Can violence ever be a valid form of protest against the cuts?
28/03/2011 2:50 pm
I'm of the opinion that any violent protest means losing the argument. Any violence will always overshadow and peacefull protest and diminish the original message. Last Sundays TUC march against the Government cuts was only featured on the news with footage and commentary about the violence.
What do you motley crew think?
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28/03/2011 3:55 pm
Mass protest yes, mass violence no. If you look back just over the last year or so, mass civil unrest can achive objectives, but it needs a whole city on the streets protesting for it to work- it needs to grind day to day business to a complete halt and it needs to be replicated nationally, not a big demo in a big city, hijacked by the mob.
We British are too inclined to roll over and let it all wash over us whilst complaining bitterly to be effective at mass protest. In other countries people take to the steets far more effectively wheras here, protests come accross as certain groups complaining- the public sector now, but in the past we've had the train drivers, the firemen, airline staff, and whilst many support the causes, they never gain mass national support because the causes don't affect everyone.
It beats me why people are not on the streets about the price of fuel- which does affect everyone one way or another, let alone public sector cuts
28/03/2011 5:59 pm
the violence was not as violent as you believe or are made to believe. If you look at the pictures in the papers it is always the same pictures from one paper to the other, which shows there really was not such an extensive variety of violence.No one will remember the violence in a year's time... Political commentators in a years time will only rememebr the unexpected, massive participation even by union standards... those of us who were there there will remember for the rest of their lives another great, unparalled experience of popular expression and democracy. And for the young, they will never forget that you do not need to be afraid of governments when they are unfair.
28/03/2011 7:09 pm
The logic that says there was violence during the protest therefore protest is violent is flawed, otherwise football matches would have to all be banned.
What is relevent is proportionality - how far is someone allowed to go to defend themselves and their kin - ask a Libyian seems timely!
29/03/2011 9:49 am
Kass. I think in a years time the only thing to be remembered will be the violence...
Christopher. The Police took specific action against all sorts of violence (organised and spur of the moment) at football matches and it is now largley a thing of the past.
Oh and I'm not sure those violently protesting against the cuts will get air cover from NATO...
If you turn up in London armed and ready for a conflict surely this is wrong as the 'real' posters only went equipped with a banner a whistle and some sandwiches...
29/03/2011 10:30 am
I took rolls and a book in case the speaches were boring. I ate the rolls but did not need the book.
On the matter of violence, I'm minded of Ghandi and the eventual success of his peaceful approach, but recognise this was taken forward by civil disobediance, passive resistance and showing up the disproportionate actions of the State for what they are. I'm also minded of Mandela and the eventual success of his armed approach, but recognising this was taken forward by civil disobediance, active resistance and showing up the disporoportionae actions of the State for what they are. The lesson from these two giants of the history is that the protest needs to take on the form that is proportionate to the circumstances controlled by the State.
In terms of Saturday the evening protesters were disproportionate. In terms of the afternoon protesters their attempts to provoke a disporoportionate response from the police failed - and as pointed to elsewhere I have already congratulated the police on this - thus marking the evening protest as even more disproportionate.
Meanwhile, the mass majority who marched and rallied, conducted themselves with honour and are justly going forward to expand the campaign against the disproportionate violence of government against the poor and the public sector. As in India and South Africa the State remains in control of the extent and form of proportionate protest.
30/03/2011 5:36 pm
The Coalition are supporting the overthrow of the Libyan Government by armed 'civilian' uprising. This is State support for violence against a State - allbeit apparantly to stop the State commiting violence against the population.
The Coalition are directing measures against our population that will lead to deprivation, harm, and death - is this violence?
If yes then the question should be is it right to defend against violence with violence.
30/03/2011 7:27 pm
Violence attracts media. Had there not been violent action, NO aspect of the protests would have featured on ANY Sunday front page, it would have been easier for the march and protest to have been portrayed as the concern of the minority and not news for mass consumption.
31/03/2011 8:39 am
Don't be so cynical Poppy. I seem to remember the biggest marches, against the Iraq war (750,000) and the Countryside Alliance March (400,000), both went off calmly and raised their issues with the government of the time and were very well reported in the media...
31/03/2011 9:47 am
I thought Saturday's march was great, and was getting full coverage on the news channels - until the violence started. After that, the violent protesters were all that was shown.
I undestand that virtually all the people arrested were the ones that quietly sat down in fortnum and Mason. Only 11 of the protesters making damage on the streets were actually arrested. Not sure what that says!
I objected to the violent protesters being described as "a breakaway group". They never were part of the main demonstration, which was a complete success, with half million on the streeets - although you would never have known that looking at the Sunday papers
31/03/2011 4:49 pm
It is not about losing the argument but about perceptions. If the perception is that one or more sides are not listening then violence is the only source of relief.
31/03/2011 10:25 pm
I wonder if it's a reflection of our 'instant gratification' society and complete lack of both understanding and faith in our political system: people expect and instant response and expect to get their own way...but protest is surely about ensuring that the protestors point of view is made clear rather than forcing change.
It does beg the question as to whether the timing on the protest was simply too late- the decisions were already made. The most effective form of protest in this case would probably have been not to take to the streets, but to simply down tools and refuse to work!
01/04/2011 9:42 am
Strike action may indeed be a more effective form of protest than demonstration. If more people were made aware that PAYE is NOT mandatory and that as taxpayers, we all have the right to take control of how and when our tax is paid.
Employers would save administrative costs, employees could budget the proceeds of their labour as they see fit and the Treasury will just have to deal with a more equitable system where the rights of the individual are not suppressed in favour of the incorporated entity.
01/04/2011 2:25 pm
I like Poppy's thinking here - if the vast majority (the low to average paid workers) opted out of PAYE and instead paid tax annually, deducting necessary expenses as are allowed of course, then the treasury would straight away lose a massive income in terms of advance payments. Workers could then organise a tax strike - after all where would they lock up 40Million or so of us?
Instead of the government bankrupting the workers the workers could bankrupt the government, clearing the way to the establishment of a government for the workers.
Even Melvin might be prepared to get off of his backside for that one, and Mr P may see that it helps him to help his fellow workers - now that would be truly revolutionary.
Great idea Poppy - now lets here from the naysayers.
01/04/2011 3:55 pm
Personally I can not support violence as a legitimate part of a protest. It's a question of degree though. If the state came for my friends and family in the night I might consider it, but in the context you're asking - Melvin - no.
02/04/2011 8:47 am
eric blair 01/04 3:55 pm
If the cuts affect you and your family and friends - meaning you will lose jobs, maybe homes, mortgages, further causing more misery like relationships breaking up and things you cannot do anymore for your kids, maybe leading some to suicide, etc.... Is not all this violence done by the state against you and your family and friends?
02/04/2011 10:42 am
Anon @ 8:47am on 02/04/11
The cuts are 'violence' by the state against individuals, are they? Ha ha ha ha ha! Are you serious?!
Get a grip - get some perspective. That kind of inflammatory, melodramatic, 'tabloid' language does nothing to help the debate.
You want to see violence by the state against it's citizens? Have a look around the world at some of the dictatorships and abuses of human rights.
Withdrawing benefits and cutting front line services is not in the same ballpark. It aint the same league. It aint even the same sport!
02/04/2011 12:42 pm
anon 02/04 *:47 am
"You want to see violence by the state against it's citizens? Have a look around the world at some of the dictatorships and abuses of human rights."
I have been seeing Lybia dictatorship currently - and some of the citizens are not going to tolerate any abuse... But it looks like you pointing up dictotorship never heard about Lybia.
04/04/2011 10:42 am
800 civilians killed in The Ivory Coast last week, but where are the Empire Battleships protecting these people from their government foces. Meanwhile, in Lybia it's Empirical business as usual - we will arm the Rebels just as soon as they find a way of paying us (forever) and so become part of the Empire themselves.
Is it right to use (the) Force? Obviously the answer depends upon who's side you are on and who is winning!
04/04/2011 2:55 pm
Anon - All the letters were there although not necessarily in the right order - I believe you will find Lybia next to Tinusia and Eygpt if you are worried.
No - not suggesting more war simply asking for some consistency, or worse some honesty. If our interest in Libya is truly to protect the civilians why are we not also intervening in the countries where much higher levels of civilian slaughter is occuring right at this moment. If our interest is to support regime change then why are we not also supporting it in, for instance, Bahrain where civilian slaughter is ebing carried out and an unarmed 'rebel' force is facing the armies from several countries against them.
If our interest is simply to get rid of Gadaffi then let's at least say so and be done with it.
Meanwhile, back on the streets of London and the rest of our country, if people are being oppressed then they have the right to use proportionate means against their opressers or their agents. Saturday was proportionate, Saturday night was not in the context of the current level of oppressive action.