Well, the No Tesco Tea Party has to be one of the most fun, friendly, heart-filled
musical protests I have ever been on.
But it was also possibly the most stressful because – post-riot – it wasn’t just a matter of ringing up our local bobby.
Instead, we were invited to respectful, professional meetings with Silver and Bronze commanders, who supported our right for a peaceful protest but were thinking worst-case scenarios, and asking: how would we deal with them?
I realised the police, like the medical profession, are (bless ‘em) fear-driven.
So, for a few weeks leading up to the No Tesco Tea Party I felt the weight of responsibility. Dreamed of police on horseback bursting through my front door. Worried about upsetting local charities such as Relate and the Salvation Army who’d been damaged in the riots. Angsted about offending rock throwers, too.
(Rock throwing is not my style but anyone caught-up in those two crazy riot nights might need support so please contact BristolArresteeSupport@Riseup.net, mentioned in June’s edition of The Autonomist.
And anyone with unanswered questions about the Stokes Croft disturbances, please sign the petition asking Bristol City Council for a public inquiry.)
Our protest took place in front of Tesco in Stokes Croft. I was glad to talk with Tesco managers because this campaign is not against supermarket employees.
It’s against supermarkets destroying communities in their single-minded drive for market shares.
The truth is I am a communicator.
I find enemy positions deeply unhelpful. I would rather build bridges.
Listen, we are all victims of the same soulless system that puts profit before people. So let’s find our common humanity and work together for a better world.
When Monday 13 June dawned – bright sunshine after Sunday’s torrential rain – I felt confident. Our protest would be – as all our protests have always been – peaceful.
And it was.
I was moved by the joy and the dancing
and the homemade cakes
and cucumber sandwiches (note Princess Diana tea-tray)
and anti-Tesco knitting protestor.
I was moved by Mark who did not agree with our campaign but became a volunteer peace marshall because he supported our right to a peaceful protest.
For goodness sake, there is disagreement even when you are on “the same side”. So, shaking hands with Richard whom I had met online when our political views clashed made me happy: this is what community is all about.
The No Tesco in Mill Road campaigners had come all the way from Cambridge to join our protest. Thank you!
Our Tea Party protest was to create awareness for our appeal for a judicial review.
Our appeal was heard on Wednesday 15 June in Cardiff.
And we won.
Thanks to People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, Jake and peace marshalls
and People’s Supermarket for donating free food.
O and here’s one of me, thanks to Nadia of GRO-FUN.