November 2010 has been one of the most active protests in Britain since the ‘Say No to Iraq’ campaign in 2003 and protest is a BIG argument from proponents of liberal democracy:
‘You are in a free country, you have to right to protest, you have the right to free speech’ etc…
However, the right to this ‘freedom’ is always a false choice. You have the right to choose to protest, but equally you are expected not to act on that right, and those who do have found out the consequences:
‘Riot Police ‘Kettle’ Pen Children Then Charge With Horses‘
This is BIGGER than Tuition Fees. This is a general disillusionment that people have been feeling towards their representatives. The Conservative Party do not have a majority and therefore must rely on un-democratic coercion to secure their policies.
Labour (257 seats) plus Liberal Democrats (57 seats) means that a majority of parliament (314 vs Conservative’s 307) were elected with a pre-election promise to not raise tuition fees.
This is BIGGER than Tuition Fees. What do you pay your taxes for? When I am in a job what will I pay my taxes for? For a better society? To look after the sick, the poor, the elderly? To pay for public services like education? No.
This is BIGGER than Tuition Fees. This is discontent against a contradicted neoliberal system that dishes out taxes to Banks on the supposedly ‘Free’ Market. These banks don’t want to be restrained when they are irresponsibly lending money, but as soon as their stock holders are in crisis (or they will miss an annual bonus) the UK economy has to crash to save them.
People dying of starvation in third world countries have received money slower than our banking sector.
This is BIGGER than Tuition Fees; this is reclaiming our power as citizens.
The government is in power because we treat them as power and grant them monopoly on legitimate violence. And the violence in the protests? Yes much of it was simply bored ‘hooligans’ vandalizing mindlessly. But the issue has gone from a back news story about discontented students, to a front page political topic on everyone’s agenda.
I shall end with two thoughts:
“The hooligan is no barbarian: he is an exquisite and terrible product of civilization” (Mario Vargas Llosa)
“Sometimes, nothing is the most violent thing to do” (Slavoj Zizek)