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'There are two flames that burn in the human heart: anger against injustice and hope of a better future.' Tony Benn's words captured the spirit of Saturday's sell-out success.

Dangerous Ideas video wall

The day kicked off with sessions on ethical consumerism, 'why it's kicking off everywhere' and the possibility of communism in the 21st Century. Speakers throughout the festival included Owen Jones, Lindsey German, Paul Mason, Nina Power, John Rees, Feyzi Ismail and many others.

Afternoon sessions included historian and archeologist Neil Faulkner giving a talk on 'a Marxist history of the world', and two Egyptian revolutionaries, Marwa Farouk from the Socialist Renewal Current and Nasr-Eddin al-Zoghbi MP from the Revolution Continues bloc, joined John Rees to discuss 'how to finish a revolution'.

The Festival sold-out almost immediately, with over 600 people turning up the organisers had to hastily arrange overspill capacity.

During the day festival goers tweeted their reactions on Twitter. One read 'packed room for talk on Gramsci, with Nina Power and Peter Thomas. Today just gets better!' Another read 'New perspectives and motivation for new and enthusiastic faces at Festival of Dangerous Ideas.'

More than 30 sessions covered subjects as diverse as feminism, the use of the internet as a revolutionary tool and the politics of street art with poetic adbuster Rob Montgomery and leftist art veteran Peter Kennard.

An art exhibition curated by Raisa Kabir brought together 'a collection of dangerous ideas', and London-based graffiti artist Stik and multimedia artist Sara Abdullah ran a graffiti workshop. The inimitable comic Josie Long performed a stand up set at lunchtime.

Tony Benn and legendary folk musician Roy Bailey opened an evening of music, spoken word and poetry with a special performance of their award-winning show 'The Writing on the Wall'. Themed around the concept of 'dangerous ideas', their act featured Benn reciting words of wisdom from hundreds of years of radical writers and activists and Bailey's moving working-class folk songs.

Benn told the crowd: 'There are two flames that burn in the human heart: anger against injustice and hope of a better future.'

Cult video blogger Mark McGowan, aka The Artist Taxi Driver, delivered his incendiary take on the injustices of Britain's Tory-led government to a cheering crowd. Pro-Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah recited her impassioned poetry to rapturous applause and songwriter Sam Duckworth (Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly) played a set of his politically aware emo-folk songs. Other acts included the performance duo Shit Theatre whose comedy songs satirise popular culture, the media and ruling elites, and hip hop from MCs Reveal and Gemini.

The Winkball 'video wall' site interviewed festival goers on their thoughts about the festival, the importance of raising awareness of social issues and their vision of a utopian future.

The event was hosted by Counterfire, International Socialist Group (ISG), Verso and Richmix. Counterfire's next event will be the educational day school Citizen Activism: a short course in rebellion on Saturday 31 March at SOAS university.

Dan Poulton

Dan Poulton

Dan is a writer, broadcaster and campaigner.  His most recent documentary was The New Scramble For Africa and his documentaries have appeared regularly on the Islam Channel. He is an organiser for Counterfire and a regular contributor to Counterfire site.

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