The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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On Sun, 14 Mar 1999 23:11:24 +0000 (GMT), you wrote: >>Many ordinary people are prepared to campaign within the limits of the >>law and will even break the law in certain ways but will not support the >>use of vandalism . > >I'm not sure that real campaigns work like this. Lots of people >participated in the anti-apartheid movement, CND, and the campaign against >the poll tax, knowing full well that others were committing vandalism >while not being prepared to take part in it themselves. I was involved in some of the protests and it was from there that I realised that such acts were damaging what we were trying to do . At one protest the only coverage we got was pictures of the police arresting one of the six trouble makers . Not one picture of the hundred or so peaceful marchers , I watched as families who had come to protest got in their cars and went home rather than be associated with it . These were sincere people who wanted to play a part in the protest driven away by a few who felt it would be more effective to be seen at the front causing trouble. >And vandalism >isn't always a turn-off; what about all those respectable quaker ladies >who would go back week after week to cut the wire at missile bases? And how effective was it ? How long were the bombers here? > In >the case we're discussing, the 'vandalism' was really quite token Quote ; ...............the pair through buckets of red paint at the FO wall where they also wrote the messages "Stop the killing" and "Lift the Sanctions". The FO is claiming £2178 worth of damages end quote >- almost >like sticking a poster on a bus stop (which is also criminal damage, by >the way). If that is the case ,was it worth it ? (No I am not suggesting do anything more serious <S>) However , the inference from the press is that it was more and it is this that the public will read and on this the incident ( and the campaign ) will be judged. It is often the interpretation that the media spreads far and wide that will be how the action is seen by the vast number of the public. The media will blow any small incident into a major event if it will sell papers and it is their reporting that will win or lose supporters. Give them any excuse to print stories that show people breaking the law and in the minds of the general public will be the idea that supporters of this protest are all guilty of criminal acts and many people will not want to be involved with it . And I go back to my original point that we __need __ all the support we can get . >The important point, I think, is this - even if you wouldn't have done >something in quite the same way, or you have some disagreement with the >methods, which side are you on when there is an arrest? Sometimes you >decide to support an action PRECISELY BECAUSE you wouldn't have done it >yourself. Personally ,I would only support an action if I felt it was right and achieved something. But in some cases yes I agree . However when the actions are likely to be counter-productive to the cause that I am fighting for then I must speak my mind and say so . Obviously the people involved felt that their actions were justified ,and I do not doubt their sincerity for one minute , but I feel that such actions detract from arguing the case within the framework of the law . >Out of solidarity with Iraqis, I'm backing the protesters. Out of solidarity with Iraqis ,I'm backing the use of our right to protest . When the issue goes to court , if found guilty , the offenders may get a fine/prison sentence . The media once again focuses on the " anti-Iraq Vandals" and more people dissociate with the cause (particularly if there is a demonstartion of support outside the courts) . Who wins here? Certainly not the Anti-Sanctions groups. If anyone has gained it is the Government because they can build on the press coverage by implying that ALL the protesters are criminals like during the poll-tax campagns . >As for scaring MPs; I fear that Iraq is never going to make the difference >at an election. Mrs. T thought that she could introduce the poll-tax but when her own party realised that it was a vote-loser .................. MPs want to keep their jobs and if enough people pester them then they will have to listen. The anti-sanctions movement need the support of the ordinary public and having the media on our side would help in getting the message across. Do not doubt for one instance that I am completely opposed to the US/UK actions but I disagree with any action that will bring the Anti-sanctions campaigns into disrepute which I feel such actions will . Sincerely Grayham Chayney -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html