Protests veteran reviews history

BBC  October 2008

The civil rights movement would have been more successful if it had been properly structured, according to a leading figure.

Journalist Eamon McCann helped organise many early demonstrations.

He said marchers ended up reacting to things happening around them – rather than pursuing their own agenda.

“We were making it up as we went along,” he said, speaking at the time of the 40th anniversary commemorations of the Civil Rights movement.

“And of course once the events got out of hand, so to speak, after 5 October we were tossed around like flotsam and jetsam on the tide of events rather than shaping and channelling events ourselves.”

Mr McCann said that the main lesson he would draw from the mistakes made by the movement “was the need for clear and consistant organisation”.

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