I’m beginning to get a bit fucked off at the mainstream media in this country (and the rest of the world for that matter). The BBC may as well rename itself the Tory Propaganda Network. The Occupy movement in the USA is still going largely unreported, and now British protesters are getting equally ignored. I would have thought thousands of people illegally occupying Westminster Bridge, right under the noses of Parliament, would have been worthy of a news report. A small footnote at least. Especially when you consider the protesters are trying to save one of the UK’s most precious and important institutions (the NHS), which is in practically everyone’s interest. The news is being filtered. Fact. Why aren’t they reporting these protests?
As far as I am aware, Channel 4 news was the only program to feature proper coverage of this event – please feel free to correct me in the comments section if I am wrong (I hope I am). Their report claimed only 2000 thousand people were on the bridge during the “Block the Bridge, Block the Bill” occupation – it seemed at least treble that to me, but of course it is hard to judge these things from the ground. Suffice it say when we first arrived at the bridge it was full. From end to end. Admittedly, within an hour or so this number had dropped considerably.
Still, a significant number of people stayed all afternoon, and it was a great occasion by all accounts. The atmosphere was positive and defiant and the tactics playful and imaginative. A large assembly was held where anyone could speak out and get involved, and this was followed by comedians and live music on the bridge. Spirits were high for the whole event, and the police were wise enough to let it all happen without confrontation. More protests and occupations were planned for the near future and everyone was home in time for tea!
But what will come of all this? Will the protest go unheard? Is the NHS doomed to privatisation??
The effectiveness of protest politics is indeed questionable. I lost faith in it myself after the Anti War movement failed to stop thousands being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know many others that felt the same. But the climate is changing. Millions of people are very angry. They are sick of austerity measures, banks and corporations calling the shots, the destruction of public services and the environment. They want real democracy, where people’s needs are put before corporate profits. From Tahir Square, to Wall Street, to Westminster Bridge – people are taking action, occupying public spaces and refusing to leave. A new people’s movement seems to be beginning… not that you’d have any idea from watching the news.