Monday, October 24, 2011

The angrier we protest, the simpler the answers

The Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance sums up "a momentous week in global protest terms". The blinkers are off:
People can see that their governments, everywhere implementing the same austerity measures, are in the hands and the pay of the global corporations and banks and their (largely invisible and unaccountable) wealthy owners.
Occupy, Uncut, anarchists, anti-capitalists, socialists, Anonymous... all are angry about the corrupt system that has resulted in the world's economic woes. You're angry with the politicians. You're angry with the bankers. You're angry with the rich. You're angry about the cuts.

Except... you know what? I'm pretty angry with you. You failed to get behind the only party that was warning about the impending economic crisis and bankers' behaviour; the only party that's against illegal wars and an authoritarian state; the only party taking climate change seriously; and the only party that wants to improve our democracy.

So you cynically failed to engage with the arguments; you failed to rally support for democratic change; and you bleat about "betrayal" and "propping up the Tories" when the reality is that the people were divided on what should be done. We need honest politicians to work together. But you have worked yourself up into a frenzy that dictates that all politicians are venal and that anything less than an automatic transmission of belief into action constitutes a betrayal.

You are holier-than-thou and angrily shout and protest as if you speak for everyone who cares about these matters, as if we don't live in some kind of democracy, imperfect though it is. That you see yourselves as equal to the heroes of Tahrir Square, Tunis, the Libyan NTC and Syria is ludicrous.

Right. You care. Good. Now take a breath. Stop with the sloganeering, the posturing and the negativity. And think how you can engage constructively, collaboratively and cleverly. We can win this one.

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