The moderate march chant

by John Quiggin on June 25, 2007

Henry’s given all you need to know about the recently concluded EU treaty negotiations. It strikes me that this would have been an excellent occasion for a march with the classic chant of moderates everywhere:

WHAT DO WE WANT? A REASONABLE COMPROMISE !
WHEN DO WE WANT IT? IN! DUE! COURSE!

{ 17 comments }

1

ejh 06.25.07 at 10:45 am

Would they march, though? Wouldn’t they be more likely to send a petition?

2

bean 06.25.07 at 12:16 pm

Or, in the words of Eddie Izzard: storm the houses of parliament, kick the doors in, get inside and say “sorry, we’ll pay for the damage”.

3

Nameless 06.25.07 at 1:47 pm

WHAT DO WE WANT? A REASONABLE COMPROMISE !
WHEN DO WE WANT IT? IN! DUE! COURSE!

Yeah, I’m a prig.

Fixed thanks – JQ

4

harry b 06.25.07 at 2:07 pm

Slightly off-topic, but when I was a kid I remember the IMG (with whom I did not get along) having the most fantastically complicated and elaborate chants. One ended as follows: “…. Blacks are the problem? Come off it! The enemy is profit”. Are they collected anywhere on the internet? Who made them up? (On CND marches one sometime SWPer whom I knew pretty well used to hand out roneod copies of very elaborate lyrics he’d made to well known tunes for us all to sing, but I shan’t name him).

5

Henry (not the famous one) 06.25.07 at 2:37 pm

Taking Mr. Brighouse’s invitation, I remember that some left grouplet had a similarly unorthodox chant when Reagan was visiting the Century Plaza Hotel in the depths of the Iran-Contra scandal: “The ruling class is in deep shit . . . hold them down . . . keep them way down” or something like that. More like a high school cheerleader’s chant than the usual stuff.

But better than that was the chant that the RCP led us in repeating as we marched through Chinatown in San Francisco in support of the tenants at the International Hotel in the late 1970s: “Hey mister, your sister, is rotten to the core.” I wondered, as I chanted, just who this guy was we were yelling about and why we were so hard on his sister. I also wondered just what we had been chanting in Chinese just before then.

6

Chris Williams 06.25.07 at 3:59 pm

I think that the IMG chant was: (indeed, is)

UNemployment
AND inflation
ARE not caused by
IMMigration
BULLSHIT
Come OFF it
The EneMEE is PROFIT.

Not a bad chant, I think.

7

magistra 06.25.07 at 4:25 pm

Let’s not forget the classic piece of graffiti:

‘THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH
– if that’s OK with the rest of you’

8

magistra 06.25.07 at 4:28 pm

9

jacob 06.25.07 at 9:16 pm

At the protests outside the Republican Convention in 2000 in Philadelphia, I found myself near dueling groups of anarchists and communists. The anarchists taunted the communists with “What do we want? Socialism! When do we want it? After the next five year plan!” I also once took part in a mock “Billionaires for Globalization” demonstration in which we changed “WTO helps us evade/ Non-tariff barriers to trade!”

10

John Quiggin 06.26.07 at 3:45 am

#5 Perhaps it was “system”, not “sister”, though with the RCP you can never tell.

11

Doug 06.26.07 at 8:48 am

Just because it seems appropriate here:

“As Canadian as… possible under the circumstances.”

12

Andrew R. 06.26.07 at 2:33 pm

As long as there’s a thred on protests, I figured I’d throw out a question. What exaclty is the link between communism/anarcho-syndicalism and giant paper-maché puppets? Is there something about it somewhere in the text of Das Kapital?

13

Peter 06.26.07 at 3:35 pm

Jaroslav Hašek, author of The Good Soldier Svejk, once wrote a short story about A Political Party in Favour of Revolutionary Progress Within the Limits of the Law.

14

jacob 06.26.07 at 6:07 pm

Andrew R @ 12:

One of the major parts of the “new anarchism” is a sense of play and freedom. Thus you get puppets, radical cheerleaders, soccer games in closed off streets, etc. The idea is to celebrate that “another world is possible,” as the slogan goes, and that a world unconstrained by capitalism would feature more art, fun, and playfulness. David Graeber wrote about this in 2002 in the New Left Review: http://newleftreview.org/A2368

15

jacob 06.26.07 at 6:08 pm

I should add to my above comment that I doubt many communists use giant puppets. Their propaganda tends to be more centered on sectarian newspapers.

16

ejh 06.27.07 at 9:05 am

Jaroslav Hašek, author of The Good Soldier Svejk, once wrote a short story about A Political Party in Favour of Revolutionary Progress Within the Limits of the Law.

Not quite

Your link was irretrievably chewed, I’m afraid

17

Michael Mouse 06.27.07 at 4:40 pm

My student days were good preparation for this sort of thing. I once went on a protest march against the abolition of student grants, and I and like-minded friends switched our chanting from the official:
“What do we want? Grants not loans! When to we want them? Now!”

to the more achievable:

“What do we want? A flexible but equitable system of student support, not based on ability to pay, and free at the point of entry. When do we want it? As soon as the appropriate administrative arrangements can be implemented!”

Comments on this entry are closed.