Anti-car action in UK

wdrb at siva.bris.ac.uk wdrb at siva.bris.ac.uk
Mon Oct 30 07:01:12 MST 1995


On Saturday I attended an 'ilegal' street party
involving about 500 anti-car protesters in Bristol,
England. We gathered down-town and then marched to
a major road junction, occupied 100 yards of road
had a party for three hours complete with music,
dancing and drinking. This was in the afternoon.

Anti-car protests are now significant in the UK.
Major new road projects have been bitterly opposed
in Manchester, Glasgow, London, Bath and elsewhere.
The opposition has been sustained, determined direct action
involving both eco-activists, local communities
and leftists. Mass cycling actions are now monthly
occurences in several major cities and most
new quarries are being opposed vigorously
(the stone is usually needed for new roads).

The opposition to the car stems from a
three-fold increase in the number of cars
on the roads in the last 20 years. Asthma
rates, particularly among children, have
multiplied many times. This state of affairs has been
encouraged by the Tory governments hostility
to public transport and state intervention.

While I don't want to exagerate the importance
of these events ( I suffer from over optimism),
I was excited by the event I attended. The car
is the paradigmn commodity of capitalism.
There is something profoundly anti-capitalist
(it seems to me) about working class people 
rejecting the primary use value that capital
has produced. The anti car people are a
good mix of hippy types, anarchists, working
class leftists and punkers. I am impressed by their
direct action techniques and I felt there
was a lot a good political consciousness
on the demo. Even the local Labour Militant 
woman was there...and I think Labour Militant
were very active in the anti-road struggle
in Glasgow.

Are
there any anti-car campaigns in the rest of the world?
I've heard the traffic is pretty bad in Tokyo and
Mexico City. How about a world 'anti-car' day?

Any news appreciated

Will Brown  Bristol   England


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