"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
~ John F Kennedy
I’ve stayed away from the British protests/riots/looting spree (call them what you will) so far, as some of you might have noticed. I’ve stayed away from them because I don’t know enough about them to comment authoritatively, and because others have been talking about the topic more effectively than I could have.
However, I will make these points, in general, about them:
First, that just because the “protests” have turned into a combined destruction and looting spree doesn’t mean that they can be dismissed as a merely criminal activity. Anger builds up and is sparked off by something that might appear relatively trivial, even something that most people wouldn’t think has anything to do with the source of the anger. But ignoring real grievances will only stoke them up further, and the backlash will be even more intense, even more destructive, the next time around.
Second, criminals will always take advantage of anything they possibly can. A protest is a lovely opportunity to smash, burn and loot – even without any involvement of agent provocateurs (a tactic used far too many times by governments to thwart protests to be dismissed as a conspiracy theory). Quite apart from professional criminals, people who join in protests with quite genuine grievances can turn to crime easily when the opportunity is before them. None of us are saints, and the organisers of protests need to be extremely careful to keep their “flock” under control. Having said that, just because there’s rioting and looting doesn’t mean the rioters and looters don’t have genuine grievances.
Third – imagine if the British people had as many guns as they could wish to buy? We wouldn’t be talking about “civil disturbances” or “riots”, let alone protests – we’d be talking of civil war. As a committed anti-gun activist, I can’t really resist pointing out the fact that there’d be armed gangs blasting each other and bystanders to pieces, often raiding homes to get guns to shoot even more people to pieces; and the army out in the streets with tanks to blast peace into the people. So much for the “armed militia” keeping a government in check.
Fourth – imagine if these “protests” had happened in an (unfriendly) Arab nation, an (independent-minded) Central Asian republic, or Iran. By now, the media would have been full of reports claiming that these were peaceful protestors asking for democracy, “activist groups” based in Washington or Paris would have been claiming that hundreds of people had been brutally murdered by the government, atrocity stories would have been invented, and all evidence of violence, looting and destruction would have been dismissed as propaganda by the "regime". And soon enough, either a colour-coded revolution would’ve been arranged for by the Empire, or a resolution passed in the UN authorising NATO to bomb the nation to democracy, and arms and money would flow to terrorist groups dedicated to the overthrow of the legitimate government. Think Syria. Think Iran. Think Libya.
Oh – while I’m on Libya: while the effort to kill civilians to save them from Gaddafi continues apace, did you miss this little bit of news? According to the plans made by the “liberators”, a post-Gaddafi regime would see suspected Gaddafi supporters rounded up and jailed or killed, Tripoli occupied by troops from the UAE (you know, the peaceful, democratic UAE which uses slave labour), and Gaddafi’s security people kept in their places just as long as they switched loyalties. That’s democracy for you!
Now to get to the point of this post – re-read the Kennedy quote above. As I’ve said in the past, democracy is now a mockery just about anywhere since whoever you vote into power behaves like a clone of the people you voted out of power. As such, voting is a hollow exercise, and isn’t even a safety valve for letting off steam any longer. Since political parties don’t care about a thing except power and money, and since the people are effectively disenfranchised, what we are going to see is more and more of the British style eruptions all over so-called democratic countries in the days to come.
Watch this space.