Whirled peas
February 17, 2005 6:14 PM   Subscribe

“We bit off more than we could chew." When thirty-five Greenpeace protestors raided London's International Petroleum Exchange to mark the first day of the Kyoto protocol coming into effect, the last thing they expected was a lesson in the finer points of beatdown administration at the hands of drunken oil traders.

"[One protestor] said: 'I took on a Texan Swat team at Esso last year and they were angels compared with this lot.” Behind him, on the balcony of the pub opposite the IPE, a bleary-eyed trader, pint in hand, yelled: 'Sod off, Swampy.'"
posted by nyterrant (78 comments total)

 
Now that is fucking hilarious
posted by TetrisKid at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2005


damn hippies, got what they deserved this time
posted by tiamat at 6:27 PM on February 17, 2005


one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. “I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.”

I'm on their side and everything, but this reads like something out of The Onion.
posted by rks404 at 6:27 PM on February 17, 2005


Violence against people with a socially-progressive agenda is nothing new and not something that amuses me.

One of these days, the corporapists will face a determined group of environmentalists who will not be protesting, but instead will be enforcing a new level of respect for the environment.
posted by VP_Admin at 6:34 PM on February 17, 2005


One of these days, the corporapists will face a determined group of environmentalists who will not be protesting, but instead will be enforcing a new level of respect for the environment.

Sounds like fascism to me.
posted by loquax at 6:35 PM on February 17, 2005


I empathize with their goals, but god I hate hippies.
posted by gambit at 6:36 PM on February 17, 2005


Greenpeace has always had confrontational tactics, yet non-violent. They confront polluters dumping 50 gallon drums of pollution into the ocean. They've had 50 gallon drums dropped onto their inflatable boats from ships. They've had whaler's harpoons pointed at them, they've had one of their ships sunk by France.

I admire their boldness and willingness to face the fascist/capitalist elements on issues of concern for the environment.
posted by VP_Admin at 6:37 PM on February 17, 2005



Violence against people with a socially-progressive agenda is nothing new and not something that amuses me.


It seems to me that the "socially-progressive agenda" instigated this particular violence. They started a fight... People fought back. The hippies cannot fairly be viewed as victims here.
posted by mervin_shnegwood at 6:38 PM on February 17, 2005


I empathize with their goals, but god I hate hippies.
posted by gambit


Your hatred has been noted by this hippie. Now why don't you go choke on George Bush's dick?
posted by VP_Admin at 6:46 PM on February 17, 2005


That being said, I also think that a group of people who "raid" a trading floor with balloons and noisemakers cannot truly be considered a credible organization. The only thing that they are accomplishing is making themselves look naive and childish. If I were to march into your place of work tomorrow, blow a whistle and demand that you sacrificed profits for some reason or other would you take me seriously? I certainly hope not.
posted by mervin_shnegwood at 6:49 PM on February 17, 2005


But they were set upon by traders, most of whom were under the age of 25. “They were kicking and punching men and women indiscriminately,” a photographer said. “It was really ugly, but Greenpeace did not fight back.”

Note to self: when engaging in this sort of behavior, don't go with pacifists.

I empathize with their goals, but god I hate hippies.

I love hippy chicks so much, I went and married one.
posted by jperkins at 6:50 PM on February 17, 2005


Now why don't you go choke on George Bush's dick?

Classy response! Thanks VP!
posted by loquax at 6:56 PM on February 17, 2005


That being said, I also think that a group of people who "raid" a trading floor with balloons and noisemakers cannot truly be considered a credible organization.
...
posted by mervin_shnegwood


You might not consider them credible, but you probably don't give a rat's ass whether certain types of whales go extinct, or whether polluters dump tons of toxic waste into our oceans. Greenpeace is a venerable organization which has done a heck of a lot to protect our oceans.

Your knee-jerk reaction in favor of oil-traders over Greenpeace only establishes that you're a right-winger. Maybe you can get a job in the Whitehouse. I hear there's an opening for a male-hooker/fake-journalist.
posted by VP_Admin at 6:58 PM on February 17, 2005


Metafilter: why don't you go choke on George Bush's dick?
posted by casu marzu at 7:04 PM on February 17, 2005


Classy response! Thanks VP!
posted by loquax


Snarky response from you. If you want classy, maybe you should go to England and be a butler for some 'nobleman'. That would be very classy.
posted by VP_Admin at 7:05 PM on February 17, 2005


What do you have against the English? I don't hate hippies or oil traders but that story read like comedy gold.
posted by TetrisKid at 7:09 PM on February 17, 2005


Your knee-jerk reaction in favor of oil-traders over Greenpeace only establishes that you're a right-winger.

Correction: My knee jerk reaction in favor of sanity and reason over immaturity and foolishness only establishes that I am not the sort of person who thinks of this behavior as effective.

I never said that I was pro-oil or anti environment. I merely stated that this is not the way to put a positive light on an organization. They acted like idiots and now they are going to have to deal with the consequences. Seriously, who breaks into a busy workplace, causes a serious ruckus, and then wonders why the workers are not amenable to listening to their point of view. I am more amenable in civilized conversation. Noisemakers and incense just irritate me. Hippies would be so much more tolerable if they were capable of conversing civilly...

Maybe you can get a job in the White House. I hear there's an opening for a male-hooker/fake-journalist.

Q.E.D.
posted by mervin_shnegwood at 7:10 PM on February 17, 2005


Please, VP. If I have to choose who's side I'd ultimately take in the grand scheme of things, it'd be Greenpeace, but this was the equivalent of walking into a Hell's Angels bar and saying "You guys think you're tough?"

So I wont applaud stupidity.
posted by jonmc at 7:12 PM on February 17, 2005


So, anyone not in favor of Greenpeace and WHATEVER they do is a right winger?

Might these people be considered eco terrorists and maybe get a stay at Gitmo?


Agendas aside, sounds like it was a good brawl. I wonder if there is any film of it. Security cameras at the very least?

I wonder if Greenpeace will have to pay for loss of revenue for the period of time the IPE had to shutdown.
posted by a3matrix at 7:12 PM on February 17, 2005


Man, VP_Admin is a classic violent, angry little hippie.
I bet you go to protests just to throw bricks.
posted by nightchrome at 7:12 PM on February 17, 2005


It's really not surprising that someone who can't see why others might think that Greenpeace's tactics in this instance make people not take them seriously might also not be able to see why spewing vitriol at people on a messageboard might make people not take him seriously.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:12 PM on February 17, 2005


Well, VP, at this point I'd settle for something in the neighbourhood of polite, but whatever! Your suggestion does sound very classy. Thank you.
posted by loquax at 7:13 PM on February 17, 2005


Actually, I've known plenty of hippies. Most of 'em were smarter than this bunch and our boy VP here. Plus they were wise enough to see that replacing one kind of totalitarianism with another is a recipe for disaster. Abbie Hoffman is rolling over in his grave at this farce.
posted by jonmc at 7:15 PM on February 17, 2005


lol @ greenpeace
posted by angry modem at 7:17 PM on February 17, 2005


...it's like a swirling pool of sharks, with my favorite rubber duckie bobbing in the middle. I want to jump in, I want to swim around.... but I'll never really get my rubber duckie back.
posted by jscott at 7:19 PM on February 17, 2005


Actually, I've known plenty of hippies. Most of them were smarter than this bunch and our boy VP here.

I agree. Generally, Greenpeace and other environmental groups (not that they're all "hippies" whatever that means) do a much better job of getting their point across. Rarely does an anti-oil/pollution/international finance protest end up with the average person supporting drunken louts over the protesters. You really have to screw up badly for that to happen, regardless of your intentions.
posted by loquax at 7:20 PM on February 17, 2005


The real problem is that there is no clear division between activists and protestors, when there really is a huge gulf of understanding and purpose between them.
Slagging these types of confrontational wankers with the "hippies" tag is probably not a good idea, although it certainly sounds god.
posted by nightchrome at 7:20 PM on February 17, 2005


I empathize with their goals, but god I hate hippies.

Do you know anything about them, other than their goals? What makes them automatically "hippies?" How do you even define that? If you define it as "belonging to Greenpeace" or "anyone who demonstrates on behalf of the environment," then your reasoning is contradictory. You seem to simultaneously love and hate them.
posted by scarabic at 7:22 PM on February 17, 2005


Generally, Greenpeace and other environmental groups (not that they're all "hippies" whatever that means) do a much better job of getting their point across.

Exactly. Maintaining the moral high ground not only in your beliefs but in your behavior and how you carry yourself is the key ingredient in activist success. Gandhi, Dr. King, even goofballs like the aforementioned Abbie Hoffman understood this. This sounds more like a bunch of dumb kids who want to make their badass bones.
posted by jonmc at 7:25 PM on February 17, 2005


Correction: My knee jerk reaction in favor of sanity and reason over immaturity and foolishness only establishes that I am not the sort of person who thinks of this behavior as effective.

Third party edit: your comic-book-guy tone firmly establishes you as a dork. "I am in favor of sanity and reason." Wow what an inescapably airtight comeback that was.
posted by scarabic at 7:25 PM on February 17, 2005


God VP, just go away and never ever come back.

mervin, on a more serious note it's extremely naive to think Greenpeace's antics discredit them. You'd never hear anything about Greenpeace and PETA and other activist groups if they didn't resort to these "kooky hippy" antics. The overwhelming majority of people live in bubble universes where news access is strictly controlled by just a few dozen corporations. In this environment activists must resort to sensational protests if they want to reach the average bloke with their message. Your willingness to ignore their message though, and focus on the media constructed image of them as childish troublemakers, is just further evidence in this case.
posted by nixerman at 7:27 PM on February 17, 2005


Greenpeace has, in recent years, legitmized itself into a respectable NGO, in my opinion. They've stopped most of the lame 'fight the power' tactics in favour of broad-based campaigns which have been far more successful in raising awareness and promoting public discourse.

VP_Admin once again proves that he is, in fact, useless. You're losing the plot again, after apologising for it last time & engaging in civil discourse. Funny that the words you use are the exact same cry nofundy pulled. Same blind fundamentalism, same lexicon, I guess.
posted by cosmonik at 7:27 PM on February 17, 2005


Actually, I've known plenty of hippies. Most of 'em were smarter than this bunch and our boy VP here. Plus they were wise enough to see that replacing one kind of totalitarianism with another is a recipe for disaster. Abbie Hoffman is rolling over in his grave at this farce.
posted by jonmc


I've known plenty of hippies myself. ;-)

What farce would you be refering to? BTW, I enjoyed an afternoon with Abbie Hoffman in his speedboat not long before his suicide. He was not a docile, polite hippie. He was an uppity hippie. Who are you to speak for him?
posted by VP_Admin at 7:28 PM on February 17, 2005


a most amusing story.

thanks for posting. it's made my afternoon.
posted by soi-disant at 7:33 PM on February 17, 2005


Quit hatin' on VP! This story is funny, but his hysteria is twice as funny.
posted by casu marzu at 7:33 PM on February 17, 2005


The overwhelming majority of people live in bubble universes where news access is strictly controlled by just a few dozen corporations. In this environment activists must resort to sensational protests if they want to reach the average bloke with their message.

Yeah, but there's a smart way to do that and a stupid way. Abbie Hoffman throwing money on to the Stock Exchange and watching the traders scramble and laying back was far more effective than any juvenile smash-the-state bullshit.

He was not a docile, polite hippie. He was an uppity hippie. Who are you to speak for him?


Go up to a stranger and ask them what they want.

If they say "I wanna beat the shit out of kids like you," bulid him a boxing ring.
- Revolution For The Hell Of It

No. VP, I've never met the man, but from his work, I've gleaned that he had a sense of absurdity and boatloads of compassion and a deep desire to understand and communicate with his fellow man, even those he might've considered his ideological enemies. You're comment about "enforcing," tells me that you might see things differently. C'est la vie.

I don't speak for him. I just speak for what I took from him.
posted by jonmc at 7:35 PM on February 17, 2005


Third party edit: your comic-book-guy tone firmly establishes you as a dork.

So then, I am dork... Well Then... Sure glad that's settled.
Should I care more than i do?

mervin, on a more serious note it's extremely naive to think Greenpeace's antics discredit them.

While I understand that if it weren't for bad publicity, they would get practically none at all, I just don't think of this as productive. Acts like this draw more attention to the people that participate in them than they do to the issue. Now, on the other hand, the group of ELFs who burned some odd million dollars worth of H2s and escaped uncaught actually stimulated just a little bit of thought about the excesses of modern consumerism.
posted by mervin_shnegwood at 7:36 PM on February 17, 2005


You're comment about "enforcing," tells me that you might see things differently. C'est la vie.

I don't speak for him. I just speak for what I took from him.
posted by jonmc

jonmc, after I posted, I figured you must have brought up Abbie because of that great stunt he pulled on the stock traders. Yeah, that was a heck of a lot more effective. Point taken. Still, I'll bet you Abbie would be glad these kids did something, rather than sitting on their hands like most people do.

About my use of the word 'enforcement' - Enforcement is part of environmental protection, like it or not. Poachers go to prison when the kill rhinos, apes and elephants in Africa. I wouldn't have it any other way. There's not nearly enough enforcement on environmental laws.
posted by VP_Admin at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2005


Generally, Greenpeace and other environmental groups (not that they're all "hippies" whatever that means) do a much better job of getting their point across.

Are you sure this doesn't get their point across? They engaged in some civil disobedience and protest and got beat down by the people they were trying to make look bad.

They look like protestors while the oil traders look like chicago cops. Pretty effective I think.
posted by srboisvert at 7:51 PM on February 17, 2005


Enforcement is part of environmental protection, like it or not. Poachers go to prison when the kill rhinos, apes and elephants in Africa. I wouldn't have it any other way. There's not nearly enough enforcement on environmental laws.

Put poachers and polluters in prison, I'll be applauding. Spike a tree (and label that you've done it, killing or maiming a lumberjack is not what I signed on for), block a pipeline being built, whatever, go for it. But don't slip into ALF/ELF territory. Blow up a Hummer dealership? Hey, I hate Hummers, I've drunkenly spit on them more times than I can count, but I'm not keen on the idea of some poor schmuck getting blown up when some action goes awry.

Like I said, I didn't know Abbie Hoffman. But I've known plenty of people who were veterans of the 1960's on every side of the action. And the one thing I've gathered about Abbie and his goofball Groucho Marxism is that he realized that getting that reluctant grin from your "opponent," or even from a casual observer is the first step to getting them to understand what you're getting at, if that makes any sense.
posted by jonmc at 7:53 PM on February 17, 2005


They look like protestors while the oil traders look like chicago cops. Pretty effective I think.

Maybe that's the way it looks to those that philosophically already agree, but I'd bet that this makes "the lighter side" of the news tomorrow morning.

I suppose it does all depend on what the objective was, however, and you may well be right.
posted by loquax at 7:57 PM on February 17, 2005


And the one thing I've gathered about Abbie and his goofball Groucho Marxism is that he realized that getting that reluctant grin from your "opponent," or even from a casual observer is the first step to getting them to understand what you're getting at, if that makes any sense.
posted by jonmc


Sure that makes sense, but clowning isn't the only type of legitimate resistance. Sometimes the stakes are higher and getting that reluctant grin from your "opponent" is not the object. Sometimes the object is to defeat your "opponent" in what may be a humorless fight.
posted by VP_Admin at 8:11 PM on February 17, 2005


...but god I hate hippies.

heh. too bad. no free love for you then.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:12 PM on February 17, 2005


The thing about campaigns to raise awareness is that even when they get funny publicity like this, they succeed. What difference is there, from the perspective of raising it in the public consciousness, between us discussing a successful 'raid' on the exchange, where traders were doused or whatever, and us sitting here talking about this apparent operational failure?

I think most Greenpeace members are zealous enough that they wouldn't mind being laughed at in exchange for getting some press for their cause. Of course, in this case the cause is the Kyoto protocol, which I can't escape in the media anyway, so it's got a high profile already.
posted by cosmonik at 8:15 PM on February 17, 2005


Check this out: The oil pit is a rowdy place even when the traders are sober [.wmv, hit 'play'].

Politics aside, the mental image of a scrappy band of protestors with helium balloons and placards stumbling into the pit when those guys are all boozed up is truly hilarious.
posted by nyterrant at 8:15 PM on February 17, 2005


the object is to defeat your "opponent" in what may be a humorless fight.

Fights generally become humorless only after someone has been killed. This fight is definitely not humorless.

They look like protestors while the oil traders look like chicago cops.

They look like skinny losers who picked a fight with a bunch of drunks (or, as jonmc suggests, Hell's Angels). This was a bar brawl, it just happened to be set in a stock exchange. How is that not funny?
posted by casu marzu at 8:22 PM on February 17, 2005


The oil pit is a rowdy place even when the traders are sober

Rule #1 about commodities traders: they're never sober.
posted by cosmonik at 8:23 PM on February 17, 2005


Cosmonik: touché.
posted by nyterrant at 8:29 PM on February 17, 2005


Hey the Chicago police didn't exactly come out smelling like
roses after that convention in 1968. So looking like chicago cops is not exactly looking good, to the average bystander.
posted by hortense at 9:25 PM on February 17, 2005


First of all, what the hell were these guys protesting for? They didn't feel Kyoto was strong enough?

They just wanted to hastle people for no good reason, to make a point.
posted by delmoi at 10:04 PM on February 17, 2005


"But...this never happened at our protests against the headmaster at prep school!" Wonderful story, it would take a heart of stone not to laugh.
posted by LarryC at 10:14 PM on February 17, 2005


Delmoi-
Either they wanted to hassle people for no reason or they wanted to make a point. I believe it was the latter, and I believe the point was that Kyoto isn't strong enough. Though, from what I can tell, Greenpeace is in favor of Kyoto. Maybe this is fringe Greenpeace.
posted by underer at 10:20 PM on February 17, 2005


Clearly, maintaining the "moral high ground" isn't the only key to civil disobedience. Who's morals are we using for this comparison anyways? Another key ingredient is provokation and, believe it or not, being willing to literally sit back and passively take a beating. That's how it has always worked from Jesus to Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. to today.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

I'm sure that a lot of people thought it was funny when a group of 30 or so black people would sit down at a lunch counter in the segregated South and then get the shit beaten out of them. Ignoring the political context, these examples are also exactly similar to walking into a Hell's Angels bar and picking a fight, right?

Citing stupidity is a cop out. When have you ever known a dumb person to knowingly risk their well being without the prospect of immediate gain?

The average person thinks this is foolish because they're not literate to the stakes. Imagine reading a story about people killing their neighbors for wasting water without any context. If you think that water is a scarce resource, then you'd think it made sense, because it was already a life-or-death situation. If you think water is plentiful, then it's just plain silly.

So, what do Greenpeace people believe about oil, energy and the environment? Why are they willing to risk themselves for these beliefs?
posted by Skwirl at 10:50 PM on February 17, 2005


FWIW (and for the first time) VP_Admin's comments are 100% true blue, stainless-steel, dead-center, bullseye, exactly what I think, too.

It depresses me when people degrade hippies out of hand, especially with such autonomous eagerness that they piss on environmental activists and couch-surfing, dreadlocked mooch-fools alike. I think one of 3 things when I hear this blanket statement from people.

1) They're young, and/or have only ever known 90s+ moochy, poser hippieswho wear birkenstocks.

2) They've never enjoyed an evening of Joan Baez, gazpacho, and bead-making with a beautiful woman.

3) They've never grown anything, never danced spontaneously, and have never experienced an idealistic moment in their life.

Hippie culture is one of the constituent influences in my personal cultural makeup, and I've always found it a good one. Try it sometime. You might be amazed that you don't die if you have a vegetarian meal every so often. You might enjoy the musicianship of many you've written off as 60's blowhards. You might get a breath of relief from your hectic, mainstream, eyes-down, big-mortgage, no sex life for just one moment.

Oops. Right. That's what you're afraid of.

Sorry, nevermind.
posted by scarabic at 10:59 PM on February 17, 2005


Personally I didn't think Bush's dick was big enough to choke on. Perhaps VP knows differently...?

Ahh, the joy of petty puerile barbs -- an endless source of controversy and comedy!
posted by gambit at 11:03 PM on February 17, 2005


You might get a breath of relief from your hectic, mainstream, eyes-down, big-mortgage, no sex life for just one moment.

Can I still think hippies are smelly, even if none of the above applies to me?
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:23 PM on February 17, 2005


Your hatred has been noted by this hippie. Now why don't you go choke on George Bush's dick?

You're not a hippie. At least Abbie Hoffman had a sense of humor.
posted by mediareport at 11:27 PM on February 17, 2005


About time someone fought back against these fascists.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 11:44 PM on February 17, 2005


They got what they deserved. If people did this to my store they can expect violence as well. It's just another reason why I think GreenPeace are nothing but a set of insane people who will stop at nothing to impose their will on the world, at any cost.

With any luck, the GreenPeace protestors will get a criminal record and spend time in jail for this sort of action. There is simply no excuse to trespass on someone's land like this. Period.

As a note from someone who has experienced this, if you are told to leave a store in Canada, and refuse, the storeowner has the right to remove you physically. Or so the police and prosecutor said...
posted by shepd at 11:45 PM on February 17, 2005


"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

HAHAHA? I think the hippies have been stuck at the "laugh at you" stage for like what, 40 years now?

I look around at consumer suburban america, and I see that all the hippies grew up and became whatever it was they were smoking pot against.

Please, please, don't lump social progressives with dirty useless hippies..

Thank you...
posted by PissOnYourParade at 11:45 PM on February 17, 2005


They grabbed us and started kicking and punching. Then when we were on the floor they tried to push huge filing cabinets on top of us to crush us

Two minutes later, three Greenpeace vans pulled up and another 30 protesters leapt out and were let in by the others.

Okay. Seriously, what was that supposed to accomplish? Did someone from greenpeace have a death wish?

QUICK! They're fighting back! LET'S BRING MORE PEOPLE ON AND SEE IF WE CAN OVERWHELM THEM.

If I didn't have a shred of humanity left in me, I would hope that one of them died as an example to the world of Darwinism in action.

By making so much noise, the protesters hoped to paralyse trading.

We have a word for this: Stealing. It's what happens when you try to take something from someone that legally owns it. Such as commandeering a trading floor to become an international insanity headquarters without permission.
posted by shepd at 11:53 PM on February 17, 2005


VP_Admin has a friend.

His/Her friends' name is Sense O'Humor.

One day Sense O'Humor walked right up to VP_Admin and slapped him/her across the face.

VP_Admin got very upset, because she didn't recognize Sense O'Humor when it walked right up to him/her and slapped him/her across the face.
posted by shmegegge at 12:00 AM on February 18, 2005


An alternate version has Sense O'Humor biting VP_Admin right on the nose, for those of you who grew up hearing the saying that way.
posted by shmegegge at 12:01 AM on February 18, 2005


VP_admin, I'm all about enforcement, as you can see from my comments. I just think the law needs to be enforced equally. Just as bad as you would like to see all oil traders locked behind bars for life, I'd like to see all squatters locked behind bars for life.

Seems only fair. After all, in history, squatting has started plenty of wars that have killed people, just as I'm sure you'll assert ignoring the environment is killing people.
posted by shepd at 12:48 AM on February 18, 2005


Greenpeace and PETA. 'nuf said. ;-P
posted by mischief at 8:05 AM on February 18, 2005


Now hold on a minute everyone. I think some perspective is required here.

Traders don't control the oil market; they are slaves to it, trying to make a buck. Orders are anonymous. They don't know who's buying or selling when they make a trade, they just make their money off the spread. Much of the money they risk is their own. If Greenpeace decided to buy all the oil in the world and put it away in a cave so no one could use it, the traders wouldn't care.

Calling traders 'fascists' is like calling the algorithm that controls the auctions on Ebay fascist. It doen't make sense.
posted by nyterrant at 8:08 AM on February 18, 2005


Hippie culture is one of the constituent influences in my personal cultural makeup, and I've always found it a good one. Try it sometime. You might be amazed that you don't die if you have a vegetarian meal every so often. You might enjoy the musicianship of many you've written off as 60's blowhards. You might get a breath of relief from your hectic, mainstream, eyes-down, big-mortgage, no sex life for just one moment.

Dude, you're talking to someone who spends large amounts of time drinking cheap beer and grooving to old Allman Brothers and Spirit records, you don't have to tell me that there's plenty of good buried in the patchouli pile. But remember that many of us stuck in our "hectic, mainstream, eyes-down, big-mortgage, no sex life," are not there by choice, neccesarily. The original hippie movement was largely a product of privilige: people who had the money, leisure time, and supportive parenting to make tuning in, turning on and dropping out a viable option. And it's not like the whole thing was completely devoid of negative by-products, as many veterans of those days have told me, between NA meetings, trips to divorce court and therapy sessions.
posted by jonmc at 8:12 AM on February 18, 2005


First of all, what the hell were these guys protesting for? They didn't feel Kyoto was strong enough?

Kyoto isn't strong enough, its only a starting point (it involves only very limited reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and only runs until 2012) and this is acknowledged by most commentators in the field.
posted by biffa at 8:18 AM on February 18, 2005


Well, it looks like violence finally solved something. I'm crossing that off my list. Now to throw stones at two birds in a glass house.
posted by fnord at 8:22 AM on February 18, 2005


Next time a bunch of stockbrokers invade a hemp necklace exchange to purposefully cost them millions of dollars so they can have some publicity, feel free to use force to eject them.
posted by darukaru at 8:38 AM on February 18, 2005


enjoyed an afternoon with Abbie Hoffman in his speedboat not long before his suicide.

You know that most of the oil in the oceans gets there via small boat engines right?

I am an actual scientist who does actual research into actual ecosystems which I actually go and observe and sample, often for months at a time rather than just reading about them in books. After many years of this I have very, very little respect left for most of these activist groups. Their choice of tactics would be one thing if they knew what the hell they were talking about but 90% of the time they don't. They lost their Way right about the time they started trying to influence people based on what they thought rather than what they knew.

Trying to stop commercial whaling? great, it's totally unsustainable by any measure and needed to go. Trying to stop subsistence killing of a couple grey whales each year in WA by claiming it will damage the population Or claiming that a salt plant in Mexico will "destroy the birthing lagoons"? You start hemorrhaging credibility.
posted by fshgrl at 9:20 AM on February 18, 2005


oops hit post by mistake. Anyway my point is: focus. If you want to raise awareness of an issue you need to define the issue first, make sure you've got a point and only then start planning your big media extravaganza. Otherwise you end up with an ill defined attack on faceless working stiffs and even people like me who should be on your "side" will laugh at you.

I dislike the concept of sides in any case. Most of the time you can get a lot further by working with people than by pissing on them.
posted by fshgrl at 9:22 AM on February 18, 2005


fshgrl, there is an article in today's guardian that might be of interest to you. It's about the need for environmental caampaigns to be based on accurate science rather than on simplification in order to 'sell' a campaign.
posted by biffa at 10:18 AM on February 18, 2005


It's absurd to call commodities traders "fascists". They are a wheel in the machine; look instead at the people turning the handle.

I would argue that they are the people who drive large, fuel-inefficient cars on 60-mile commutes so they can buy large suburban homes that require more energy to heat. If only the price of energy truly reflected its enormous cost, such people would behave differently, but that isn't the fault or the responsibility of efficient markets. Governments should be working to approach that goal through the Kyoto Protocol, and hopefully other treaties like it in the future.
posted by dreish at 10:38 AM on February 18, 2005


I don't agree with everything in that Guardian article but it has some very good points. It's a bit worrying that people trust NGOs because in my experience they are far, far more likely to distort their findings than anyone else because they believe. Self-respecting scientists seldom get involved with them anymore which is why places like Greenpeace now often do their own studies. Which amazingly always yield fundamental results despite generally being run by low paid inexperienced people ;) I wish I could do that.

I've worked for industry before and never once been asked to change my findings, even if no-one was happy with them. What the middle management does before they put out the press release is another matter but don't blame the scientist because it's extremely unlikely they've the ones spinning or falsifying results. The one guy I heard of that blatantly did was actually arrested and charged by his industry employer under the terms of his employment contract!

thanks biffa.

It's absurd to call commodities traders "fascists". They are a wheel in the machine; look instead at the people turning the handle.
They called them Cockney barrow boy spivs too, remember. And they came in petrol guzzling vans.
posted by fshgrl at 11:19 AM on February 18, 2005


Poachers go to prison when the kill rhinos, apes and elephants in Africa.

Funny story: a good friend of mine was game hunting in Africa (with permission) when his hunting party came upon some poachers. The poachers fled but the hunting party caught up with them and beat them without mercy, nearly to death. Upon transferring the bloodied poachers to the authorities, a policeman told my friend "next time just shoot them."
posted by crazy finger at 11:50 AM on February 18, 2005


Er... in some of the game sancturaries in Africa, "just shoot them" exactly the instruction by which the rangers operate. Don't arrest. Don't approach. Don't negotiate. Just shoot the poachers.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:09 PM on February 18, 2005


hectic, mainstream, eyes-down, big-mortgage, no sex life

That sounds like my life, and I prefer it. Really, it isn't so bad.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:51 PM on February 18, 2005


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