Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday Protest Blogging: Paris

They certainly know how to protest in France. There the government proposes fire-at-will legislation, and 120,000 people take to the streets of Paris, where they occupy buildings. Here we'll be lucky if it gets beyond a few grumpy blog posts. Unfotunately I don't speak French, but if you do the Paris indymedia site looks interesting.

When I said in my post on the body shop that I don't have any time for ethical businesses, it's not because I don't think there's any hope of creating change, but because I think obsessing about your shopping can distract people. It's because I believe if people work together collectively and organise together to challenge existing power structures, then we can be stronger than they are.

2 comments:

  1. Katherine5:19 pm

    "I believe if people work together collectively and organise together to challenge existing power structures, then we can be stronger than they are."

    This was a thought provoking statement, and led me to wonder how you envisage this happening?

    To put it another way, how do you maintain and grow an organisation or organisations to challenge existing power stuctures to a point where you can overwhelm them, without those power structures noticing and stomping on you?

    Even if you are secretive about it, eventually it will come out and you get accused of being subversive and anti-patriotic or worse a "terrorist", which seems to be ample justification in the western world to come after you with everything in their power.

    I guess this is why revolution (which, by your statement you appear to be tacitly supporting)is often violent. Is this how you see things going, or do you think things can be changed without the use of force?

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  2. I know a lot of people who could give you a quick answer to that question, unfortunately I'm not one of them.

    That's not just laziness. Part of the point in believing in collective action, is that you can't predict the out-come (because I'm only going to ever be one person in a much larger movement). That includes how it might happen, how it might be organised, and what tactics might be used.

    How we deal with power structures striking back is a serious problem. But when it comes down to it the powerful have power only to the extent that they're able to enforce it, and that requires the powerless to do the dirty work. I don't know if you've seen the movie the Corporation, but at the end of that they talk about protests against water privatisation. The protests got bigger and bigger, the government sent out the army to crush them, and the army refused to go.

    But I'm a historian, I know power has been challenged before, I know we've won before. I believe we have to keep fighting.

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