An odd day for activists
Well, they happen from time to time. They’re the ones where you hear both really amazing and really crap news in the same day. The crap news is that London Critical Mass have been told to supply a route 7 days in advance or have one imposed/everyone arrested. The great news is that an old friend and Peace MA student, Toby Olditch, has been cleared of criminal damage against a B-52. Justice is a very fickle friend.The Appeal Court Ruling came after a year in which Critical Mass had been given a reprieve from Police attempts to ‘bring it under control’, which, if we get away from the idea that the police controlling things is good for participant’s safety and so forth, is a brilliantly honest way of saying “we, the police, demand for us to run this event in a way which prevents the message from getting across”.
Sadly, this means we can expect mass arrests in a weeks time when the ride takes place, for surely it will, and the police attempt to violate people’s right to cycle in a group. We can only assume that the police will be a bit selective with who they arrest, and won’t actually try and arrest more than about 50 of those who turn up, but there is an outside chance, especially with the G8 in Germany to compete with, that police will arrest everyone and process them through the night and well into Saturday.
There is no evidence that the police bring safety to protest. What they bring is safety to those who wish to shout at brick walls. Those who actually want to protest and be effective are always in danger from the police, who’s job it is to ensure that ‘things go smoothly’. Protesters, on the other hand, are people who ‘mess things up’, who bring instability to status quo. So necessarily, there will be a conflict.
Anyhow, before I get dragged into a long article on the importance of effective action, its worth saying that one group of people who’s actions may very likely have saved a few lives that would otherwise have been destroyed by US/UK actions are now free, and so perhaps it is possible for the courts to provide some measure of justice.
Thankfully, once in a while, people realise that its important to let the public interefere with what the government is doing, because the government, it turns out, cannot be trusted to stick within the laws it creates and is involved in creating. So at least there’s something to be happy about today.