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G20 Protest – what is that all about ?

By Angela Harbutt
April 1st, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Comments Off on G20 Protest – what is that all about ? | Posted in UK Politics

I don’t mind the notion of a good honest protest – indeed I applaud it. People should have the right to join together in public places and shout loud and clear on issues they care about. There have been too many laws in recent years to curtail freedom of speech. So I should be wishing good luck to the G20 protestors.

But I don’t. If I understand the goals of this protest correctly, they are… to have a carnival party in order to overthrow capitalism.

Perhaps I am doing them a disservice – perhaps their intention is to have a carnival party AND THEN overthrow capitalism (although rational people would usually throw a celebration AFTER achieving their aims)

Whether or not they overthrow an economic system that has done more to lift people out of poverty than anything else ever, a visit to the organisers website… www.g-20meltdown.org hardly suggests a carnival atmosphere. It shows imagery at the apocalyptic end of the scale (I count two of the four horsemen in full view) that all but demands the attendance of every trouble maker able to make it to the “party”.

Let’s be charitable and call it a mixed message.

And mixed message it is. TV and radio stations have been packed all day with sound-bites from those attending. What a sorry, sad, rag tag bunch they are.

A “Save the House Sparrow” protestor speaking on the radio (yes really!) was possibly the most articulate interviewee of the day. My favourite, however, was on a TV news channel where one young man wearing a black hooded top with his face hidden was asked “Why do you think it’s important to cover your face?”

“Err, I don’t know,” he said. He then muttered something about the injustice of how a loaf of bread cost 3 weeks’ wages in Zimbabwe. And his expectations for the afternoon? He answered “I don’t know. That’s all I can say.”

Enough said, in my view. So, what is the “purpose” of this mass protest? What do the “the laboratory of insurrectionary imagination” (artists to you and me), the “Network to end migrant and refugee detention” group, “international union of sex workers”, the “stop the war coalition”, “Biofuel Watch” , etc (all listed on the organisers’ website) really have in common?

Apart from a gripe against one or more of the Governments attending the conference, what they have in common is naivety.
Nothing will be achieved for any particular cause. Media coverage will feature a number of inarticulate ramblings from some of those involved, combined with pictures of thugs and idiots throwing missiles and attempting to “vandalise” various buildings.

Sadly this will only add grist to the mill of those who want to curtail public demonstrations and freedom of speech further. It will detract media coverage away from the G20 summit itself. And it will have cost an awful lot of my money policing it and cleaning it up afterwards.
The protestors are a ramshackle, incoherent bunch of serial complainers engaged in the exercise of celebrating their own self-importance and self-indulgence.

Still, at least they knocked the trials and tribulations of the English football team off the news agenda for a few hours

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