Thursday, 2 April 2009

What do you want, and when do you want it?

Sam Leith and Don Paskini speak sooth about protest marches.

From Sam:

Face paint and world music and "giving the power back to the people" is not going to have any effect on the world whatsoever. Left to themselves, "the people" will sit in fields practising their polyphonic singing and scratching their furry parts. If they want to get anything done on a scale large enough to be effective, they get together and elect leaders. For want of a better word, I propose calling those leaders "politicians".

Imagine, for a minute, that you are the leader of a G20 country - Canada, say, or South Korea. Imagine further that you have taken a couple of minutes out of your swollen schedule of dialogues, photo-ops and dinners to watch the protest - either on camera or in person. Hordes, or at least myriads, of marchers have taken to the streets, banners high. Clearly, they have something on their mind. Maybe, just maybe, they're saying something you should hear. They are, after all, the people. What is their message? Is it:

a) Hang The Bankers
b) Abolish Money
c) No Third Runway
d) End World Hunger
e) Free Palestine
f) Troops Out of Afghanistan
g) Nationalise The Banks
h) Stop Climate Chaos
i) All of the above
j) All of the above and more

What do you do? What can you do? Shrug your shoulders, turn on your heal and go back into your meeting with the angry Frenchman. He may be a stubborn pain in the arse, but at least you've got a basis for negotiation.

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