Extinction Rebellion save the planet by having a nice sit down
Cambridge, England. Portland, Oregon, USA. Thousand Islands Bridge, Ontario, Canada. What do these places have to do with their respective police forces? Well, a good deal more than their police forces have recently had to do with them.
Cambridge was disrupted by members of Extinction Rebellion, an organisation with vague aims to save the planet for each and every one of us who isn’t white, straight and male. Portland has been continually disrupted by Antifa, a violent middle-class street gang who just want to fight and frighten people, for weeks now. Ontario’s blockage was a protest against an oil pipeline made by a coalition between the same type of bored middle-class protesters and Wet’suwet’en Mohawk Indians, most of whom apparently want the pipeline.
Demonstrations are about as rare as CNN Trump put-downs, but a new feature of this perfectly legitimate right of ordinary people to protest is hardening into a theme. The police are not arresting anyone, no matter how many crimes have obviously been committed. Cambridge featured the digging up of the Trinity College lawn as police looked on. Portland has regular assaults with impunity. Ontario’s blockade included potentially deadly railway tampering. But no one is going to jail.
Scarcely hard evidence, but an ex-police officer on Twitter has claimed that police in the UK have been instructed – going back to the Major government – not to interfere with certain types of demonstration. There is certainly a distinct lack of arrest and punishment which would surely have been meted out had the offenders been, say, football fans or neo-Nazis.
Rather than being anomalies, these police ‘stand-downs’ are becoming a trend, even appearing to be policy. The police were notoriously told to stand down in the rioting at Charlottesville, and the Mayor of Baltimore, after the death of a black criminal, told the police that people needed ‘space to destroy’. In Australia, civilian journalist Avi Yemeni is repeatedly hustled away from demonstrations by the police, who do nothing when Yemeni himself is threatened. In Britain, there is footage of a Tommy Robinson event which was targeted by local Muslims. Instead of barring their way to Robinson and a potential flashpoint, the police actually appear to escort the counter-demonstrators towards Robinson’s entourage.
The consequences of this type of anti-policing, that is, policing which actively protects, encourages and even promotes blatant law-breaking, come sharply into focus when they are placed against the increasing tendency of police forces to divert resources to combating what is termed, with wild inaccuracy, ‘hate speech’. That is, to resort to the language of the spectacle and talk about that old chestnut ‘the message they’re sending out’, is one that baldly states, it’s okay to destroy property, commit assault, disrupt traffic and public transport, and cost the tax-payer a fortune (Extinction Rebellion are said to have cost £37 million in policing. You could fill a lot of food banks for that sort of moolah), but if you ‘misgender’ someone on Twitter, look out.
Sadly, the same old mistake is being made over this encouragement of anarchy by bemused commentators in the dissident press; viz, how can governments/the police/the media be so stupid? But there is nothing stupid about any of this. Rather, this is the ‘anarcho-tyranny’ of Samuel T. Francis, which uses a lawless and aggressive element of society to control the rest of the people.
The short-term result, of course, will be to encourage more of the same. Once Tarquin and Pandora see that Seb and India haven’t been collared for marching around tearing up ancient sward and tearing down formerly revered statues, once bored Gender Studies students have finished their otiose studies for the day and fancy clubbing an elderly person with pieces of wood with no consequences, once bubble-headed Canucks realise that there is no penalty for placing detritus on a high-speed railway line, these actions will surely intensify.
But at least the police are on top of the real problem, that being jocularity on social media. In the meantime, ordinary people attempt to get on with their lives, albeit it being surrounded by a gibbering sub-chimpanzee generation who believe anything Greta Thunberg, Bernie Sanders or Big Chief Crazy Buffalo says. Can you come and find us when it is all over?