Students, bullfighters and Greens

How does a man without body armour defeat a fully grown angry powerful animal racing at him at full speed, with one aim to plunge his horns into human tissue?

Wave a piece of cloth….

Yes, we all know how it works.

So why do we fall for it?

Over 50,000 students produced the first major protest against the Coalition. They did it themselves. The so-called opposition has been remarkably ineffective. Rudderless.

The Trade Union chiefs have gathered their nuts and  joined the squirrels for the winter – to feast and sleep while hell freezes over outside.

The students got their own union to organise a respectable show of force. Many moons ago I marched in a student protest (about grants).. It was a piece of non-news as nothing happened, nothing stirred the media and nothing emanated from the political opposition (it was Labour again).

November 2010 was different.

The numbers dwarfed estimates. It seems Aaron does not understand the depth of anger felt among the people he is meant to represent. More than double turned up.

It was anger that drove people to occupy the HQ of the Centre for Misery and Mean-minded Propaganda… otherwise known as Tory Party HQ.

While supine Trade Union groups slumber, with the exception of a few such as the Fire Brigade Union,   young people pulled off a remarkable political feat.

They reminded an older generation of the heady days of the Poll Tax rebellion when the middle class rediscovered morality… if only a a few fleeting moments.

And the Daily Mail called this one a ‘middle class protest’…. as even they worked out that debt of £30,000 to £40,000 is beyond the abilities of families once known as the working class.

The social cleansing now in play to raise tuition fees to £9,000 is the final nail in the coffin for the meritorious society trumpeted by Tony and Gordon as they enacted Phase 2 of the Pay-for-it-Yourself university system……

So if the Tories, Liberals and Neo-Labourites have abandoned the students what are the Greens meant to do?

Even for some hard-hearted calculating electoralists it should be obvious that the Green Movement & Green Party owe an enormous debt of gratitude for hundreds of thousands if not millions of  students (past and present).

Like the rest of the European mainland, students are the core of a rising Green conciousness built on the politics of the Left.  Many may not recognise it. Many would shudder at the thought but what they did this Wednesday was hammer a blow at the Establishment.

Look at the interviews on Sky or Newsnight. Paxman the Patrician was only one of many inquisitors aggressively questioning student leaders. Patronising them on one hand or vilifying them on the other…. Rapid fire questions…… all part of a smear to make them seem ungrateful, lazy and aggressive…..

The only thing they wanted to do was talk about fire estinguishers and violence. To put the student spokespeople on the defensive.

To focus on the image – every paper had the same picture of the one man breaking that window…… it could not have been choreographed better…..

The technique of the matodor in evidence…… Get the public to get angry at destruction … a diversion into a red rag allowing the matodor triumph as he always does.

So what should Green politicians be doing?

a) join the Establishment in talking about violence      or

b) speak for students against the Establishment and articulate the sense of injustice felt by the young …… and remind readers & viewers that most of us have or will have children, relatives or friends who will have to pay through the nose for higher education or drop out….


If the Greens are ever perceived as being a part of the Establishment, then we can kiss goodbye to a Green surge….and any hopes of transforming this society.

Precisely because we do not have a voting system which allows Greens to rise in Germany, the English & Welsh Greens understand that we need a twin-pronged strategy… a push for electoral success and non-violent direct action….

We support occupations when they fulfil a just demand. Thus a Green Leader can offer solidarity to student occupations in Sussex University…..

The media throws traps… it waves red rags in front of the public… what Greens need to do is get the attention of the people and tell them to ignore the red rag…… the diversionary agenda of talking about everything except the real issue….

In the vast political space opened up by Liberals and Neo-Labourites rushing to the Right, the Greens are the only standard bearers  for a challenge to the status quo.

That perception must not be tarnished.  We need to make clear whose side we are on.

Farid Bakht



2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Ben,

    We reject any attempt to characterise the Millbank protest as small, “extremist” or unrepresentative of our movement.

  2. Ben,

    Please note my new website linked here: very much WordPress Work in progress. So far 10 young Greens have signed my GLA nomination form but I fear that is not enough for me and my colleagues to be in the running as most people will be taking a Xmas break from activism, with a significant fall in number of meetings.

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