A demonstration of real change

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STUDENT and public demonstrations are nothing new but they achieve significance during periods of societal change. Ordinarily they are safety valves when public frustrations build up a head of steam. The protest over, the placard-bearing crowds are content to have made their point; life returns to normal.

Recent demonstrations have exposed sinister undercurrents that run far deeper; they portend change that could be cataclysmic and affect us all. Demonstrations, similar to those now taking place throughout Europe ignited a chain of events that brought the Soviet Union to its knees. Why should western Capitalism feel secure?

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After all the banking collapse is now imposing Soviet-style state control and austerity across Europe. To see the future you need only look back at Poland in 1985. Today’s demonstrations are tomorrow’s perestroika.

Raw Hostility

The thin blue line that holds sway between the state and its people is fraying at the edges. Until recently the police in the EU and UK were confident that their manpower, strategy and tactics would separate state and people. Now, for the first time, the robotic figures wielding batons from behind their shields face raw hostility and no longer have the upper hand.

A recent video doing the world tour shows London’s riot police, including members of the Territorial Support Group, running headlong away from angry protestors. It was not an edifying sight; especially if one is a government minister.

These are not isolated incidents: When the Castor Train, dubbed Chernobyl on Wheels because of its 133 tonne payload of highly radio active waste, trundled across Europe it was met by such public resistance that thousands of heavily armed police were rendered powerless.

The police ‘sue for peace’

The 17,000 police offices marching in columns into the woodlands near the Gorleben nuclear storage facility must have felt invincible. Events were to prove otherwise. Though these tooled up police regiments were joined by reinforcements from Croatia, France and Poland they were overwhelmed by protestors. The cost of the operation is put at €50 million.

Trapped in the regional woodlands, denied reinforcements or sustenance, thousands of dispirited, exhausted and hungry police officers were forced to negotiate with protestors. With 5,000 people lying on the railway tracks in pitch darkness the police operation descended into chaos. Reiner Wendt, heading the police union had little choice but to issue a press release conceding the police had reached exhaustion point.

The Police Protest Too

A significant factor was that these tens of thousands of protestors were not rent-a-mob but identifiable by their ordinariness. Bernard Witthaut, a leading figure in the German police union blamed the government for using the police to drive through unpopular political policies. Citizens in Rebellion cried the TAZ headline whilst Bild described it as Civil War in Wendtand.  NGO chief Kersin Rudeks says; “We have lost faith in the government until they prove that their politics is for the people and not the corporations.”

Demonstrations throughout Europe are today a feature of everyday life; most relate to austerity, hopelessness and job losses. Outside of war it is nearly 100-years since so many went to bed hungry.

End Of Empire

The sea change is not confined to Europe. Chalmers Johnson, a long time CIA consultant may have spoken for other than the United States: “The United States today is like a cruise ship on the Niagara River upstream of the most spectacular falls in North America. A few people on board have begun to pick up a slight hiss in the background, to observe a faint haze of mist in the air on their glasses, to note that the river current seems to be running slightly faster.

But no one yet seems to have realized that it is almost too late to head for shore. Like the Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, imperial German, Nazi, Imperial Japanese, British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Soviet empires in the last century, we are approaching the edge of a huge waterfall and are about to plunge over it.”

 

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