Thursday, September 10, 2009


we don't want to have to wait. What do we want? Health care! When do we want it? Now! It's very good to see our students involved so actively, and demonstrating outside Brower, and being covered by TV camerapeople. But it also got me wondering about the origin of chants at radical rallies. The first of these obviously comes from "2-4-6-8 - who do we appreciate?" which seems to be American in origin, and imported into England and chanted at football - i.e. soccer - games from the 1920s. The second? I'm not so sure. It certainly goes back to the Civil Rights movement ("What do we want? Integration. When do we want it...?...) - but other than that, I don't know. It's transportable (from my European experiences...) into other languages (though something to the rhythm of ter-da, ter-da, ter-da-ter-da-ter-da is more common): "deux-quatre-six-huit" doesn't quite work the same way. But nothing that I've ever done at a political rally beats the experience of marching round St Mark's Square, in Venice, singing "Bandiera Rossa". The trouble is, I can't now remember why...

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