Monday, February 23, 2009

A Force Someone Might Just Harness

Protest, discontent, rage. Around the world, ordinary people are taking to the streets to protest the global meltdown. They're angry at their governments, they're furious at their financial institutions and they're carrying a rage that breaks out in mass demonstrations.

An angry crowd of 100,000 marched in Dublin over the weekend. Similar scenes have taken place in Greece, France, even China. The Guardian reports that British police are getting ready for their own large-scale riots:

Britain's most senior police officer with responsibility for public order raised the spectre of a return of the riots of the 1980s, with people who have lost their jobs, homes or savings becoming "footsoldiers" in a wave of potentially violent mass protests.

Superintendent David Hartshorn, who heads the Metropolitan police's public order branch, told the Guardian that middle-class individuals who would never have considered joining demonstrations may now seek to vent their anger through protests this year.

He said that banks, particularly those that still pay large bonuses despite receiving billions in taxpayer money, had become "viable targets". So too had the headquarters of multinational companies and other financial institutions in the City which are being blamed for the financial crisis.

The police intelligence service warns that the coming crop of protestors don't merely want their anger heard, they'll ensure it's felt. The police claim "known activists" are moving in to agitate the protestors and the police are likewise gearing up to suppress unruly mobs.

All of this should be manna from heaven for the left. It'll be interesting to see if left wing parties find a way to harness the force of protest to revitalize themselves and shift the political centre.

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