Thursday, 17 November 2011
When Does A Cause Become A Be-cause?
When does a cause become a be-cause [we can]?
Tom Shields is a journalist who ignores, or more accurately, pays sensible respect to the politically correct lobby and writes as he finds.
His light-hearted article in the Herald about the disintegrating Occupy demonstrations strikes a chord with me. Perhaps it's a generational thing, but he does - perhaps inadvertently - make a serious point.
Demonstrating these days is 'by consent' from the powers that be - in other words politicians and police. The police must be notified of any protest intended and consent for the 'gathering' must be given. This modern ruling is suppression, camouflaged within Health and Safety rules. Of course, back in the 60s there were no Health and Safety police. People usually used common sense when on protests and police were bystanders - observing from the shadows and ready to help if it was needed.
We protested without the use of modern day police tactics, yet in those days all were there for a cause and not be-cause it was something to do. Having carefully followed the Occupy London protesters, I've yet to know their reason other than they are anti-capitalist.
The be-cause element has unfortunately crept into 'modern' protests; people who follow any protest because that is how they spend their time. Genuine protesters can do without Be-causers as they detract from the main message and that's what has happened to Occupy London or Occupy Glasgow perhaps.
Allowing those who are 'professional' protesters does nothing for those who strongly believe in a protest's message, yet Occupy London allowed these people to takeover their genuine argument against the banks. A close friend of mine visited the Occupy London site the other weekend and found many he spoke with spent their lives flitting between various groups who wished to make a statement. He was impressed by their organising skills but felt they were overshadowing the people who were there because they truly believed a change is needed in the disparity of incomes in this country.
Do the Be-causers help when they invade protests? Perhaps, with their skills, they have ensured demonstrations are too civil as Mr Shields suggests.