Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What happens if police join the protestors?

This piece of mine appears in today's First Post.

Neil Clark: David Cameron is taking a huge gamble by alienating the police

Let's fast forward to October 2011. British troops are bogged down in Libya. Unemployment is edging towards three million. The price of petrol and basic foodstuffs continues to rise. Anger against the coalition's austerity measures is spilling over into widespread strikes and street demonstrations, of the sort we witnessed in Greece last year.

A huge crowd makes its way towards Downing Street. Only this time, the police, instead of barring the way of the protestors, join in with them.

You can read the whole of the article here.


Vladimir Gagic said...

I am worried that in both the UK and the US that regardless of how bad things may get for average Americans and Englishmen, until corporate media changes its deficit hysteria message, things will get much worse. In fact, the worse the economic news the more the media pushes austerity.

It amazes me that I meet middle class Americans everyday who complain that "politicians are not facing reality because they refuse to talk about cutting Medicare/Social Security/entitlements and cutting the deficit". Mind you, these are not greedy hedge fund managers, but normal people brainwashed into deficit hysteria by corporate media.

Before we go after the banks and politicians, maybe progressives should first direct our ire at corporate media. That is the first battle in this struggle.

Douglas said...

The police didn't exactly join the protestors in Wisconsin this past month, but I recalled it when I read your post.

The protestors were members of the teacher's union, who were protesting legislation altering their currently generous arrangement with the State of Wisconsin. The police are allied with the teachers because they are both public employees, and their unions jealously guard their interests.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal documented this here:

Anonymous said...

Great article, Mr. Clark. It just goes to show how important solidarity is. Everyone thinks that they are untouchable and the plutocrats won’t go after them until a crisis hits and the bank boys need bailing out. Then somebody has to pay for the bailouts and all of a sudden you are the one getting laid off or seeing your benefits slashed!


I couldn’t agree more. I know it is just anecdotal evidence, but I know many former and current municipal employees, all union members, who were supporting Governor Walker in Wisconsin! I just don’t get this kind of thinking. I can think of only two possible explanations:

First, older workers, especially those who are already collecting pensions, believe that cuts will only impact younger workers. Now, even if that is the case that is a remarkable example of a lack of solidarity.

Second, people are very badly informed. If I remember correctly, a survey done some months ago revealed that Fox News viewers were more likely to be misinformed than those who viewed other news outlets. While I understand that people have jobs and families and other demands on their time, a democracy cannot work properly without a reasonably informed citizenry.

Neil Clark said...

Hi John- many thanks.

Neoliberalism is all about destroying solidarity. The global financial elite who call all the shots want us to see other human beings as rivals and competitors and not comrades. The programme which best defines the neoliberal era is The Apprentice. A group of very unattractive, boastful and shallow individuals encouraged to stab each other in the back in order to get the big 'prize'.

The elite would like all of us to behave like contestants on the Apprentice. The last thing they want is for us to join hands and work together.

Vladimir Gagic said...

Mr. Clark: didn't Mrs. Thatcher make that point explicit when she said "there is no longer a society only individuals" or something along those lines?

John, I sincerely hope it is not true that older pensioners would leave younger workers out in the cold. That is too depressing to even consider.