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Riots don't progress the cause
Reaction to Si Mitchell's The Case For Confrontation article
by Matt Lodder, 25.10.00.

I thought Si Mitchell's News Post "The Case For Confrontation" made interesting reading and touched on some important issuses, but I think he missed one fundamental point.

Mass sociological, systematic change can only come about with mass popular support. Without the backing of the majority of the population, it is impossible to affect the status quo.

The most effective way of bringing an end to the inequalities of global capitalism is to draw mass attention to the issues in a mature and considered way.

Smashing a few windows and spraying graffitti on a few walls, as happend in Prague and in the London protests this summer is only going to condemn the entire cause as immature and destructive, it's main exponents as thugs and criminals.

If the protest was contducted peacefully, there would be no need for sensationalist news pieces on the actions of anarchists. We should not attempt to reject the media, as Si Mitchell suggests, but to embrace it as a means of disseminating our message.


Without the distraction of tabloid headlines regarding rioting, news and media organisations would be free to describe the atrocities against which the protests were aimed. By rioting and defacing war memorials, we are playing into their hands. Confront them with logic, reasoned argument and facts, then perhaps popular opinion can be swayed.

The world will not be changed by a few bone-headed thrill-seekers putting a chair through the window of a Macdonald's. It's time we separated ourselves from childish vandalism and became a unified political force.

Rioting may be mildly amusing and slightly more immediate, but it doesn't get anything done. Most successful sociological revolutions this century have come about through peaceful protest - the struggles of Martin Luther King and Emily Pankhurst being prime examples. Make people aware of the issues and they cannot fail to realise how fucked up the system really is.

Give them front page pictures of exploited workers in India, of dying babies in Africa, of underpaid shelf stackers in Newcastle. Play them at their own game - don't provide them with lazy pictures of masked fools bricking Macdonalds.

Original article: The case for confrontation

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