London Protests – Ten Years of Pictures

One of the exhibitions at 6 Billion Ways will be ‘My London Diary: Photographs and texts of protests and other events in London from 1999 to now’ by photographer Peter Marshall. Here Peter writes about his work…

Around ten years ago I began a new web site, My London Diary, mainly to provide a record of things I saw happening in London that never made the news. Among these were protests, some about local issues, some national and others global in their scope. I’d been photographing protest for years, but saw this as a new way to make my work available to others, create a historical record and gain publicity for the causes.

There are now over 50,000 pictures on My London Diary, as well as my comments about most of the events. Many have been used by activist groups in newsletters and flyers (usually without charge for unfunded organisations) and some published in newspapers, books and magazines in the UK and abroad. Some are also available though picture libraries.

From its earliest days the site shows the international nature of protest in London, with the handful of pictures from 1999 including a Westminster protest calling for NATO to get out of the Balkans, Jubilee 2000 calling on the UK government to “cancel the debt”, solidarity with East Timor and members of London’s Kurdish community calling for the release of Abdullah Öcalan.

So far in 2011 as well as local marches against the cuts in Islington and Hackney, UK Uncut actions, students protesting the loss of EMA, protests against unfair testing for disabled benefits, against privatisation of Royal Mail, calling for the release of Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo, I’ve also covered protests calling for freedom for Kashmir and Khalistan, opposing cuts in the BBC World Service, solidarity with the Libyan, Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions and more – including a pillow fight against unsuitable high-rise development in Walthamstow.

A small selection from the site will be projected at Rich Mix during 6 Billion Ways – but the whole growing collection can be seen on-line at

Peter Marshall

Images in this post are © Peter Marshall

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A free radical history tour of the East End

East End Rebels, strikers and anti-fascists – a guided 2-hour walk through history.

David Rosenberg, of East End Walks, will transport 6 Billion Ways attendees back in time to discover the rich and radical activism of the 1880s and 1930s East End.

During the tour you will visit sites of riot and rebellion, the place where Eleanor Marx and Emma Goldman spoke, and the estate where the Workers Circle movement started. You will also learn how anarchist Rudolf Rocker became a legendary figure among immigrant workers and how Mosley’s fascists were stopped – all in the space of two hours!

So don’t miss the chance to follow in the footsteps of those who refused to accept poverty, exploitation and racism but instead inspired resistance…

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Crash pad accommodation

We’ve now arranged crash pad accommodation for people coming to 6 Billion Ways from outside London. Its available on both Friday night (10pm-8.30am) and Saturday night (11pm-8.30am). Its just a bare hall, so you’ll need a sleeping bag and sleeping mat at the least. There are toilets and one shower.

The venue is Bethnal Green Methodist Church, Approach Road, London E2 9JP, which is a short bus ride from Rich Mix. However, in order to take advantage of it, you must register with us in advance.

UPDATE: Last minute requests for Friday night should be directed to Jonathan Stevenson on 07818 651124. You will be able to sign up for Saturday night at the registration desk at Rich Mix on Saturday. Though best to do it after the morning rush.

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Citizen journalism and social media at 6 Billion Ways

During 6 Billion Ways our group of citizen journalists will be using social media tools – blogging, photography and video production – to report for the website. The idea is to produce interesting content that people who can’t attend the event can engage with, create a permanent record of everything that went on and build a space where people can engage with each other beyond the day.

We’re going to set up a media centre with laptops and internet connection where people can upload their videos and photographs, provide training in blogging and social reporting and stream the sessions in the Amnesty building live on the internet. We’ll also be interviewing speakers, delegates and panelists, writing blog posts and uploading photographs and videos to the website.

Join the team!

We’d like to involve as many people as possible, so please bring your laptop, still camera or flipcam and come find us at the media centre, which will be in the bar area. Once there we will set you up with login details to the site. Alternatively, email me beforehand on to get involved. If you don’t want to add content directly to the 6 Billion Ways website you can upload photos to flickr, videos to Youtube or Vimeo and bookmark blog posts in Delicious. Tag them 6billionways and they will appear on the site.

Are you going to be blogging from 6 Billion Ways?

If you are going to blogging from 6 Billion Ways, we’d love to hear from you. Tweet us with a link to your blog or website at @6billionways or stop by the media centre on the day. We’d love to cross-post your content on the 6 Billion Ways site and link to you.

Are you going to be tweeting from 6 Billion Ways?

If you are going to be tweeting, please use the hashtag #6billionways and follow @6billionways for updates throughout the day.

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Open Space discussion on Sunday 6 March

Building the movement for global justice

So, you’ve spent the day with hundreds of others committed to making another world possible. What are you going to do next? This afternoon event will be a space to reflect on the conversations you’ve had at 6 Billion Ways, and consider ways to build a stronger movement for global justice. There’ll be space for organising together with other participants, as well as for discussing ways that the groups, organisations and networks you’re part of can strengthen and co-ordinate their efforts.

We will use ‘open space’ facilitation – meaning the agenda will be made up of what people who attend want to talk about, but in a structured way. So come along, get involved, and help shape the movement.

12pm-5pm, Sunday 6 March
Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS

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Celebrate Peoples’ History

Celebrate Peoples’ History is a project by US-based artist collective Just Seeds. Its a gradually expanding collection of posters produced by different artists to help remember and celebrate the struggles of ordinary people against injustice, and for dignity, decent livelihoods and liberation from oppression. At 6 Billion Ways we will be displaying a selection of their 12 year project inside Rich Mix.

The exhibition coincides with the UK release of a book which brings together the full range of posters with an introduction by project co-ordinator Josh MacPhee and a foreward by Rebecca Solnit.

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Dosh, Moolah, Readies, Wonga – A gonzo guide to the history of money

Sargon Nissan writes a preview of his session on the history of money

Why does money matter so much? Excuse the obvious and perhaps stupid question, but it is one that economists agonise over and activists increasingly question, especially since the global financial crisis shone a light on the murky excesses of the global financial system.

Many wonder about the strange nature of something that is simultaneously worth everything and nothing – money’s the only thing worth the paper it’s printed on, and then some. On March 5th at 6 Billion Ways, I’m going to try and untangle the history of money and how our current financial system has shaped and been shaped by the way we manage our money.

Some argue that the power banks have to create money lies at the heart of the excessive power that banks and financial institutions now have, able to lose a fortune in a day and make it back from taxpayers the next. But would changing this fact do anything about it?

Internationally we hear rumblings about the privilege the dollar’s role confers on the United States. Despite holding trillions of the greenback, the Chinese government has hinted that maybe it is time to change the international financial order, starting with the currency. Could this be done, and if so how?

The way we rely on the dollar and on financial institutions to manage credit and debt clearly has massive implications for the global economy, and I would argue that another (financial) world is possible. So what are the more progressive and sustainable forms of investment and financial institutions? Could they lead the charge to a progressive investment system, that doesn’t bring with it so much anarchy and instability?

I’ll be trying to answer these questions at 6 Billion Ways with a few props, a few chocolate coins and some audience participation.  If you’re interested come down to either the morning session (10:30) or afternoon (3:30) to get stuck into debate that will veer wildly from the global financial system to Brixton pounds in a gonzo guide to the history of money.

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Liberate Tate

In 2010, in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, art activists staged a dramatic series of performances in cultural institutions to protest against oil companies like BP and Shell sponsoring gallery spaces like the Tate. Gushing from floral skirts, spilling elegantly from giant white eggs, jetting from paint tubes across the floor of the iconic Tate Turbine Hall, the flood of oily resistance that followed has generated a fierce debate in the art world around oil, ethics and sponsorship.

The Liberate Tate exhibition of iconic photographs from the performances will be shown at 6 Billion Ways in collaboration with PLATFORM and Art Not Oil, and documents both the striking esthetic of the interventions, as well as a number of choice quotes that have come out of the ensuing public debate.

For more detail on the arguments against oil sponsorship of the arts, download the “Licence to Spill” pamphlet (pdf).

Liberate Tate workshop

London’s biggest cultural institutions take money from the UK’s biggest oil companies BP and Shell. What do the oil companies get out of this arrangement? More than a free trip to the opera? In the past year 6 performance interventions have occurred inside galleries and musuems. In this workshop Platform and Liberate Tate will tell the story of Big Oil’s sponsorship of the arts, creative resistance against it, and how we can push for change.

This workshop will take place at 5pm in the self-organised space in Rich Mix’s bar area.

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6 Billion Ways isn’t just a day for adults

At 6 Billion Ways you will not only find discussions, arts and films but also workshops aimed at a much younger crowd.

In the morning kids, aged 5 to 12, can take part in an arts and crafts Greener Houses Family workshop with The Building Exploratory, a charity that ‘puts communities in touch with their environment and the way it works’.

With all the activities planned for 6 Billion Ways, there will be so much worth reporting on. Young Reporters Wanted! Journalism workshops led by Headliners, a youth media charity, will give 13-19 year olds the chance to use professional recording equipment to interview experts and attendees at the event. Some of the multimedia recordings will be uploaded onto the 6 Billion Ways website and shared globally!

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Movimientos throw a Carnival party to finish 6 Billion Ways

Finish off a day of ideas and debate with an evening of Carnival rhythms and Latin beats from the cutting-edge Movimientos. They say:

“To coincide with the start of the Rio Carnival we’ve brought together two of the most conscious global music acts in the UK. World conquering global beatniks Peyoti For President with their Latin and Brazilian inspired rhythms; and the UK’s finest Afro-Bloco unit Eri Okan bring their Samba-Reggae to Rich Mix. Plus Movimientos’s DJ Cal Jader fires up the dancefloor with some incendiary Latin beats and carnival rhythms.”

For more than five years, Movimientos have been mixing live Latin music, DJs and documentary film about struggles for social justice in Latin America into increasingly popular club nights across London. So they were the perfect partners to help make this year’s 6 Billion Ways a truly memorable event.

The Movimientos party runs from 8pm to 1am on the ground floor of Rich Mix. And like the rest of 6 Billion Ways, its totally free.

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