Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Barely quantifiable anger

So I was reminiscing today about last year's student protests, and how a largely peaceful and passionate movement was hijacked by a few vandals, who of course got all the attention from the conservative media. While a pessimist might note that the protests entirely failed in their aims, that seems a fairly pointless conclusion to reach given that a majority of the population supported the protesters (who did include me, though on a school-level protest, not the main London one - we got on the local news though!) and the disapproval rates of the government have stayed high all winter.

Last Saturday, the March for the Alternative in London brought together 400,000 people opposed to the irrational and ideologically motivated cuts to public services introduced by this government. (Let's be clear - no-one voted for this, me because I was too young (!) but most people because even the Tory manifesto said "no frontline cuts" and "no top-down reorganisations of the NHS".) Once again, there was sporadic trouble but this time literally only 50 or so people did anything criminal at all. The Daily Mail's resident bigot, Melanie Phillips tried to tar the legitimate protest group UK Uncut with the epithet of anarchists, but, y'know, they aren't. However, it emerges that the UK Uncut members who occupied Fortnum and Mason were tricked into arrest by the police, who, a video released on the Guardian website makes clear, said they would be free to go when they left the store. They then walked out... straight into a police kettle where they were immediately arrested. Ho hum.

So this brings me back to this blog's title. Anger is a relative concept. It's possible to get astoudingly angry about tiny little things, while allowing capitalists to get away with paying only a pittance in taxes to a country which gives them everything. Anger must be directed if it is to achieve anything. The March for the Alternative and the UK Uncut movement are all legitimate harbingers of anger, but we must be so careful not to let vandals and wreckers destroy them as they did the tuition fees protests. An irresponsible and biased media is clearly not going to help here. Therefore activists must keep making their case eloquently and passionately in the British democratic tradition, so that the barely quantifiable anger against the government of the country's progressive majority can be refined into a real popular movement - a movement with the power to change.

Phillips: http://bit.ly/fK7Pe7
Guardian footage: http://bit.ly/fto02l
My point made better: http://bit.ly/iaxIEH

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