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Call This Apathy?

Manchester 7th June - Election Day

A festive air prevailed in Manchester on election day, though police fought valiantly to contain outbreaks of grassroots politics. The theme of the day was not so much "don't-vote," as "it's irresponsible to just vote when faced with a problems that can't be dealt with by a corporate-driven parliament." People are already fighting this powerlessness in a world of different ways.

Starting the day was 'There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch' - as free food was given away. The message was self-reliance, as plants were distributed to say - get away from supermarket food and grown your own. Diners were entertained by music & street theatre - which gave the police a scare when a white-clad group entered the square ("back up! back up!...cancel that sarge, it's street theatre").

To work off some of the food, merry pranksters headed off to banks, supermarkets, bookshops, train stations, coffee shops and fast food merchants, with further uncontrolled outbreaks of popular control over consumer society. In banks that fund dictators and arms deals blood was spilled in the cashiers' trays, stopping any transactions. Cash machines got 'out of order' stickers slapped on them. In a supermarket GM food was left to defrost in trolleys sprouting banners and leaflets. Burma leaflets got inserted into holiday guides, and train ticket counters got besieged by people with 90% for 90% cards claiming their discount. Nestle cafes were leafletted, Starbucks had free vegan drinks and cakes on offer outside, and a rival free veggie burger stall called NotDonalds did a roaring trade outside you-know-where.

Now obviously these threats to the very fabric of democracy had gone too far, and with a Critical Mass bike ride threatening to end car culture as we know it, the police had had enough; it was time to protect the democratic system - pen people in and crack their heads. After the cops went back on the route they'd promised cyclists, they decided it was a much better ruse to pull people off their bikes, threaten, arrest and then de-arrest after taking people's details, and contain any remaining cyclists for two tense hours.

Moving off at a funereal pace was - the State Funeral. Yes, the State is dead, democracy is dead (but we're alive). Less than half of the voting public turned out to vote on June 7th - maybe they were doing something more useful instead. To the beat of a drum and a New Orleans-style jazz band, the pall-bearers followed the four horses of the Eco-pocalypse and a twelve foot grim reaper, behind a "Call this Apathy?" banner, to the headquarters of the media machine conspiracy...well, the BBC building on Oxford Road. Here, the last will and testament of the state was read out, after which a mighteous samba wake was held, before revellers went to dine in a nearby park. Two arrests (one man for fake blood in bottles found after a Section 60 search, and one woman for indecent exposure), and not a line of press coverage (despite the journos having been fed with an exceedingly large spoon..). It was a good day.