This post was largely prompted by a tweet from @HollyS_:
“Hose them out of there!” – James Wale. lol in reference to the London ‘Occupy’ camping trip. Brill
My reply on @markfiend:
@HollyS_ yeah because brutal police suopression of lawful protest is a right laugh!
(Typo in the original lol)Now I willingly admit that the snark-level was a bit high there but hey, it’s twitter, and there’s not a whole lot of room for nuance in 140 characters. But having said that, I stand by the tweet.
- Brutal: using water cannon on peaceful protesters is a disproportionate response.
- Lawful: The United States constitution explicitly provides for “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” in the First Amendment. Similar provisions exist in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20) and the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 11).
Rights which are not respected when the government of the day disagrees with you may as well not exist at all.
Holly’s follow-up tweet:
@markfiend Also, these people don’t even have jobs! While most of us are out there busting our arses. I can debate -> bit.ly/rE7CIK
Frankly this strikes me as a bit of a red herring. (Technically it’s an ad hominem argument.) Whether or not protesters have jobs has nothing at all to do with whether or not they are right.
Now I happen to think that the protesters are right. Billions in tax money are going to prop up failing banks because they fucked up while our hospitals, schools, colleges, libraries, all kinds of public services, are being cut to the bone in the name of austerity.
The democratic ideal was meant to be “government of the people, by the people, for the people” but we seem to have moved into “government of the people, by the corporations, for their profits”. Is it any wonder that people are angry?