Cockamamie Little Protests in London & Athens

The weekend’s blockade of Stansted Airport by ‘Plane Stupid‘ has ended with 57 arrests and 50 flights cancelled. So far, nobody has actually used the immortal words Cockamie Little Protest’, but a BBC newswonk came close when he wearily droned:

“Actions like this only delay people getting on with their lives.”

What he still fails to realise is that this kind of inconvenience is just a taste of a future which will see everyone’s lives drastically interfered with, whatever happens. It is a fact of Life as we have contrived it since the invention of the steam engine.

The Bangkok airport protests by the so-called ‘People’s Alliance for Democracy’ showed how enough people acting together can achieve their goals. It just so happens that the PAD’s goals are squalid and backward, But they are real enough, and their effects even more so.

The respectable suburbians living under the Heathrow flightpath are vowing to take direct action should their objections to new runway be ignored. Some of them may well be more concerned with the already plumetting value of their homes, but there is no doubt that their objections are valid, and many are now citing global warming as a case against airport expansion.

The ongoing riots in Greece show just how angry young people can get at the kind of police we can expect from a state determined to defend a destructive economic system from the consequences of itself. It just so happens that the goals of some Pixie anarchists are more vendetta than Declaration of Human Rights, but their actions are indisputably real, and are also a vision of future clashes when tensions between state and society will be much greater.

These are all actions of people working together to achieve their goals, however debased or misguided. Acting in a shared spirit of fellow-feeling, so how much more successful and attractive should goals be which are in everyone’s long-term interest, and that of their descendants?
Governments should therefore take time to inspect the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights they signed up to, with its intention that people should be encouraged to co-operate with each other, a not merely delegate governments to do so on their behalf – with other governments and bureaucracies.
Article 1.

But how will governments understand what they have committed themselves to if they do not know what ‘brotherhood’ means? And how will they find out what brotherhood means if they are unable to realise that ending the ruinous consumer orgy will take more mass ‘brotherhood’ than at any time in history? And how will they prevent more cities from burning if they cannot demonstrate that they are acting in the interest of the people, not profiteers? That they know what brotherhood means – however unfashionable the word is to the sneering sophisticates who have cleverly engineered our current economic and environmental crisis. If it at convinces some of them that the rest of the world matters, Global Warming might almost be worthwhile.
As for the most interesting definition of brotherhood, it is best left, as usual, to George Orwell, writing in 1943, when the world was just as uncertain as it is now.

Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step. Where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue.

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