Plane Stupid Modern Movement

I think of the modern movement as an interesting historical time in art and architecture, exemplified in architecture by the work Le Corbusier (I hope to see the show about his work at the Barbican shortly), by the painting of Picasso, the photography of Strand and Weston. For all it’s new ideas and appeal at the time, it now seems curiously outmoded, dated perhaps even more than some of the work that preceded it.

Brasilia © 2007 Peter Marshall
Museum, Cathedral, Ministries and Parliament buildings, Brasilia

Perhaps it’s last great exemplar in urban design and certainly one of its grandest was the new city of Brasilia, which I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit in December 2007. The planning of Lucio Costa and the concrete poetry of Oscar Niemeyer is certainly breath-taking, but it is a future vision with some very obvious cracks around the edges.

Brasilia © 2007 Peter Marshall

Modernism was certainly an interesting experiment, with lessons that continue to inspire, but not a model to follow. Rather than think in terms of machines for living we have perhaps moved more towards the idea of organisms that have to live together in an environment as a central theme.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
‘99% of scientists can be wrong’

So the so-called ‘Modern Movement‘ (MM) set up by those associated with the old ‘Revolutionary Communist Party‘ is perhaps an appropriately named dinosaur, based on the outworn dogma of extreme free markets. On the evidence of Thursday’s demonstration, with around 20 people in Parliament Square, it is also a very small and poorly supported dinosaur. By contrast, perhaps fifty times as many were demonstrating against the building of a third runway at Heathrow just a few hundred yards away on Whitehall.

The intervention of a just a small handful from ‘Plane Stupid‘ who came to join in with placards that expressed in simple parody the ideas of the MM was effective beyond their numbers, and clearly linked the demonstration to the ‘Living Marxism Network‘ and the ‘Revolutionary Communist Party‘. Their placards read ‘One solution: Aviation!‘,’Down With the Ice Caps‘ and ‘99% of scientists can be wrong’, and their very presence caused a minor security alert across the whole of government offices in central London.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
‘One Solution: Aviation’

One of the co-founders of MM, Alex Hochuli said in a TV interview (on Worldbytes, an internet TV station that seemed to have a connection with the demonstrators) : “the ability to travel, to see the world, to work abroad, to live abroad, to have other people come here is more important than dealing with climate change.”  There you have it. This is what their protest was about. The planet can go hang just so long as a few of us in the rich world can have cheap air travel.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.

On the square, police and MM stewards attempted to stop Plane Stupid protesters taking part in the demonstration (see comment – I may well have misinterpreted the reaction of the MM stewards.) The police gave a warning that they could be prosecuted for taking part in an unauthorised demonstration in the SOCPA area, while they insisted they only wanted to take part in a publicly advertised and authorised demonstration. While one man slipped apparently unnoticed onto the end of the short line of protesters and stood there for around half an hour before police finally removed him, a woman was prevented by police from taking part for most of the time I was there.

You can read more about the history of the RCP and the organisations associated with it on Lobby Watch although this has not yet been updated to include ‘Modern Movement’. There is more about this event on My London Diary with more pictures of those taking part.

One Response to “Plane Stupid Modern Movement”

  1. I’ve just received an e-mail that says I got something wrong in this piece when I said that the MM stewards attempted to stop the Plane Stupid demonstrators:

    ” It is absolutely not true that the organisers tried to stop the Plane Stupid people from making their counter-counter protest. On the contrary when the police took the placards away from them, we told the police that they should give them back, and that we did not want them to. We argued, civilly, I hope with those who took a different view.”

    I’m sorry if I misunderstood what was going on at the start of the demo, and I’m happy to publish this comment, as the person who e-mailed me could not manage to do so.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.