For a while now I have been of the view that some on the 'left' (which I take to embrace the more radical 'greens') are gingerly feeling their way towards trying to legitimise violence in favour of their causes. They are a bit nervous about this, of course, not least because they are all nice middle- and upper-middle class people who personally rather shrink from violence, much as some of them drool over those rougher types like the Sinn Fein leadership and radical Islamists who couldn't give a monkeys.
A couple of days ago, this curious piece appeared in the Grauniad, by one Stephen Reicher, professor of psychology at the University of St Andrews:
China’s Covid policy didn’t have to end in riot and protest. This is why it did
It concludes with this odd remark.
China’s protests show us that, far from being mindless, crowds and collective protest are highly sophisticated and give us insight into the underlying society. Particularly from those who do not normally have voice, “riots are the voice of the unheard”
Now we can certainly agree that some Chinese protestors are quite creative in how they articulate anti-government sentiments via things like holding blank sheets of paper, or inventing instantly evocative pop-up memes and shibboleths that temporarily evade the sluggish but overpowering CPC censors. Can be sophisticated enough, for sure.
But "crowds ... far from being mindless ... are highly sophisticated" ? Well, we've probably all enjoyed being part of a good-humoured crowd at a sporting fixture. But it's not very comfortable to look into the "mind" of many a crowd outside the soccer stadium afterwards, still less that of many a mob. We don't even need to cite lynch mobs. Earlier in the article, Prof Reicher wants us to reject David Cameron's view of the 2011 "riots" as being mere criminality. Well, matey, the opportunistic looting sprees of the day after Tottenham most certainly were just that, much as some lefties hoped they heralded the Revolution.
I really wonder where this dalliance with violence is going. Wherever it is, I very much doubt it will be to the long-term political gratification of the radical left-green - even if personally they get their rocks off on it as a nasty form of catharsis and juvenile spite.