Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends…


9:05 am - December 10th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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A lot of lefties love nothing more than attending a protest or a demo. And why not: you make friends, they’re fun and you feel good about try to change society in some way. Well, in most cases anyway.

But is there a danger the newly developed protest movement is going too fast, and could run out of steam? I think so.

It’s highly likely that the Coalition will last a full five years. A collapse would more than likely lead to both parties being punished by the electorate, and both Cameron and Clegg have shown a lot of flexibility in accommodating each other’s concerns. Anyone who thinks the government is in danger of falling soon is deluding themselves.

Secondly, it’s unlikely there will be any other issue as divisive as tuition fees for the Libdems. They didn’t sign specific manifesto pledges on everything, and it will be incredibly difficult for the opposition to force them to split on issues where they diverge (most notably Europe). They will do anything to avoid such splits again. Even on crime, Ken Clarke sounds a lot more liberal than his predecessor.

Thirdly, there will be a time-lag before ordinary Britons start to feel the impact of the cuts (some of which have been delayed too). This means that hoping they will come out to protest in their millions is anytime soon is also likely to be misplaced.

I doubt the education protests can be sustained with the same intensity of the past, though no doubt some will try. Any ‘national protest against the cuts’ is a non-starter until the big TUC march next year in March.

Therefore, I think the focus should be two-fold: localised protests, and issue-specific (e.g. tax avoidance) protests.

* * * * * * * * * *

But I have some concerns here too. I was at the UKuncut protests last week and a few thoughts struck me.

1. There weren’t enough proper banners. This made it easy for SWP newspaper-sellers and their ready-made cache of banners to flood everyone with Socialist Worker banners. Alix Mortimer made the joke here yesterday that if lefties had an anti-SWP protest, they’d probably turn up with ‘F**K the SWP’ banners too. That strikes me as entirely possible. They even managed to strategically place themselves in the pictures!

2. There were no leaflets explaining to shoppers why TopShop was being occupied and shut down. There was a small one handed out by some people but it was full of sloganeering for me. You need a simple one starting with: ‘Dear shopper, sorry you can’t get into Topshop today, but there’s a good reason why we’re here…’.

Anything that begins with: ‘If they marketise our education we will educate their markets‘ is a non-starter. Honestly, don’t do it, please. Organisers need some proper leaflets to hand out next time.

3. The next date has already been set and it’s just over a week away. There is a danger here of protest fatigue especially if protests are held every other week or so. Plus, the media will lose interest if they become predictable.

My suggestion is they should be once a month, and each time different enough to keep up the interest, enthusiasm and sense of mischief. And attract media attention of course.

We have a long stretch ahead of us folks – let’s not burn out too quickly. In the meantime – it’s time to get organised and skilled up.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


We are going in hard and deep with these protests Sunny, and we don’t need soft Liberals like you telling us what to do. Either get on board or get out of our way.

You don’t tell us what to do mate.

“there will be a time-lag before ordinary Britons start to feel the impact of the cuts (some of which have been delayed too). This means that hoping they will come out to protest in their millions is anytime soon is also likely to be misplaced.”

Of course, a lot of ordinary Britons see what is happening in Greece, Spain, , Ireland, Iceland etc, and do not want it to happen here. They understand that the British state’s deficit must be controlled, and do not understand why it was permitted to become so large in the first place.

Bang on the money Sunny ! (sorry about the rhyme) – I was starting to think I was losing common ground with you, before this.

Seriously this gives a very clear concise picture of the way things are at the moment, without getting sucked into emotional “if you’re not for us you’re against us” stuff.

You might have plenty of support amongst these lefty protest groups, you lost the support of the entire country after what happened last night.

Let’s see how strong support is in the face of water cannon, bring your wellies and waterproofs.

I made the joke about the banners on Twitter, but the original idea not mine, sadly. That honour belongs to Mr/Ms Cynical/Realist commenting here yesterday.

Demo fatigue eh?

Yup, after the Battle of Grosvenor Square over the Vietnam War in 1968 it killed off all other demos right through the ’70s.

@4

Yes! And how about CS gas too!! And dogs!!!

Actually I am SHOCKED the police protection sqaud didn’t shoot a good five brace of these commie scum who threw paint on the Prince of Wales limo!

8. Cynical/Realist?

@1 – and there lies the problem. This isn’t your legitimate protest, aiming to include people who also feel angry – this is your chance to cause some mahem and stamp on anyone in your way.

The first thing to making these demos more productive and start a genuine movement is to isolate and condem the violent fringe who are using this as an excuse to overpower anyone whose views don’t match their own nut-job agenda.

“We are going in hard and deep with these protests Sunny, and we don’t need soft Liberals like you telling us what to do.”

Hahaha … wooooo….

10. Cynical/Realist?

@ Alix – thanks for the nod. I can’t remember, but its likely knowing me I nabbed it from somewhere else anyway!

“1. There weren’t enough proper banners. This made it easy for SWP newspaper-sellers and their ready-made cache of banners to flood everyone with Socialist Worker banners. Alix Mortimer made the joke here yesterday that if lefties had an anti-SWP protest, they’d probably turn up with ‘F**K the SWP’ banners too. That strikes me as entirely possible. They even managed to strategically place themselves in the pictures!”

You’re absolutely right. From the BBC pictures, it always does look like a 90% SWP protest, and I’d think (hope) that this would put people off joining, since marching with the SWP is not dissimilar to marching alongside the Nazis*. A different source of banners would be good – and you know what else, they should be home-made, because if you all have professionally printed banners it looks like your protest has been funded by a powerful astroturfing organisation. Then again the BBC will presumably focus on the SWPies no matter what you do.

* given the parties’ attitudes to little things like free speech and the importance of “revolutionary” violence. The SWP could only think of “racism” while trying to come up with things about the BNP they didn’t like.

and rubber bullets

I forgot rubber bullets.

Having had the dubious pleasure of witnessing the demo at Tower Hamlets Town Hall Wednesday evening, and watching a small bunch of (I assume) trots in Unison bibs taking turns on the megaphone to make speeches to each other, I have less concerns about the emerging UKuncuts protest movement in terms of sustainability.

FWIW I’m reminded of the Angry Brigade of the early 1970s and suspect that the Special Branch and MI5 will now be extending their areas of active surveillance and engagement:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2002/feb/03/features.magazine27

Seriously, you need to ditch the Trots and the anarchists pronto. Their agenda as Carl Sagan points out is extremely unpleasant. If the SWP got their hands on power it wouldn’t be a happy socialist wonderland but a repeat of the USSR. The anarchists just seem up for a ruck.

You can’t claim to represent “the people” if you’ve got that lot tagging along. Last time I checked the far left barely registered in the 2010 general election. There’s probably sympathy amongst Tory voters for a reduction in fees (they have kids too) but they’re not going to ally with a bunch of people chanting “Tory scum”.

“You need a simple one starting with: ‘Dear shopper, sorry you can’t get into Topshop today, but there’s a good reason why we’re here…’.”

You really, really don’t.

This is how organisations like ’38 Degrees’ and their ilk communicate: by imitating corporate bullshitters trying to sell this, that or the other. Simultaneously a stranger and your best mate; pally and yet patronising as hell – innocent smoothie, anyone?

I’d rather stab myself in the eye with a pen than read any more of that drivel…

I think it’s a mistake to try to run the protest in a 19th century style.

Richard,

There is no danger of the SWP or their ilk taking power (outside of one or two councils perhaps) since they are electoral poision, and however big these protests, I suspect most of those there would walk away rather than overthrow a democratic government.

I think Sunny has this right as well (God, I’m saying that a lot today) – but what we need to know is whether it is basically the same people at all protests, or whether there is a much bigger pool.

Incidentally, wouldn’t it be sensible to have protests in different places other than London (alienating only 10% of the population by your actions is hardly the best startegy 😉 ). It might help protest fatigue slightly if you change focus to different cities and draw on different pools of workers, and it would test the violent idiot’s organisation (and perhaps make them easier to identify and marginalise).

18. Cynical/Realist?

@16 J – I’m inclined to agree with you personally, but we need to communicate our views effectively to a wide range of people. I don’t like corporate sounding stuff, but we do need to communicate better. Doesn’t mean everyone will agree, but it at least shows people what our issue is.

As in the article – ‘If they marketise our education we will educate their markets‘ is really bad. For a start it makes us all sound like childish pamphleteers spouting slogans.

We are communicating with people who don’t understand (or care) what markets are too (not for bad reasons, I’m not trying to be snobby), but they would be willing to listen to how businesses are screwing us out of tax money.

Plus, although related, the tax demo is about a seperate issue to education reform.

If we want to build a movement amongst more than just activists we need to communicate more effectivly. That means dropping sloganeering and propaganising and putting our side of the story across more effectivly.

Heaven forbid we go too far down the Heavenly Smoothie route though (ohh they have fake grass in the offices, ooooo).

@1 – I bet you murmur all the sweet nothings, too.

I am utterly dismayed by how many people (not here, necessarily) are coming out in support of violent protests.

Forget protest fatigue – if this keeps on, people (the kind of people you presumably want to attract, anyway) won’t be going to protests because they don’t want to end up in the middle of a ranting mob whose sole purpose is to cause as much mayhem as possible.

In fact, harking back to Dave’s hacktivism article from yesterday, I’m increasingly convinced that the public facing element of the protests are focussed on the wrong kind of attention-grabbing. Sloganeering, it’s the revolution!, such-and-such are scum etc. All a bit 1968, isn’t it? And I don’t mean that in a good way. 1968 isn’t cool and different and thought-provokingly counter-cultural any more, by virtue of the fairly obvious fact that it was forty years ago.

I loved some of the posters at the first big demo. “Down with this sort of thing!”, “I only popped out for a pint of milk”. And there was a great double poster yesterday which I’ll try and find again, which said something like posters and slogans are obviously limiting, not conducive to serious argument etc, but at the same time, screw the Tories. They told you a bit about who the people carrying them were, and why you might want to listen to them. Obviously, that can’t be the whole of your effort, you have to put across your argument at some point. But there must be innovative ways of making these arguments, doesn’t there? Without trying to be a throwback?

I can’t see these protests getting very far. The student protests have probably now alienated a large section of society.

I honestly don’t understand how many of these students got into uni. Listening to them talk on TV, they’re such simpletons that 1 + 1 = 2 would be counter intuitive for them.

A lot of lefties love nothing more than attending a protest or a demo. And why not: you make friends, they’re fun and you feel good about try to change society in some way. Well, in most cases anyway.

How is this going to change society? If it could then I might be more supportive, but this really does look like the ”Harry Potter uprising” like Spiked said yesterday.
And the SWP and the 2nd rate wannabe crusties are a real turn off.

It might be better also to tell some of those working class youths who were there, who were frustrated that they would never be able to afford the 9 grand a year to go to university that they only have to pay anything back after they are on decent money.
One young fella with his face covered said on TV that he and his friends would end up selling drugs instead if they couldn’t go to college.

@18 – you’re right, we do need to communicate more effectively. My personal view is that structuring the narrative as a PR wet dream is likely to achieve little, and in fact will turn people off completely.

Of course, “the medium is the message” – the protests have received a lot of press coverage and any number of pamphlets won’t change the tune on the radio or what’s on the eejit-box.

The fact that people turned up is a victory in itself!

@ Damon, tbf the guy who was talking about selling drugs was talking about EMA rather than tuition fees. Although in an ideal world he and his comrades would get part time jobs instead of dealing.

@24 In an ideal world he and his mates would earn more money from part time work than from selling drugs too.

…since marching with the SWP is not dissimilar to marching alongside the Nazis…

Why, of course! One of them supports autocracy, militarism and racial division while the other — doesn’t. But if you squint really hard.

“Seriously, you need to ditch the Trots and the anarchists pronto.”

Practical suggestions on how to do this are always welcome…….

26 – The SWP support revolutionary violence, autocracy (Trotsky wasn’t exactly a democrat) and mass confiscation of property. I wouldn’t want to be a member of the south-eastern upper middle classes if they were running the show.

29. gastro george

Read Paul Mason’s blog. I didn’t see much evidence of the SWP or any other “organised” left group – even the NUS and Labour Students were absent.

Richard – They might support some kind of “dictatorship of the proletariat” – which, I’ll admit, has always been far worse in the practice than it is in theory – but that’s not autocracy. They don’t – in my view – have opinions so repugnant that they need be avoided or sent to Coventry. It sounds more like they can just be a pain the ass.

31. gastro george

@28

FYI, the SWP not much more than a pyramid-selling newspaper franchise.

@28 – “I wouldn’t want to be a member of the south-eastern upper middle classes if they were running the show.”

Well, quite. They’d most likely all be shot.

But it’s not like the “south-eastern upper middle classes” are the ones taking to the streets to challenge the coalition’s tuition fees proposals, is it? They don’t exactly have a lot to lose if ‘social mobility’ continues to die a slow and painful death…

J,

I suggest you consider what happens to a middle class when there is no social mobility – it gets torn between the rulers and the workers, because there is no longer any middle to be within.

And since much of the middle class is only one or two generations removed from someone who was not middle class, I think your presumption that they have some sort of class consciousness of their own (at least to the extent they have no concern for social mobility) is a bit of a problem.

Bensix,

Could not the same thing have been said about the Bolsheviks in 1917? Extremists are extremists, regardless of their beliefs, and the Socialist Workers prioritise beliefs over democracy, which is a good definition of extremism in my book (indeed, technically that makes them worse than the BNP who at least claim to respect democracy (not that I am convinced)).

I seem to have annoyed a SWP member at #1.

You might have plenty of support amongst these lefty protest groups, you lost the support of the entire country after what happened last night.

Rubbish. The students are not a political party, and most families in the country will have students in the household, with real concerns about their debts. Support for zero/low tuition fees has remained popular throughout and did so after the Millband protests too.

This is how organisations like ’38 Degrees’ and their ilk communicate: by imitating corporate bullshitters trying to sell this, that or the other.

And guess who’s more popular – 38 Degrees or the SWP?

While there were a lot of people supportive of the protests, I also saw a lot of shoppers very annoyed they couldn’t get into Topshop that day. Many of them were only convinced after being patiently explained what was going on. And you need proper leaflets to do this on a bigger scale.

I know some trots would rather not communicate with ordinary people but it’s time to face up to the real world sooner or later.

I hope not
But I have more sympathy with low paid workers getting the boot but at least they have the trickle down effect and can sell their organs to right wing clowns like Dave and Cjcjc.
I am sorry for repeating this.
The problem with the country is that we feel that getting to university is the most important feature of our lives and more importantly our children lives. It has become an intellectual badge of honour.
So there will be little sympathy from people like my son who is working his way up the retail industry ladder. So personally I feel the government are right on this issue of fees but there should be tax free subsidies to families on the free school meals barrier
As for people out of academia are they any better than the herd intellectually, no there just better at exams or course work. They also seem to breed individuals like Nick Cohen and privately educated Oxbridge young debs who want to bring back slavery.
Graduates don’t make better or worst employes, some are good and some not so good.
What is important is training both in the workplace and school.

As an aside it does make me chuckle listening to cretins like Andrew Roberts who passed from school to university to academia, lecturing the rest of us on the real world.

‘* given the parties’ attitudes to little things like free speech and the importance of “revolutionary” violence. The SWP could only think of “racism” while trying to come up with things about the BNP they didn’t like.’

I’m no fan of the swuppies, but really – condemning them for calling the BNP racist?

damon – see this video http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/video/2010/dec/10/student-fees-protest-london-video

sometimes you should stop getting your soundbytes from BBC News and Spiked articles.

As for Sunny been a soft liberal.
Spot on
He seems to upset the hard right and the extreme left. Keep going boy.
Anyone who is disliked by lefties like redlight and righties like most of the posters on the site such as Dave, cjcjc, Tim and Flowerppower is one of the good guys in my book

That’s right, keep going boy.

I agree with Watchman @33. My parents probably count as upper middle class home counties people these days, because they had the enormous good fortune to be born into pretty ordinary skilled working class families in outer London in the 1950s and 1960s, and house prices did the rest. I haven’t asked them about the protests – shall do – but I bet they’d be instinctively sympathetic, if not actually inclined to march. Their opinion is up for grabs as much as anyone’s. You cut yourself off from support if you see class as such a rigid structure.

I think the trick is to keep things fresh. A bunch of eejits waving around banners and chanting gets really old really fast.

I’m thinking flash mobbing, I’m thinking urban climbing. I’m thinking of sticking to certain chief execs like paparazzi to a princess. And while you’re at it, consider using a fancy dress or nudity.

Meanwhile, how about some good old fashioned DOS attacks?

For a self-styled intellectual elite these students have been pretty slow off the mark when it comes to this.

Seriously though, let’s not pretend paying £30 a month when earning £25,000 a year is a big issue. Plus kids on school meals get a couple of years free. Infact I don’t understand why kids on school meals get free tuition, when they’ll only have to pay a contribution when they’re earning decent money. That’s just a money wasting gimmick to appease people too thick to understand the policy.

I wonder who’s gonna look out for the poor when the cuts begin to get nasty. Clearly not the left.

@33 – “I suggest you consider what happens to a middle class when there is no social mobility – it gets torn between the rulers and the workers, because there is no longer any middle to be within.”

“Middle class” wasn’t my phrase, by the way. But there are a significant number of people – largely in the south of England, it has to be said – who are not ‘rulers’ (or capitalists in the strictest sense) yet genuinely won’t lose a great deal if social mobility dies.

@34 – “And guess who’s more popular – 38 Degrees or the SWP?”

You’re comparing apples and oranges (innocent smoothies and cheap vodka?), so it’s irrelevant.

Online activism is very shallow – not that I’m for the SWP either, by the way – but I think your popularity contest would be closer than you expect.

@41 – absolutely. This is still a 19th century protest for the most part (apart from the late 20th century corporate speak); time to get creative!

44. gastro george

Most of the fees debate is beside the point.

This is about the marketisation of higher education. The elite universities will do quite well, which is why they’re happy with it, but we’ll revert to a cheap-and-nasty degree for all but the upper tier. Guess which class will use which university.

More than that, it’s about installing the idea of the education as a commodity – as training rather than education.

For the poor, this is as much about the EMA – which has flown under the radar of most pundits.

damon – see this video
sometimes you should stop getting your soundbytes from BBC News and Spiked articles.

I would be supportive of the concerns of the students. My niece and her friends were the ones photographed around the smashed police van in their school uniforms at the last demo. I’m just not sure what protest for the sake of protest is for though. I know you think that the SWP is part of the broad left alliance you think is important to build, but just clicking on their website and seeing their silly headlines about ”Now let’s bring down the Con/Dems” (or what ever it was) is quite yawn enducing to me. They’ve been saying the same thing like a stuck record for as long as I can remember.

The country is pretty skint I think, so short of bringing down capitalism, then there are going to be cutbacks. I’m in a dead end job and wish I could find a new one paying £21,000 but I can’t. So everyone is screwed as far as I can tell.

That Paul Mason blog was interesting gastro george @29. As was this too from the editor of Spiked who was there yesterday himself, and adds a bit of political analysis to the protests.

Ungoverned by the left, unpoliced by the state
Yesterday’s political violence in London provided a striking snapshot of the flailing authority of both the traditional left and the police.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9995/

I don’t know if it’s for writing articles like that, that you don’t like them Sunny. Well that and being climate change ”denialists”.

This bit was quite revealing:

One of the most striking things about yesterday’s demo was the projection of various different instincts and urges and angers. There was a very interesting class divide, for example. In the middle of Parliament Square, middle-class, largely white Higher Education students danced, set off flares and Twittered about their scuffles with the police; on the outskirts of the kettle, and on Whitehall, black, Asian and working-class Further Education students, of about 16 or 17, wore scarves over their mouths and smashed windows and telephone boxes. These younger protesters were ostensibly defending the small weekly allowance that poorer A-Level students currently get from the state. But you don’t have to be a cynic to see that they were really driven by something else: angst, alienation, a feeling of distance from mainstream Britain, including from the more respectable university students inside the kettle, with their sometimes clownish placards and their defence of their own way of life.

@42 Well if we keep moving toward a more US style political landscape the answer is “no one”. Because the poor will simply just not matter. The only people who will count and therefore given a shit about are “the middle classes” and the rich.

47. gastro george

Thanks for the link damon, some interesting stuff there, even if it is from Spiked. Although (maybe like Sunny) I wouldn’t trust Spiked (aka LM magazine aka Living Marxism aka the Revolutionary Communist Party) as far as I can spit. They have a “distinct” political agenda – contrarian “leftists” to the point of being on the libertarian right wing these days.

Fair enough gastro george, but did you know that Paul Mason is listed as a speaker at their main yearly conference for the last four years?

http://www.battleofideas.org.uk/index.php/2010/speaker_detail/80/

“I would be supportive of the concerns of the students.”

Damon, you’d have trouble supporting a football team let alone a political cause. You’d probably go on the forum after a 3-0 win and write:

“I would have been supportive of the lads yesterday, but that tackle was just too hard and offputting for neutrals like me, and as for that dive in the box..well thats why nobody likes us”

I am worried about the current situation, very worried. I have a horrid vision of what could happen but I desperately hope it won’t-
There will be much more violent protests possibly with fatalities and the Govt bans all demonstrations , and will use the army to threaten further demonstrations.
The Tories will drift ever right, pushing through these very controversial votes on very small majorities with support from the upper class element of the Libs.
Increasingly hard legislation to get public work done cheaply by unemployed such as making young do community service type work (a form of conscription)
Mass privatisation, including the road network (rumoured to already have been agreed to sell to Rothschild)
We will be alienated in the EU, with only a few Thatcherist Czechs taking us seriously.
This will mean we will be even more closely aligned to america (something Hague and many others desperately want to happen), with the inevitable military assistance we will have to give them to attack Iran (as if america doesn’t have enough troops to do this on its own) .

We will live in an ultra capitalist state with victorian style gaps between rich and poor (and being half danish that terrifies me) and totally under american ideological control, when will people realise america only wants us for what they can get out of us i.e. a capitalist foot in the door of the ‘socialist dominated europe region’. Read what these wonderful americans have said about countries with socialist tendences in the past like Finland, they are no friends of ours.
Oh how I wished that much feared United Socialist State of Europe the Tories so feared did happen. We will have a real fight on our hands getting them to collapse. But remember the Potemkin… anything is possible. They said the Tsar would never the overthrown, If there is a way out, it lies in the Proles..

51. gastro george

damon – At the time of the BBC strike Paul (who is a father of the chapel there) was being attacked for being a member of the SWP (for doing a launch for his book on the unions at a bookshop associated with them) and is reputedly a former member of Workers Power. Who knows … but he doesn’t come across as a Spiked contrarian.

Paul Mason basically comes accross as one of the few honest journalists willing to cover union issues in an honest manner. And also somebody who is willing to talk to small groups outside office hours. Try getting even a regional radio presenter to do an event and you’ll usually get quoted a 4 figure fee. Paul is the opposite, so is thus willing to talk to spiked, swp etc.

Your complacency astounds me. A few days ago “no racism at Oxbridge” now “lets take it easy on the protests” and “the SWP are Nazis”!.

54. Chiase Guevara

@ 50

“They said the Tsar would never the overthrown, If there is a way out, it lies in the Proles..”

Not the most auspicious of sources in this context, it has to be said.

55. Stuart White

This (OP) is a great piece.

There’s both a need to pace ourselves and a need to think about more effective communication in direct action – I completely agree with Sunny’s call for better leaflets.

I suppose I had better go and start making some…

@54

Shut up with your bourgeois talk of facts and consequences.

I am starting to think some of this websites writers are totally out of touch with the street and what the average person thinks.

The cuts haven’t even started to bite yet and for alot of people this does not feel like a coalition it feels like a full fledged thatcher right government.

where sum-one sitting beside clegg can says I am proud be be a child of thatcher or even have a party in Number 10 for her a few weeks after the coalition took to power at the tax payers expense.

Where the masses saw nick clegg giggle with the PM when they said they where taking benefits from people . And that people where going to loose there homes.

To ask if people will get sick of protesting is a joke.
I can say with a great deal of clarity that is is just the start as most of the cuts don’t even come in to force for years.

it does show however that lots of people are so out of touch they live in a dream world.

The the main trouble with politics at the moment its out of touch.
people do feel part of something when they protest as they feel like people in politics don’t listen to them.

They have a voice.
I am not sure if the coalition will last or not
but lots of lib seats are going to be lost because people just see them as Tory back scratchers.

When people get angry they don’t lie down and sleep do they ?

Talking of out of touch, according to the DM website, the student widely pictured swinging from a Union Jack on the Cenotaph is the son of none other than Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd.
Still it’s not as if the “protests” are about the offspring of the rich people protecting their entitlements is it…..

Planeshift, you wont mind if I mark you down in my mind as one of those annoying SWP/Rick from the Young Ones types will you?

Not sure about this idea of setting out an agenda of once a month and getting organised. It seems to be common sense I know but the strength of all this is precisely that it hasn’t been hampered to date with constraints about ‘how to do things in the right manner’.

Someone pointed out to me once that when a child uses a cliche it doesn’t know it is a cliche. The child is just excited by the discovery of a new word.or phrase.

Stepping in with experience and telling people what or what not to do may stullify everything. It seems a bit paternalistic too.

This is now a loosely knit community that has come together and will fall apart at some stage and maybe reform in some other way in a different palce and time. It includes everyone from the kids from the ‘slums of London’ (as interviewed last night) to the millionaire’s son and is all the better for it. Of course that means those with preferences or skills in other ways of organising/protesting can get involved too and get on with their things within the context of the whole.

So maybe Sunny can start the ‘once a month’ section of direct action.

I agree Sunny but the problem is a lack of diverse tactics as much as anything. Lefties need to be more imaginative and not just focus only on ‘bums on seats’ or numbers but quality effective direct action as well. We need some wins as we go along, to keep people motivated even if they are only small wins. That’s why I think we should keep targeting the likes of Topshop and Vodafone but in different ways….the green/anarchist groups have lots tricks that would be useful.

damon: The country is pretty skint I think, so short of bringing down capitalism, then there are going to be cutbacks.

You do know damon that the new tuition fees regime will increase the deficit, right? Sometimes it’s useful to look at actual policy than just empty editorials by Brendan O’Neill.
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/10/13/how-student-fees-hit-the-middle-class-hardest/

The best form of protest against education cuts is to go to class or occupy your library and read some books.

If you care about your education you’ll make damn sure you won’t miss any opportunity to get it.

Also, I’m failing to understand the resistance to any introduction of market forces into the system. Can someone explain this to me?

Ucas currently operates as a national cartel, excluding many available international courses which may be more suited to indivuduals and often have much lower fees.

This removes a pivotal mechanism to incentivise teaching improvements and gives ample motivation to fix fees between institutions at artificially high rates.

Why pay £3k+ to go to Buckingham when you can go to Holland for £1.5k, have a better study environment and get a more respected degree? where living costs are lower and you won’t live in a hellish student ghetto?

You don’t even need to learn another language, but if you do you’ll improve your employability further.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… http://bit.ly/fWoJ9E

  2. jennifer roberts

    RT @libcon: Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… http://bit.ly/fWoJ9E

  3. Alasdair

    Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  4. sunny hundal

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  5. sunny hundal

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  6. Sanjana Kumari

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  7. Sanjana Kumari

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  8. Elaine O'Neill

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  9. Derek Thomas

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  10. Cai Wingfield

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  11. Chris

    Agree with this. RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  12. cutsandgrazes dotcom

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  13. Audrey Johnson

    RT @ralasdair: Good piece on What Next for the anti-cuts protest movement from @sunny_hundal. http://bit.ly/ez0Oa9

  14. sunny hundal

    My article from earlier: Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… http://bit.ly/fWoJ9E

  15. John Ryan

    RT @sunny_hundal: My article from earlier: Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… http://bit.ly/fWoJ9E

  16. Rachel

    RT @sunny_hundal: My article from earlier: Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… http://bit.ly/fWoJ9E

  17. Rooftop Jaxx

    RT @sunny_hundal: My article from earlier: Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… http://bit.ly/fWoJ9E

  18. jennifer roberts

    RT @sunny_hundal: My article from earlier: Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… http://bit.ly/fWoJ9E

  19. Web links for 10th December 2010 | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC

    […] Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… | Liberal Conspiracy Sensible thoughts from Sunny […]

  20. Baroque in Hackney

    […] Sunny Hundal in Liberal Conspiracy, on the future of the protests […]

  21. blogs of the world

    I doubt the education protests can be sustained with the same intensity of the past, thoug… http://reduce.li/64e7i5 #protest

  22. Nicholas Stewart

    Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… http://bit.ly/gyE89w – tips on how to improve protest movement.

  23. Rachel Hubbard

    Can this new protest movement be sustained? That depends… | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/zlb8RhH via @libcon

  24. Why these protests are more dangerous than politicians realise | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] conditions. Ultimately this could be the downfall of the nascent anti-coalition movement, because, as Sunny Hundal writes , without organization, the energy and anger could soon burn itself out or turn inward – much […]

  25. Daniel Trilling

    @danhind there are a few good practical thoughts about better articulating the message to the public here: http://bit.ly/ejD7fp

  26. UK Student Protestors Use of Google Maps | Seldom Seen Kid

    […] the rights and wrongs of the protest (and I highly recommend reading this post from Sunny Hundal about the current protest movement), the use of technology must be […]





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