Went to my second “protest/awareness movement” The other week, It was good, some good vibes, however the police had to stop us, as our plan was to cycle up an open highway.
We are raising awareness for the local community, and the road company itself (ATMB) which gather more than 40 million euros profit for toll charges through the tunnel du Mont Blanc. In the original creation of this road, the company left no accessible way for people to cycle between two of the villages in the valley.
The campaign “Inspire Mont Blanc” recognises there is a route round, however it is unsafe for family and relaxed style riding. The approximate cost to put in place a safe route would cost around €1 million euros. Expensive, however a small dent in the road companies profits.
The police blocked our path to the motorway. Quite rightly so; as it is a fast road with Ferraris from Geneva and trucks transporting goods from all over Europe, through mont-Blanc.
It might not seem like the protest was successful, however grabbing images, video, and a few words is all that is required for an increase in local awareness.
The experience got me thinking about some of the bigger issues we have across the globe: Protests with emotionally strung issues, seem to delve into violence occasionally. Either the responsibility of the controlling force, or the protestors themselves.
Not being permitted to complete the mission got me thinking; first of all to do something different, to cause a menace, maybe to take advantage of a couple of loopholes in the law to prevent my arrest? As I thought about this I imagined what it would be like at a much larger demonstration, where protesters might start to deviate from their plan, while feeling like the controlling elite are foiling their every move.
The police are locals just like us. And their concerns are for safety as well as following orders. They are actually here to protect us, and if you look at some of the facial expressions you may see a held back sneaky smile. They must maintain composure even when in support of the movement, which takes discipline.
The police have absolutely nothing to do with the cause we are protesting for. If I put myself in the shoes of the police in situations like this; I see people shouting at me for things I don’t have any control over, (or even throwing petrol bombs) I may start out calm, however as the situation escalates naturally, I may find a will to retaliate.
Now lets step completely out of the box here, there is no box:
During the course of a protest movement, you will have a certain number of humans available with their energy willing to be devoted to a good cause. A protest although good for publicity, is lazy. Most of the protests call for someone else to change the law, someone else to do the work, and someone else to pay for it. This is what is expensive, and it has a huge anti-climax to the process which frustrates all involved.
Lets change the concept we created ourselves (through generations) over how a “protest” is defined?
I would like to suggest that we work with the people we feel oppose us. Instead of standing on a picket line and stop everything, let’s get super professional, super organised, super creative, and just do what needs to be done.
People need a safe cycle path in the Chamonix valley, I offer here my labour and services to help put in place a cycle path, free of charge. I ask the road company to help provide professional assistance and materials.
People need homes, food, healthcare and education. We are the professionals in these areas, so lets switch that energy from standing around with a sign increasing awareness, to creating the very things we are asking for. With our governments, with the police, in the community, and the planet as a whole.
How many man hours have been devoted to protesting? How many does it take to design the changes and implement them ourselves? Surely it makes sense? What do you think?