Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mick Hume.... again

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Mick Hume may be an old ex-Trot just biding his time for the proletariat uprising, he really does have these climate change campaigners pegged brilliantly. His analysis in this morning's Times is simply brilliant.

However, at the risk of sounding like a grey talking head on the “Grumpy Old Marxists” show, I feel obliged to point out that young eco-protester puppies today don’t know they are born, are degrading the good name of direct action, and would not know a police state if they found one in their muesli.

The news has been full of spokespersons from the Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow comparing their campaign of direct action with noble struggles of the past. One summed up the camp’s aims as being “to show it’s possible and pleasurable to live sustainably” (the joys of the composting toilet), and “to show that non-violent direct action works. Civil disobedience has in the past led to things like black people getting the vote.”

Grow up and get an education. The campaign against Heathrow expansion bears no comparison to those that led to “things like black people getting the vote”. Direct action is neither good nor bad in principle. It is just a tactic, used by all manner of protest movements. What matters most are the political aims and outlook informing the protests.

In the past, direct action was employed by people fighting to defend their own interests – working people struggling for jobs and better pay, women demanding the vote, black people seeking civil rights. The pursuit of self-interest was the driving force for political change. Others such as we on the Left supported their struggles, but we acted in solidarity, not as self-appointed substitutes for the miners or disadvantaged minorities......

The “grassroots” protest movement at Heathrow turns out to be an egotistical posture from self-appointed saviours who imagine that they are floating above the ignorant masses, acting for the planet. It might seem odd that such high-profile protests take place at a time of low-level interest in politics. In fact they are two sides of the same coin. Gestures of disengaged direct action, such as occupying the BAA car park in the middle of the night, are not trying to win an argument with anybody. They are media stunts designed to demonstrate that the protesters are parked on the side of the angels, armed with the (self) righteous sword of “peer-reviewed science” to smite anybody in their path.

This apparent taste for the dictatorship of an expert elite over the great unaware might be rather sinister if we took them seriously. But despite the high-minded declarations, these protesters are only playing at politics. There were not many clown outfits in evidence among the Sunday-best suits on the 1963 March on Washington.
Incidentally, if people are not away, Mick Hume is the editor of Sp!ked Online and it's worth a read. Sure its the successor to Living Marxism, but they're analysis really does nail it more often than not.


ScotsToryB said...
21 Aug 2007 08:45:00  

Dizzy, your Times link takes you to Bloggerheads.....?


dizzy said...
21 Aug 2007 08:51:00  

Fixed. Damned cut and paste buffer!

Curbishlyauto said...
21 Aug 2007 10:09:00  

I watched that protesters spokeswoman on Telly the other day and couldn't help but think how long it must have taken her to swim across the Atlantic.

Chris Paul said...
21 Aug 2007 12:49:00  

Clive Soley has them fixed aussi je crois. Mick Hume, another hero of Mancunion, NUS-Guardian Award Winning class of 1982 ...

Matthew said...
21 Aug 2007 16:29:00  

Mick gave up the editorial chair in Jan 2007. Brendan O'Neill is editor.

dizzy said...
21 Aug 2007 16:33:00  

fair enuff

Hannibal said...
21 Aug 2007 18:55:00  

Here's a piece directly contrasting the comments of Mick Hume to those of George Monbiot in today's Guardian:



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