Politics Bono meets #ArtUncut


Creative Writer
Glastonbury 2011: U2 finally make festival debut

The UK government is trying to smash education here. Taking money from the education budget, making students borrow half a house worth from the bank. The greatest hits are to Arts and Humanities.

Along comes #ArtUncut. A group of arts and humanities students getting together to protest via flashmobs and occupations.

This flashmob in the British Museum in London was pretty amusing. I was in on the planning stage for this and scoped the place out the day before for closed down entrances, fire exits, etc. I couldn't attend on the day because I was at the Universities London Union in a protest march staffing briefing.

The idea was to go in looking like tourists, hang around the main hall, when the trumpet sounds (check the video about 30seconds in) join the group, drop banners from windows and then occupy a stairwell to give a lecture on the humanities, finance and education.

They then came to the march where some of us wearing hi-viz jackets with first aid kits and radios were watching for them. We saw them coming as we were moving equipment round for the march, with their google map symbols on sticks, ready to try and draw off a couple of thousand from the march and go round London in a swarm, testing out the new Sukey tool to avoid police kettling. They failed to draw marchers off, we gave the march just enough fun on the way down to parliament, but were violently assaulted by a load of left wingers who thought we hadn't made enough of an impact and so we had to take 1,500 off to join the protesting at the Egyptian embassy, whilst another 1,500 went off on a swarm, and the rest back to coaches to go home. I joined the swarm after the embassy protest support and some UK Uncut action on Oxford Street outside Topshop, and it was quite fun, closing down the streets, the SOAS Samba band along with us.

Artuncut are also responsible for the wonderful trojan horse on the big union march

Unfortunately the anarchists decide to set fire to it after it had been carried through the streets.

Artuncut say they got the balloon up at glastonbury, plenty of people saw it, but the roadie security there came in, beating them, breaking one of the group's finger, and generally threatening people. This goes against Michael Eavis' words earlier:

"It [politics] gives Glastonbury soul and gives it back its purpose...I place these values very highly, and recently I've been lamenting a bit of a decline....I hate to admit it, but the political platform has been reducing. "

He is going to have to say sorry for this now. Peaceful protesting (activism) should not be met with violence.

Why Bono and U2? Why not? Where do you start?

Glasto isn't on next year. The Olympics in London will drain the country of portable toilets so Eavis has announced a year off.

Meanwhile, the education cuts go on. July 11th will start to see results as the overseeing body decides if uni's are allowed to charge more than £6,000 a year for their courses. I personally think 40-60% will get turned down, minimum. Every Welsh uni has been turned down already.

This world we live in is corrupt. People are self serving, self important, and in it for the money at the expense of everyone else. When state institutions are involved, our world is broken. I'm watching a friend of mine fighting a primary school trying to turn into the first academy and the FOI request on that has just got an MP on the case. What was supposed to be a showcase is going to turn into mud for the people involved and the government. Heads will roll, jobs will be lost, people may even serve jail time when the whole thing unravels if it turns out that corruption was involved.

I have to talk to the arts students up here again about pushing forward with a flashmob action. It was a struggle last time, but a target is in place and we just need banners, a script, some fancy dress and a lot of bottle :)