Friday, April 07, 2006

Capital of Vultures

In case anyone’s missed it, Liverpool is European Capital of Culture 2008. I remember it being announced, I remember the inevitable euphoria and sense of local pride, and I remember what a grouch I felt when suggesting that it wasn’t necessarily what the city needed. At the time I was pointing out that it was utter hypocrisy to be calling ourselves the Capital of Culture whilst cutting music programmes in schools. However, I quickly began to see I was missing the point; the inherent contradictions in capitalism were nothing compared to the revisionist cultural agenda being pushed by the Council. The language was about ‘facelifts’ and forgetting our ‘bad history’. What this means is whitewashing. Forget the Riots, forget Slavery, forget Militant, forget the Dockers; Forget we ever had any problems, we’re all united behind a big picture of John Lennon and a statue of a Yellow Submarine.This was the line they tried to use to justify the visit of the warmonger Condi Rice. Mustn’t make a fuss, the last thing we need is a return to the bad old days. This important woman is coming here to see us, and this would have been unthinkable a decade ago. Let’s not let ourselves down with a noisy, uncouth demonstration. Never mind that she was never invited, never mind that we had some of the biggest demonstrations against the war, never mind that she was a war criminal.

Well, I have to admit my hometown has changed a lot in the past few years; but last week it was the way in which it hadn’t changed that heartened me most. People demonstrated and people were angry. Nobody was fooled by the appeals for ‘unity’ and ‘respect’. One of the most poignant moments for me was a young black woman coming up to our stall outraged at how Condi had been talking about slavery, trying to co-opt the working class experience in Liverpool as her own. Liverpool does have a culture of its own: a culture of fighting back, of anti-racism and of solidarity. What would make Liverpool better is a reminder of these roots, and a proper challenge to the New Labour agenda, not a lick of paint and some Beatles tribute bands.

11 Comments:

At 8:34 pm, Blogger A soft socialist said...

Its really impressive that Liverpool did fight back and that culture of anti racism, solidarity and collectivity is one that permeates cityies like Manchester & Liverpool as well.

But stuff like militant who nearly killed the labour party, the riots in Toxteth e.t.c are bad memories.

Its how the city fought back against those problems that you should be really proud of.

 
At 9:24 pm, Anonymous adam sheehan said...

I was there in liverpool and blackburn for condi's visit and i have never really been on a demo that felt as liverly and angery. my fondest memiory is carrying the coffin through liverpool city center canting at the top of our voices after a mostly student protest outside LIPA. And shouting at dr rice and straw when they where in Blackburn townhall. Great days! I think that is the real Liverpool, a city of real working class struggle.you might think its bad haveing this whole city of culture beatlemania shite shoved down your thoarts but at least your city will not have to host the 2012 olympics at a cost of billions.still at least not so red ken is happy!
(ps what's anonymous' game?)
sorry about the spellings.

 
At 4:59 pm, Blogger Meaders said...

It's been bugging me, but where the hell did they get the coffin from?

 
At 5:03 pm, Anonymous adam said...

I talked to the comrade how brought it but he only had a go a me cos we where taking a break from carring the thing.
apperently they used it afterwards,IF you know what I mean...

 
At 5:04 pm, Anonymous adam said...

sorry that should have been "who" brought it.

 
At 1:57 pm, Blogger Roobin said...

"beatlemania shite"

Is the wrong answer, you will be purged now, Old Major. Please take three paces forward... Bang!

 
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