Let me qualify that. There's nothing wrong with protest marches. You want to have the police shut the streets for a couple of hours so you can show off your banners, on you go. Organise it in advance, so that people with important business can avoid the disruption, and emergency services know to use alternative routes. Fine. That's not what I'm talking about.
But perhaps that's not enough for you; perhaps you want to make life a bit difficult for those against whom you are protesting. So, like the suffragettes, you chain yourself to someone's front gate or you lie down in the middle of a busy street and cause a bit of disruption and expense. Annoying, but, again, fair enough: the worst you're likely to do to anyone this way is to cause them a bit of delay. (Though, if the police have to get rid of you, I think you should be billed for their time. They could have been out catching murderers and thieves if it weren't for you.) No, that's not really what I'm talking about, either. That's genuine non-violence.
No, what I'm talking about is the modern approach of committing trespass and vandalism and then hiding behind the pathetic and unconvincing lie of "non-violence".
Imagine you're sitting at home one night, watching TV. Suddenly, thirty men and women break in through one of your windows, setting off sirens to make as much noise as possible, spray-painting slogans onto your furniture, shouting at you, chaining themselves to your kitchen units, getting mud on the carpets, smearing manure on the walls, and playing deeply awful versions of Joan Baez songs. These people will insist that, as long as they don't actually hit you, they are non-violent. Well, bollocks to that. This is violence. The lack of fisticuffs is a mere technicality.
So I'm pleased to see that Greenpeace have met some people who refuse to indulge their bullshit.
WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail.
What they were not prepared for was the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement.
“We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs,” one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull.
Ah, the poor dear. He's been doing this for years and is used to people just rolling over and taking the abuse. How dare anyone resist? No, really, how dare they?
(As an aside, I just have to comment on that tidbit of journalism there. Was he really rubbing his bruised skull as he uttered those words, do you think? Maybe, maybe. It's just that I've seen these people on TV a thousand times, and, even after being beaten up, they tend to puff their chests out and harrumph defiantly when the press turn up.)
Anyway, he then goes on to inadvertently describe Greenpeace:
“I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.”
No, what you saw was people who wanted to get on with their work without having a portion of their lives appropriated by publicity-seeking politicians which is what Greenpeace are. You want people to listen to you? Canvass on their doorsteps, send them leaflets, fund some broadcasts, send speakers to schools and conferences. Don't do this:
They made their way to the trading floor, blowing whistles and sounding fog horns, encountering little resistance from security guards. Rape alarms were tied to helium balloons to float to the ceiling and create noise out of reach. The IPE conducts “open outcry” trading where deals are shouted across the pit. By making so much noise, the protesters hoped to paralyse trading.
Yes, clearly the protestors' aim was to get the traders to listen to their point of view. Feh.
Here's the hypocritical evasive delusionary crap I'm talking about:
“They were kicking and punching men and women indiscriminately,” a photographer said. “It was really ugly, but Greenpeace did not fight back.”
No, of course Greenpeace didn't fight back; it was the IPE traders who fought back. Greenpeace started the fight. Just because they didn't technically throw any punches, they think they're all shiny and innocent. Twats.