March for Europe: historical context & analysis

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2017 by kmflett

March for Europe: historical context & analysis

I wasn’t on the March for Europe on Saturday. I had been out of London and didn’t get back in time. Even if I had I would have been there as an observer. The issue of Europe seems to me more than one-dimensional.

It’s fair to say that whatever the issues and questions all those who marched In London hated Farage. Good

That said the London Socialist Historians Group which I convene has an abiding interest in London demonstrations. Thanks to social media I was able to closely follow the march both in terms of comments on twitter and Facebook and pictures too.

It was clearly a sizeable march. One tweet suggested a Met Police estimate of 50,000+. Others suggested 20-30,000. Certainly it took a bit over an hour for the head of the march to go from Park Lane to Parliament Square and longer for those that followed behind as the march grew in numbers.

The assembly time of 11am may have been optimistic for a march that expected numbers from outside London. The reality that the assembly time and the move off time (midday) is not the same was lost on some participants. They were clearly new demonstrators and that is always to be applauded. Marching suggests a commitment beyond just words.

The composition of the march was interesting. Pictures show lots of EU flags. (It was a European day of marches on the EU). I’m in favour of European solidarity and co-operation, as EP Thompson who helped found European Nuclear Disarmanent was. But when one looks at the EU’s treatment of Greece one sees neo-liberalism.

I couldn’t see from pictures and videos evidence of union banners but there were some from the Labour Party including from my own area, Hornsey and Wood Green. My own MP David Lammy spoke and it’s fair to say he represents the left of the pro-Remain sentiment, focused on racism and its reactionary impact on daily life.

There wasn’t much media coverage because the march though sizeable wasn’t big enough. To force your way into the media you need several hundred thousand at least. That said the Guardian ran a liveblog so the Observer may feature coverage.

As a demonstration from a historical perspective it was interesting because it was not that easily pigeon holed. I read of financial backing for the march and considerable publicity for it as a result. I don’t have the detail behind that, but the reality is that for any sizeable march in London, real sentiment has to be mobilised and that is only ever done by word of mouth organisation on the ground.

Work and analysis in progress.



One Response to “March for Europe: historical context & analysis”

  1. Your analysis is totally flawed because you weren’t there. The Met had thought it may be 19k in their preparations. In the event many, many more arrived and they estimate over 100k and maybe up to 200k. That’s sizeable enough to warrant coverage. The press don’t want to report anything outside the governments entrenched and under fire position. The reasons for this I will leave the reader to speculate. Consequently there is a movement to try to reduce the numbers reported. I have to say, with a march of the size that it was, all those people have pictures and family… it’s not something that can be done with any credibility. All the press do in behaving in this way is discredit themselves. The truth is the truth.

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