[g8-sheffield] assuring our right to demonstrate

John Smith johncsmith at btinternet.com
Sat May 21 00:56:36 BST 2005

Dear Chris, 

Thanks for your advice re setting up a page on the SSF wiki. We'll see what
other suggestions there may be and then go ahead pronto.

The version Jillian has sent out was a first draft, aimed at solving the
problem - how can we have the most effective mass peaceful protest, with
maximum participation, in our own town centre in time to get on the 6.00
news, when within less than two hundred yards there will be a gathering of
criminals possibly including Sec of State Rice, and more important, the
world's media with hundreds of millions watching. And we don't want to be a
mile away, which is where they will quite likely try to put us. 

But it was a first draft, and you cited this sentence as the reason why you
wouldn't sign it:

"Anyone who does not respect the defined route of the demonstration and the
stewards who will be appointed to keep order is not welcome and will be told
to go away."

I think 'who will be appointed' is clumsy and needs to be changed; the
essence of the matter is that the demonstration is/should be *under the
control of the demonstrators*, and that this is a collective action, a
united action, that the peace and security of the demonstration is the
responsibility of everyone. We should organise a meeting for stewards, and
make an open invitation and request to individuals and organisations that
they volunteer to a stewarding force. You might not like the word force,
either, but I like to call things by their real names.

Anyhow, I respect your decision not to sign, and maybe we can overcome this,
but I've just got some questions.

Is there an alternative wording  which could fit, yet meet your concerns, or
does it go deeper than that?

Is it the 'respect to the defined route' that is the problem, or 'respect
the stewards'? Or both?

If (I'm not assuming that this is the case) you don't agree with the basis
of this demonstration, does this mean that you won't be coming on it?


John S


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