''All I have to offer the world is my own confusion''
g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Sun Jun 17 16:28:47 MDT 2001
These are all big questions and if the Left could answer them or even if
more 18 year olds were asking them then Arthur Scargill might well have the
keys to Number 10 Downing street in his pocket.
Let me try the one about justifying the protests at Seattle etc. One has
to be clear here. The stone throwers and Black Blockers are in an absolute
minority. Most of the protesters are deeply non-violent.
I will return to the question of "violence" but let us start with the
question - is there anything to protest about.` Can the people you talk to
think of anything wrong with the world? All of them will have some
understanding that things are going from bad to worse. If they do not have
then hit them with the global warming and the distribution of poverty
figures. Look up the archives of this list for Mark Jones' posts on
ecology and they will put the fear of Jesus in you. Lou has posted I
believe on income distribution.
So you have the system basically discredited in the eyes of anyone with a
moiety of decency in them. Everyone agrees that there is something to
protest about. Now you ask them why don't they protest? They will reply
immediately that protesting does no good, or that there is no alternative.
at this point you have them on the defensive. They are now trying to
justify why they are not at Seattle etc.
You can point out that the anti-capitalist protestors do have hope. They
do care and it is that very care that drives them out to confront the
bullets rubber and now steel, and the tear gas and the batons.
Now back to the violence issue. First you have to ask yourself who are the
violent? Blair released bombs over Serbia. (I am sure that the
demonstrators would not mind swapping their stones for some of Blair's
planes.) Bush's hands reek with blood. They both have economic policies in
place that drive hundreds of thousands of normal people into dire poverty.
The whole question that we have to face is how one can justify not throwing
a stone through a bank window, or trying to get one's hands on Blair.
For behind the politicians are their masters. They are the tiny number of
rich and powerful people, who never know what it is not to have food enough
for one's children, who never have to fear a phone bill, or a rates bill,
who never have to hide when the rent man appears.
Now I will have to be honest with you. think of what would have been the
result if there had been 20 thousand rock throwers in Gothenburg instead of
a thousand plus. We would be much closer to getting a just society, for as
my old mother, god rest her, used to say "It's the squeaky wheel that gets
Finally a thought on the cleaner and the doctor. this is for sure a big
problem. But an initial stab at this might be to point out that we live in
a world where doctors are paid a good deal more than cleaners. What is the
price we have to pay for that? For the cost of inequality is
considerable. It is just that economists never bother to try and calculate it.
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