On 31 July, Barry and Iona of the SANE Collective joined the crowds who had gathered at St Mungo’s Museum in central Glasgow, to demonstrate against the continued closures of Glasgow Life venues, brought together by the Glasgow Against Closures campaign. SANE has been following the campaign against closures, helping to organise and publicise their activities, coming up with chants for the demonstrations, and sharing our research, including the knowledge and analysis we have gained from Ben Wray’s investigative work into Glasgow Life finances over the past few months.
The gathering at St Mungo’s was a vibrant sea of colourful props and banners as we mingled and exchanged flyers with the other groups present. Trade union branches, political chapters, pressure groups and campaigns to save individual venues were all in attendance, along with many individuals who came together to embody the spirit of ‘People Take Glasgow’.
Upon leaving St Mungos, we marched down towards the Trongate Clocktower. Our chants included “You made plans and we replied – No more closures on the Clyde!” and “Plans to gentrify will fail – Our venues are not for sale!”. We arrived at the entrance to Glasgow Green and our march passed beneath the archway, headed towards the People’s Palace. As we turned towards the site of our rally, we were welcomed by the sound of a samba drumming group, who played us through the gates to gather in a wide semi circle around the stage.
The rally featured speakers from the Glasgow Against Closures campaign, and organisations with close ties to affected venues, such as Interfaith, who gave a personal account of the need to save St Mungos, and the campaign to save the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, made all the more poignant by virtue of us congregating in the shadow of the venue. We used this time to distribute our new flyers for The SANE Collective and The People’s Plan for Glasgow, which were met warmly. This was the first of the public demonstrations by the united Glasgow Against Closures campaign, but by no means the last. SANE will continue to support the campaign, not least as an example of the kind of citizens led, participatory organising that makes up the vision of The People’s Plan for Glasgow.