May Day Report

Thanks to everyone who helped to make the day a great success. This was the first time in years that there was an explicitly anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist event on 1 May in Manchester - so we are glad it went well.

We only decided three weeks before May Day to call for an autonomous bloc on the annual trade union march and a post-demonstration get-together with the slogan 'You cannot represent us'. This was to counterbalance what we anticipated to be the complete dominance of electoral politics on 1 May in Manchester.

Anti-authoritarians, including from No Borders and the Anarchist Federation, had a decent presence on the march and in town early in the day, distributing lots of literature critical of representational politics. Due to the low profile of the march in Manchester, this was no easy task and we confirm our commitment to mobilise for it in the future.

Others had been busy all morning setting up marquees and a soundsystem on Birley Fields, Hulme. The Fields are due for development by Manchester Metropolitan University and Hulme residents have set up a campaign to save them. A speaker from the campaign described them on the day as 'the green lungs for the working people of the area'. The overwhelmingly positive response from Hulme residents to our presence there shows the great value of this land for the area.

With the rain staying away unexpectedly, the site quickly filled up towards the afternoon with over 200 people coming and going throughout the day. Due to the great work of a Manchester free party crew, music started bang on time at 3pm with a set by Attila the Stockbroker and David Rovics who kindly passed by on the way to their Bradford gig. They were followed by a diverse range of performers and bands from reggae via punk to folk until it got dark. An open-mic speakers corner between the acts saw people from various campaigns talk about government cuts to service and politics away from the ballot box.

The day ended with some impromptu fireworks and a great team-effort to restore Birley Fields to its original state. We are considering a similar event for May Day next year, so be sure to get involved..

Posted byManchester No Borders at 4:37 AM