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Why the Left celebrate violence They use protest to demonstrate the righteousness of their cause

All in a day's work for a Lefty protestor (JACK TAYLOR/AFP via Getty Images)

All in a day's work for a Lefty protestor (JACK TAYLOR/AFP via Getty Images)


March 26, 2021   4 mins

If you were making the case for the right to protest, it couldn’t have had a worse ending: a police van on fire, two women filmed squatting to piss at the feet of riot cops, a man arrested for allegedly carrying a homemade spear, and 40 injuries suffered by officers. What had started in Bristol as a peaceful rally against the crime and policing bill ended as a riot outside Bridewell Police Station, then spilled into days of disorder.

If you were Priti Patel, of course, this was, if not exactly a desirable ending, certainly a helpful illustration of what the Policing and Crime Bill can claim to be defending the public from. Of course the right to protest is a sacrosanct part of an open democracy, she said; but not this thuggishness, not this criminality, not this violence. Whoever argues against the bill now — and there are serious arguments to be made — will have to make their case against the image of a police van blazing in the night while protesters cheered the destruction.

But while you can make a cynical argument that the scenes in Bristol serve Patel’s more authoritarian interests, you can’t accuse her of having willed them into being. There was violence in Bristol because some people came out wanting violence, and they got it. Protests attract a kind of hanger-on who don’t truly care about the politics, but love a ruck. They don’t usually have anything as ostentatious as a homemade spear to give themselves away, but they’re always there, a shadow of aggro trailing every left-wing demonstration.

Violence is exciting. That crackle in the air, the surge of adrenaline: it feels good. The pure purpose in making a weapon of yourself. The very few times I’ve successfully faced down a physical confrontation (and being five-foot-one and female, it’s not exactly something I’ve gone looking for) it’s always left me shaken but elated. Staying on my feet when muggers tried to snatch my handbag, or shouting something sarcastic at masked anti-feminists who’d turned out to disrupt a talk I was giving then scampering to safety — those are things I remember with a shiver of pleasure as well as fear.

So I suppose I can understand a little of what drives the troublemaking element. I can understand, too, why some people are so infatuated with violence that they look for ways to justify it. Someone broadly supportive of the Bristol protests has two options when it comes to the subsequent riots: you can defend the principle of dissent while deploring the bad actors, which sounds mealy-mouthed and prissy even if it is right; or you could go big and argue that not only is the violence justified, but it actually further demonstrates the justice of the cause.

It’s that latter approach that you’ll find on the far-Left of British politics. After the 2011 riots, there was an impulse to weave the looting and destruction into a story about the deep suffering in British society: if people were compelled to act so outrageously, went the reasoning, they must have something powerful to be outraged by. One of the more bizarre examples of this was the claim that, because most of those arrested in the riots were men, they must have been revolting against the “feminisation” of the economy — as though it isn’t always men who commit most of the violent crime.

In the same spirit, this week saw hard-Left outlet the Canary claiming that: “The people who besieged Bridewell Police station were fighting against state violence and authoritarianism, standing up for freedom and for the oppressed.” In this circular logic, the fact of the riots proves that the riots were legitimate: the violence of the rioters is evidence that they were reacting to the violence of the state.

Sisters Uncut complained that “the media drew a contrast between a moral majority and a small number of violent protesters”, and then set themselves resolutely on the side of the rioters: “The stigmatisation of protesters is a tactic of division that we won’t stand for. It is a fearful response by a state that thrives on division and scarcity.” Meanwhile, Novara hosted a discussion about the “utility of riots”: perhaps this had been counterproductive in the short term, it was mused, but would go on to drive a wider movement.

It’s always easier to see the “utility” in the violent actions of someone you suspect might be on your side, of course. None of these outlets were offering apologias for the Capitol rioters in Washington at the beginning of the year: the violence then was not obvious evidence of a populace confronting a state’s oppressive force, but of entitlement and delusion. Instead, the Bristol riots were blessed with comparison to the Poll Tax riots, the prime example of explicable political resistance expressed as destructive impulse.

The point here is not that the Left is uniquely enamoured of its own aggression, but that the hard Left is labouring under a specific kind of hypocrisy — a hypocrisy that allows people to claim to be against violence while at the same time celebrating, relishing and instrumentalising it. It is a recipe for bad faith. It means never having to ask the question “is this violence politically justified?”, because you’ve always already decided that any violence is really the responsibility of the “other side”; and if the other side hasn’t committed anything close to actual violence, you can always upgrade words or even beliefs to the status of “symbolic violence”.

Whatever “your side” does is vindicated in advance, so long as you can make it part of your preferred story. The stories can be flexible here, because they have little to do with principle: the only principle is the pleasure of destruction, the longing to warm your politics in the glow of arson.

As for the people who actually have to live in the wreckage, well, they hardly count: after the 2011 riots, the Left fostered a particular strand of contempt for local residents who went out to tidy their own streets. (“Symbolic cleansing”, one blogger called it, as though the proper Left-wing thing to do was pick your way through broken glass in your neighbourhood indefinitely.)

The ecstasy of violence in Bridewell will probably have ensured support for the Policing and Crime Bill, but the point of the riots was clearly never to persuade parliament. The point of the riots was the riots themselves, the pleasure of destruction, the joy of the flames, the satisfying crunch of a body against another body. The point of the riots was to claim violence, and the point of those defending them is to turn that violence to their own ends.


Sarah Ditum is a columnist, critic and feature writer.

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David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

They are the same as football hooligans (remember them?). Except that the footie thugs weren’t as hypocritical, they just enjoyed violence and didn’t attempt to justify it.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Yes, this is righteous violence, which is the worst kind because it justifies atrocities.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Both kinds of violence look like powerlessness to me. Especially the political kind. I don’t know what goes on in the UK, but in the US the actual Left has long since been crushed and the associated social forces and organizations scattered and neutralized. There is no route for fundamental leftish desires such as freedom, equality, and community to emerge except in hysterical outbursts followed by increased repression and surveillance.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

The Left has been gentrified and taken over by well-heeled middle-class thugs.They’re nothing more than droogs a la Clockwork Orange, just more racially and sexually diverse.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Great to see someone justifying this mayhem. Rioters are a tiny minority representing no-one and nothing, except their own extreme views. There is always a group who go out of their way to destroy property, maim police horses, commit arson etc, and who delight in stopping ordinary people and businesses going about their lawful business (including the vast majority of BAME and gay people and women). And they pay very little price.

I have just a scintilla of optimism about the well judged Bill going through Parliament. There is a right to protest, that includes having placards and perhaps chanting. There is and has never been any right to destroy, commit violence, arson and looting. This needs to be made abundantly clear, as it has not for a long while in the US and now here. The police need to stop selecting which protests they approve of, and treat them all the same.

This is not difficult, these protestors would have been met with appropriate force and swiftly arrested in any well run country, Singapore comes to mind. Their health and safety would not have been a major consideration if they showed they wanted a battle. That’s a position which could gain a lot of political support. Take the kid gloves off.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Remember that the groups of football hooligans were infiltrated by the police and the organisers or instigators were middle-class chartered accountants.

George Glashan
George Glashan
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

there’s a good argument there for pre-emptively arresting all accountants

Kelly Mitchell
Kelly Mitchell
3 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

One of many such arguments.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Yea, well it is all just talking and talking and doing nothing. That is the new way.

Cameras everywhere, easy to identify them with pictures posted in the MSM if needed, why not just haul the violent and destructive ones in, send them away for a good time? But no, the press never checks back, the Police, the CPS, the lawyers, the entire system is so infested with Liberal Left sycophants and panderers they will let it all fade away… And if it gets before a Judge he will just say ‘Well let this be a lesson to you young man, 200 pound fine’.

Decadence, that is all it is, moral decline till all morality is relative and unknowable, the greatest offense is to judge, guilt only means the offender was created by a life time of offences against him. It is societies fault. Oh, well, never mind.

Raoul De Cambrai
Raoul De Cambrai
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Oh dear, the good old days! I think the father in “The Clouds” (Aristophanes, not the most recent of playwrights) was saying the same thing as you.

Richard Lord
Richard Lord
3 years ago

So why did this latest violence occur in Bristol? Did the failure of the police in Bristol during the BLM riots encourage round two?

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lord

100%
the police always pander to the woke and left
pander to BLM
pander to ANTIFA
stood back while Colston’s statue was dumped into the docks
took the knee
I was looking forward to their new ‘friends’ turning on them and giving them a kicking. 100% deserved.
Especially when you see how tough the police are on people going to the beach, meeting for coffees, picnicking in the park, protesting against lockdown or trying to protect statues.
I look forward to a summer of riots, as only rioting will set us free from the lockdown. They will be like the poll tax riots x100.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Would be rioters should study the media coverage of the riots in Belfast in the early 70’s to see how it is really done.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

They pander to XR as well.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

xr?

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Extension Rebellion

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lord

Without a doubt. If, like the stupid and cowardly Superintendent Bennett, you let a mob get away with overt criminality and do nothing to stop them, then you cannot pretend to be surprised when another mob takes things a step or two further.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

They’re not another mob. They’re fundamentally the same people under different banners.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

very true
I’d like to see that illustrated on a Venn Diagram.:)

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

The left routinely uses the language of hate. For example, it’s perfectly normal to near them describe Tories as ‘scum’. The same language used against other groups would get you collared by PC (in every sense) Plod

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Including our delightful deputy leader of HM Opposition, within the Commons itself. Imagine the furore if a Tory had used language like that.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

From this side of the pond, the left does it because it can. When cops are told to stand down, when prosecutors routinely release anyone who is arrested, and when citizens’ lives and property are ignored, violent actors are emboldened. This summer’s idiocy continues today in Portland, where the left is busy crapping in its own backyard. Violent crime is up in almost every major city.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

In the US, it’s not just the Left. You may have noticed some fun and games around the Capitol not long ago. Again, when people feel powerless in a declining situation, hysterical outbursts and low-level sabotage are the result. Perhaps fortunately, most of the disquieted are too infantile even to riot — look around you.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

It actually is the left in the US. We don’t yet know who was involved in the Capitol riot so you can’t use that as evidence of conservatives rioting. But cities run by lefty’s are on fire all over the US with rioting, looting, gun violence. Yesterday another 8 people shot and killed in Chicago. If lefty’s want to live that way, that’s their choice.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

That was America’s Tianenman Square moment, and no-one even noticed.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago

The left love to characterise themselves as radicals and justify violence because it saves the effort of having to convince “the masses” of the righteousness of their cause. In the words of the immortal Citizen Smith “Power to the People”.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

The left never ever win elections in the UK. That’s why they have to go down the violence route.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

They do in Scotland,

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You must be ashamed of Scotland?
Or at least the nonsense between the two’ fishes’.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Yes, they have Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens, the SNP and they obviously don’t think that’s enough because they are about to get Alex Salmond’s new party, Alba. Lots of choice for left-leaning Jocks in the upcoming election.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Exactly. At least during most of the 20th century and almost up until now, the established order could control the outcome of most elections through control of the media. Now, however, it seems the ‘masses’ are losing faith in the boss media, and have the social media at their disposal, so the reliability of this method of control may decline. If so, I’d expect elections might be dispensed with. Before that, however, they’re going to try to censor the social media, as you may have observed.

Don Jujanas
Don Jujanas
3 years ago

I was watching footage of the Bristol violence last night. Hundreds of privileged student brats wearing Vans and Nike shouting “who do you protect?” at lines of police officers who seemed to be possessed of superhuman restraint.
Having been at demos that were less popular with the state, I can say without any doubt that those spoilt morons themselves were the ones being protected.

Jack Tarr
Jack Tarr
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Jujanas

I suspect that the intrepid fighters for freedom in Bristol are rather more likely to come from Redland and Stokes Croft (well-heeled studenty area around the University and local BBC HQ; and studenty ‘alternative’/clubland area respectively) than from more proletarian areas such as Hartcliffe or Avonmouth. The ‘peaceful demonstrators’ ( © BBC) at the unchallenged BLM insurrection last year were not only as white as the driven snow but as posh as a debutantes’ ball.
Still, I suppose we shouldn’t begrudge Jolyon and Hermione their bit of youthful fun. In a few years they will be hard at work as ‘leaders’ in government or big business, helping the great unwashed to free themselves from the curse of unconscious whiteness – and struggling to get by on ÂŁ75k p.a.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jack Tarr
Steve Hall
Steve Hall
3 years ago

This is nonsense. There is no ‘left’. The western left was ripped apart by identity politics in the 1980s. Communism died in 1991. This is the usual bunch of middle-class, post-left woke students – rebels with so many causes they effectively have none – re-enacting a redundant righteousness that no longer has any purchase on our soulless, managerial world. Of course feminism is one of the models on which they draw. The only role they have is to make managerialism look virtuous when they graduate and move into the system.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Hall

Yes, two of the leading ‘lefties’ today are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, ably assisted by another ‘lefty’ billionaire Winfry, while the sons and daughters of the de-industrialised wastelands of North America and Western Europe are dismissed as racist, priviliged scum.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

You should be able to see the difference between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the actual Left, if there is an actual Left any more. There certainly isn’t in the US above the level of small, disorganized groups. I think Steve Hall has it about right.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Biden is pure Left of the most insidious kind. He is out to destroy that which made USA great.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

What principles of the Left do you see embodied in Biden? He seems very conservative to me, ideologically speaking, and that which his conservatism would conserve doesn’t seem very leftish. His record is generally one of maintaining corporate capitalist power at home and empire abroad.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

You should be able to tell the difference between ‘left’ and left.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Hall

“There is no ‘left’.” About as true as saying ‘There is No Night’ because there are street lights.

It is all Left. The flavor is Liberal/Left, but goes back to Trotsky in a direct line. As self harming is a pathological loathing of ones self so this sort of antisocial behavior is loathing of one’s people, culture, and Nation – and that is 100% Left hatred of Western values, and is its desire to destroy it by rot from within. These idiots are the same ‘Usefull Idiots’ the Left has used for a hundred years to harm themselves, and so the society which gave them everything.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Historically, the principles of the Left were peace, freedom, and equality, in contrast to the principles of the Right, which were power, authority, status, wealth, repute, honor, and the military virtues. Which of these do you see as particularly ‘Western’ values?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

We are talking about today. The left isn’t about peace today. It isn’t about tolerance and equality. It’s about identity and victimhood. Pretending otherwise makes little sense.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Mike Finn
Mike Finn
3 years ago

Sadly, this sort of action when seen as supported by any group on any side of the political spectrum simply undermines their credibility with the larger majority of the public who aren’t strongly and emotionally attached to any particular ideology or thinking. Most people want stability and the chance to get on with their life with minimal interference from the state or other groups, and a failure to recognise or manage that is not an encouraging sign from those who would like those same people to put them in charge of the bus.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

The extremes use violence, whether you call them left or right. At demonstrations some go along with violence in mind (the intellectuals) and thousands of others go along to soak up the atmosphere and feel that they have been part of something.
I remember about 20 years ago reading an article in the Guardian, written about a woman whose hobby was going to demonstrations. Often, she didn’t even know what it was all about but it was a great way to meet people – she had met all of her best friends at demos. When she had a baby girl she took her in the pram to get her used to the atmosphere.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago

The violence begins with the language: it’s the crowd chanting “Tory scum” outside Conservative party conferences; or the deputy Mayor of Liverpool saying, menacingly, “Tories are not welcome in Liverpool”.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Being a Tory isn’t a protected characteristic, you know? It’s something people choose to be. Although, I agree that calling people Tory Scum is about as useful as calling everyone you disagree with a fascist, Maoist or Stalinist.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I don’t think many Tories would describe socialists as ‘scum’ (although actual fascists might). And I don’t think many Tories would proudly wear T-shirts saying ‘never kissed a socialist’, unless doing so ironically. There’s a pervading level of sheer nastiness on the mainstream left (not only hard left) that you just don’t find amongst Tories. And I say that as a non-Tory, who has often voted Labour in the past.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Or as that paragon of socialist virtue Aneurin Bevan put it so succinctly in 1948:
“What is Toryism but organised spivvery? 
 No amount of cajolery can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party 
 So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin”.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago

Bristol is another clear example of the Far Left going too far and it should be called out for that. No excuses, no infantile justifications, no tolerance. It should be seen as the borderline fascism it is, and dealt with under existing criminal legislation. The Policing and Crime Bill is a fudge to avoid the real problem and as usual threatens to further restrict the freedom of ordinary people as the cost of weak leadership.

Steve Garrett
Steve Garrett
3 years ago

I presume a “protest”, or “rally-with-demands” if you like, is an attempt to change someone’s opinion. In this case, not kill the bill, but “amend the bill”. To do this (today) one would need circa 40 Conservative MP’s to vote against the Bill. How do you do that? Ummmm, smash up Bristol, or?
Remember Markus Rashford – a couple of tweets and a short video going viral had MP’s on the back-benches squirming in their seats; it’s hard to resist constant demands for change from ordinary (non-rioting) people, like nurses, insurance salesmen and nursery school minders. It’s the 21st Century (last time I looked) – that’s how you get Bills amended, make some MP’s feel guilty, or under threat of losing votes.
I can’t recall a street protest in recent years having anything but the opposite affect: Occupy, XR, BLM and now the MOB (Morons Of Bristol). To make a point, lobby like crazy on-line, through Associations, Charities, Unions (although this one is often a poisoned chalice), Political Parties (back doors of), businesses and yes, the odd celebrity! Get some long trousers you thugs! Get savvy, Get (really) Woke!!
One amusing aside (irony?) is that these social-justice-rioters would be the type to look down their noses at the working-class football hooliganism we experienced in the ’70’s. The pacification of the terraces has removed that weekly gassing-off opportunity, and the unwashed loafing children of the middle-class have culturally appropriated yobbishness, ….. and turned it up to 11.

gendercriticaldad
gendercriticaldad
3 years ago

Very astute:
the proper Left-wing thing to do was pick your way through broken glass in your neighbourhood indefinitely.”
“I wanna live like common people”
There is a lot of riot tourism going on.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago

Particularly when there’s a university nearby.

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago

The Socialists are so convinced of their argument that they have no comprehension of why anyone could see things differently from them unless they had been fooled or manipulated by the right or are part of the evil few. They interpret all violence as a consequence of an epiphany of the oppressed and hope the inevitable revolution will go viral this time. So anything that creates a spark just might catch a moment and so is to be celebrated.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

The hard Left will condone violence until it is against themselves and then they claim victimhood.

Their binary of oppressor and oppressed is the only logic they know.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

This behavior is not confined to a single party or tribe.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Yes, those well known conservative looting sprees. We’ve all seen em!

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

‘Whoever argues against the bill now — and there are serious arguments to be made — will have to make their case against the image of a police van blazing in the night while protesters cheered the destruction.’

And there’s the bitter irony in all this regarding the serious legal curtailment to the right to free protest by all UK citizens in the future.

This is a dangerous, sweeping Bill attempting to be introduced at a nadir for domestic civil liberties thanks to covid and yet these riotous idiots were seemingly more than content to do some of the Devil’s heavy lifting for Him.

This certainly wasn’t the case here, but it’s not exactly difficult to see how or why false flag conspiracy theories arise sometimes.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

They use violence to see whether those in power will push back against them or fold. So far it’s the latter.

diane9
diane9
3 years ago

The use of the term ‘the Left’ in the headline, and ‘far-Left’ and ‘Hard-left’ within the article are not very helpful. I am very much on ‘the left’ and I know a lot, really a lot, of people who would be described by others as ‘far-Left’ and ‘hard-Left’ but I also know for absolute certain that not a single one of them would be involved in the sort of protest/demonstration that took place in Bristol. Or offer any sort of justification for it having happened.
As a friend said in a message earlier “These people don’t represent the left, but they provide a convenient bogeyman to ramp up the divisions and delegitimise the rest of us.”
It’s a good article but I would suggest a lot more clarity about quite who is being referred to – or stating that it isn’t clear. Difficult as they may be to categorise, but a worthwhile exercise.
Wonder if the possibility of ‘Agents Provocateur’ being a factor has been considered?
And to quote another ‘firmly on the left’ friend…
“What we need to keep repeating is that street violence *is* illegal, and police *do* have the power to arrest people for it. What the new bill is doing is making *peaceful* protest impossible. The arguments about violence have nothing to do with that at all.”

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
3 years ago
Reply to  diane9

I disagree that the new bill is “making peaceful protest impossible”.
But then I remember the Countryside Marches years ago which were completely ignored by government.

So, the question is How Do We Make our feelings felt?

Now, a big thing that I’d been wanting for years was to stop European Attitudes influencing my country. So I started telling MPs we need to get out of the EU.

At the time, we had a PM who could lie very easily, and say what we wanted to hear beautifully, but nevertheless did what his pals in Government and at the top of businesses wanted him to do – which was leading to the impoverishment of the majority of the population.

Happily, I now have a PM who can’t control his tongue terribly well, and is desperate for everybody to love him.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  diane9

I think we all know that those rioting in Bristol aren’t the left in any real sense. They are, for the most part, middle class LARPers.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  diane9

Well it makes a change from “The Far Right” as applied to any group slightly more conservative than the BBC who might prefer slightly lower rates of immigration. I don’t think I have heard the term “Far Left” on any of the mainstream news channels in any context other than Jeremy Corbyn and maybe Ken Livingstone, but that’s going back a bit. I do agree though that the terms left and right have become blurred in recent terms. I suggest Anarchists or perhaps Anarcho-Communists might be a better description of the Bristol mob engaged in assault vandalism and arson.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  diane9

Some leftists are giving all leftists a bad name, I totally agree with you. While not all lefty’s riot and burn cars, people who do are generally on the left.

joycebrette
joycebrette
3 years ago
Reply to  diane9

The new bill doesn’t make peaceful protest impossible. It is against protesters making a nuisance of themselves or posing a threat to residents and non protesters. If they are then they are not “peaceful protesters”. Simple.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I don’t really care anymore how much violence the left in the US commits. I watch it on the news but it has zero effect on my life because I live in a place where it isn’t allowed. If people want to live in violent cities, that’s their choice. If they want to trash their own cities and shoot the place up and burn cars, it makes no difference to me. You have to feel sorry for their kids but that’s about it.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

Last summer, people of the ilk of the Bristol rioters were telling us “silence is violence”. So why not a silent protest?

David Waring
David Waring
3 years ago

What was the unrest about exactly? It seems to be without rationale.
Why no riots in Brussels about the lack of vaccines?
Why no screams about the theft of UK vaccines?
Are they all sozzled on Cider?
What are the much vaunted Police Commissioners doing, if anything?

Last edited 3 years ago by David Waring
Kerryj J
Kerryj J
3 years ago

It’s impossible at the moment.
Any violence and destruction is wrong.
Protest should be peaceful.
Yet the police have been out of order and politicised to the point they treat left wing protests as causes to join in, kneel, skateboard, dress in glitter or like multi coloured bumblebees, for anything perceived as right wing out come the TSG in full protective gear and batons ready.
No one cared until it is left wing protesters who are actually being violent. That the police are having to deal with.
The Government needs to be protested just not with violence.
Moderate leftists are justifying the violence, yet if the group protesting the government was perceived as right wing even if they were protesting the exact same thing they would be calling for the police to batter them.
Something is very wrong.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

I consider myself pretty left wing. But I was appalled by people trying to set fire to a van with other people inside it who were just trying to do their job.. There’s nothing left wing about doing that.
It’s not unique to the left. Every right wing racist attack in Britain is justified by the attacker on the grounds that violence is the only means available to defend their perceived community. And I include attacks by extreme Islamists as being from the right wing.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

And I include attacks by extreme Islamists as being from the right-wing.
That’s interesting, considering how the left routinely justifies and excuses the worst of Islamic behavior. This week in the US, a Muslim gunned down ten people in Colorado who were shopping for Passover, yet that story was barely covered beyond the usual fixation on guns. Meanwhile, a white guy killing six Asians (and two others who were deemed irrelevant) in attacks on massage parlors became yet another referendum on whiteness itself. .

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Do you have a source for the ‘shopping for Passover’ bit? I can’t find anything online other than that the shop sold ‘Passover goods’. Not saying you aren’t right but I can’t find anything suggesting a motive other than mental illness or that the victims were of any particular religion or ethnicity.
Are you saying it was a religiously inspired crime? If you are and don’t have evidence that’s irresponsible.
If six Asian people are killed in three Asian owned businesses I can understand why people might suspect a racial motive. I understand the Police in the case of the Spa killings have said the attacker claims to have been motivated by religion (Christian).

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Totally agree, leftist have been excusing Islamic violence in the US for years. It isn’t right wingers doing that.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Extreme Islamist from the right wing? Are you having a laugh Mark? Fascism exists on both left and right and in religion, as much in Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s (and arguably Xi’s) China and the Islamic State as in Nazi Germany.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ralph Windsor
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

It is extraordinary how the word Fascist has been abused and distorted from its original meaning.

Mussolini off course is the prime culprit, with his ludicrous attempt to recreate the glory of Ancient Rome.

The ‘fasces’ originally a bundle of rods and an axe, were carried by a ‘Lictor’, in procession as the public symbol of authority of a Roman Magistrate, a Dictator,Consul, Praetor, Proconsul etc. The number of Lictors depended upon the rank of the Magistrate. Even the head Vestal Virgin was entitled to one when on a ‘shopping trip’.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Spot on. Left or Right has nothing to do with it in my experience. Some people are just intrinsically violent and any ‘cause’ will do.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

By the standards of Belfast in the 70’s the events in Bristol were no more than a minor disturbance.

I trust preparations are in hand for the not too distant day when the ‘drum’ really begins to beat, and air is thick with petrol bombs and high velocity rounds.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago

Water canons on order we must hope.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

Rubber bullets are more effective but eventually it will be rule .303 or 7.62 or even 5.56.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
3 years ago

Left wing protesters fighting a left wing govt, the race to the bottom.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“There was violence in Bristol because some people came out wanting violence, and they got it. Protests attract a kind of hanger-on who don’t truly care about the politics, but love a ruck.”
Sure and this happens in the US as well, look at Portland and Seattle. So just do what Americans who don’t want to live with this do, move. No one has to live in Bristol, do they? If this is permitted in Bristol, those who live there have to make a decision as to whether that’s okay with them.

Maria Bogris
Maria Bogris
3 years ago

So they are a bunch of dysfunctional degenerates

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago

The author is largely rehashing her own article last week about the police and the Sarah Everard vigil. The perception of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is rooted in agreement or disagreement with the excuse for that behaviour.

We get it.

David Foot
David Foot
3 years ago

This what Marx advises in his texts, this stage is called the revolution of the proletariate and its purpose is to eliminate private property and to overthrow the State.
Marxists are to make allies with any other cause going in that same direction, just read the Manifesto, it goes much further, it aims at the destruction of ALL nations as well, as in “workers of the world unite”

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago
Reply to  David Foot

I don’t think the young women who chose to piss and defecate at the feet (indeed on the boots) of the Police are overly familiar with the materialist conception of history.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

It’s not only over here in the UK, as suggested by “It’s that latter approach that you’ll find on the far-Left of British politics.” What’s more, it’s not only on the far-Left, at least, as demonstrated in the US, where Democrat politicians were quick to claim last summer that looting was the “voice of the voiceless”.
It never occurs to them that the other side can use the same argument. Regardless of the facts, a large minority on the American Right were led to believe by Donald Trump that the election had been “stolen” from them. In their own minds they were therefore every bit as voiceless as anyone demanding the defunding of the police half a year earlier, and maybe more so, given how many of the summer rioters were entitled middle class types out to show their solidarity with the oppressed African-American.
Like all two-edged swords, it cuts both ways.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

The Trump supporters are far more ‘voiceless’ than the BLM mobs, which have the full weight of the vast majority too the media behind them.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago

Interesting theme running through posts here from self-identified leftists, viz that the Bristol riots may have been some sort of false flag operation directed by Home Secretary Patel. Sound plausible? A detail of Home Office civil servants bussed down there for the purpose, perhaps? With overtime pay for unsocial hours plus a violence allowance.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ralph Windsor
GA Woolley
GA Woolley
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

No ralph, not enough hate figures implicated for it to be a proper Left meme. It was really organised by MOSSAD, trained by the CIA, ordered by Trump, and led by Margaret Thatcher, with funding from the IMF.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
3 years ago

In case anybody’s feeling sorry for the police, just reflect on how they’ve conducted themselves since March last year. And compared to Europe they couldn’t even enforce a real lockdown, then of course they provide endless complaints about lack of number and ‘tory’ politicians.

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
3 years ago

How do you know that those involved in the violence were “left”? I’m of the left but I would never resort to rioting. In fact to anybody with half a brain cell they know with the kind of home secretary we have that this plays into her hands perfectly. So if you do have a half brain cell why do it?

It seems to me that those rioting and burning cars just like violence as did the football hooligans of old. They have hijacked a situation for their violent needs. Maybe they are agent provocateurs after all that is a very nice, expensive, official, hi vis jacket that he his wearing DUH! with a fully covered not masked face. We cannot even see the eyes which would provide partial identification……..

Come on folks something is not right here and this article plays into the hands of the perpetrators. I notice from the comments those on the right are straight in there with their anti left comments, what if you have been provoked to react like that? How do you feel now?

David Wrathall
David Wrathall
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

Absolutely! Anybody could see invading the Capitol could not possibly be in the interests of Trump or the political right. It was clearly antifa inspired.

Still happy with this line of argument? I get it. It has some validity as a suspicion, but it becomes a never ending circle. It’s only valid if you’re willing to suspect “both ways.”

Last edited 3 years ago by David Wrathall
linda drew
linda drew
3 years ago

Policing and Crime Bill can claim to be defending the public from. Of course the right to protest is a sacrosanct part of an open democracy, she said; but not this thuggishness, not this criminality, not this violence.- WE HAVE ALREADY GOT LAWS AGAINST CRIME. THIS BILL IS MI6 AGAINST CITIZENS AND THUGGERY USED TO PROMOTE THE POLICING BILL- WE DONT NEED ANOTHER POLICING BILL. WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO BE ABLE TO START TACKLING CRIME THAT THEY DON’T INSTEAD OF THEIR MAIN ACTIVITIES SEEMING TO BE NOW AGAINST ”GATHERING” UNLESS YOU HAPPEN TO BE ON SECRET SERVICES APPROVED LIST OF GATHERERS, ROUMANIAN STRAWBERRY PICKERS, DINGHYMEN,GLOBAL LEADERS COMING IN BY PLANE, ALL OTHER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS HE PUTS UP IN HOTELS FOR ”HIS GATHERERS” WHICH INCLUDE LORRIES PARKED UP TO DO DRUG DEALS ON ROADSIDE AND POLICE WATCHING ON OTHER SIDE

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  linda drew

Using capitals just undermines any words you have included, and makes me predict a rant is coming …. can you edit it to help me understand your point please.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Exactly!

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

“But while you can make a cynical argument that the scenes in Bristol serve Patel’s more authoritarian interests, you can’t accuse her of having willed them into being. “

Of course you can say they were willed into being, these groups, as I have told you umpteen times, are the inventions of the intelligence and security agencies, designed to create exactly the kind of divisions in society that allow authoritarian states to enforce their authoritarian policies.

Of course they attract the support of useful idiots from the real world, intent on having some fun during lockdown, but that does not mean there is anything genuine about the movements themselves. If there were, groups such as BLM and XR would not be supported by the establishment and globalist corporations wishing to show solidarity with authoritarianism and the CCP.

No major global corporation, no big tech giant, no royalty or Wall
Street or City of London finance racket supports Piers Corbyn’s lot or groups which question the Great Reset. And ‘Libertarians’ and the Left work together to ensure that the only kind of freedom they ever campaign for is the sort that ends tradition and encourages the state to enforce it, such as the ‘freedom’ for men who consider themselves women to control the language of other free people, or the freedom of the Church of England to ignore the teachings of the bible and promote homosexuality, the freedom for women to kill their unborn babies, the freedom for people to persuade their ill, elderly relatives to kill themselves.

As long as you go on pretending these movements are genuine and blaming ordinary members of the public for them the state will get ever more authoritarian. If the people involved seem to be violent, screeching, raving lunatics playing a part and they are immediately given platforms on television networks and big tech social media, you know they are members of the establishment, playing their part, in ushering in the new world order.

Last edited 3 years ago by Alison Houston
David J
David J
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Or… same old leftists, up to their tricks again. Nothing like a righteous ruck, then blame anyone except themselves.
Uncle Joe would be proud of them.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

Poland in ‘53 & the GDR I forget when.

Raoul De Cambrai
Raoul De Cambrai
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

It seems that freedom for you comes at the expense of the people you would obviously prefer to keep quiet and put up with their own lack of freedom or equality of opportunity – including women and gays. You weren’t protesting so much when they, and people not from your race and background, suffered permanent discrimination. But then perhaps that, for you, was the natural order of things? Oh, and I’m not female, gay or black.But I am pleased to see the church try to right millennia of the prejudices you continue to show. Prejudices which come from humans’ own biases and which haven’t been magically handed down on any tablets other than those created by the people who wrote them down in the first place.

linda drew
linda drew
3 years ago

Whoever argues against the bill now — and there are serious arguments to be made — will have to make their case against the image of a police van blazing in the night while protesters cheered the destruction.- PREVIOUS POLICING LAWS CAN TACKLE BLAZING VANS AND THUGGERY..ST OF YOUR WE DONT NEED AN EXTRA LAW. CORONA LAW IS CRIME AGAINST CITIZENS- WHEN SOMEONE DIES, THE DOC DOES NOT NEED TO SEE THE PATIENT OR ATTEND THE LAST ILLNESS JUST SIGN TO SAY TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE THE PATIENT IS DEAD.. THIS IS PROOF THAT THE LAW IS WRITTEN BY MI6 CRIMINALS WHO NOBODY CAN BRING TO COURT. MISSING PATIENTS AND DECLARE THEY ARE DEAD IS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY BY SECRET SERVICES

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  linda drew

Anyone pointed out to you that excessive use of upper case can be counter-prodictive?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  linda drew

Oh dear not again.