Sunday 31 October 2010

An Open Letter to Johann Hari

Hi Johann,

Over the last 18 months I have 'discovered' your writing in a big way and have got a lot from it. I am very thankful and grateful that you are out there researching and writing these things and that we have a press willing to publish your work.

You played no small part in me attending the protest against Vodafone on Wednesday, it was the first time I have ever taken to the streets in anger to protest against anything (apart from the odd Climate Change march, which I find wholly disillusioning). As you wrote about Obama the other day, good people must 'keep on' at good people, so I am here to ask you why you didn't come down to Oxford Street on Wednesday? Many of my fellow protesters were expecting you and were disappointed you hadn't showed. I am sure you had good reason for not being there, I'd never accuse you of being lazy! I couldn't take further action this Saturday as I am in Wales spending precious time with my family, if you missed Wednesday for similar reasons, I totally understand that. I'm not sure whether you were on the streets on Saturday? Were you?

My personal reason for protesting is a dissatisfaction with the system of governance we live under, for me it wouldn't have made a jot of difference whether we protested against Vodafone or O2 or Orange - I am protesting against the corporatisation of the state and the free market crusade. I hope Thom Costello and friends decide to attack multiple targets to show how this problem is a systemic problem, not the malpractice of one isolated organisation. There are legitimate reasons to protest against almost any multinational corporation, they all have skeletons in their closet from some point in their history. They have created or exacerbated many untold environmental, social and economic problems over the years, why not dig these skeletons out? It is almost irrelevant how recent or not their malpractices are. If you target only one company, it makes them look like the one 'bad egg' in an otherwise fair system - giving the impression to the public that if we route them out then things will be OK again. This won't create change, maximise the diversify the protest to highlight how many companies and people are implicated in this - this then tells the truth to the public about the systemic problems we face.

Keep up the Good Work!


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