Mayday 2001 - Mayday Monopoly

Submitted by libcom on October 13, 2003

Information about the Mayday demonstrations which occurred in London, 2001.

In 2001, Mayday fell on a working day. The theme of the action was Mayday Monopoly and participants were invited to consider the possibilities of the Monopoly board and organise autonomous actions. The beauty of the concept was that Monopoly is a game played by every child. As the Mayday Monopoly Game Guide, a well-produced pamphlet circulated for free, put it: "The game of monopoly is one of accumulation, making it perfect for our times. The aim is for each player to make profits through the sale of a single commodity - land - and to expand their empire. In real life one single commodity generates all profits - our labour power. Since labour power cannot be separated from people, we are literally bought and sold in the market place".

The cops through the media threatened to shoot people with rubber bullets, press hysteria reached a new high, Mayor Livingstone took paid adverts telling people to stay away and even Prime Minister Blair got in on the act, but about 5,000 anti-capitalist protestors turned out to play Mayday Monopoly in London. The actions included a office invasion against the arms trade, a giant veggieburger give-away at MuckDonald's, building cardboard homes in Mayfair, a picket of Coutts Bank for the abolition of money, a demonstration outside HMP Pentonville, and, for the finale, a party against consumerism in that metropolis of shopping, Oxford Street. In fact Oxford Street had been boarded up and thousands of police replaced the shopaholics.

The cops' tactic was to pen everyone in. They were assisted by the Trotskyist front group Globalise Resistance marching into Oxford Circus early and by the rain. Still, those who tried managed to break out and spread out as a far as Tottenham Court Road. Central London was closed down and the cost in lost business was put at £20 million. The end result was the most surreal gathering ever. The Financial Times meanwhile lamented "Business needs to do more to demonstrate the benefits... Governments must defend globalisation more vigorously - Otherwise, [the protesters] may win the battle for public opinion."

More information
▫ Urban 75 - Mayday 2001. Heaps of info on Mayday 2001 -
▫ Mayday Monopoly Game Guide on Infoshop -
▫ Infoshop - Mayday 2001. Reports and pictures from around the world -
▫ Indymedia UK - Mayday 2001. Archive of Mayday 2001 -