The New Student Rebellions
Article for book. Part 1 of 2VIOLENCE ON DEMONSTRATIONSPart 1 : The ProblemMany people, especially in the mainstream media, have for a long time been promoting the idea that on most demonstrations there is a small minority Hell-bent on causing violence, that the public ends up footing the bill for the misdeeds of this self-indulgent few, and that this minority needs to be severely dealt with. I didn’t necessarily believe this until I started attending demonstrations myself, but immediately since that time, sadly, I’ve had to admit that this analysis is largely true; there is such a minority, and it does need to be severely dealt with. Just a cursory glance at the crowd before almost any sizeable demonstration will reveal the presence of this minority, a clearly visible group that does not really fit in with the rest, an element that seems to have no intention of taking part alongside the majority in the peaceful protest, and to whom the issues about which the demonstration is being held appear to be irrelevant. The people in this minority form a separate, semi-organised clique, which is manifestly in an agitational and confrontational mood. They stand out; they are dressed differently to the majority (although they all tend to look similar to each other and their faces are partly hidden, as if they do not want to be individually identified), they are hyped-up, and they obviously have a different agenda to that of the organisers of the event. They appear not to be taking their lead from the event’s organisers, but from elsewhere, almost as if their activities had been more or less decided in advance. Without doubt they have come to the event dressed for violence. Their whole manner of speech and their body language are further testimony to their confrontational attitude. It is no wonder that the peaceful, law-abiding majority thoroughly detests and denounces this irksome element, which not only turns up with boring predictability at almost every demonstration, but then proceeds, by means of equally predictable tactics, to hijack it to its own agenda. This uncouth and unwelcome cohort also displays a staggering level of disdain for the peaceful majority (whether as individual human beings or as citizens in a potential democracy trying to exercise a democratic right). It has contempt too, for peaceful methods, for the due processes of law, and indeed for democracy itself.It is no wonder either, that there is violence in such circumstances; indeed, it is almost inevitable. If you take a bunch of macho lads (and a few macho gals as well) to whom the idea of controlling other people has an appeal; pay them excessive amounts of money to attend every demo (whether they believe in the particular cause which is being expounded or not); keep telling them how brave, heroic and generally fab they are; fortify them with special communications equipment, backups (of personnel, vehicles and weaponry); protect them with impact-proof clothing, including helmets with neck protection and visors; issue them with clubs, chemical sprays, tazers and other offensive weaponry; give them armoured vans and horses, and permission to drive or ride these into crowds of people; give them leave to use vicious dogs, and grant them immunity from prosecution - then you should not be in the slightest surprised when these pampered paramilitaries, behaving like the army of arrogant and out-of-control super-gangsters they really are, instigate utterly unprovoked violence against the unarmed and unprotected citizens whom they so heartily despise and among whom they have placed themselves.John Codd [aka Dayne Coyne] December 2010.