by Reclaim the Streets
MAY 2, 2000
Mayday is traditionally a day to remember the struggle of millions
of people worldwide for their rights, livelihoods and freedom. It
has also been a celebration of the rebirth of spring and the renewal
of hope for thousands of years.
Yesterday in London we helped remember that history by celebrating
the potential to turn sterile areas of our city into healthy diverse
and useful ecosystems. People gardened, built ponds, played in the
sandpit and danced around the maypole set up in the street freed
of cars. We were not protesting.
Under the shadow of an irrelevant parliament we were planting the
seeds of a society where ordinary people are in control of their
land, their resources, their food and their decision making. The
garden symbolised an urge to be self-reliant rather than dependent
on capitalism. It celebrated the possibility of a world that encourages
cooperation and sharing rather than one which rewards greed, individualism
We are pleased that the aims of redesigning Parliament Square and
involving thousands of people in pleasurable constructive work and
collective decision making were achieved.
Events that occurred outside Parliament Square were not part of
the Guerrilla Gardening event.
All Reclaim The Streets' publicity emphasised a creative, positive
action -10,000 leaflets were handed out on the day stating that
"Guerrilla Gardening is not a protest; by its very nature it is
a creative peaceful celebration of the growing global anticapitalist
The corporate media's obsession with confrontation and property
damage conceals the violence of capital that occurs 24 hours a day,
365 days a year: The fact remains that the most likely cause of
death for an under 14 year old in Britain is being hit by a car,
that 1 in 3 children in the UK is brought up in poverty and 50%
of this country's ancient woodland has been destroyed since 1950,
all in the name of profit. Surely that is the violence that should
be splashing the front pages.
In relation to the graffiti on the cenotaph, we are obviously very
aware of the millions of people who have given their lives in the
fight for freedom. We know that millions are still dying every year
in numerous struggles for independence, freedom and human rights.
We respect and celebrate all those people who are, and have been,
prepared to stand up to fascism, imperialism and dictatorship. That
said, we do not necessarily celebrate the generals and the ruling
class that send these people to their deaths in order to protect
the privileges and control of the few. The abhorrence of sending
millions of men to their deaths in the trenches dwarfs the stupidity
of any possible slogan on any possible piece of stone.
Mayday has a great history of people struggling for progress and
a decent society. We honour all those people and will continue that
The banner tied across the treasury building in Parliament Square