New Internationalist

Is it OK for protesters to damage property?

Issue 440

Photos of masked ‘black bloc’ protesters smashing windows seem to accompany most international summits these days. But the debate over whether property destruction is a valid tactic for bringing about social and political change stretches as far back as protest itself. Two seasoned activists dive head-first into this divisive issue.

Every issue we invite two experts to debate a hot button issue in The Argument, and then invite you to join the conversation online - we’ll read all your comments and select the best to print next issue. (We’d prefer you to use your real name, but would love to hear what our readers have to say either way.) If you can’t comment, then you can simply vote in our poll, which you’ll find partway down the debate.

Looking for a debate from a previous issue?
Is it ever right to buy or sell human organs? - October 2010
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Merrick

Last autumn, London hosted two large demonstrations against government spending cuts. First were the firefighters, and nobody but the firefighters themselves remember it. Had they, like the student demonstration for free education, gone and totalled Conservative Party headquarters then, as with the students, public support would be strongly behind them.

Nobody is saying that activists should be as destructive as possible to all property in sight. But as part of a movement that has tremendous moral force and faces targets who care more for property than for people, property damage has a proven track record of effectiveness in bringing about justice that would otherwise be denied. Conversely, the history of just politely asking for change echoes loudly with the yawns of the ignored.

So, if you renounce political property damage then renounce the liberties it has brought. Do not vote unless you are a wealthy land-owning man. Reinstate apartheid. Rebuild the fences around great swathes of wild land. Tell the Majority World ex-colonies to resubmit to the shackles of European rule. Tear up your union membership card. Pay your poll tax, and face a future where you pay for education.

Philippe

Now come on, Merrick. Our debate will be short, but that's no excuse for oversimplification. Any group of protesters — firefighters or students — who resort to trashing buildings as an acceptable, routine tactic are more likely to ‘total’ their own public support than make a dent in the religion of private property that we live under.

Are you saying that property destruction has been the defining tactical feature of the Suffragette, labour, anti-colonial and anti-apartheid movements? Because that would be a preposterous reduction.

Are you forgetting the radical civil resistance that has brought about many of the changes you seem to claim were the result mainly of property destruction? Because that would an indefensible oversight.

You seem to equate a disciplined refusal to break windows, set bins on fire, and throw rocks and firebombs with polite meekness and ineffectual protest. I say, look back at history: the main tools of the labour movement were strikes, worker solidarity, union labels and boycotts.

The South African system of apartheid was brought down not by the tiny military impact of the ANC's acts of sabotage; much less by random window-breaking. Apartheid was dismantled by mass resistance, largely based on consumer boycotts, the ‘End Conscription Campaign’, and large-scale civil disobedience, supported by a worldwide direct action movement for divestment. India and a host of African countries broke the shackles of the British Empire through similar means.

Lasting political change rests on a shift in power relations within society. And you can't change a system by trashing stuff. Only changing people and their interactions can do that.

Merrick

Hugh Warwick
Stop the crop: activists dressed as aliens pull up GM crops in Watlington, Britain, 1999. Hugh Warwick

I didn’t say property damage was the defining feature of those movements, but yes, it was a crucial one. The briefest glance at Suffragette history shows it was central.

We must talk, think, read, write and analyze, and then act in many ways. This certainly includes the tools of civil resistance you speak of, and some more boring things too. But to stop short of something so tactically useful is to tie both hands and a leg behind our backs.

Property damage does not have to lose public support. Everyone – you included, I’ll bet – agrees there are circumstances that can justify it. It’s a matter of whether the case is strong enough.

The 1984-85 miners' strike in Britain involved colossal property damage, even bloodshed and death. The miners were vilified daily in every media outlet. TV news was re-edited and reversed to show miners’ response to police attacks as unprovoked. Yet support for the miners never dropped below a third of the population, roughly the same as Britain’s current governing political party.

When we rip up GM crops or trash mining equipment, we halt destruction. When I tore down fences around woodland threatened by the Newbury Bypass, it was not damage but conservation and liberation. Yes, it was an act that damaged property. But then again, so is bomb disposal.

Philippe

Peter Marshall
Schoolgirls attempt to prevent further damage to a police van that has been abandoned in the midst of student protests, London, November 2010. Peter Marshall

Just because the struggle for women’s suffrage was eventually successful does not mean everything the Suffragettes did or condoned was always the right tactic. The many splits, purges and divisions within their organization show the highly divisive impact some of its more violent tactics had.

Your choice of the miners under Thatcher is telling. Public support that hovers just above a third using violent tactics isn’t much to celebrate. That struggle ended in defeat, remember?

You seem to be looking for common ground where I would agree to limited property destruction. I’ll get to that. But before I do, let’s agree on one crucial point: the ‘Masked Protesters Smash Windows’ story is just as much of a boring, old, useless tactic as your everyday stale labour march.

If trashing stuff were so effective for our side, would the state spend so much money to train and plant undercover police officers like [recently-unmasked] Mark Kennedy in our movement?

The danger lies in fetishizing any tactic, violent or nonviolent. The problem with riot porn – rocks, windows, burning cars – is that these tactics are just slightly more damaging than the ridiculously ineffectual ones.

Merrick

The state infiltrates any effective challenge to the status quo; peace groups and trade unions as much as terrorists. Tailoring your tactics to avoid state repression entirely only works if your aims never conflict with the state’s.

We can’t restrict ourselves to doing what is approved of by media tycoons and their corporate advertisers. The media, like the state, is largely run by and for the powers we’re challenging. As the examples I've named show, people are smart enough not to take the editorial line at face value.

You know this, which is why you’re happy to use other tactics that also provoke media opprobrium. See any news report on strikes and blockades and you'll get someone complaining about the inconvenience. Those poor people who were late for work because Rosa Parks delayed their bus…

We should not be concerned with what those who cause or defend the bad stuff think. We need to ask what is the right thing to do to stop what is wrong; actually stop it, as opposed to just saying we’d like it stopped. Those who stand at the edge of an evil merely bearing witness are allowing it to continue. Their compliance is complicity.

So that leaves a question: why would you disown a tactic if it’s not only publicly supported but also more effective?

Philippe

Defying repression and media-imposed limits? Sure! If done right…

The state infiltrates all kinds of groups, but the agent provocateur’s job is to provoke the trashing of property and violence as a way to discredit us. They can’t do that with explicitly nonviolent groups.

I see people applauding editorial lines that are critical of vandalism and terrorism all the time. I still think they’re smart. They don’t want a society like that.

Why do you think Mubarak unleashed thugs onto Egypt’s streets? It was his last-ditch effort to portray civil resistance as civil war, and be rebranded a saviour. No wonder protest organizers in Cairo were working tirelessly to keep the gathered masses from playing straight into the dictator’s hands.

So, is it okay for protesters to damage property? I say no. It is tactical and strategic suicide.

Are there acts of property damage I support? You mention GM crops and the sabotage of destructive equipment. The four Seeds of Hope Ploughshares women who did $2.4 million damage to a Hawk jet bound for East Timor – I’m with that. The Drax resisters who planned to shut down a coal power station? I’m with that too. But black bloc shit? No thanks.

It’s context and design. Provocateur-style trashing isn’t radical civil disobedience. Many lives depend on us understanding the difference.

Thank you, Merrick, my brother in struggle.

Merrick Godhaven has spent much of the last 20 years blockading, blogging, banner-waving, organizing and agitating on environmental and social justice issues. Pending egalitarian utopia, he expects to spend the next few decades doing the same. Philippe Duhamel has been designing and organizing campaigns using nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience for over 25 years. He's currently trying to get a new campaign off the ground to stop shale gas fracking in his home province of Quebec, Canada.

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  1. #1 Ogilve 10 Feb 11

    Before asking whether it's OK, the first question should be whether it isn't counterproductive - and it's not clear to me that it isn't, in the vast majority of cases.

  2. #2 Alex Lee 10 Feb 11

    A good brief overview of the debate which I'm sure will continue to divide activists for many years.

    There are 2 upcoming face-to-face debates on violent vs non-violent protest tactics that will probably be of interest to people reading this who would like to explore the issues further. Details are on facebook.
    Oxford debate 21st Feb at the Albion Beatnik bookshop: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=181524768550188
    London debate 26th Feb at Vantra restaurant:
    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=107926302617517

  3. #3 Per Herngren 11 Feb 11

    Damage but not protest

    Like Nietzsche and Deleuze part of the plowshares movement and Vine & Fig Tree planters are trying to break away from the negative, away from protest. They call it postprotest.

    The protest negate. And to negate is to confirm. The alternative to protest is to live and build the society/revolution you want, in a way which displace rather than negate.

    You have to go into military bases or into different companies to build the solution to displace the destructive business. But in postprotest you are building the solution rather than negating, protesting. Postprotest is a way to break away rather than point in the direction of some power out there.

    Change is then coming from repetition (Deleuze), change is contagious (Deleuze), change is a chain of imitations (Gabriel Tarde). Change is not to ask 'the mystical power' to be the subject, to make the change.

    When you are building the solution you have to hammer, cut, rearrange, replace destructive property.

    But when you are building something you are telling people or showing them, what you are building, you don't call it destruction (like when you are building a house). The focus is not to destroy but to build. But of course you have to destroy when you are building something (maybe inside military bases).

    So protest would be to confirm power, according to Nietzsche/Deleuze and postprotest. Protest appoints 'the power' as the subject. Postprotest displaces, breaks away.

    When you are actually building solutions, you need tools, your hands are going to be dirty, and you might be thrown in prison, but change is material, not only spiritual.

    (Sorry about my English, I am Swedish speaking.)

  4. #4 Roowyrm 15 Feb 11

    When fences are torn down, diggers damaged so they cannot be used, GM crops torn up etc it is clear what the purpose is and is then a tactic to be used. However, if, as has happened in the past, it is all for show and for the media (often, I beleive orchestrated by the media themselves or other outside influences0 then it becomes counter productive.

    Used with care and thought, such destruction can be a powerful tool in the activists arsenal.

  5. #5 David Chown 15 Feb 11

    If such property poses a hazard to human health and to security of life, and the end result of such damage is unlikely to result in as much, and takes into account the social costs of its probable replacement - under these considerations, damage to such property may be reasonably justifiable.
    But, in general, protests represent, by social consensus, a peaceful assembly and is not the proper forum of venue for such acts, as it will likely detract from the unity, message, and public image of the protest (not to mention, provoke a violent response from the police).
    Exceptions may well exist such as, for example, members of the anti-war movement damaging military property in the 1980s, acts directed against the preparations for war and the generally perceived threat of ’exterminism’.
    Only in such instances is destruction of property a laudable tactic, whereas, as a general rule, it is counter-productive and detracts from an affirmative response to more important fundamental issues.

  6. #6 Merrick 16 Feb 11

    The Importance of Alternatives

    Per, I totally agree that we need to be building the alternatives that will supersede the present systems. The first question lots of activists get is 'we can see what you're AGAINST, but what are you FOR?'.

    But unless we obstruct and dismantle the wrong stuff, it continues to grow and exert its power to limit and undermine our alternatives. We have to do both.

    But I don't think folks protest against something without having a vision of what should be there instead. In fact, most of the activists I know are doing that most days of the year, away from the few days of doing protests that catch the attention.

    (And no wories about your English, it's very clear and a hell of a lot better than me trying to speak Swedish!)

  7. #7 Merrick 16 Feb 11

    David, I disagree - protest very often is not peaceful, nor intended to be so, and yet it can still be widely supported and very effective. Yet again I point to the recent student protests.

    Beyond that, we have to define what we mean by peaceful. In the debate Philippe seems to undermine himself at the end by suddenly saying that lots of property damage is OK, if he approves of it. I feel it's the same thing that leads climate activists to call their proest 'peaceful' - it's actually a code for 'justified' when using tactics that would horrify people with a principled commitment to non-violent action.

    The much-praised 'non-violent peaceful protest' of climate activists in the UK has involved a lot of damage to property and a lot of abrasive, heated, physical push and shove with police and security guards.

    Any tactic or level of confrontation is divisive - I have ripped up GM crops while other anti-GM protesters stood at the edge of the field shouting 'we don't approve of your methods'. A decision to be passive and let the police lead you away alienates those who want a more robust sit-in. There is nothing a protest movement can do that gets fully supported from those who agree with its aims, let alone from the public at large.

    The fact is that all manner of tactics have produced positive results. Ghandi's incredible victory over the (admittedly waning) military might of the British empire obviously leaps to mind. Then again, if we look to present day Northern Ireland we see it's the leaders of the most hardline groups who got the best results, the moderates did not command such a prominent place at the table.

    There is no sure way of knowing in advance which tactics will work, and what delivers results on one campaign can totally undermine another.

  8. #8 klem 16 Feb 11

    Sure It's ok to damage property in a protest. Just like it's ok for the owners to shoot the protesters in defence of that property. Cheers.

  9. #9 ruki 16 Feb 11

    When property is damaged, focus is given on the damage done and dilutes the focus on the actual cause giving it negative media attention and perhaps sways initial sympathisers in the opposite direction.
    Costs implicated in the clean up of such damage could actually be better used. Protesters who have a point to make should be able to make it without causing damage and if they are not being heard perhaps they should rethink their strategy.
    The Egyptian strategy was a mass movement of people, inciting peace and not destruction.

  10. #10 Jo 16 Feb 11

    Maybe property damage by protesters isn't 'right', but protesting isn't about playing by the rules, it's about showing how strongly you feel about the issue. I don't think damaging property is necessarily 'right' but it does get across the strength of feeling about the issue in a way that peaceful protest doesn't, necessarily - property damage shows that the protesters feel so strongly about the issue, they are willing to break the law if necessary, and it does mean the protests will be remembered for longer (whether in a good way or bad way).
    And after all - why is property so important? Take the student protests for example - they may have damaged some government buildings, but the government is damaging people's right to an education. What's more important?

  11. #11 sighmon 16 Feb 11

    Bringing in Joy's opinion from Facebook: [a href=’http://www.facebook.com/newint.au/posts/111879128888979’]NI Australia facebook page.

  12. #12 Starbuck 16 Feb 11

    This debate is more about definitions of justifiable 'property damage' than whether or not it is at all justifiable. And this is the same debate as: how do we define ’Non Violent Direct Action’? What non-violence agreements should we adhere to in our strategies of change?

    I've recently heard the rationale that we should stop using the term ’Non Violent Direct Action’ so frequently, as it it instantly excludes those who choose to utilize some degree of violence, whether that be disarming a hawkjet, smashing a window or shouting a chant loudly.

  13. #14 DannyC 17 Feb 11

    I think it's possible to separate property damage by protesters into two rough categories - ’tactical’ damage that's been carefully planned in advance (e.g. cutting through a fence, pulling up a GM crop, sabotaging a bulldozer) and spur-of-the-moment damage on a rowdy protest (e.g. the broken windows at Millbank by student protesters).

    I think both types of damage can contribute to positive change if the circumstances are right - the first as part of a well-thought-through campaign, the second as a clear demonstration of people's passion and anger on a crucial issue. Like it or not, without the broken windows at Millbank the student protests would have had nowhere near the media profile and subsequent public support that they now enjoy. It's important to remember that mainstream media support isn't the same as public support - actions that are criticised by the media can still be seen as justified or understandable by many of the public. Also, the ’giving the police an excuse’ argument is something of a red herring - I've seen just as many chilled-out protests being attacked by riot cops as rowdy ones.

    I don't think it's possible to say that property damage is never justified, but neither is it always justified (or tactically a good idea). It's a messy, case-by-case thing and context is everything (e.g. protesters setting fire to police stations in Egypt last month was completely understandable, but it would be very different if someone did the same thing in the UK).

    Also, just because you personally don't like property damage as a tactic doesn't mean you should publicly ’condemn’ others who use it. I'd argue that this kind of condemnation is hardly ever a good idea - it's almost always ugly and divisive. It's perfectly fine to tell a journalist something like ’I wouldn't take that kind of action myself (e.g. smashing a Millbank window) but I understand the genuine anger that made people do that’. It cuts both ways, too - it's equally unhelpful when more militant activists are publicly rude about people organising petitions, legal marches and letter-writing campaigns.

    These are important tactical debates to be had between campaigners within protest movements, in a respectful way (as in the debate above) but trashing each other in public about it helps nobody but our enemies.

  14. #15 Miguel Webb 17 Feb 11

    Justification of property damage could depend on the magnitude of the reason for protest. In the case of global climate damage,where the responsible are abusers, simmilar to physical or sexual domestic abusers, and thus cannot be convinced and should be stoped- at any cost it can be justified..
    On the other hand, sacking a train by a group of workers for having been fired is disproportionate.
    In Argentina the right to protest and cut a freeway impeding tens of thousand´s right to transit has definetly prejudiced public opinion against property damage or the ocupation of common property.
    And, yes, property damage gains the evening news, but most mass media is in the hands of very few people, whose interests are miles from ours.

  15. #16 Peter Lanyon 17 Feb 11

    The violence of the non-violent protester

    My dictionary is wary of defining “violence”, passing the job on to its adjective - “violent”: marked by great physical force. Weighing over 14 stone, getting myself on my feet after a horizontal night is violent. Creating a planet is violent, so is birth, and orgasm and the germination of a seed, and chewing even vegan food, and digesting it. Harvesting the materials to make an ecohouse is inevitably violent. Look at the violence of a small child having a tantrum as it learns its boundaries. Consider the violence of the bee that killed the wasp to protect the hive that provided the honey for the mother, so she might suckle the child.

    Violence - like stuff – happens.

    Violence also lies in what doesn’t happen. Everything we don’t do to mitigate climate change condemns coastal populations to the violence of rising sea levels. Everything we don’t do to oppose nuclear power and GM crops increases the violence from uranium mining and to untold numbers of organisms.

    The mess we’re in, that the politicians pretend is economic, is truly because of the violence we are imposing upon the planet by overburdening it with us and with our unjustifiable demands and insatiable greed. When demonstrations against cuts in services become violent, the papers are quick to condemn them, yet the media bear far greater responsibility for the cuts by driving our unsustainable lifestyles, which do far greater damage than a few smashed windows. Yet again, we can’t get our messages across without the media, can we? And think of the violence in making window glass out of sand, or in making sand out of rocks, or in feeding and clothing energetic students – even non-violent ones. Ultimately it’s the violence of the unbridled material excesses of our species that lies behind the smashing of windows. Few even contemplate that.

    What’s the distinction between property and improperty? Was a hammer one of those and a Hawk aircraft the other, and if so, which was which?

    In the early days of TP I tried to argue the violence to property case with Satish Kumar, but we got nowhere. We cannot impose absolute truths on a complex world we’ve no hope of understanding, to which we ourselves have added our own absurd complications. All we can do is our best, in each and every case; and, when we can, think and talk about it beforehand. And if praying or other rituals help, do those too – without even trying to understand what they mean either.

    Surely we must Rage, rage against the dying of the light. On no account must we stop doing that, even when we are a cause of that extinction. Such raging is violent too.

  16. #17 Jane 18 Feb 11

    Does violence engender respect?

    I have zero respect for violence leading to property and life destruction. I regard those who protest in that way at the same level as those who generate the need for protest. Both are behaving in the same way - like the bullies in a primary school playground. I fully agree with Per that construction is the way forward and not destruction.

    Some time ago, 1968, there were student protests around the country and around Europe, I forget now exactly what they were about but it probably included money and facilities. At the time I was treasurer for the student union of my uni. We did not have violent protests. We discussed the problems with the powers that be including the vice chancellor. All was sorted amicably with respect by both sides for each other. We accepted that changes do not happen just like that but have to be developed. Some years later I was delighted to see that the some of the things we had asked for/discussed, not demanded, were in place. These included bringing together a lot of the colleges in the town under the umbrella of the uni, building a new joint union building - which is exactly how and where he had planned it. That uni I now note has been voted by students as the top uni - Loughborough. And in the time of protests it developed peacefully.

    My respect goes to people such as Ghandi who were in for peaceful protests. And to conclude let us try to follow this quote from one of Ghandi's relatives: If everyone cared enough and everyone shared enough, then everyone would have enough.

  17. #18 Rich 18 Feb 11

    Why combine peaceful protest and property damage?

    There seem to be two distinct types of property damage, which DannyC (comment #14) describes as tactical damage or spur of the moment. To damage an aircraft about to be sent to kill innocent people is very different to breaking windows to gain media attention. I’d like to comment on using property damage as a tactic within mass protests as seen in the recent student demonstrations.

    If the only tactical reason for property damage is to gain the attention of the mass media, then this does seem to be a tactic which works. However, the negative consequences of this are that the mass media can easily focus if they so wish on the property damage rather than the reason for protest. Protestors can be described as mindless thugs who like vandalism and violence, rather than concerned citizens, and all protestors can be tarred with the same brush. Protestors will be seen as giving a negative message rather than a positive message. Many people watching this reported either by the mass media or alternative media outlets will not want to be part of a movement who advocate property destruction or violence (as they are often confused) for a bit of publicity (even for worthwhile reason), and they will be discouraged from joining a protest which they know may become violent.

    So, if people join a demonstration with the tactical intention of causing property damage, while the majority of the people are on a peaceful protest here are two tactical ideas if you feel you must cause property damage to gain attention in the media.

    1)Do not join the peaceful protest. Leave it peaceful. Pick the same day as the peaceful protest and cause the property damage in a different location, but aimed at a related target. This way the protests can be linked to the same cause, even contact the press for a few good photos of the vandalism. The negative aspects of what you are doing will then hopefully not be applied to the peaceful protesters. And any damage or violence in the peaceful demonstration will be seen as unintentional and in a different light.

    2)Breaking a window is a bit boring, especially as a stunt in front of 50 mass media photographers allowed by the police. If you have to be a vandal, be a creative vandal. Graffiti tags which demonstrate the message you want to get across as one idea. There are loads of other ideas used all the time.

    I’m not arguing for or against property damage as a tactic for protest. But why must it be tactically used in the same place as a peaceful protest?

  18. #19 smashing times 19 Feb 11

    Society of the spectacle

    Interesting that so many people are concerned about how property damage ’will be seen’. Its a bit like living in a panopticon. We keep each other in line with our fear of each other.

  19. #20 Peter1969 25 Feb 11

    Violent direct action is a legitimate means of resistance and defence.

    When we march we do not march for the BBC or ITV or other media, we do not march because we want our opinion heard, or because we want to change the mind of the general public. We march because we are angry and because our government is not listening. We march to say ’we are here’ and we march to threaten their order. I have marched with a million others in peace and we achieved nothing. We walked where we were told to, and went home when we were told. We were wrong to do that. We should have stayed. And when they tried to move us we should have torn their shops and banks and offices apart. Perhaps we may have made an arrogant government think twice and saved a few lives.
    It is better than impotently marching to their order and then returning to our lives whilst they run business as normal. The first thing we have to change in civil disobedience is our obsession with playing to the media. It is not about what people think, it is about what is effective and what is morally right. And it is morally right to stand ones ground and fight for what one believes. It is only property, it can be replaced. Lives cannot.

  20. #21 Peter Foreman 02 Mar 11

    I agree with Philippe, but I blame the media that Merrick feels damage is necessary.

    I went to a Climate Change protest in London with 5000+ others and it was not reported on TV or in the papers.

    I thought that was unbelievable, but would it have been ignored if we had crashed a few windows and been arrested?

    The media only likes bad news; presumably because this is what their customers want to read!

  21. #22 Peace Activist 04 Mar 11

    I have been an active campaigner for a long time; but I've never attended a demonstration. I have written a vast number of campaign letters, many in relation to Amnesty campaigning. Inevitably, I've become more closely involved with some of the people who deal with these campaign correspondences, I've attended meetings, built cordial relationships an so on. I've no doubt any involvement with anything less than legal, ethical and fully acceptable, would put my campaigning in jeopardy,at least too a degree. I can only suppose that others are in a similar situation. I believe anything such as damage to property is detrimental to activist campaigning.

  22. #23 Marty Branagan, Peace Studies, UNE 14 Mar 11

    Active Resistance

    This is an interesting debate, but with some over-simplifications. There are many actions in between unplanned window-breaking and quietly marching. Huge flamboyant marches and actions with colour and humour, music and theatre can be inspiring to join, create solidarity, draw in onlookers and get favourable media, especially on alternative sites. They can disseminate messages and information within movements and to wide audiences. This can grow movements, change the tide of public opinion and lead to policy change, ethical investment, consumer boycotts etc. Constructive programmes of creating parallel institutions, going solar and organic etc are the positive flipside of protest and opposition.
    Alternatively, people can use 'active resistance' techniques to blockade damaging industries, where people bury themselves up to the neck on logging roads, or build tripod villages to block access to uranium mines, or lock onto bulldozers or gates. There may be some property damage but it's thoughtful and tactical, and the people who do it aren't masked (like agents provocateurs) and don't run away.

  23. #24 Peace Activist 18 Apr 11

    Yes very true

    I just thought I'd comment on the above post; which I believe sums things up beautifully. I think demonstrations that move towards damage and obstruction, should be viewed too a degree by the apparent moral worth of the demonstrators. Those who go to a demonstration dressed in paramilitary dress, with masks and maybe weapons, have no moral worth. Others may have very strong and genuine belief in the cause they are supporting; they have some moral worth, even if there is some damage or obstruction. Some demonstrators such as the EDL seem to have no moral worth, or any kind of worth at all. I believe the spirit in which someone goes to a demonstration, is all important. Genuine supporters at a demonstration will have considerable knowledge of the cause they are there to campaign for.

  24. #25 Durin 02 Oct 11

    Is it OK for protesters to damage property? - Are these protestors who agree with me and damage the property of those I oppose or protestors that oppose me and damage property of those I support?

  25. #26 ricardo vaz 19 Jul 13

    Non-violent protests have name, clear claims, and ID. Vandalism has no tags, and can be used politically for any undeclared interest, frequently the worst possible.

  26. #27 vanshika sharma 23 Jul 13

    thanks for helping me for my debate
    but u people can add some more to it
    thankxxxxxx

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This article was originally published in issue 440

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