A Series of Strategic Responses to the Tory Majority, no. 10. No more Mister Nice Guy.

18 May

Probably the central plank of Conservative ideology is the idea of original sin.  They like to think of ordinary people as sinful and stupid, and desperately in need of guidance or leadership.  As long as that guidance is from Conservatives or their favoured ‘experts’, of course, rather than from Nobel prizewinning economists who believe greater equality is needed even in order to safeguard capitalism, or experts in drug policy who think cannabis should be treated as relatively safe.

It is therefore bitterly ironic that in order to implement their agendas the Tories (and their Blairite and LibDem allies) always depend upon part of the opposition being made up of ‘nice’ people,who simply won’t do the sinful and ‘nasty’ things needed to beat the Tories.

Those of us who genuinely wish to change the power-hungry, inefficient, callous and brutal system we live in, need to start taking note.  Here, in brief, are three possible implications of that thought.

1.  If you are one of the people who habitually dismisses possible avenues of resistance by saying “that would just be sinking to their level”.

Get over yourself.  You do not have the right to claim a superior moral stance if you’re exposing the poor and vulnerable to a worse and more brutal life.

Your shallow individualised moral superiority will not bring back people who die because their benefits have been cut.  It will not prevent the wiping out of the native British hare if the hunting act is repealed.  It will not stop the family and individual breakdown that comes as a result of zero hours contracts.  It will not prevent the chaotic profiteering, insecurity and stress that comes with privatisation, cronyism, centralism and illiterate economic policy.

Once you’ve got over yourself, consider whether the act or action in question is likely to work – and whether in the particular instance in question the end is likely to justify the means.  Ted Honderich’s philosophical classic Violence for Equality may well be worth looking at whilst you’re trying to make that calculation.

There are lots of possible actions, of course, where the stated end wouldn’t justify the means. Breaking the law for the sake of it is pointless, for example.  But in the event of having an achievable and proportionate outcome realistically planned, it makes perfect sense.

Incidentally – whilst we’re talking about morality – if your true discomfort with potentially effective means of action comes from cowardice (whether physical or moral) then you need to face that aspect of yourself in an honest way.  It’s a personal growth thing, man.

2.  If you are organising a march.

Don’t provide stewards.

Don’t agree a route.

Don’t attempt to minimise disruption to the public.  The point of marches is to make the public aware of your views, and numbers – if you’re not disrupting their life, they will not notice you.

Do get legal observers, if you intend to have legal observers, from Green and Black Cross – rather than from any group that is officially ‘neutral’.  The police do pretty well at manufacturing (and suppressing) evidence as it is, without any extra help from you.

3.  If you think that showing anger is a form of weakness.

Get over yourself.  If you’re not angry right now, there’s something a bit wrong with you.

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