It wasn't brilliant. It started a mile outside Manchester city centre, in the university quarter, which seemed fair enough. Unfortunately, it then headed another mile or so out of the city to a nondescript park miles from anywhere. My colleagues were disapproving of the attempted breakaway march which headed for the city centre, but I was rather jealous of them.
The initial gathering seemed less like a rally and more like an opportunity for rival newspaper sellers to flog copies of their sectarian rags to each other: the Morning Star looked like the paper of record next to Socialist Worker, The Socialist, Worker's Hammer, The Spartacist (in several languages) and a range of even more exotic publications seemingly more concerned with attacking the historical theoretical errors of their rivals. The hot news in one paper was that POUM were traitors… in the Spanish Civil War. (Wrong, and hardly a pressing issue today).
There were some good placards and costumes, and plenty of underage kids dressed like 1970s German anarchists, which is a good thing. There were far too many police officers (glad to see some workers are still getting overtime), but they were pretty good-humoured. I listened to an officer briefing his grunts, and he made it clear to them that the focus was on safety and letting the march happen.
It was all very good-natured and fun, though people were slightly jittery about photographers, and I wondered how many of the marchers were undercover cops. I did ask my colleagues to promise they weren't spies sleeping their way through the movement, but their cover stories held. I particularly enjoyed being accosted by some micro-sect young idiot who pressed on me a sheet of closely-typed nonsense about the trades unions being the bureaucratic henchment of fake socialist governments. I did point out to him that I am a trades union bureaucrat, but he didn't seem very interested in the question of how workers can be fought for on a daily basis without trades unions. I've spent the past year doing casework for a very vulnerable colleague: poring over contracts, negotiating with management, seeing specialists, drafting opinions. All very bureaucratic, but without bores like me, my client might well be out of a job.
Anyway, here are some pictures, and the rest are here. Click on these ones to enlarge them.
This just in…
V for Vendetta boy
There was a very simple chant to go with this one: "I say Nick Clegg, you say Dick Head'
What a tragic scenester. I'd double his fees.
All together now, aaaahhhhhh. Isn't he sweet?
Harry Potter and the Adolescent Hormones
Aaron Porter, NUS president, isn't very popular