Tom V. (tiotditv) wrote,
Tom V.
tiotditv

The importance of Protest

I have written on the subject of protest in this journal before, but some of George Monbiot's "ideas" have reinspired me to elaborate on ideas.

I previously wrote that protest is a fundamental part in democratic nations. I stand by that fully. Leaders in democratic countries have a right to listen to the voice of protests - these leaders were elected by the people to represent the people and thus have a responsibility to listen to the protesters. Protest thus lies at the heart of democracy.

But we all know how much protest and ideas surrounding protest has been demonised in society in recent years - upto the point where anyone taking part in a protest is seen as an extreme leftie and anyone talking about organising a protest might as well have a swastika tattooed on their forehead. The few remaining protests that do still manage to scrape their way through the sieve of red tape and beaurocracy are then covered in the media in terms of how many police it took to stop the protest. Where is the logic in that? Is that not what we were always told happens in totalitarian countries, dictatorships and regimes?

In essence, democratic countries doing their best to stop protest is the least democratic thing they can do. Democracy prides itself on being a government for the people. But in recent years, something within democracy - seemingly the ever-growing strength of economic rationalism - is turning the idealistic form of government into a government for the economy. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't governments exist to cater for the people? We are now, through the erosion of protest, living in a world where the people are manipulated to do what is "best" for the economy, rather than the logical working of the economy to ensure what is best for the people.

So in that sense, what is the difference between dictatorships and laissez-faire economics? Both try to crush out dissidents using the military or police as their fundamental 'tool of oppression'. Hang on though, what does this all come down to? Protests are often the result of a lack of human rights, either the fact that they do not nor have they ever existed in a society, or the fact that the right had once existed but is now an idea of the past thanks to new "reform". In other words, erosion of public sector services. Now I agree that taking as many services from the public and putting them into the private sector will build a better economy - that is just common sense. You are making people pay money for things that they once had for free, or free at least via their taxes - add in social responsibility of the individual.

But what seems to be happening is that taxes are staying at the same level they have always been, yet people are being forced to fork out more money for other services. That does not make any sense. If a government choses to withdraw a service from the public sector, it should cut taxes to compensate for the loss of the service. What protests did to build up the public sector - ensuring everyone has police protection, fire service, healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc is being taken away. Now when people protest the removal of these former public services, the police controls them to ensure that the protest achieves as little as possible - that way the politicians get to stay in a job, the economists continue to justify their non-existent job and business owners cash in more because they are running the what-is-now private sector service.

Apologies for the lack of coherance and clarity in this post.
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