I was really encouraged seeing the how things turned out at various May Day events. It feels like years ago that there was this rumble of complaint about cringey placards and dull repetitive slogans. Protests could be so much better, if only we were more organised. We could march the way the Greeks do: in ranks, all carrying red flags on sturdy wooden poles. I imagined what it might be like.
So today I went to the Chesterfield May Day, I marched through the town in formation with a large group of young people. We sang our socialist anthems, loudly and mostly in unison. It felt like a proper organised procession, not just a loose crowd of people walking down the road.
The red flags are a symbol of the labour movement, it’s a politically coherent message. You don’t need to look twice at the march to know that it’s about International Workers Day.
Meanwhile, everyone is wary of the macho and militaristic spectacle that some ultra-leftist groups like to put on for demos. It’s obviously distasteful, and I think that our red bloc avoided it. We were sincere, without trying to pull off any revolutionary role play.
The other amazing thing is that the red bloc was full of people who I’ve never met before. People who have never met each other before. People who talked online through the confinement, and just like that all those virtual connections came into being on the streets of Chesterfield. It was an exciting experience.