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Message from a Concerned Citizen of the Democracy Village

ConcernedCitizen | 05.05.2010 14:32 | Mayday 2010 | Anti-militarism | Free Spaces | Social Struggles

An account of my stay at the Democracy Village, and a call to all 'Concerned Citizens'

When all parliamentary demockracy offers is a choice between war, war and more war, the people have to remake democracy in their own image.

This is what is happening at the Democracy Village on Parliament Square; the front line of the resistance for peace, through peace. Being freed from the illusion of demockracy should not be a cause for apathy, but activism. My brief stay was enlightening and invigorating.

On May Day, Parliament Square rang with chants of 'Whose streets? Our streets!' and the reclamation of what is rightly ours continued despite the appalling weather. Building on the progress already made by the admirable strikers for peace on Parliament Square, a growing camp has been established.

When I and a friend returned to the Square having left for a couple of hours after the march, the rain was still coming down heavily (an ever-present feature of our stay). But we were quickly offered a tent and any equipment we needed. The regular chiming of Big Ben was a reminder of the proximity of the Houses of Parliament which consistently ignore the views of the majority regarding the bleak, futile and blood-drenched wars supposedly fought in our name abroad. The next morning, I was woken by the sound of the graffiti removal man jet-washing the circle-A off Churchill's plinth. He too agreed that the war was a waste of time, money and human life. During the night, sneaky council gremlins had left us a present of sodden warning letters (one per tent), telling us of all the petty bylaws that we had broken.

The Concerned Citizens, as we collectively agreed to be anonymously known, soon convened to draw up a statement. We came from varied ideological and national backgrounds, but the consensus was that we were appalled by the abuse of human life and liberty that is war. It was obvious that when peace is not on the ballot, and vested interests hold more sway than the overwhelming opinion of the masses, we had to take action. No amount of parliamentary pressure could ever promote peace as strongly as being a constant thorn in the State's side; a camp on their very doorstep in defiance of their petty claims to represent us. But the camp is not simply reactionary – it is also an affirmation of the principles of mutual aid, constructive human nature and the desire of the masses for a final end to war.

Consensus decisions were made rapidly and with a strong unity of purpose. Food was provided for all, and the rocket fire was brilliant. One kind soul came to bring us some food and got talking over the statement. Last I saw (in the photos on Indymedia) he's still there. Several other people who had come from far and wide for the march came to say hello and ended up coming back later to help and stay. The temporary layout of the tents was rapidly rearranged to make room for a structure to cover the kitchen area. Three of us went looking for resources and found large quantities of waste wood. With some swift teamwork, DIY carpentry and some donated advertising canvas, we were able to begin building a sturdy shelter for the kitchen area.

By six o'clock on May 2nd, my time at the camp was coming to an end, though it was incredibly difficult to tear myself away from the incipient community. By the time I got onto the internet at home in Dorset, the shelter had been built, the statement was all over the web and plans were being fomented. It is easy to become fixated on the idea of a single tumultuous Revolution when everything becomes right overnight, but this overlooks the importance of the small revolutions which daily provide an alternative to the State and its belligerence.

The Democracy Village needs food, supplies and donations, but what it needs most of all is people. This Thursday, mark the quinquennial ritual of signing away your sovereignty to another boss by becoming part of the community – see the other posts on Indymedia and Facebook for details. Destroy the old by spoiling or burning your ballot, then build the new by becoming a Concerned Citizen. Come for ten minutes, a weekend or a month - if you're still there in the summer I'll see you then!

Over 360 years ago, the Diggers occupied a small patch of land to make real the theory of the earth being a common treasury for all. Now another occupation is defending the principle that humanity is able to exist perfectly happily without wars, perpetuated for the mutual loss of many and the enrichment of a few. It is a pleasing irony that this testament to peace and popular power is happening in the shade of Churchill's statue.

If we make it clear that the war is not in our name, whose name will it be in?



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  1. Great account!! — Another concerned citizen