The Null Device

The usual bampots

As the war rolls on, demonstrations are an angrier affair. The middle-class Guardian-reader types who went to the February demos are largely staying away, leaving the protesting to the usual militant nutjobs.
Gone, it seemed, were the ranks of the well-dressed middle-classes, most of whom had been holding a placard for the first time, who swelled the first event to such historic proportions. Instead, the more bizarre groupings and banners (South London Home Educators; Sex Workers of the World Unite - and, yes, you can bet that heads were craning to see who was holding the poster) were almost lost in the sea of CND, SWP and Socialist Alliance posters, and their messages were not the stuff of musical comedy. 'Weep with the Widows of Iraq.' 'Bomb Texas, they have oil too.' The Workers' Revolutionary Party Young Socialists, in particular, built a number of bridges with the rest of the nation by carrying the simple, pithy, 'Victory to Iraq.'

Could it be the realisation that if the Yanqui imperialists did what the protesters demanded and withdrew all troops immediately, Saddam's forces would roll into formerly-conquered cities and exact terrible revenge on anyone suspected of welcoming in the invaders; or that leaving Saddam in power at this late stage would be the worst outcome for all (other than the ANSWER people, to whom he's a Third-World Liberation Leader, just like Che and Lumumba and Mugabe and Idi Amin and such)? Or has the smooth and (apparently) not overly bloody running of the war so far raised the hope that maybe, just maybe, it will be over soon and will have been all for the best?

There are 7 comments on "The usual bampots":

Posted by: richard Sun Mar 23 23:51:39 2003

Protesters may be angrier in some demonstrations overseas, but they're anything but that here. The two rallies I went to at the end of last week were perfectly peaceful affairs. And they retained the same mix of people, young, old, feral, middle-class, ...

I can't speak for the rest of the people at the rally, but I'm protesting the human cost of this war - not necessarily from direct bombing. The number of Iraqis that will be killed due to the destruction of their infrastructure remains to be seen, but it will be high, and it's not even being acknowledged by the media hacks "informing" the public.

There's other reasons too, but they border on conspiracy-theory nutjob stuff that I won't go into (you know, the US plans to take over the world, or at least make sure the greenback doesn't lose its current country-whalloping power...)

It's important to me that I stand up and make it known that just because the war's started, I haven't just changed my mind and decided that it's a good idea after all.


Posted by: richard Sun Mar 23 23:53:04 2003

[Hey, damn thing truncated my comment. Hurm.]

I don't really believe it's possible for the troops to be withdrawn at this late stage (though the withdrawal of our troops really wouldn't affect things, would it?) - I just want to add my voice to the masses that are saying that we didn't want this war.

As for the "shock and awe" war guaranteed to be over within the American attention span ... well, it looks like the Iraqis aren't just rolling over. The Yanks still have to take several major cities (including the one holding Bush's Grail) and that fighting is going to be extraordinarily ugly, and drawn out. I desperately hope I'm wrong about this, but I can't see this war being over any time soon.

Posted by: acb Mon Mar 24 08:27:05 2003

Posted by: gjw Mon Mar 24 08:57:10 2003

Oooo that's harsh.

Posted by: richard Tue Mar 25 00:35:47 2003

Like I said, I see none of that kinda stupidity at the rallies I go to.

Posted by: acb Tue Mar 25 00:57:10 2003

The photo was from San Francisco apparently (where 1600 protesters were arrested after a riot). I wonder whether it's a product of America not having a moderate leftist tradition. Perhaps left-wing beliefs carry such a stigma there (being considered "un-American" and all) that people either steer well clear of them or get involved in the most militant strains?

I heard that the Green Party in the US is actually Maoist in ideology; mind you, given that talk-radio rightists regularly call anti-war protesters "Stalinists", that could be meaningless.

Posted by: janaki Tue Mar 25 16:14:22 2003

you know, i'm particularly sick of the namecalling that seems to be done here (in the US) as regards anyone opposed to this war. there are a disturbing number of people to whom any sort of dissent seems to be tantamount to treason, and who are very quick to assume that you must be pro-Saddam and anti-American if you're one denouncing this war. it's not really very surprising though---moderate leftists don't really provide as much juicy media fodder for the likes of the Fox News Channel and Rush Limbaugh and others; if they're going to have any leftists on at all, they're going to be <i>extreme</i>---after all, how else does one engage in the shouting matches that guarantee ratings?

unfortunately, this country is all about extreme nutjobism. and getting worse by the <i>millisecond</i>...:P

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