Anti-car action in UK

Jj Plant jplant at
Tue Oct 31 15:12:00 MST 1995


I don't often use the word "evil", and didn't in what I assume is the 
short post you refer to.

I also rarely use the term"public transport" because I am not sure there 
is such a thing. There are systems to transport the public, at least 
parts of it - usually the workforce, usually in dreadful conditions. 
These systems are not run *by* the public but imposed on it by the same 
ruling class and bureaucracy that fills the streets with spy cameras, 
fixes the health and education budgets etc. I know from your posts that 
you don't need me to lecture you on these topics.

I think if people want to use bikes they should be able to. A bike is no 
use to me. For recreational trips I need to take my dog, and want to take 
equipment such as my cameras or telescope. For the trips I need my car 
for, a bike just won't fit into the timetable constraints (I won't bore 
you with the details unless you need evidence or examples). 

I think that the anticar activists in London (I don't know about similar 
actions elsewhere) misguidedly alienate people such as myself who need to 
get about quickly if there is to be any time for any activity outside 
work. I am a pretty marginal car owner, and I think I probably represent 
a reasonable sample of my social layer. Any significant increase in the 
cost of car ownership would put me out of that market. It wouldn't turn 
me into a cyclist, it would drive me out of London. Already I don't visit 
several shopping areas where they have put up parking charges and put in 
obstructive traffic schemes. Sadly, these are shopping areas in working 
class, Labour Party controlled districts, so my money gets spent by mail 
order or at supermarkets with free parking, which are usually in Tory 
controlled districts.

It seems to me that we have here an issue where some transitional demands 
need to be formulated. Marxists should not swallow the anticar 
campaigners line that riding a bike is a blow against capitalism. We can, 
I think,  make a general case for an element of planned social provision 
of transportation. We should, in my view, do this in the context of a 
political strategy that attacks rather than supports the state 
structures, demanding that work patterns and locations be replanned 
democratically by directly elected and accountable bodies of workers and 
consumers, and that the ruling class be compelled to meet the cost of it. 
This is of course less than a skeleton of a policy. I would be willing to 
contribute to a debate that aimed to develop a post/trotskyist approach 
to these questions.

jplant at

-------- Original Message --------

>From BURGISBA at  Tue Oct 31 19:20:11 1995

From: Benjamin Burgis <BURGISBA at>
Subject: Re: Anti-car action in UK
In-reply-to: <memo.72560 at>

        Is public transportation so evil (as the ruling class
maintains, BTW--the Lansing, MI(US) area had a great public
transportation system until the auto companies bought it up and
destroyed it)? Even if it is, what about bikes?
        --Ben Burgis

jplant at

     --- from list marxism at ---

More information about the Marxism mailing list