Protesting

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Protesting

Post by plodder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:59 pm

I don't understand why these guys don't simply drive three cheap cars on the motorway, one in each lane, then slow down, stop, and leave the cars behind. Or drive at 50 mph for as long as they can to highlight the importance of fuel efficiency. The whole jump in front of traffic thing is really amateurish because it's so dangerous (and melodramatic).

https://twitter.com/LBC/status/1440214059454926859

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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:14 pm

If they drove cars, people would complain about the carbon emissions from those cars:
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Agree that it looks a bit dangerous, though.

I like the way the article calls them "eco mob" rather than Insulate Britain. And I'm sure it was more"terrifying" for the activists than the drivers - can't be the first time they've had to brake suddenly on the M25.
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Re: Protesting

Post by plodder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:24 pm

I guess the 50mph protest would have a few other advantages: it would likely improve overall traffic speed, it would certainly save fuel (so be less extreme than "don't drive"), it would be legal and it would be safe.

Home insulation isn't linked to traffic pollution, and stopping motorways isn't quite dangerous, it's really reckless. It's super easy to label these protestors as idiots, because they are. If I didn't know better I'd say they worked for BP.

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Re: Protesting

Post by IvanV » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:27 pm

Has been done before several times. As you see in 2019 case, the pro-Brexit protestors were fined for inconsiderate driving. In general, the police will pull you over on a motorway if you drive deliberately at less than about 45mph. I have a distant recollection from some time in the past of a blockade going up a motorway at 50mph, but I forget what the protest was about, and google doesn't want to find it as it is overwhelmed by reports of the more recent events.

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Re: Protesting

Post by Grumble » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:29 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:27 pm
Has been done before several times. As you see in 2019 case, the pro-Brexit protestors were fined for inconsiderate driving. In general, the police will pull you over on a motorway if you drive deliberately at less than about 45mph. I have a distant recollection from some time in the past of a blockade going up a motorway at 50mph, but I forget what the protest was about, and google doesn't want to find it as it is overwhelmed by reports of the more recent events.
Fuel price protests of 1998/9 or thereabouts.
A bit churlish

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Re: Protesting

Post by IvanV » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:31 pm

Thanks. Found it now: Fuel price protests 2005 (BBC)

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Re: Protesting

Post by plodder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:32 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:27 pm
Has been done before several times. As you see in 2019 case, the pro-Brexit protestors were fined for inconsiderate driving. In general, the police will pull you over on a motorway if you drive deliberately at less than about 45mph. I have a distant recollection from some time in the past of a blockade going up a motorway at 50mph, but I forget what the protest was about, and google doesn't want to find it as it is overwhelmed by reports of the more recent events.
Lol, that is genuinely pathetic. Telling the police beforehand and picking the A30 are not exactly going to generate headlines...

The fuel price protests were different, had a major impact and caused changes to policy. Stupid changes.

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Re: Protesting

Post by Grumble » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:32 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:31 pm
Thanks. Found it now: Fuel price protests 2005 (BBC)
A rare example where the date was more recent than I thought.
A bit churlish

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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:38 pm

plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:24 pm
I guess the 50mph protest would have a few other advantages: it would likely improve overall traffic speed, it would certainly save fuel (so be less extreme than "don't drive"), it would be legal and it would be safe.

Home insulation isn't linked to traffic pollution, and stopping motorways isn't quite dangerous, it's really reckless. It's super easy to label these protestors as idiots, because they are. If I didn't know better I'd say they worked for BP.
Yes, I think the 50 mph protest would also be effective. It would risk confusing the message - this is meant to be a stunt to raise the profile of home insulation, and the M25 is just the arena. The media would be claiming that the "eco mob" wants traffic permanently slowed to 50 mph.

But the personal risk is, I think, an important part of the point. Hundreds of people have died this year, and thousands have lost their homes, due to government inaction on tackling climate change. Young people's futures are f.cked. They are willing to risk their careers and personal safety because this is a crisis, and behaving reasonably simply gets ignored.

Obviously the media is complicit in pushing a bogus narrative about plucky drivers being terrorised by dangerous extremists. The real story is that most ordinary people are trying to make changes to their lives, at personal inconvenience and expense, to help tackle the climate emergency, but they are hampered by a lack of direct power to influence the structural factors that continue to exacerbate the crisis.

When large numbers of powerless people are trying to force concessions from a powerful minority, it generally gets dangerous. We're very lucky it hasn't been actually violent yet, but I suspect it's only a matter of time.
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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:39 pm

Grumble wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:32 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:31 pm
Thanks. Found it now: Fuel price protests 2005 (BBC)
A rare example where the date was more recent than I thought.
There were others in 2000 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_prot ... ed_Kingdom

I remember because I'd just started at a new school and it took about 2 hours to get there by bus.
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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:41 pm

Useful context, via showyourstripes.info
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_stripes_EUROPE-United_Kingdom- All of United Kingdom -1884-2020-MO-bars.png
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Re: Protesting

Post by sTeamTraen » Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:50 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:38 pm
Hundreds of people have died this year, and thousands have lost their homes, due to government inaction on tackling climate change.
But most of them were forrins. And a decent percentage of people think that climate change is the same Zionist/Rothschild/globalist/kill-me-now hoax as Covid, because they don't personally know anyone who has been affected.

One of my little subversive ways to convey the reality of climate change is the English cricket season. It used to start on about 20 April with Cambridge University vs MCC and some England player chipping a finger fielding at slip in 7°C 46°F temperatures, and end with the Scarborough Festival around 10 September, after the Gillette/NatWest final had been decided by the toss (call correctly, put opponents in on dew-covered pitch, bowl them out for 185, knock runs off at leisure in the afternoon). This year the first first-class game started on 24 March and the last county game will be played on 28 September.
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Re: Protesting

Post by JQH » Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:44 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:38 pm
They are willing to risk their careers and personal safety because this is a crisis, and behaving reasonably simply gets ignored.
Very much this. People have been asking nicely for something to be done and the response has been obfuscation and b.llsh.t from fossil fuel shills, resulting in a delay of thirty years and counting. More extreme methods are therefore needed.
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Re: Protesting

Post by JQH » Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:47 am

sTeamTraen wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:50 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:38 pm
Hundreds of people have died this year, and thousands have lost their homes, due to government inaction on tackling climate change.
But most of them were forrins. And a decent percentage of people think that climate change is the same Zionist/Rothschild/globalist/kill-me-now hoax as Covid, because they don't personally know anyone who has been affected.

One of my little subversive ways to convey the reality of climate change is the English cricket season. It used to start on about 20 April with Cambridge University vs MCC and some England player chipping a finger fielding at slip in 7°C 46°F temperatures, and end with the Scarborough Festival around 10 September, after the Gillette/NatWest final had been decided by the toss (call correctly, put opponents in on dew-covered pitch, bowl them out for 185, knock runs off at leisure in the afternoon). This year the first first-class game started on 24 March and the last county game will be played on 28 September.
That's nowt to do with warmer weather - the season has been lengthened because County matches and 50 over no longer happen in high summer as they've been displaced by T20 and the abomination that is The Hundred.
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Re: Protesting

Post by plodder » Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:49 am

JQH wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:44 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:38 pm
They are willing to risk their careers and personal safety because this is a crisis, and behaving reasonably simply gets ignored.
Very much this. People have been asking nicely for something to be done and the response has been obfuscation and b.llsh.t from fossil fuel shills, resulting in a delay of thirty years and counting. More extreme methods are therefore needed.
OK but effective protest isn’t just falling on the floor and throwing your toys everywhere. It’s a way of seizing the narrative in a creative way, often using humour or shock (or both) in order to clearly spell out a message that is otherwise being suppressed.

It’s great that people are stepping up, it’s great that they’re getting headlines, it’s not great that they’re putting people’s lives at risk and it’s not great that they’ve picked a really really unsexy message: give us loft insulation or we’ll cause motorway pile ups is classy loony territory.

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Re: Protesting

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:09 am

JQH wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:44 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:38 pm
They are willing to risk their careers and personal safety because this is a crisis, and behaving reasonably simply gets ignored.
Very much this. People have been asking nicely for something to be done and the response has been obfuscation and b.llsh.t from fossil fuel shills, resulting in a delay of thirty years and counting. More extreme methods are therefore needed.
Its a difficult question.

Especially with a Tory government, the way to marginalize a protest movement is to portray its members as being on the margins. The more the extreme the action the easier it is to portray the people doing it as a bunch of weirdos. Appearing to want to mess up the lives of ordinary people is a high risk strategy. The risk is that the public identify and empathize with the the drivers stuck in the traffic jam rather than with the protestors.

That's not to say that people should only be polite and demure. An alternative would be to target figures that the public doesn't like or care about. For example, shut down access to an airport used by private jets.

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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:10 am

I agree that the choice of target is important. I think there's a couple of important factors - who is inconvenienced, and how much attention you can get.

In terms of attention, you have to do it somewhere in London if you want major press coverage. When HS2 protestors started tunnelling under Euston, I thought it was an odd choice compared to all the valuable habitats being affected. Of course, it turned out there had been people up trees in Oxfordshire (etc) for days getting slowly dehydrated by cops, with barely a mention in the mainstream media. Chuck some paint on a bank and suddenly you're on the evening news.

In terms of inconvenience, obviously the more people you affect the more attention you get. Some kinds of targets, like airports, could attract terrorism charges (the US often treats pipeline protestors as terrorists, for instance, and this government seems pretty keen on quashing dissent by any means necessary).

There's also the question of whether your target is relevant to your message. In this case there would obviously be no point protesting in a poorly insulated attic, but while cars are relevant to climate change they're not relevant to insulation.

So the ideal target for a protest is something that (1) causes disruption near London, (2) to a site of low national security/strategic importance, where (3) the disruption affects primarily people doing something that contributes to the issue you're protesting about.

The M25 clearly hits (1), and seems to have hit (2) as I haven't seen any serious mention of terror charges etc. I have qualms about (3), as most individual drivers don't necessarily have much choice about how they go about their business.

Some trade association meeting of landlords would be the perfect target, I think. But let's not let perfect be the enemy of the good. The primary goal of a stunt like this is to get attention, and it's worked. Now the challenge is to maintain the narrative despite a hostile media hell-bent on promulgating disinformation, which is a bit harder.
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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:13 am

JQH wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:44 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:38 pm
They are willing to risk their careers and personal safety because this is a crisis, and behaving reasonably simply gets ignored.
Very much this. People have been asking nicely for something to be done and the response has been obfuscation and b.llsh.t from fossil fuel shills, resulting in a delay of thirty years and counting. More extreme methods are therefore needed.
Thanks JQH - it's always heartening to be reminded that a lot of people do see the bigger picture. That often gets lost in squabbles about rolling news.
plodder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:49 am
OK but effective protest isn’t just falling on the floor and throwing your toys everywhere. It’s a way of seizing the narrative in a creative way, often using humour or shock (or both) in order to clearly spell out a message that is otherwise being suppressed.

It’s great that people are stepping up, it’s great that they’re getting headlines, it’s not great that they’re putting people’s lives at risk and it’s not great that they’ve picked a really really unsexy message: give us loft insulation or we’ll cause motorway pile ups is classy loony territory.
It's unsexy, but it's at least imminently practical. Greens are often accused of being naive and utopian and impractical - there's no way to make any of those charges stick when it comes to lagging lofts. It's doable, cost effective, and has intersectional benefits for folks suffering in sh.tty accommodation.
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Re: Protesting

Post by Fishnut » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:58 am

An injunction against them has been granted and now face contempt of court with potential imprisonment if they continue their actions. Given they have been facing being run over, I'm not sure a prison sentence is necessarily going to be much of a deterrent but I may be wrong.
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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:05 pm

For those who support their goals but prefer safer activism, they also have a Parliamentary petition which I've signed. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/594431

Their website in general is pretty good https://www.insulatebritain.com/
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Re: Protesting

Post by plodder » Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:14 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:58 am
An injunction against them has been granted and now face contempt of court with potential imprisonment if they continue their actions. Given they have been facing being run over, I'm not sure a prison sentence is necessarily going to be much of a deterrent but I may be wrong.
I'd agree - especially as quite a few of them are elderly - prison might actually be cushy if they're broke.

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Re: Protesting

Post by Fishnut » Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:15 pm

I really don't know what I think about this protest. I don't know that protesting works but I don't think anything else does either. Protests are never popular until they've succeeded, and then everyone says they supported them. People hate disruption, which is fair enough, but climate change is already causing massively greater disruption than a traffic jam on that most traffic-jammed of motorways.

I envy protestors in a way. To feel so passionately about something they're willing to risk life and liberty in its name, and to have the conviction and optimism to think they may be able to create change. These days I find myself increasingly of the view that humanity is doomed and that our governments will keep their heads in the sand and their hands in the pockets of big business right up to the moment when civilisation has finished crumbling around us. In my more optimistic moments I remind myself we have many of the solutions available to fix things already, but there's no political will to implement them and I don't see that there ever will be. COP26 is going to be another exercise in meaningless targets agreed and immediately ignored while companies get to greenwash themselves. In the words of Private Frazer, we're doomed.
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Re: Protesting

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:49 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:10 am
So the ideal target for a protest is something that (1) causes disruption near London, (2) to a site of low national security/strategic importance, where (3) the disruption affects primarily people doing something that contributes to the issue you're protesting about.

The M25 clearly hits (1), and seems to have hit (2) as I haven't seen any serious mention of terror charges etc. I have qualms about (3), as most individual drivers don't necessarily have much choice about how they go about their business.

Some trade association meeting of landlords would be the perfect target, I think. But let's not let perfect be the enemy of the good. The primary goal of a stunt like this is to get attention, and it's worked. Now the challenge is to maintain the narrative despite a hostile media hell-bent on promulgating disinformation, which is a bit harder.
I agree. Another option might be something to do with the building industry.

I don't though think that any publicity is good publicity. There are lots of powerful interests that want to discredit people calling for radical change. Its not a good idea to make their lives easier.
Fishnut wrote:I really don't know what I think about this protest. I don't know that protesting works but I don't think anything else does either. Protests are never popular until they've succeeded, and then everyone says they supported them. People hate disruption, which is fair enough, but climate change is already causing massively greater disruption than a traffic jam on that most traffic-jammed of motorways.
One thing which is certain to be successful is if a significant portion of voters are willing to vote for parties which promise the right policies. That applies to every movement. By significant I mean that there are enough to sway a general election - and that'll depend upon where they are and who they were going to vote for anyway. I think there is a tipping point like you describe. If support crosses a threshold then for a large proportion of the electorate it becomes sensible and of course they support it.

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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:56 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:15 pm
I really don't know what I think about this protest. I don't know that protesting works but I don't think anything else does either. Protests are never popular until they've succeeded, and then everyone says they supported them. People hate disruption, which is fair enough, but climate change is already causing massively greater disruption than a traffic jam on that most traffic-jammed of motorways.

I envy protestors in a way. To feel so passionately about something they're willing to risk life and liberty in its name, and to have the conviction and optimism to think they may be able to create change. These days I find myself increasingly of the view that humanity is doomed and that our governments will keep their heads in the sand and their hands in the pockets of big business right up to the moment when civilisation has finished crumbling around us. In my more optimistic moments I remind myself we have many of the solutions available to fix things already, but there's no political will to implement them and I don't see that there ever will be. COP26 is going to be another exercise in meaningless targets agreed and immediately ignored while companies get to greenwash themselves. In the words of Private Frazer, we're doomed.
I know exactly what you mean. I really try hard to stay away from doomism - especially publicly - but it's f.cking hard. The refusal to implement the solutions we have and know are necessary increasingly leads me to the conclusion that we basically have to "get rid of" a lot of the people currently holding power, which historically has generally been a rather unpleasant process.

You know the world's in a sh.tty state when seeing kids throw themselves into traffic over pipe lagging gives you more hope for the future than anything a mainstream politician has said in decades.
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Re: Protesting

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:59 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:49 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:10 am
So the ideal target for a protest is something that (1) causes disruption near London, (2) to a site of low national security/strategic importance, where (3) the disruption affects primarily people doing something that contributes to the issue you're protesting about.

The M25 clearly hits (1), and seems to have hit (2) as I haven't seen any serious mention of terror charges etc. I have qualms about (3), as most individual drivers don't necessarily have much choice about how they go about their business.

Some trade association meeting of landlords would be the perfect target, I think. But let's not let perfect be the enemy of the good. The primary goal of a stunt like this is to get attention, and it's worked. Now the challenge is to maintain the narrative despite a hostile media hell-bent on promulgating disinformation, which is a bit harder.
I agree. Another option might be something to do with the building industry.

I don't though think that any publicity is good publicity. There are lots of powerful interests that want to discredit people calling for radical change. Its not a good idea to make their lives easier.
I kind of agree. At the moment the choice for environmentalists seems to be between "no publicity" and "bad publicity" - has anyone seen positive coverage of any environmental activism from any UK media outlet that isn't the Graun or Independent in the last few years? What did those stories have in common?
Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:49 pm
Fishnut wrote:I really don't know what I think about this protest. I don't know that protesting works but I don't think anything else does either. Protests are never popular until they've succeeded, and then everyone says they supported them. People hate disruption, which is fair enough, but climate change is already causing massively greater disruption than a traffic jam on that most traffic-jammed of motorways.
One thing which is certain to be successful is if a significant portion of voters are willing to vote for parties which promise the right policies. That applies to every movement. By significant I mean that there are enough to sway a general election - and that'll depend upon where they are and who they were going to vote for anyway. I think there is a tipping point like you describe. If support crosses a threshold then for a large proportion of the electorate it becomes sensible and of course they support it.
The problem with this is
1) there aren't any parties with sensible environmental policies, certainly not out of the two that can win elections in the UK
2) politicians don't do what they were elected to do anyway

So for both of those reasons, ordinary people need to be hammering away at parties and government to get them to (1) have good ideas, and (2) actually do them. The people in charge are totally f.cking useless and at this point we'd be better off without them.
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