by Dr. Yojo Queequeg
In 2009, after the kettling tactics and violence used by police on the day of the G20 protests in Central London, Duncan Campbell asked if this signalled the future of demonstrating in the UK: “Does this mean that anyone wanting to go on a demonstration in the future needs to be prepared to be detained for eight hours, photographed and identified?”
The events of the last few weeks have shown that the answer to Campbell’s question is an unequivocal affirmative. The movement of thousands has been halted, squeezed, pushed back and paralyzed. Not only this, but this movement has been quantified and criticised through public discourse; it has been claimed that certain minorities have gone too far, have pushed things to the extreme, and have provided a legitimate grievance with an illegitimate platform. These certain few have been held up as the justification of acts of state vengeance, in which young people are beaten as a result of demanding the right to their freedom of movement. There has been an unhappy tension propagated between the ‘heartening’ sight of so many thousands taking up the flag for higher education and the state of the nation, and the ‘disheartening’ revelations of acts of violence at the centre of these protests. “There are a few violent troublemakers who are ruining it for the rest of you” has echoed through and insinuated itself firmly into the public discourse of middle-Britain. The violence of this view is clear: it attempts to measure an appropriate level of anger for the unapologetic decimation of public services in the UK, to gather the fraying rope in order to tighten the knot around our necks.
The view above is diversionary; media engines sniff salaciously around students regurgitating this very line, producing the facile narrative of the solitary unhappy protestor condemning the broken windows, graffitied vans and black-eyed police officers. However, such a narrative obscures …
You can read the entire article here: The Kettle (1)