Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Lies We Believed In – Part One: “Peaceful Protest Was Allowed”

Remember when “we”, that is, us dissidents from the left and protesters in general, were discussing the most effective way to protest against the rise in tuition fees or cuts to public spending? Remember how everyone was polarized between “peaceful demonstration, people, PEACEFUL!!!” and “peaceful demonstration got us nowhere with the Iraq War, we have to take some action!”? I even wrote about this “division”, heavily encouraged by the media.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting with a feminist group and a guy (like, male) argued with me that “we (that is, Britons) do not need to resort to violence like the Egyptians because we are more advanced”. If I had been Egyptian, he would have got a good telling off. The whole “more advanced than though” has been “the” number one argument used by empires (*cof* Britain *cof*) to bulldozer through the whole planet. But I digress.

So, this guy claimed that “we don’t need violence” to change things. And during the student protests last year and last March, the whole “peaceful yes, violent no” dealio was brought up again.

Here’s the thing: we were told, repeatedly, like, over and over again that “peaceful protesting was ok”, that the “police” was “cool” with “peaceful”. That “peaceful” was allowed. The media went to great lengths to show us who the “peaceful” were and who the “naughty” ones were, so that we could cheer for the first and boo on the latter.

Peaceful was ok. It was allowed. It was “good”. It was “legal”.

That was then. This is now.

Not only are people being arrested for “protesting peacefully” but they are being arrested “in case they happen to consider protesting peacefully”. Here's a video showing the arrest of Charlie Veitch for "there being reasonable grounds to suspect that (he) had conspired with others to cause public nuisance* in relation to the Royal Wedding". Oh, and "in suspicion of aggravated tresspass for Fortman & Mason". 

You can't arrest somebody because you suspect they may be thinking of expressing their views in a way that is not in "nice". The right to freedom of expression doesn't come with a small print that says "this right shall not apply when there's a royal wedding going on and you happen to disagree with it and risk ruining the atmosphere". But when the people in charge of enforcing the “law” act “illegally” there is no easy way to stop them.

This is a horrific way of reminding us what the “law” is and what it isn’t. It is not some vague “code of conduct” designed to keep us all “getting along”. It is designed to protect one group, the rich and powerful, from the consequences that their actions have on another group, mainly “the people”. It is not “neutral”. It is not something we “all” have to live by, irrespective of who we are. There’s “us” and there’s “them”. And “they” can break and make the law, whereas we have to obey not only the “law” but whatever argument they use to keep us doing what they want. If the argument is in the “law”, good. If it’s something the police officers have to come up on the spot, like “pre-emptive arrest”, even if it is against the bloody law, then that’s ok too. Because it still serves its purpose: to keep the people from causing "trouble".

We need to remember who’s got the guns and who doesn’t. The reason why people in this country forget is because the guns are usually aimed at other people in other countries. They forget because they have deluded themselves that their “rules” are the “right and proper ones” because, well, that’s the prerogative of Empires.

This country is not more advanced. Rather, its population is much more submissive. 

* Public nuisance. Bloody public nuisance. How do you call a million people descending in London, plus security, plus journalists, plus goodness knows what else, all in the name of two kids getting wed? Bollox to this argument! If I dared to charge against Anna Sommers for causing "public nuisance" with their window pr0n, I would have been laughed at! It turns out that "public nuisance" only counts when "they" say so. Much like censorship, actually. 

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