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Statement about Mayday

May 2nd 2000

Mayday is traditionally a day to remember the struggle of millions of people worldwide for their rights, livelihoods and freedom. It has also been a celebration of the rebirth of spring and the renewal of hope for thousands of years.

Yesterday in London we helped remember that history by celebrating the potential to turn sterile areas of our city into healthy diverse and useful ecosystems. People gardened, built ponds, played in the sandpit and danced around the maypole set up in the street freed of cars.

We were not protesting. Under the shadow of an irrelevant parliament we were planting the seeds of a society where ordinary people are in control of their land, their resources, their food and their decision making. The garden symbolised an urge to be self-reliant rather than dependent on capitalism. It celebrated the possibility of a world that encourages cooperation and sharing rather than one which rewards greed, individualism and competition.

We are pleased that the aims of redesigning Parliament Square and involving thousands of people in pleasurable constructive work and collective decision making were achieved.

Events that occurred outside Parliament Square were not part of the Guerrilla Gardening event.

All Reclaim The Streets' publicity emphasised a creative, positive action -10,000 leaflets were handed out on the day stating that "Guerrilla Gardening is not a protest; by its very nature it is a creative peaceful celebration of the growing global anticapitalist movement."

The corporate media's obsession with confrontation and property damage conceals the violence of capital that occurs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: The fact remains that the most likely cause of death for an under 14 year old in Britain is being hit by a car, that 1 in 3 children in the UK is brought up in poverty and 50% of this country's ancient woodland has been destroyed since 1950, all in the name of profit. Surely that is the violence that should be splashing the front pages.

In relation to the graffiti on the cenotaph, we are obviously very aware of the millions of people who have given their lives in the fight for freedom. We know that millions are still dying every year in numerous struggles for independence, freedom and human rights. We respect and celebrate all those people who are, and have been, prepared to stand up to fascism, imperialism and dictatorship. That said, we do not necessarily celebrate the generals and the ruling class that send these people to their deaths in order to protect the privileges and control of the few. The abhorrence of sending millions of men to their deaths in the trenches dwarfs the stupidity of any possible slogan on any possible piece of stone.

Mayday has a great history of people struggling for progress and a decent society. We honour all those people and will continue that tradition.

The banner tied across the treasury building in Parliament Square read:

THE EARTH IS A COMMON TREASURY FOR ALL

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Updated 6 May 2000