UK Uncut to hold protest ‘Great British Street Parties’ before the Jubilee and Olympics

Posted on April 12, 2012 by | 11 Comments

UK Uncut, the anti-cuts direct action group, has today announced a new plan of action to start shortly before the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the Olympic period. The group, best known for targeting tax dodgers, will hold street parties in major towns and cities across the UK in the run up to the Jubilee and Olympics which will ‘resist the cuts and celebrate a future that is decided by us, not a handful of billionaires’.

The UK Uncut planned events will take place on the weekend before the Queen’s Jubilee. These events will be street parties with a twist. They plan to block major roads and high streets up and down the country to call for a ‘future uncut’ and protest against the government’s cuts, austerity agenda and the closure of local public services.

In a statement on their website, UK Uncut drew on strong parallels with British society in 1948, the year when the Olympics were last held in London. They stated that although Britain’s post-war national debt was much higher than it is today, there was a future for people to look forward to. This included free universal health care, a new welfare state- that would protect and support the most marginalised in society- and human rights. They argue that these are being axed by the present government and that people can choose to fight for a future which they decide.

UK Uncut will hold training sessions across the UK in the coming months to encourage people to organise mass street parties in their regions and block roads in major cities across the UK.

Rachel Woodhead, supporter of UK Uncut said:

“We know we are paying the price for the banks’ greed and recklessness. We know that the government lets big business dodge tax and slashes tax rates for the wealthy while choosing to punish us. We know that multinational companies rake in billions in profits but contribute next to nothing, despite sitting on massive surpluses of cash. We know it’s not right. And so we have a choice. We can let the government and corporations control our future. Or we can fight, taking our future out of the hands of a tiny group of millionaires to instead create a future which benefits everyone.”

UK Uncut has no plans to directly disrupt the Jubilee ceremonies or Olympic games. The group say they will resist the cuts and celebrate the future people want to see during the summer through The Great British Street party because the future is not what it used to be.

This post was first published on the UK Uncut website.

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11 Responses to “UK Uncut to hold protest ‘Great British Street Parties’ before the Jubilee and Olympics”

  1. Alasdair ThompsonNo Gravatar
    April 12th, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

    “UK Uncut has no plans to directly disrupt the Jubilee ceremonies or Olympic games.”
    Why not? We absolutely should be disrupting these things.

    Also, can we please not call these “Great British Street Parties”, enough with the attempts at appropriating a kitsch nationalism, it’s not helpful.

  2. Gary DunionNo Gravatar
    April 12th, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

    Afraid I have to disagree with both of these objections, Ali.

    “We” should be disrupting these things? Well, fine, do so if you want. Doesn’t mean everyone has to adopt the exact same tactics, and I think specific disruption of Olympic events would probably be a poor choice of tactic for UK Uncut.

    I simply don’t understand what your problem is with “Great British Street Parties”, unless you are attempting to reinforce the right-wing’s message that they represent the nation while campaigners such as yourself are merely interlopers acting in bad faith.

    National pride is not only the overwhelming norm, it is undoubtedly a positive thing when it concerns, as it does here, pride in what our nation achieved as a welfare state and hope for a shared national endeavour of restoring, even surpassing, those achievements.

    I think you underestimate the rarity and fragility of an unapologetically left movement that does *not* only appeal to hyper-politicised students of critical theory.

    A punk attitude of attempting to alienate absolutely everyone in pursuit of some kind of social creative destruction may have a certain romance, but in the unlikely event it contributes anything at all it does so only in the presence of more sympathetic and welcoming movements.

  3. Graham MartinNo Gravatar
    April 12th, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    I think its very sad when people recourse to language designed to make out that Britain is somehow a positive political construct. Also, I’m from York Stop the Cuts, and given we’ve always had chants about Yorkshire verses Westminster, it would seem odd to suddenly adopt this thinking.

    As to disrupting the Olympics, I admire your enthusiasm for going to jail – I think we need more people who are willing to do that. But I don’t intend to organise mass-action that puts people at risk of doing time, and neither is UK Uncut it would seem.

  4. Daniel MoroneyNo Gravatar
    April 12th, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    Any action should remind us that the Olympics is an event for the people. We saw the hijacking of this in the ticketing process that only rewarded people who applied lots of events and corporate interest. Yes there is an element of jingoism about the parties, but the focus should be on galvanising the people against the cuts rather than shock and awe. My only other request is that the athletes themselves aren’t targetted.

  5. MurrayNo Gravatar
    April 12th, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

    Adopting the language of ‘Great British Street Parties’ is not unproblematic – but I think it shouldn’t be dismissed as kitsch nationalism.

    For too long the left have completely given up basic values like community, or taking pride in where you are from, to the far right. Yes, there’s a lot that is British the left shouldn’t be proud of (too much to list here), but why not celebrate the progressive things that have been achieved?

    It’s also an opportunity to challenge, and who knows, maybe reclaim some ideas of Britishness at a time with the Jubilee and Olympics when the government will be forcing out some twisted image of a positive Britain – an image of a neoliberal, xenophobic and regressive tax haven.

    And as Gary says, it could be a great opportunity to reach out to people who don’t identify as radical lefties, who don’t have a problem with the idea of Great Britain, but don’t like the way the country is going.

  6. AndrewDFDANo Gravatar
    April 12th, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    I think there is a lot to be said for adding an element of fun to protests – activism can often be a serious, stressful and depressing business which understandably discourages many. The tedium of arguing over (what I see as) relatively trivial things like semantics within names for actions can really drain from this.

    Is it not supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek?

  7. corinneNo Gravatar
    April 12th, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    I think any disruption to the olympics is a possible own goal, a very bad idea. However making your presence felt via an original idea, in a advertising type way with intelligence and wit, and warmth is a great idea,

    for example every one loves partys, so have a street party with a diffence, they are our streets, what will we be celebrating?

    The boat race disruption may have had even more impact if it had been a group taking action and a lot of sillyness! throne in for good measure.

    Its ok to laugh if the king is naked and expects you not to notice.

    imagination is urgently needed, i have run out

  8. RoddyNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Because, of course, a “Great British Street Party” is going to be the perfect unifying and non-alienating event in, say, Glasgow or Belfast…

  9. RoddyNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    Bet all those people with friends/family in Afghanistan or Iraq (to take a few entirely random examples) just can’t WAIT to get the Union Jack bunting out…

  10. RoddyNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    I hear North Wales is awash with radical choirs spontaneously bursting out in joyous renditions of “God Save The Queen”…

  11. RoddyNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    The whole town of Tonypandy’s dusting off the commemorative Churchill dining sets. There’re masked youths running around shouting “NO WAR BUT THE SECOND WORLD WAR”…