Thursday, 21 January 2010

Speech to be made at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park

"Speakers corner is a tool of social and political oppression. It is a cultural space designed by the state to corral and contain dissenting opinion. It is an Orwellian memory hole for marginal or minority opinions. All speech here is rendered safe, and thus rendered meaningless. By speaking here, you have automatically given up any possibility of affecting change; you have made yourself into a circus exhibit for tourists. In a truly free society, dissenting opinion should be, no, must be everywhere. I urge all the other speakers here, and anyone else in attendance who is thinking of speaking; if you truly care about your message as anything more than socio-political theatre, then leave this place at once. Go find another corner and speak there. Speak on every corner. Carve your message into walls, write it on leaflets and shove it through peoples letterboxes, scrawl it on billboards, shout it from rooftops. Make your speeches outside parliament, and every time the police drag you away, go back and start speaking again. Anyone who speaks here might as well be speaking inside a soundproofed box, for all the impact your words will have. It is shameful that we have swallowed the idea that the state is somehow doing us a favour by letting us speak freely in one tiny corner of a park. It is unbelievable that people can seriously hold this up as evidence of a free and tolerant society. This is not tolerance. This is a ghetto for ideas. This is where protest comes to die. I urge anyone who’s willing to repeat this message, I will leave copies here. This shameful intellectual prison has existed for too long, and information wants to be free. Death to speakers corner!"

If anyone in London feels like going to speakers corner and delivering this speech, preferably as many times as possible, that would be wonderful. I plan on doing it myself within the next month or so, funds permitting. The idea is to hand out plenty of copies of the speech and also maybe leaflets and hopefully create some kind of memetic virus that seriously disrupts the safe little loony pen/theatre of cruelty that is speakers corner, which is to free public discourse as a single stale crumb to a starving man.

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