Student Led Demonstration Today

I think most people are aware of the Facebook organised student led protest at Parliament today at lunchtime. As I understand it they are protesting (peacefully) against government corruption in general and the percieved PLP independence by stealh approach.

I will be there.

I will be there primarily to hear what the students have to say, and also to commend them for having the digestive fortitude to actually have the courage of their convictions and get out there and demonstrate for what they beleive in.

Having said that, I do not 100% agree with why they are protesting.

As a pro-independence individual, I of course take exception to this aspect of their platform (‘Students Against Indpendence and Government Corruption’). I will agree with them in opposing forced independence, but I think they are mistaken – but I can understand why – if they beleive the PLP Government is going to force independence on the people of Bermuda; that would be a nearly impossible thing to do, and even if it could be done, it would be a sham and counter-productive initiative.

I do agree with them in opposing government corruption and the dismal behaviour of our parliamentarians across the board – I’ve written before on the juvenile behaviour that passes for parliamentary conduct and behaviour in our parliament.

My position on the BHC scandal is also I think clear from past posts on this site. If the allegations are true, notwithstanding the legality of the issue, if they are true and unethical, then the responsible parties should resign, as such behaviour is anathema to what the progressive labour movement represents.

That said, I’ll see you all at the demo.

One thought on “Student Led Demonstration Today

  1. Okay, here’s a quick update on what I saw at the demo. I got there just about right at 1230hrs, and the demo was already up outside the House of Assembly. For some reason I didn’t make a count, but I’ld estimate, looking back, that there were maybe about 100 people there. It got a bit confusing as there were also the MPs and some PLP supporters milling around as well. In general the demo were on the Parliament Street side, and the PLP and MPs were on the Court Street side. [I’m not saying they were on either side of the building, but imagine a crowd of people and I’m making a rough division down the middle.]

    The picket signs in general were focused on opposing corruption, but there were a few that seemed to cross the line of bipartisanship, as well as a couple signs for comedic effect, such as ‘Got Milk’ – although some PLPers will no doubt percieve this sign as being a pro-UBP aka ‘the Milkman.’

    All the signs seemed to have been made by the same hand, and were of roughly the same construction, showing a good degree of organisation; this was underlined as the rally broke up and the signs were carefully collected and transported away as a bunch, presumably for future use.

    There was a negative bit following the Premier’s speech, when an angry spectator got into a shouting match with Minister Butler. From what I could gather, Minister Butler was trying to ensure the organisers had a chance to speak, but the spectator insisted on challenging the Premier or something to that effect. In this occassion, the spectator was definitely in the wrong, and it was an unfortunate detraction from the otherwise good event.

    Following the Premier’s speech, and the demo organisers, the Opposition Leader spoke, and then the mike was essentially open, and I saw that some PLP supporters took the oppurtunity to address the crowd. I couldn’t really hear what they had to say, as the mike appeared to be for the benefit of video recording and not speech amplification. It all seemed pretty non-controversial, although some of the body language may have been a bit unhelpful.

    On both sides (I took the oppurtunity to mingle as best I could in between the two groups, PLPers and demonstrators), there was some negative stupidity in reaction to some of the speakers. On the PLP side I heard people alleging that the demo was ‘too white’ or ‘too foreign looking’ with the implication that the demo was being coerced from the UBP or White Bermuda opposition. From the demo side, mainly the older crowd to be fair, there was mocking of the PLPer positions as superficial and spin.

    Now, its true, the demonstrators were mostly white. This does not mean to me that they were UBP coerced. I think many of the demonstrators are generally opposed to corruption – as are most PLPers; the issue on independence however is a different matter. It is quite true that there remains a chasm almost between White and Black Bermuda when it comes to perceptions, with some of these perceptions being quite honest ignorance and cultural ineertia.

    I do not believe that the demo was UBP coerced. I think they were mostly genuinely concerned young Bermudians, mostly white, its true, who are genuinely seeking to better understand the world and the politics that surround them, and they are learning. In a demo like this, or any demo for that matter, one cannot help but raise ones consciosness of social activism. True, I think many of them are still shackled by ignorance and inertia, as is to be expected as youth, but they certainly make up for that in enthusiasm, energy, and a willingness to learn. Condemning them as UBP pawns out of hand is foolish, and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially when one does so mostly based on racial profiling.

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