“All I Want Is a Future”

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Yves here. Richard Murphy put up this post to demonstrate the asymmetry between the rights of corporate carbon-killers, um, emitters, versus citizens trying to exercise their right to peaceful protest. Apparently Extinction Revolution strategies are serving as a pretext for heavy-handed responses.

Of course, if this were the US, the woman below might have been thrown on the pavement too, particularly if she was a person of color.

So this is yet another reminder that we in the Anglosphere don’t live in free societies any more. The right to speak and assemble are becoming things of the past.

By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an “anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert”. He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics. He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK

I mentioned the despair of the young in my previous post.

The words of this young woman seem to sum that up particularly well.


  1. CanCyn

    She has already been banned from Twitter, both links above go to Twitter’s “Nothing to see here. This page doesn’t exist” ‘error’ message. Sorry, the rest is off topic for this post but somewhat tangentially related to our loss of ability to speak truth to anyone, not just power. …Lot’s of talk around here lately about denial and living in bubbles. There are honestly times when I think it must be the NC community that is getting things wrong and that I should be paying more attention to the rest of the media! It is so overwhelmingly different out there! I find the denial and inability to see reality really difficult to reconcile with what I know from reading here at NC. Two good friends have both come down with ‘mysterious’ viruses in the past month. Both ill enough to see a doctor, and, in what I can only assume is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to COVID, neither was even tested! When I asked, I got silence from both of them. People think it is crazy that I am still masking. And as I said, I am feeling somewhat confused about who really is the crazy one.

    1. Carla

      @CanCyn — I have learned that not only are masks greeted with disdain and disapproval, it is considered rude to even mention Covid-19 in many social circles. Whatever happened to, uh, “science”?

    2. megrim

      Whenever I start to feel a bit bonkers about the whole Covid thing, I remind myself that if I’m wrong, nothing bad will happen just because I’m masking and being kind of reclusive–but if I’m right, it’s best to keep masking and avoiding crowds etc. I would rather not find out I’m right the hard way.

  2. catchymango

    I don’t know if there’s compelling proof that Extinction Rebellion and their ilk are ops meant to discredit climate protest and build popular support for such measures, but according to this article at least is shows that the people who believe this hypothesis are correct about government seizing the initiative irrespective of ER’s specific intention.

    1. Robert S

      Discredit what climate protest?
      What climate protest was gaining public attention before XR?
      The XR protests in 2019 gained massive coverage and had a noticeable impact on the argument.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Chris Hedges interviewed Roger Hallam a little over a week ago after Hallam was released from him most recent time in jail. The judge eventually ruled that his civil disobedience was justified by the climate crisis. It’s a good interview. Hedges is sympathetic to Hallam even though Hedges has always been very critical of black bloc tactics.

      Chris Smaje, author of Small Farm Future, found himself working his family’s farm in Cornwall after his wife left to Join ER’s efforts.

    3. NoFreeWill

      Their tactics are mostly useless, but as posters below note they did bring attention to the issue. The government doesn’t need much excuse to crack down, it can and will do so regardless of the size of the problems and whenever it wants. Mostly it’s annoying they are wasting energy on ineffective tactics instead of effective ones and diverting young people away from [REDACTED] which is what needs to happen to solve the problem.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I don’t think the issue needs any more attention. I know some kids (well, young adults) who are downright nihilistic about the future of the planet because of all the attention.

        What is needed is action points that matter. If you protest, don’t just say somebody should do something about climate change, say that everyone should try to use as little energy on Saturdays as possible – make it an energy sabbath. Or ask people to survive without Amazon deliveries for a week and buy local stuff from mom & pop stores – for one lousy week.

        Or, I don’t now, push for legislation than punishes for planned obsolescence and rewards durable, easy to repair products. Protesting without offering alternatives or achievable aims is more akin to hooliganism than political action.

        If you offer meaningful actions that people can participate, it’s easier to get them on your side. If you only cause them difficulties without showing a way to help you or at least make you go away, they will cheer when the police takes you away.

        1. Rolf

          … everyone should try to use as little energy on Saturdays as possible – make it an energy sabbath. Or ask people to survive without Amazon deliveries for a week and buy local stuff from mom & pop stores – for one lousy week.

          Agree. These are simple things everyone should be doing. Instant delivery is extremely energy intensive.

        2. rob

          an alternative to using amazon delivery hopefully will be coming. I heard of a start up coming out called “MYTI”…. I suppose it is an app?… or platform? which is trying to become a way to find out what products are local to where ever you are, and give you a way to get them… as opposed to just getting whatever from the amazon warehouse nearby.
          sounds like an enormous effort. I wish them luck..

  3. José Freitas

    Why aren’t they throwing paint buckets at bank and corporate HQs, or picketing the private driveways of multimillionaires, instead of squandering popular support by causing problems for normal workers everywhere?

    1. ambrit

      As stated just above, it all depends on exactly who “they” are and, more cynically, who “they” work for; (knowingly or not, it makes little difference, the end result is the same.)

    2. digi_owl

      Because workers are “deplorables” that do not matter.

      What matter are the “yuppie” art grad with their mid winter strawberry smoothies.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Yes, I find impossible to take them seriously since they shut down the London subways as a “climate protest.”

      Either elements in the Security State are infiltrating and provoking these naifs in order to discredit them and justify cracking down on legitimate protest – an element of actual politics, not an end in itself or an expression of moral vanity – or else they’re just the idiots they appear to be.

      1. digi_owl

        A but of both. Useful idiots egged on by the security state in order to disrupt any idea of a proper workers uprising.

      2. Aaron

        This is the state of the left today. No ability to analyze historical protests and deduce what is effective. These small group actions feel good but offer no hope for change.

    4. NoFreeWill

      They’re new/inexperienced and it shows, but regardless the public is almost always inconvenienced by any actions big enough to cause damage to the capitalist system, it’s a shame they are causing maximum inconvenience for the public with minimal damage though.

    5. Paris

      They are just entitled kids with too much time on their hands and not a lot of predisposition to work. Have zero respect for them.
      Didn’t they find out that one of the directors or managers of some of those “rebellious” kids was eating meat or had a diesel car? Meat for me but not for thee. Diesel car for me but nor for thee. I say screw ’em.

    6. S.

      They have thrown paint and protested at businesses, but it gets zero coverage so people assume it doesn’t happen.

  4. Pintada

    She wants a future, and doesn’t realize that she has none, and hasn’t had one for her entire adult life. She needs to catch a clue and get right with whatever deity or deities that she might respect.

    1. Tommy Wrinkles

      Her heart is in the right place but I think she is wrong. She does have a future because she is in the UK.

      UK climate, along with other islands like NZ, Tasmania and Japan, will be OK[1]. The desperate migration from the rest of the world will be the biggest problem. I actually suspect UK weather will get better.

      She should be clear that she is protesting on behalf of the people living in Asia… that is where the climatic effects will be felt hardest.

      [1] Lovelock’s final book

  5. tevhatch

    May I suggest “Even in UK the woman below might have been thrown on the pavement too, particularly if she was a person of color.”

    She was lucky, she met the right police on the right day and at the right place. It’s not at USA levels, but the UK is under neoliberalism too, and progressing at a fast rate.

    1. S.

      It’s really common in videos of arrests at American protests for the detainee to thrash around sometimes even take swings at police, usually while screaming that they aren’t resisting, so I can understand why the people there get thrown to the ground.

        1. S.

          Tasers cause a target to stiffen up, not thrash around. They don’t work before they’ve been fired, either, except as a threat, although that doesn’t often work—remember the “don’t tase me bro” guy? After the event staff signaled for the man to be removed, he fought with the police for two minutes, tried to run away, and called for the crowd to intervene before he got tased. This happens all the time, but people who are conditioned to be outraged whenever the police do anything will ignore that behavior (or it will be clipped from the video).

  6. salvo

    it should not come as a surprise that most comments on the twitter post applaud the arrest of the young woman, a lot of them even denying climate change, the level of cynicism in those posts is terrifying, revealing what abominations humans can be.
    The more “reasonable” comments arguing that rightful protest should not disrupt the everyday life of people, so as to say that you should protest the destruction of the natural world by not disrupting what causes it.
    the fascist erosion of civil rights may be planned, organized and enforced from the top, but, at least in this society, it happens with the consent of those who just want to do business as usual.

  7. Bsn

    “Protesting” does (bleep) all. Strikes are the only outlet before violence. Not to pick on her, but if a person tosses their cell phone in the Thames along with 1,000 friends, refuses to be involved in school (with their friends), refuses to go to “work” (again with friends), stops shopping on amazon (with thousands of friends) – then fat cat heads would spin, and hopefully come off. If no luck with that, pitchfork it is.
    What’s that expression? “Beat the collapse before it beats you” (or some such).

  8. Joe Well

    If I hadn’t seen it on NC, I wouldn’t have believed the UK could have a ban on protesting. Amazing how quickly they’ve gone down the road to dystopia.

  9. Cetra Ess

    What strikes me is we can no longer say that Putin’s Russia stifles speech and dissent, we’re achieving parity and will soon exceed, are reaching a point where no protest is allowed, under any circumstances whatsoever, period. Speech and gathering, whatever the laws might be, whatever the constitution says, are effectively and in practice illegal.

    During Occupy the various three letter agencies via “terrorist fusion centers” succeeded in getting Facebook to implement an anti-protest algorithm which hindered spread of info about protest times and places, severely curtailed post reach, and we suspect flagged certain individuals for additional suppression, and this when Facebook was the primary means of organizing. To this day I think this shut down Occupy more than anything else.

    Around the same time all major news outlets suddenly went quiet, decided as a rule not to cover protests, no matter how massive they were, and this was especially true for major protests such as Idle No More and, since then, BLM. No announcement was made, just all of a sudden there was this obviously coordinated silent agreement to cover protests differently.

    Now the same three letter agencies are reaching across Twitter, Facebook and Google social media to do additional policing and silencing, wanting to do the same for TikTok. Meanwhile, we saw recently how they now also want to extend that to policing private chats.

    The thing is, while Putin’s Russia violently and aggressively stifles street protests, they’ve not done anything to suppress speech on social media, which means by comparison we’re effectively worse than Putin.

  10. Hepativore

    I am waiting for a day when you have something like an “opinion algorithm” built into the application for employment background checks that employers routinely do on everybody.

    The purpose of it would cross-index what it finds on somebody online as well as requesting what alphabet agencies, banks, and credit card companies have on somebody through spying and data collection to predermine what their political opinions or personal beliefs might be and algorithmically flagging and discarding applicants who might hold opinions that the algorithm deems as potentially subversive.

    Particular attention to turning down an applicant might be paid to if the data on your cellular phone or public cameras have placed you at a protest event, no matter how peaceful.

    I am not sure what the technical restrictions are in terms of what an employer can and cannot search on an applicant, but you probably will not get the job if you do not consent to this as it your word against the employer’s. Plus there is nothing stopping employers from making the surrendering of all data that has been collected on you a boilerplate waiver as part of the standard employment application process, as signing the waiver would still be technically “voluntary” as you do not have to work for said employer.

    1. TimH

      This is a reason for this “prove your age” nonsense for websites. Tracking the commentariat.

  11. Theodore Clouther

    >the rights of corporate carbon-killers, um, emitters,

    But the biggest corporate carbon emitters are the same entities behind the World Business Council on Sustainable Development. The most egregious emitters of pollution are now climate converts? How do you explain that?


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