine
  5. If it's not the way we want it it's not good enough — The Nazi
  6. Responses to Catherine and JoJo — P
  7. Ah lads, — purple_splat
  8. Yep, me again — P
  9. I'm in favour, but ... — braddock
  10. re: Anti-Corporation Share Prices — neil
  11. re: Anti-Corporation Share Prices — neil


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