Mary McCarthy – Battle of Grosvenor Square (October 27, 1968)

1960s: Days of Rage


“It was very English to call it ‘the Demo,’ and no wonder the pet name stuck, conjuring up a specter of ‘demos,’ the people (sometimes pejorative), but on the other hand ‘democracy’ (good), which withstood the test of the demonstration. Small family-style states are fond of making up diminutives, whose effect is to diminish, domesticate; compare ‘the telly’ to big gross American ‘TV.’ Yet the peculiar fact about the October 27 dual march was that it was organized and directed by aliens in competition with each other: Tariq Ali, a young mustached Pakistani, leading the way to Downing Street, and Abhimanya Manchanda, a middle-aged clean-shaven Indian, to Grosvenor Square. For the English, these rival pied pipers were difficult to swallow, let alone assimilate. A well-fleshed, plaintive humorist of a police sergeant sought to explain his obscure sense of injury relating to the Demo, which in principle he did…

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