Darcus Howe hears black singers denouncing Blair
Black groups now compete in singing lyrics that denounce Blair
It was a long and hard day. As I limped into Hyde Park on 15 February, I knew that a social movement was in the making. That tenuous link that held Tony Blair to the people has been ruptured. War is the ostensible reason, but falling from everybody's lips on the march was the view that this government will not listen to the discordant voices of the people. Not only on Iraq, but on every single issue that has raised its head over the years.
Perhaps the steward who stood at the entrance to Hyde Park did not quite understand the import of what he was saying: "They keep coming and there are thousands more to come." He meant those who were jammed in Piccadilly Circus and elsewhere. My imagination extended that to hundreds of thousands more in their homes or at shopping centres.
There was a sprinkling of young blacks along the march, but this does not mean a large-scale lack of consciousness of the issues. I stood outside a Tube station the other day and saw a clash between crews. Not a violent clash, but a sharp exchange of lyrics in the garage music mould, by a group of black youth, boys and girls. Every single performer reeled off lyrics about the war. Gone were the chi chi man lyrics (homophobic poems), to be replaced by a strong and coherent denunciation of the government and an uncompromising hostility to the war. This is the mood. These intelligent young people will bring to this movement their own concerns about the delusion of inclusion.
The march organisers scored a masterstroke by inviting Ms Dynamite on to the platform. Only weeks before, at a mass rally in Birmingham, she had challenged young black men to lay down their guns. Now she went for the government's jugular. An eye for an eye, she said, would result in us all becoming blind. I rocked and rolled on my walking stick, waved my hand in the air as she commanded. I felt proudly that she was "my girl".
No other speaker drew that kind of response from me. She had much greater authenticity than her elder, Jesse Jackson. She will draw out from the black community a huge throng of youth to join the social movement.