When will they ever learn?

You have a group of students, professors and no doubt the ever guilty ‘outside agitators’ all in London protesting possible tuition hikes.  So what do you do?  Here’s a great idea: charge** into the crowd with horses!  Won’t that show everyone you are right and they are wrong?

Now, here’s the thing that gets me:  at least since the student protests at Berkeley in 1964-65, we’ve had all sorts of police attacks on students.  Pretty much, they do not work.  There should be some lesson book that says something like, “Lots of people think of students as overly privileged, but few want to see police charging at young people who are our future.”  And, as it turns out in this case, highly vulnerable.  I.e., pregnant.  Or so it seems.

The mounted police charge** at about 1:06.


**The description of the police on horses as charging comes from the Guardian..

11 thoughts on “When will they ever learn?

  1. Eh? What attack? The mounted officers at 1:06 are moving into position from behind the police lines, not trampling people; you can see that the purpose is to slowly push the crowd back.

    And really, sympathy for the highly vulnerable pregnant lady? My sympathy is with the unborn child who has such irresponsible parents as to bring it to an inherently unpredictable event.

  2. I have some trouble seeing how bringing in mounted officers is a particularly appropriate and effective way slowly to push a crowd back. (How about officers says loudly, “Crowd must move back. We will begin arresting crowd members/giving tickets/court citations to crowd members who do not move in the directions given by the officers.”)

    Also, I think the more people, including parents and pregnant women, who attend protests and engage in well organized and civil political resistance activities, the better. (The better for raising consciousness and forging steps toward bringing about social change/progress.) I stand by jj and appreciate this post.

    Still, sadly a wonderful piece by Matt Taibbi immediately comes to mind. This piece of writing applies more to other protests (particularly certain ones in the U.S., though Taibbi’s points generalize to many protests) than the sort of protest depicted here. Nonetheless, I suggest reading this piece whenever related topics come up. So for anyone interested:

    A March to Irrelevance, by Matt Taibbi

  3. The post has been changed to indicate that the description of the action as charging comes from the Guardian. The police have denied that they charged, but apparently a spokesperson said that’s “charging” in a restricted sense. So the police view is that it was technically not a charge.

    I think that arguing over whether or not what’s on the video is a charge could quickly come to resemble a Monty Python episode.

  4. asur: ‘irresponsible’? seriously? it’s irresponsible for a pregnant woman to exercise her right to peaceful political expression? what sexist, paternalistic clap-trap. should she be barefoot, too?

  5. Elp, surely you can’t think pregnant women ought to partcipate in activities where one’s safety depends on others acting in a reasonable, and careful way- like attending protests or concerts, driving, flying or generally going out in public.

  6. Elp and Kathryn, Better to stay at home and indeed home school on a self sustaining farm far away from big cities and so on. I’m shocked there are pregnant women living in London, in fact.

    The only dangers in vast nearly uninhabited parts of the States – where you can find homesteads unlike in crowded Europe – are all the right wing nutters who are running survivalist groups a la Glen Beck.

    You all might want to turn your attention to the post on airport security. mm and I have built on a remark of Asur’s there.

  7. Parents simply have an obligation to protect their children from unreasonable risks–such as this one.

    I’m surprised at how many (all save DS?) of these replies are using fallacious reasoning to object…

  8. Asur, the disagreement is over what is an unreasonable risk for a parent to take, meaning by “unreasonable” something like “unjustified”.

    You will not find much sympathy for the view that someone far removed from a student protest can decide better than the pregnant woman what was reasonable for her to do. Indeed, indications are that the situation was safe enough for her before the horses came on.

  9. We agree that the issue is what constitutes an unreasonable risk.

    My point is simply that a highly emotional protest is no place a responsible parent would take a child. As an individual, she certainly has the right to be there; as a parent, it’s just as certainly irresponsible.

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