Margaret Thatcher’s death was an event long planned for.
While news outlets would have prepared their eulogies for the former British Prime Minister years ago ready to run when the day came many on the left were also prepared.
In Brisbane the decision to hold a party on Saturday April 13 (the first Saturday after her death ) was last minute but successful none the less.
We decided to hold the event under the William Jolly Bridge at Kurilpa Park a public space which has been used for many DIY gigs over the years a tradition which started with Gerald Keaney’s City and the City gigs.
It had been a plan of British Anarchist group Class War for many years to hold a party in Trafalgar Square at 6pm the first Saturday after Thatcher kicked it, and this was our inspiration for Thatcher is Dead Resistance is Alive.
The debate which has been constant in the media – is it appropriate to speak ill of the dead let alone celebrate a death – also took place after the Autonomous Action Radio announcement of the event in Brisbane.
Our response is that –
1. as the title suggests the event was not really about Thatcher at all. It is about celebrating that there is still a strong culture of resistance to the conditions which people like Thatcher have created in our world.
2. We are not celebrating the death of the private person Margaret Thatcher but the death of the public identity Margaret Thatcher who’s activities while in power caused and is still causing death and hardship to a great number of people, not to mention the other beings on this planet.
3.Demanding that there be respect for the dead, regardless of their actions in life is ridiculous. THEY ARE DEAD.
4. Someone has to remind the world of her true ‘legacy’ and counter the corporate media’s sycophantic portrayals of her life and legacy.
As Margaret Thatcher is dead she does not have to face potentially devastating problems like environmental catastrophe and nuclear war.
But recent years and months have shown that we, our children and the other beings on the planet do.
Thatcher endorsed a market madness that mandates a short term profit-driven perspective; exploitation and military standoffs or wars occur in a world of ruthless economic competition.
While Thatcher’s influence on the world will continue long after they ‘tramp the dirt down‘ on her grave, the celebrations of her death provided a chance for the working class to unite and have some much needed respite from the class war.
Here is a report about the Class War Trafalgar Square party from Europeans Against the Poltical System (http://eagainst.com/articles/thousands-attended-anti-thatcher-protest-in-london/)
At least 3000 students, activists and former miners converged last Saturday in Trafalgar Square, London to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death, four days before her funeral (April 17). The woman who implemented the theories of the Chicago School, giving birth to Neoliberalism in the 1980s, continues to divide Britain even after her death.
Back in 1990, Trafalgar Square was the battlefield where police and protesters clashed during the Poll Tax riots.
“Maggie’s dead” cheered the protesters. They were confronted by police, who made nine arrests. People of all ages danced in the rain, sounding horns, whistles, and beating drums.
Present in Trafalgar was David Douglas, ex-miner and member of the National Union of Mineworkers of Yorkshire, who said that he was “very pleased” to hear of Thatcher’s death.
“She destroyed our community, our villages and our people. Our children have got no jobs and the community is full of problems. There’s no work and no money and it’s very sad the legacy she has left behind” said David Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miner’s Association.
Tony Smith, a former miner, said: “We’ve lived under Thatcher’s shadow for many years. It split families right down the middle and that resentment is still going on.”
The Scottish painter Sigrid Holmwood was holding an umbrella which read “Ding Dong” referring to the song “Ding dong the witch is dead” from the film The Wizard of Oz. The song became a slogan among Thatcher’s opponents.
“I came here today, I wouldn’t say to celebrate, but protesting against millions of public money being spent on her funeral when there are cuts that affect the sick or the disabled”, Holmwood said.
Here’s some songs about the topic.
The first one was written 25 years ago Elvis Costello looking forward to dancing on Thatcher’s grave.
This was also written years before death by Attila the Stockbroker.