Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Nottingham May Day March

Reading: Guardian, Independent and BBC News Websites. Current Socialist Worker (SWP) and The Socialist (SPEW-CWI), some pages of Finnegans Wake.
Listening: Radio Five morning show.

Nottingham held its Mayday march today, (the nearest Saturday to May 1st) a small turnout by some standards, but a cheerful and noisy crowd of several hundred led by a band and drummers in good weather! It was good to see a march occuring as it did not happen last year. This year the lead was taken by local refugee campaigners, which gave the march an appropriate internationalist flavour. Banners on the march were from Nottingham Stop The War, Nottingham CND, and local communists of various stripes. A disappointing lack of union banners reflecting the low ebb of organising in Nottingham - hopefully to be countered by the valiant efforts of a number of activists from NUT, FBU and other unions who are producing a bulletin. Also contributing to the lack of organised workers presence may be the transformation of the London Mayday event on Monday into a national event and the perennial popularity in the North Midlands of the Chesterfield Mayday event on Monday. A single Unison tricolour reminded us it was an International WORKERS Day celebration. Unison also contributed the one union speaker, Jean Thorpe of the union's NEC ( talking about the NHS crisis and pensions). Other speakers at the rally in the Brewhouse Museum Yard were from NAIL (Nottingham Against Incineration and Landfill) speaking about the planned expansion of the Eastcroft incinerator in the city, and opposition to it, a speaker from the refugee support group; speakers from the Nottingham No2ID group; a rather scary Maoist talking about Nepal; and finally the "star speaker", Rosie Kane of the Scottish Socialist Party (who made a good rousing speech but disappointingly failed to mention climate change and envirionmental destruction amongst the list of things that the workers and progressive movements are fighting.) There was also some good musical entertainment from local and international musicians. On a sad note the rally remembered Ian Juniper who was a locally well known, lifelong voluntary and community sector and trade union movement activist who had done much to help organise previous TU and Mayday events, but who died recently and whose funeral is on Wednesday. We were told that despite his terminal illness Ian was still supporting workers and communities in struggle to the end, marching with Nottinghamshire public service workers on their recent strike day over pensions.
Stalls at the rally were from the SWP, SP, and RIM, Greenpeace and Friends of The Earth, No2ID, Cuba Solidarity Campaign, the Nottingham Refugee Campaign Group, CND/Stop The War, and the local animal rights group. Food and information about their "May Day Minus One" social gathering came from local stalwarts Veggies and the Sumac Centre.

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