Chronicle of Protest – The history of our movement against cuts (so far)
by Patrick Ward
Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much has gone on over the past eight months.
This documentary is a celebration of the anti-cuts movement in Britain. It charts the movement from the student protests of late last year through to the huge 26 March TUC demonstration.
Director Michael Chanan uses footage from video blogs, TV news and activist media to paint a picture of the breadth of resistance to the cuts, and reflects some of the debates within the movement on how to resist and what alternatives are on offer.
The film tries to do a lot. We see everything from the media’s manipulation of the student protests, to the BBC’s Paul Mason giving a crash course in the financial crisis. We also get a look at the occupation of libraries and the arrival of the Arab uprisings which fed inspiration into the movement.
The likes of Michael Rosen, Terry Eagleton, Josie Long and Nina Power also offer their take on the struggle.
Having taken such a wide ranging subject matter, it’s inevitable some things get left out. But it would have been good to see some more of how the big protests came about. Grassroots campaigns such as Education Activist Network don’t really get a mention, while the organisational power of Twitter gets too much attention.
And I’m not sure it really reflects the young, working class dynamism which was so apparent on the demos. Lots of white, middle aged academics are interviewed at length. The soundtrack also seems to miss the mood—it would have been nice to see some of the dubstep and hip-hop, which for me was far more symbolic of the creativity thrown up by the campaigns.
But otherwise this is a useful record of the story so far, and what we can hope is only the beginning of our campaign of resistance.