Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rise against racism (and Iraq, and Coca Cola)

Went to Rise on Saturday, the London anti-racism festival. There was a scary moment when I thought it might have been a pro-racism festival as I thought the MC said, "Put your hands in the air if you're in the BNP!" and a load of people put their hands up. Then I realised he'd said "if you hate the BNP", and worried that because I hadn't put my hands in the air, everyone would think I was a racist, and beat me up.

But then I remembered that the guy had shouted earlier, "Make some noise for TRUTH!" and I had remained silent. And when he’d said, "Put your middle finger in the air against people who spread hate!" I hadn't raised my middle finger. I don't think I'm cut out for bringing down the system through body language.

I hope this doesn't count as 'spreading hate', but I hate the way these events always get hijacked by supposedly compatible causes. You turn up because you hate racism (or want to see Roy Ayres), and end up having to buy Socialist Worker, denounce the war in Iraq, back Ken Livingstone's reign as mayor, and censure Coca Cola (but not Pepsi Max, who co-sponsored the event). As if anyone who's not a Pepsi-drinking anti-war Ken-loving Socialist is automatically a racist.

Good music though. The Buzzcocks and Graham Coxon were great. What's that? Do I have any pictures on file of me and Graham Coxon having a friendly chat? Funnily enough, yes I do.

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