Activism and... getting started

IssueOctober 2012

Well the first I'd say is that when I started going to protests as such, I wouldn't have considered myself to be 'an activist'.
The first protest I went on was on the night of the student fees vote in parliament. I'd never been on a protest before and I thought it'd be quite peaceful and quite orderly.

It didn't turnout that way – we got kettled by the police. It was not a pleasant experience, but I met great people and I wanted to get more involved.

There was a moment where they started using police horses against us, and people started climbing walls to get away. I wasn't very good at climbing walls. I've never been very good at PE in general.

And then people who'd already climbed over the wall reached back over and grabbed my bag and helped me to get over. I asked why they'd helped me and they said: 'Well, we're all for the same thing'. I hung around with them and it all spiralled from there.

Shortly afterwards I went on my first UK Uncut demonstration, really my first direct action. I loved it. I loved direct action. The idea that you're doing soemthing immediate, that you're having some kind of impact. That was two years ago.

I'm now moving out of London, where there's always something going on. I am really glad I got involved. I feel I've made a difference and I've made a lot of good friends.

It's been really enjoyable!

Woman activist, 18

How did I start out? I read Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You, I watched Gandhi, I listened to Crass's Christ: The Album, I wrote off to the Peace Pledge Union, I edited a school magazine, and I became a vegetarian.

The first activist activity I can remember was going down to Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park with some friends aged 16 and shouting anti-war slogans at passers-by.

Not much has changed.

Man activist, 47

Topics: Activism
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