In mid-April, Peace News managed to interview the man known as ‘Megaphone Mitch’, who organized the 800-strong ‘March against Corruption’ on 1 March. The report in PN described some of the fascination surrounding a man with ‘little track record’ of activism. (PN 2568-2569).
Some accused Mitch and his supporters of having links with British intelligence or the police; others accused him of being anti-semitic or being too ‘rightist’. Many demanded on social media to know who he was.
‘Megaphone Mitch’ is in fact called Mitchell Anthony and I met him at his follow-up protest on 19 April, organised on Facebook, as was the 1 March march.
This demonstration against corruption in the BBC and other mainstream media took place at the BBC headquarters in Portland Place, central London. Around 300 people had responded to the page online, so I was a little worried that I might not get a chance to meet him. However, I found him in an instant, since only around 20 people eventually turned up.
Once again, the crowd was diverse with signs saying ‘Reveal the nonces’ and ‘Stop Fracking’. Some people were handing out pamphlets on global spying and how we must unite to stop it. Some sat in huddles discussing the economy, a few took to the microphone to talk about nuclear weapons, while one person read a poem about our degraded environment.
In the middle of these 20 protesters, Mitchell Anthony, a tall man wearing shades, and a megaphone in hand, accused the BBC of having ‘vested interests’ in big businesses, and of being complacent towards the government.
He threatened to storm into the headquarters, shouting out to the cops that he himself was a former cop and ‘knew’ what he was doing. Mitch ended the protest by announcing: ‘We will be back!’
It was probably because of this that the few BBC workers who did take notice of the protest seemed to laugh it off.
After the protest, I interviewed Mitch and asked how he had gone from being a police officer to being the man who could get arrested for his activities.
Mitch told me how, like Orwell’s book, the year 1984 gave him a new perspective on life. ‘It was the year that the miners’ strike took place and a lot of injustice seemed to be happening,’ he said.
After just a few months of training in the police force, he decided to give it up because he disliked the Thatcher government and was against her policies, especially the Housing Bill.
‘I felt like I would be contributing to this unfairness if I continued being a cop. So, I quit that year.’
After a degree in psychology and working as a Samaritan in a prison, Mitch went on to teach psychology at college, taking up activism seriously, by his own account, in 2003.
He was among the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets to protest against the Iraq war.
‘Thousands of people were getting killed in a war being fought for oil. But we were being told that the government was doing it for the people’s benefit.’
Mitch is currently in sales, but says that he devotes most of his time to being an activist (including working on a book about corruption and the government).
He believes social media is the solution to a better society and uses it constantly to share facts and videos about corruption and injustice.
Mitch handed out business cards about a group called ASPIRE (Accountable System Project of International Redevelopment and Evolution).
This community page on Facebook may become a more formal organisation.