for a dignified and effective demonstration (1982)

 (written 1982, mainly by me and William Dixon, later of Radical Chains, but with input by several others – including Ian Bone and Tony Allen)

The following was handed out at a demo against the increase in London’s fares by the House of Lords in 1982:

FOR A DIGNIFIED AND EFFECTIVE DEMONSTRATION

Brought to you by the ALL-LONDON UNITED ALLIANCE OF SOCIALIST CAUCUSES to whom the following are signatories: G.L.C., London Labour Party, T.U.C., S.W.P., W.R.P., I.M.G., C.N.D., Ecology Party, Y.C.L., and B.F.

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                                                  CORRECT                                                                                                INCORRECT

We welcome everyone to today’s demonstration, which we hope will be amongst the biggest London has seen for many years. We are confident that the vast majority of you will keep intact your dignity. A disciplined rally is essential if we are to avoid discrediting ourselves in the eyes of the public and losing the approval of the police. We want to give the media no reason to condemn our campaign by pointing to any over-imaginative acts. To this end, we call on everyone to obey the dictates of the stewards who will be found alongside the police. They will be acting in your interests. They are sensible people – please be sensible with them. Beware of troublemakers – some may be in the crowd with you. If you see any do not hesitate to summon stewards or the police, who, we must remember, are our brothers in work. Comrades! Even in a socialist society we shall still need Specialists-In-Order to combat hooligans and deviants. While it’s true that nowadays the police are occasionally over-zealous in their protection of privelege, property and the violence of the world market, the best way of dealing with this is by demanding public accountablity through elected local government or some other representation of submissive community. In the meantime we should recognise that they will only listen to our complaints if we conduct ourselves in the correct manner.

RESPECT FOR THE DEAD

Our tactics are those to which the greatest number can conform with the least difficulty. They require no more than your presence and a minimum of participation. All that we ask is that you recreate the conditions of your work. Remember! It’s numbers that count; the boredom you feel is also imposed by the demo on everyone else. Each demonstrator must be equivalent to and replaceable by any other. Just like our old friend, the commodity. Please bear in mind that love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. OK?

We therefore ask you to comply with the following simple rules:

  1. Exactly one hundred to a line, each rank to be one yard clear of the line in front. No lounging please.

  2. Wait for the intiative of the official loud-speakers before repeating the correct slogans, always recognisable by their format. For example: “X – IN!…Y – OUT!” or “WHAT DO WE WANT? – SOMETHING!…WHEN DO WE WANT IT? -WHENEVER YOU GET ROUND TO GIVING IT TO US!” Kindly check that all Extra-Parliamentary slogans recognise the ultimate soveriegnty of Parliament. If you have any doubts, consult our easy-to-read list of DEMONSTRATION SLOGANS DO’ S & DON’TS:

    CHANT                                                                                        DO NOT CHANT

    Cheap Fares Now!                                  NOT                     Helicopters on Demand!

    Victory to Fares Fight!                            NOT                         Total Contestation!

    No Return to the ’30s                             NOT                       No Adventure for the 80s!

    Slogans are jolly good fun!                          NOT            Bollocks to Demands of our Enemies!

     

    Baaaaaaaaaaaa!                                         NOT                             Riot for Romance!

  3. The left-hand side of the rally has been designated a ‘No Smoking’ area. Demonstrators are respectfully asked to comply with this request.

  4. If you see any impatient extremists please inform us immediately. They are easily distinguishable by the following kinds of sectarian individualism:

    a) Inventing unofficial slogans such as “Kenny is a Cop”, “Neither Left, Right nor Centre!” or “Revolution is the Festival of the Depressed!” or some other aggressive utopian rubbish.

    b) Departing from the prescribed site of the demo for the purpose of indulging in manual waltzes through shop windows and the wilful destruction of saleable goods. Take care to note that Piccadilly, offering gold-drenched shops and fine vistas of the commodity, is a holiday of sheer temptation you should avoid.

    c) Making unauthorised alterations to luxury cars.

    d) Using banner poles in an extravagantly exhuberant manner.

    e) Smoking excessively long cigarettes or ‘joints’.

    f) Drinking looted alcohol.

    coordinated ferocity

    g) Suggesting that demonstrators should band together in groups of fifty or more in order to spread disruption of traffic as widely as possible. For example, by the continuous use of zebra crossings, standing around chatting in the middle of the road or arranging obstacles to prevent the free flow of carbon monoxide, lead, cop cars and tension-producing noises through our streets.

    h) Any clever, erotic or playful expression of individual or group initiative.

CLOCKWORK FUTILITY

  1. During the rally you are urged to clap your favourite speakers. Please confine your enthusuiasm to 15 secs per point made in the middle of a speech and a maximum of 30 secs at the end of one. Please do not interrupt with shouts of “BORING“!

  2. Always remember to smile at the press cameras and adopt a suitably militant stance even when you feel pissed off with the whole business.

  3. If you are uncertain whether a particular mode of behaviour is orderly or not, just do what everybody else is doing. Should any unconventional urges remain do not hesitate to discuss them with one of our stewards. They will be only too pleased to refer you to the appropriate specialist, whether G.P. or S.W.P.

  4. At the end of the demo please do not dawdle. Failure to make your way home quickly could result in you missing the sight of yourself on TV.

This leaflet is brought to you courtesy of the ALL-LONDON UNITED ALLIANCE OF SOCIALIST CAUCUSES.

The following have refused to sign this leaflet:

The vandals of St.Savioours Primary School who refused to accept their discipline quietly and who wrecked their compulsory prison, causing one sobbing teacher to lament, “These youngsters have hardly left their cradles, but they are threatening to take over their school.”

The rioters at Bydgoszcz Prison in Poland who fought Communist Party hacks, State Police, and Solidarity union officials, all allied in defence of the walls of the prison against the townspeople who were helping prisoners escape.

The ASLEF traindrivers who avoid wage slavery as much as possible, preferring dancing and drinking to sacrificing themselves to a job which mainly involves transporting other slaves so that they may perpetuate the futility of it all.

The black and white joyriding youth of Clapham who used CB radios for the fun of organising efficient looting.

The Deptford New Cross Marchers of a year ago who in anger and audacity broke away from the march in order to re-distribute wealth in the Bond Street area.

The Toxteth and Southall youths who shouted down Left Labour activists patronising enough to characterise the riots as “understandable but inexcusable.”

The truckdrivers of Cleveland, USA, who took over the local distribution of food, medicine and other necessities, by themselves and without mediation, for over 3 weeks.1

demo streets


rolls

The leaflet received a hostile reaction from Leftist organisers, some of whom threatened to prosecute us for libel.

It was later produced at a recuperative art exhibition at the ICA on the situationists and its influences. It was reproduced in their catalogue, and later reproduced by Greil Marcus in his recuperative, though partially informative, book “Lipstick Traces”. Typically, recuperations such as these drag something radical out of context and tame them by turning them into museum pieces or as a boost for someone’s empty career.

1Samotnaf note: This last fact was inappropriate in this leaflet since it referred to something that happened well before this time, in the early 70s (possibly as early as 1970). The rest had happened far more recently – at most a year previously. The tendency to mix up exemplary actions ahistorically is not useful, because it confuses very different epochs.

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Page counter added 30/3/13


4 Responses to for a dignified and effective demonstration (1982)
  1. Stunkard says:

    A real pleasure to see this. One correction – the last phrase was “grasping everywhere for the pollution of profit” (not “money”) – more alliteratively pleasing, I think you’d agree?

  2. It might be more alliteratively pleasing, and even more theoretically pleasing, but the original was “money” – at least in the version we produced.

  3. […] just letting people do it and then these people, not knowing what to do next, wandered off home. This 33-year-old leaflet still seems pertinent.Indonesia, Jakarta: illegal street vendors riot, storm commerce […]

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