The Anarchist Travelling Circus
The Anarchist Travelling Circus is UK-wide series of actions, projects and events, and a mobilisation against the latest knees up of the powermongers of world misery – the G8 Summit taking place in Evian (Lake Geneva, on the French-Swiss border), June 1st-3rd 2003.
The summit-hopping protests of the last few years, labelled by Tony Blair post-Gothenberg, as an ?Anarchist Travelling Circus?, have done much to build and revitalise the growing anti-capitalist movement, to strengthen existing international solidarity, to create new links, and to facilitate the mobilisation of people and ideas. The inevitable publicity that surrounds such occasions has served to inform people about the existence of an organised resistance to capitalism.
While this process is important and should continue, it is clear that mobilising around specific one-off or annual events such as Mayday, G8, EU meetings etc. will never be enough.
The Anarchist Travelling Circus is an attempt to reconcile the mass mobilisations that accompany events such as the G8, with local projects and actions; to create links between the anti-capitalist movement and the daily stuggles in our communities and workplaces; to involve those who cannot or do not want to travel round the globe getting tear-gassed; and to continue to make the point that our multiple struggles against war and militarism, the destruction of the earth, debt and lack of housing, the treatment of asylum seekers, the mind-numbing, soul-destroying monotony of wage labour and many other issues too numerous to name, cannot be won until the fight against capitalism is won and that this must be fought – not a couple of times a year in set-pieces against riot police, but daily, constantly, everywhere.
This attitude has most recently been reflected in the idea of Social Centres and Social Centres networks which have been springing up around the country, inspired in part by the Social Centres movements of other European countries; and by the attempt this year to use Mayday for a ?Festival of Alternatives? that aimed to promote both theoretical and practical sustainable forms of resistance and involve a variety of groups and issues.
WHAT IS IT?
The idea of the Anarchist Travelling Circus, while still in it?s infancy, is a 5-6 week tour of the country, perhaps beginning on Mayday, and culminating in Evian on June 1st at the G8, with a possible ?No Border? Camp en route. As the Circus progresses around the UK, people would join and leave the procession at will, staying on the road til Evian, or never leaving their home town. At each city, town or village it arrives in people would organise actions around struggles they are involved in, open social centres, or organise cultural events. This would hopefully serve to highlight existing struggles and act as an inspiration for new longterm projects, as well as leaving a lasting legacy beyond the spectacle of confrontational action.
It is important that the emphasis is placed on the actions and events that happen in each place, and that the impetus for these comes from local people and the struggles they are involved in, rather than a touring procession of activists just parachuting in. It is also important to involve as many people as possible and to have an open and inclusive working process.
The theme of ?travelling? – in the form of convoys, critical masses and mass train bunks – would be primarily used to physically and visually link issues and ideas that are already fundamentally linked in that they all pose an opposition to capitalism.
The idea is for anybody who is interested, from whatever part of the UK, to set up local groups to organise events and network the idea in their area. We would like as many individuals and horizontally-organised groups as possible to take part in this. The hope is that this would help to build links between anti-capitalists, refugee groups, those involved in workplace & community struggles, environmental groups, claimant?s unions etc., and also help to build a sustainable country-wide network, as well as involving people in ongoing projects in their area.
A discussion will take place at the ?Reclaim the Future? event on Saturday 21st September in London, and there will be a national meeting at the Anarchist Bookfair at The Camden Centre, London WC1, on 19th October, 2002.
This is going to take a lot of time, money and energy, so fundraising and networking should ideally start as soon as possible.
In the meantime an internet discussion list has been set up. To subscribe to this, send a blank email to:
If you are setting up a group in your area and would like someone to come and speak about the idea, please email email@example.com and let us know.