Very Bright

I’ve just chosen a really bright orange paint for my cosy room walls.

Does that make me a “domestic extremist” ?

I ask this in a week when the term has been the subject of quite some discussion and debate amongst some of the people around me :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/25/police-surveillance-protest-domestic-extremism

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/6433980/Peaceful-protesters-included-on-police-database-of-domestic-extremists.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/henryporter/2009/oct/26/police-domestic-extremists
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/27/police-spotter-card-emily-apple
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/27/police-spotter-card-richard-hering
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/27/police-spotter-card-phil-pritchard
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/27/police-spotter-card-pennie-quinton
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/27/police-spotter-cards-hogbin-bae

I’m pretty certain I’m on the list, and this is how I figure I know.

I have been to a number of public, pre-advertised Climate Change-related meetings over the last 5 years, where, as I arrived at the venue, there was a “swarm” of uniformed police officers around the entrance, and other uniformed people with cameras, making sure they photographed everyone going into the meeting.

I have been involved in stewarding and doing logistics for public events with various groups including the Campaign against Climate Change, and sometimes noticed uniformed people with cameras documenting what I am doing.

On one occasion, I was stopped in the street and asked a series of questions, right by a building where I am convinced someone was filming me from behind the windows.

And at some events, uniformed police officers have given instructions to me, or made requests of me, using my name.

There have been other things going on that I shall not bother you with now, because I just wanted to give a flavour of what has happened.

I don’t know whether the general public realises this is going on. Imagine for yourself how intimidating this feels !

There’s no authority to complain to, because the authorities are doing this.

I am so undangerous, it’s not true, yet I have clearly been catalogued as risky.

It would be amusing if it weren’t so threatening to my human rights.

If anyone, uniformed or not, wants to find out what I’m doing, and they can’t be bothered to read all the materials I write, (wherein I document practically everything I get up to), all they need to do is write or phone and suggest a little chat in a public place. They know my phone numbers, I’m sure.

I’m an open, honest broker and I don’t play cat and mouse with anyone. However, I can understand why some other people might want to hide what they’re doing, after the stress and harassment they’ve suffered.

When my ancient mobile phone finally dies, I’m going to get one of those models with polyphonic ringtones so I can programme my alarm to be the sound of a helicopter. That’s the sound that will reliably wake me up, every day.

Why ? Because each night at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp in 2008, the uniformed authorities flew the helicopters over low at least once a night, presumably to make sure that nobody got a good night’s sleep. The sound is forever etched into my mind as a warning.

A helicopter alarm call will constantly remind me of the enormous waste of money that has gone into monitoring hundreds, possibly thousands, of entirely innocent people trying to make public statements about the wrongs and risks of the current order.

Think for a moment about the motivation of the people who camped on the top of Didcot Power Station. Mad ? Crazy, maybe. Bad ? Really, no. Dangerous to know ? Not at all.

You have to ask yourself, what were they up there for ? A desperate plea for Society to listen and change the governance of the Energy supply in Great Britain.

They were not asking to replace the people in power, but they are asking to change the regime.

They are not doing it with guns or bombs or even propaganda. They are using their own bodies as the message, non-violent witness to the issues and problems we face.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/28/didcot-power-station-protest-ends

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