Together we learn

I started outside the Brazilian Embassy at a plea for rainforest protection. I moved on to an assembly in Piccadilly Circus led by an acronym that was new to me: FINT (female, intersex, non-binary and trans). I have problems with 'Mother' Earth and the 'feminine spirit' but it was awesome to listen to a very young Chinese activist about what she has been doing with young people there. And to watch a young child being socialised.

Then up again to follow the band. I don't know how the march came to be split up two parallel streets - ours attracted the attention of some photogenic office workers (first extra) - but I was there when we were told to run past the band, turn left and get ourselves to Oxford Circus as quickly as possible. There a ring of women stood round a pink structure and the police were rapidly forming a ring around them to stop anyone seeing or photographing them (second extra). The melee settled into a slightly uneasy truce then I was disturbed to see a ring of XR activists around the police holding mirrors up to their faces. There is a very wide range of attitudes to the police in XR and I am at the soggy end of the spectrum in believing that every human is entitled to be treated well. One police officer in particular was clearly getting distressed at the mirror being held so close to her face. I whispered to my fellow protestor to leave her alone, and was glad that she did, but I strongly disliked this action and refused to take mirrors when they were offered to me.

Shortly afterwards, a police officer asked me to leave the area I was in. I asked why and he told me they were making it 'sterile'. Interesting word. Anyway, the pathogen that is me was cleansed and this became the holding area as they started arresting people. 

At this stage I gave myself the evening off (third extra). I could have treated myself to a more calming piece of theatre than I did. 'Crisis, What Crisis?' is a live action role play about a day in the life of the teetering Labour government in January 1979 when Margaret Thatcher as Leader of the Opposition had called a vote of no confidence because of the many strikes. The outcome of the play is different every night but our group managed to push inflation up to 34% and precipitate an army coup. Oops. The inflation was not my responsibility - the only role I played was to negotiate the pay offer to the steel workers union and I managed to keep it down to 12% by offering the general secretary a hush-hush seat on Labour's 'democratically elected' National Executive Committee. I was so appalled at my corruption that I left the rest of the decisions to others. The speed and confusion of everything confirmed to me that party political activism is not my thing. 

(Having seen where the XR actions so far this week have taken place I have predicted where tomorrow's will be, even though I won't be there to participate.)

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