I went through Trafalgar Square on the day of the first protest about the new benefit cuts and saw these guys. Is this the face of controlled opposition?
Is it just me or is this like the Village People of protest, I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible before they start singing YMCA or whatever the protest equivalent is. The fact is I am extremely concerned about the current state of demonization of the poor in this country, I am worried about what these changes are going to do to our society. However I feel we need a new type of protest, these guys just make the whole thing seem like a bad joke, their masks a visual shorthand for generic protest, causing the majority of people to dismiss all protest without even engaging briefly with the subject.
I understand the nature of poverty well enough to know that we are heading for serious trouble. I have read flippant articles about the fun you can have for free whilst living off £50 a week and I know that its absolute rubbish and that after paying for food, electricity, council tax etc most people would not even have a pound spare to go to the internet cafe to access a computer to look for jobs, let alone bus fare to get to a library. The successful in society that I meet are consistently surprised to hear that there are people who do not have computers, the gulf in society is most visible in this misunderstanding. I am trying to think how protest can actually succeed in the modern era where most attention spans are reduced to 140 characters. Any ideas? or are we all happy to wait for the next riots and consequent Police state.