We just note, with modest glee*, the problems that can arise from being a good little progressive these days. Who is it that should be supported here on those banners when the march takes place to Trafalgar Square?
Indigenous protesters have paralyzed roads around Ecuador and blocked a main highway into the capital in a fifth day of action against government austerity measures that have sparked the worst unrest in years, resulting in 477 arrests.
The umbrella indigenous organization Conaie said demonstrations would continue until President Lenín Moreno withdraws last week’s measure to eliminate fuel subsidies.
The problem being that protests against austerity are, from that progressive standpoint, obviously to be supported. Protests by the indigenous - which never does seem to include Morris Dancers - are equally to be approved of. And the imposition of IMF strictures upon democratically decided policies is to be abhorred.
Great, so the woke will be as one with the protests.
Except it is also true that subsidies to the boiling of Gaia are to be entirely anathematised. It may be that the people doing the pressuring - the international capitalist regime - are to be opposed as with the over-riding of the peoples’ will. But the elimination of fossil fuels subsidies is the first demand of that church of St Greta.
For us there is no problem here. We do agree that at times subsidies to the poor are necessary. But they should always be subsidies to people not to products. Thus housing benefit not social rents, cash welfare not fuel subsidies. Thus the elimination proposed here is entirely sensible before we even get to the climate change issue.
But you see the problem for those who wish to continue to be right on?
There is a rather larger point here too, other than just donning the intellectual Doc Martens. The abolition of those fuel subsidies is, as the IEA, IMF, World Bank and all insist, one of the things that needs to be done to beat that climate change. But what if the people don’t want those policies or perhaps don’t want the results of that primal policy?
And what does that mean for whatever else it is that is proposed to deal with that heating globe? When the demands of Extinction Rebellion are that industrial civilisation must be shut down and then the people insist that actually, they rather like being able to eat, heat themselves, come in out of the wet and generally live high on the hog? Who gets arrested then? And who will the marches support?
*Actually, no, we’re gleefully putting the boot in.