So Extinction Rebellion are going to quit their disruptive protests. ‘We quit,’ they stated, admitting they had not achieved very much.
What did they hope to achieve in their attacks on working people?
It was one of the most surprising moments in A-level history when the tutor quoted statistics showing that, despite the French Revolution of 1789 claiming the slogans of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity,” it was not the aristocracy who suffered the most deaths – which was the popular perception – but, instead, the ordinary French peasants.
Upheavals of any sort seem invariably to favour the strong to the disadvantage of the weak. The culture of the spivs and the black market in Britain during the Second World War didn’t do much to benefit Tommy Atkins and his family; it existed to serve the demands of those with wads of cash who could afford to pay whatever might be asked for the goods they wanted.
Protests, economic crises, revolutions, whether in affluent Europe or in the least developed nations in Africa, do impact upon the rich and powerful, but not nearly as much as they do upon those living on meagre wages or, even worse, at subsistence level. The strongest elites will always be able to pay for what they want.
During the years of financial crisis a decade ago, it was working people who were most affected as the funds holding their occupational pensions were devastated. It was working people who faced the repossession of their homes if they lost their jobs and failed to keep up their mortgage payments. It was working people who were most affected when budgets were cut.
So when it came to the protests by Extinction Rebellion, it was working people who were hurt. Affluent people could more easily make adjustments to their diaries to avoid the impact of the protests; affluent people could more easily pay for taxis when public transport was disrupted. Affluent people could more easily cope with the lack of police officers for ordinary duties caused by the protests, their homes would be more secure and would be alarmed. Affluent people coull more easily deal with such problems that arose, because they had the resources to do so.
The people who were hurt most by the Extinction Rebellion protests were the working people, they were those who could not pay for alternatives. Whatever language might have been used to justify the protests, it was the working people who suffered. The leaders of the protests might h about the imave thought more about the impact of their actions. Being an overwhelmingly middle class movement, they had little idea of how not being able to get to work hurt those for whom every day of life is an economic struggle.