People have reacted with outrage to Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament. Johnson claims that the suspension is purely in order to start a new session of parliament. But critics, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, believe it’s an attempt to force through a no-deal Brexit. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has also described it as a “coup”.
But what else can you do to stop the coup? Here are some ideas:
Take to the streets
If you haven’t already, sign the petition. But signing a petition isn’t enough. Action is also needed.
Protests to “Defend democracy. Resist the parliament shutdown” have been called across the country for Saturday 31 August, because:
we can’t just rely on the courts or parliamentary process to save the day. We all have a duty to stand up and be counted.
Demonstrations are being held in a variety of places, including:
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- Outside Downing Street at 12pm in London.
- Catherdral Gardens in Manchester at 12pm.
- St George’s Hall, Liverpool at 12pm.
- George Square, Glasgow, 2pm.
- College Green, Bristol, 12pm.
- City Hall, Norwich, 2pm.
If you’re not sure what’s happening in your area, search “Stop the Coup” in Facebook events for protests near you.
Stop the coup! Stop the arms trade!
As The Canary previously reported, Johnson’s anti-democratic stance shouldn’t surprise us. After all, there have been several other times when the PM has shown he doesn’t really care about democracy, both at home and abroad.
Securing post-Brexit arms deals is one of the government’s key trading plans according to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). It reported that:
Prime Minister Theresa May’s search for post-Brexit trade deals has seen an unwelcome focus on selling arms to some of the world’s most repressive regimes.
These countries include Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Both of these countries, along with many other human-rights-abusing regimes, have been invited to Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI), one of the world’s largest arms fair, taking place in London in September. During DSEI 2017, then defence secretary Michael Fallon said that, following Brexit, the UK would:
spread its wings across the world
Shut down DSEI!
People are taking direct action against DSEI from 2 September with the aim of shutting it down before it even begins. With enough numbers, this could happen. And what better way to oppose Johnson’s coup than to shut down the trade in death and destruction that his no-deal Brexit will rely on? As the old saying goes, ‘hit them where it hurts’ – in the pocket.
Protests will take place at the east gate (nearest Docklands Light Railway (DLR) – Prince Regent) and the west gate (nearest DLR Royal Victoria) of the ExCeL centre. Days of action include:
- Monday 2 September, Stop the Arms Fair: Stop Arming Israel, Royal Albert Way, E16, 9:30am.
- Tuesday 3 September, No Faith in War, 9am.
- Wednesday 4 September, No Nuclear Day, 10am at both gates of the ExCeL centre.
- Thursday 5 September, Conference at the Gates, 10am.
- Friday 6 September, Stop the Arms Fair, Stop Climate Change!, One Western Gateway, 9:30am.
- Saturday 7 September, Festival of Resistance, 10am.
- Also check out this call for action from Plan C and the Kurdish Solidarity Network for actions on 6-7 September and watch this video:
Join us on the 6th and 7th of September to @RISEUP4R0JAVA and @StopTheArmsFair, with @kurdistansolnet, @Women_Strike, @KurdishStudents and more. R/t! #RiseUp4Rojava #StopDSEI pic.twitter.com/5EBQ5IS4P8
— Plan C (@weareplanc) August 29, 2019
This isn’t just about Brexit
The likes of Jacob-Rees Mogg would like you to believe that the reaction to the PM’s coup is simply a “candyfloss of outrage”. But this isn’t about whether you voted Leave or Remain. It’s about an unelected leader subverting democracy.
It should also be a tipping point for all our outrage. It’s the outrage that all of us have about years of austerity, of cuts to public services, the war on disabled people, and the number of children living in poverty while the government turns the UK into a playground for the rich. It’s the outrage at the fact we’re in the middle of a climate crisis that the government is ignoring; and it’s about the fact the UK is fuelling wars and profiting from arming dictators around the world.
And it’s also important to remember that all of the above happened under our current facade of democracy. As SNP MP Mhairi Black stated:
It’s because it is not a functioning parliament, it is a joke.
So when we talk about Johnson ripping up our democracy, we should also be looking at alternatives. We need to reclaim our political power as something other than putting a tick in a box every few years.
Finally, if we’re serious – and we need to be serious because so much of our future and our children’s future depends on what happens over the next few weeks – then our actions have to be serious. Signing petitions isn’t enough; marching and quirky placards aren’t enough. If we want real change then we need to look to the type of protests happening in France and Hong Kong. We need to be loud, we need to be persistent, and importantly, we need to be disruptive.
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