Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

It’s a slight cliche to argue that history is written by the winners, but unfortunately it’s true. Admittedly the phrase does imply somewhat more of a martial perspective, so let’s adjust it; history is written by the dominant.

As marginalised people, we only have to look at our own histories to see the truth in that. We are absent from the historical narrative to a very large extent; sometimes there are obscure glimmers of proof of our previous existence, but most often even those of us who achieved a place in the historical hall of fame have been bleached with the ideals of the dominant groups that did the writing.

I am a historian – still studying, and not yet studying exclusively history, but a historian nevertheless – and it frustrates me. Written primary sources were often written by privileged people whose perspective neglects the marginalised. Secondary sources also tend to reflect academia’s skewing towards the kyriarchal ideal. There are ways of finding out about the marginalised, but we rarely find their uncensored voices ringing down the ages.

What effect does that have? A huge effect. Some groups find themselves cut off from their roots, with much about their past lost irretrievably. Others find themselves entering the record only on the terms of their oppressors, with their personhood denigrated and their voices erased. Others find no reflection of their existence.

The neglect of the history of some groups combined with the elevation of that of others has a profoundly harmful effect. People have always looked to the past, for lessons and for inspiration and guidance, and if they find only certain groups reflected there it is very easy to have the idea, already implanted by the kyriarchy, that only those groups are worthy and important validated. It’s also used to denigrate people in the present, implying that they’re making things up because they only came into existence recently when the only evidence we have for that is a void in the general historical narrative with clues generally so small most people wouldn’t pick them up.

It’s important to factor this in as we write our own histories. How will the English Riots of this summer be remembered? Will the memory of the alienation and disillusionment suffered by those who rioted survive, or will they be painted merely as thugs? And the Occupy movement – when protestors say one thing and police say another, who will be believed by posterity? As for the Arab Spring – how will history perceive that?

The privileged classes have always tried to write their history on a higher level than the rest of the populace. Sometimes, just access to the tools of recording ensures their voices are the only ones heard. Other times, restricting access to academia or to certain media spaces is their preferred method. And quite often, they merely rely on their privilege to amplify their voices, as it so reliably does.

I’m all right. I’ve been trying to give myself some time out for self-care, but that hasn’t gone too well due to stresses and strains from other areas of my life. I’m going to try to write a decent post now though.

The kyriarchy enforces standards that are very, very rigid, and has produced a culture with Expectations. We are expected to conform to our social roles in the kyriarchy that are dictated by our ascribed statuses, and often that means that the marginalised are expected to be a lot less than they are and treated accordingly. Meanwhile oppressive behaviour is expected of the privileged. This culture also has expectations of people’s life courses and aspirations, and shows a high degree of contempt for those who cannot meet the expectations whether the reasons relate to a lack of privilege, a lack of opportunity or a lack of ability.

All of this creates a high-stress, low-compassion environment that negatively affects all of our lives. The marginalised, due to the fact that they are further away from the Standards because of the oppression they experience, are most affected and end up locked in a cycle of being prevented from reaching those standards and being blamed for that ‘failure.’ Meanwhile, the privileged absolve themselves of responsibility and feel justified in oppressive behaviour by the ‘failure’ of the marginalised and the ‘success’ of themselves as measured against the standards.

It’s one of the many ways that the kyriarchy is enabled. We absorb these standards (standards which have almost become separate entities looming in our culture) and ruthlessly impose them on ourselves and others. They are institutionally enforced, inflexibly and unforgivingly with no regard for the toll taken on the bodies and minds of people, especially marginalised people. And the very inflexibility propagates them, since when one is expending all one’s energy on meeting them one doesn’t question the system in which a privileged person can meet them with very little sweat and a marginalised person can work themselves to a standstill and still not meet them.

(This relates vaguely to the causes of my recent stress, which is almost certainly only going to get worse…)

Newsbag.

Posted: September 21, 2011 in Bodies, Capitalism, Education, Finance, Health, Science, Sexuality
Tags: ,

Okay, I’m going to attempt to be back now even though I’m still having trouble using a computer comfortably.

Really, Government, really? Possible proposals to cut the benefits of terminally ill folks? This is obscene. We always knew that this government was incredibly ableist, but here’s another rock-solid indication. It honestly scares me that the people in charge of the country are so very contemptuous of anyone who doesn’t fit the conventional notion of ‘ability’, and that they are actually enacting this stuff (as with other benefit changes that have gone through).

If the data bears it out, which I think is likely, this is exactly as expected. EMA has proved important for many people, and scrapping it is always going to have an effect.

Aaand from a sciencey point of view, the information that deep-sea squid mate with no regards to sex is fairly interesting.

I’m sorry this is a shite post. I’m still trying to think of a way to make a post out of my recent health issue and how that has been complicated by my lack of gender, which is definitely interesting. I realise, however, that I’m probably saying nothing that other people haven’t said before so… Still need to think some more about that one.

Once, some early human remains were found near where I live. Unfortunately I can’t name them (because that would give away my location and I’m lairy of that on the internet) but they’re relatively well known.

In the local museum, we have casts of them laid carefully in an upstairs room, with all the information and everything. I’ve dusted their case and spent a fairly considerable length of time staring at them – I’m just like that in museums, any museum. Could spend hours there, especially more old-fashioned or more cramped ones. Last week, I found the real ones in a cabinet in an English museum.

Now why are they there? They were found in Wales. Why must they be taken to an English museum? What claim does England have on them? This is just a really small-scale case – it’s the one that’s recently cropped up bang in the middle of my life, which is why I’m using it as a post started – of treasures being taken from their country of origin and sent to places regarded as centres of civilisation.

Look at what happened in Egypt. Westerners raided tombs, showing utter disrespect to the remains stored there, and stole what they found out of Egypt. We still think we have a claim on the remains, and their discoveries tend to be credited to us. It’s another foul face of colonialism, and another manifestation of a Western-supremacist mindset. That mindset holds that as the centre of the empire, we are the sole repository of civilisation and knowledge and so of course we have the right to claim aspects of other countries’ heritages to study in that ‘objective’ way privilege has of conceiving of study.

Don’t get me wrong, I love studying history, seeing things in museums. But I really hate the fact that so much of the richness of the museum experience I have had has come at the expense of the countries that so much I’ve seen was stolen from. While it was awesome in the purest sense of the word to see the mummified remains of a high-class ancient Egyptian, it was not good that the beliefs of that person and those who buried them were disrespected (often in very violent ways by tomb robbers), and that said remains were only in a place where I could see them because my ancestors had stolen them.

And all of this is connected to the European-descended Western sense of entitlement that sees us trying to impose our wills upon countries in the rest of the world, exploit their people and steal from their cultures. We steal treasures, resources, culture, autonomy. We indulge our imperialist mindset through more subtle ways than we did in previous centuries, but we still have that mindset, we still try to gain our empire even if we do it with talk and money and culture and indirect military action rather than the old bunch-of-people-land-and-say-‘I claim this ground for ___’-without-checking-with-inhabitants-at-all.

We’re not the centre of the world. We thought we were, we’re still trying to put ourselves there – but we need to get over ourselves. And we need to stop stealing. We need to recognise that what’s wrong on the individual interpersonal level is wrong on the international level as well. We need to stop trying to advance ourselves by draining the rest of the world dry.

And that applies even on the small level. So if we do finally do the right thing and return what we stole to all our overseas colonies… I’d like England to give Welsh discoveries back, thanks.

One key function of privilege is that the actions of the privileged will not be taken as representative of their group. They will be seen as abhorrences, as lone figures, as individuals. The marginalised, meanwhile, are generalised, the actions of one taken as representative. It is the difference between, say, ‘You can’t play football’ and ‘[group you belong to] can’t play football.’

This is, rather obviously, not good. No group is homogenous, since they are made up of people often grouped together by a particular trait and people are infinitely varied. The kyriarchy’s view of all who are the Other as an amorphous Other, a great beast of one mind with many bodies who are indisinguishable, is inherently oppressive. It’s fairly obvious why. People are individuals, and what one person does should not reflect on others. That particular manifestation of kyriarchy allows people to be dehumanised, reduced and held responsible for other people’s actions.

Why is it that when members of the dominant groups commit crime, it’s seen as an individual problem but when members of less dominant groups do so, it is painted as a cultural problem (with the spectre of terrorism often added, in many cases.)? It’s because of the kyriarchy, generalising groups and demonising them while normalising those it privileges.

It can be hard to fight this, because we are taught to think in words, to label things instinctively, and if the only previous information we can use to process new information is kyriarchal it means that we will tend to think of people in words and ways that are oppressive. However, there’s many ways of getting around that. As always, education is key. Since we tend to think in terms of our previous knowledge and experience, adding to that with more non-oppressive stuff will mean we have more open minds that can process more things in non-oppressive ways. We can also try to stop ourselves categorising so easily, taking people as they come and accepting what they present of themselves without adding our own ideas on.

Again, posting has lapsed to sporadic, and I apologise – I’m in the middle of exams, but it’s not like I’m not having time for anything but revision.

*   *   *

This is a personal post, and is intended to apply to me and only me.

I honestly have no idea how to walk the line between my comfort (being out) and the possible consequences. I’m now in a situation where I don’t have to declare gender – and haven’t declared birth name – but would feel a lot more comfortable declaring who I am. I haven’t done so yet, and am extremely undecided about ever doing so, because I am afraid that bringing my self to the attention of people in positions of authority would put a black mark against my name.

This is the line we have to walk. Until we declare ourselves, we are held not to be our selves, we are held not to exist – but we are allowed to survive, hidden away behind the panels of the kyriarchy. When we declare ourselves, we risk everything – being labelled a freak, being denied, being rejected, hurt, discredited or worse. Until we pull the panels away, we don’t know what the place we will enter is – a room full of soldiers in kyriarchy’s service, or a room of healers, or whatever – unless someone is already there, finding out.

So as more of us come out, more of us will come out because there could be a voice in the room beyond the panel saying, ‘I don’t know if any of us are in there, but I am out here and it is livable,’ and we will come out because we want to see daylight. Don’t write it off as a trend. Just because we were walled in here, too scared to break out, does not mean we never existed. Do not make the mistake of taking the dominant group’s view as fact, when all other groups have hidden in the woodwork.

(more…)

…since I can’t get together a coherent post about evo psych and how much I hate it, hate being taught it, hate its kyriarchist apologism and hate being erased by it, I’ll talk about the news. News. That should make me feel better. Oh wait…

Forcibly retired West Midlands police have been invited back to work… for free. Yeah because that’s not exploitation at all. Discharge them as a cost-cutting measure then get them to work for free. Okay, some people might be financially secure enough to do that – but it’s not a given, and it’s still not a good policy. Some may want to and that’s fine – but it is not good to try to exploit them all like that.

TW: discussion of self-harm in this paragraph. The 2011 Children and Young People’s Wellbeing Monitor for Wales has come out, and reveals, among other things, that hospital admissions for self-harm were in 2006-8 approximately 138% of the levels for 2003-5, that chlamydia levels have risen but that this is thought to be due to increased awareness, that sexual health appears to be improving, that the numbers of 15 year olds drinking and smoking have dropped and that approximately one third of children in Wales are now living in poverty. A mixed bag, really.

It has also been pointed out that there is scope for the abolishing of EMA to be discriminatory. Now, in theory the individual schools might be able to target resources better – but in practice this is not going to work because of a little thing called KYRIARCHY, which is in teachers’ heads just like everyone else’s and will influence their decisions. It’s also problematic because seriously? Schools and colleges do not know as much about their pupils as this seems to assume they do.

Ooh! This seems somewhat better news! Leaked documents suggest that the Government is having second thoughts about outsourcing public services. Now, I can see what the supporters of outsourcing say, but 1. I don’t trust the private sector because of its capitalist values and lack of accountability and 2. just ask the MOD how outsourcing worked for them. With extensive outsourcing to private companies – not talking about cooperatives or other models, mainly private companies here – could come a massive opportunity for worker exploitation, irregularities in key services and ‘cost cutting’ measures that could easily lead to degradation of services. So I’d rather the Government kept services under their wing, even when the Government is less than ideal.

There’s a lot more that I could comment on, but… I’m still feeling terrible after being taught that bit of evo psych (luckily we don’t do much). Sexism, cissexism, binarism, heterosexism… urgh. Urgh. And scientific wooliness, to say the least.

So the Government’s still in a mess over its higher education plans. And how are they planning to offset this? Why, of course, by allowing the rich to take additional places through the means of admitting ‘off-quota’ ‘self-funding’ students. In a ‘socially progressive’ way, of course.

Hang on a minute. How does that work? These students are rich enough to pay tuition fees upfront. Ergo, they are from the highest-earning groups. Ergo, those from lower-earning groups are barred these places. This means not socially progressive. This means allowing the same system of upper-class advantage that has existed since the very idea of ‘education’ was introduced to continue.

I can’t find much information about this. It does seem to be a small proposal that is ‘up for debate’. Still, it can’t be written off as harmless, since I’ve learned not to treat anything this government says as harmless. Calling this socially progressive is either a severe case of dictionary deprivation or a supreme example of doublespeak – I cannot think of any way that the idea can be made socially progressive. The only way people like me would be able to afford fees of £9000 a year up-front would be by the whole family not eating or paying half the household bills for the entirety of their university career.

Quick personal post – TW for discussion of hatred of non-heterosexuals.

So, yonks ago, this happened. This girl, who states openly that she is a homophobe, is in my psychology class. I keep getting put in a group with her. This makes me extremely uncomfortable for obvious reasons – I am non-heterosexual, hatred of non-heterosexuals is likely to coincide with hatred of non-cis folks, I am non-cis. There are ridiculous numbers of rumours about my sexuality going around, I don’t know what she’s heard, I don’t know what she believes, I don’t know whether she’s stumbled upon the truth from the many people I am out to.

I said to myself that I would keep my head down and hope that the teachers didn’t group me with her for group work, and that if they did I would do something about it. It’s happened twice now in quick succession. I have the email addresses of my teachers. I want to email them asking them politely to not group me with her.

However, there are problems. Do I tell them why, out myself to people in a position of authority over me? Do I not tell them why and risk them thinking me a petty feuder? What will happen if I send them? They’ve known her for years, me for months. She seems to be a bit of a favourite pupil, and while I’m not an unfavourite I’m still an unknown quantity. What if either of the teachers are heterosexist? I know one of them is cissexist, since she managed to trigger me her very first lesson, so that doesn’t bode well. What if they want to speak to her about it?

This is literally just a personal ramble, putting down into the void of the internet my feelings around the issue. I have no idea what I’m going to do. I might send an email to my favourite of the teachers and ask her to sensitively explain it to the others…

Erratic capitalisation alert.

Apparently my old primary school is having its own ‘Royal Wedding’. I am incredibly thankful that I am looong, looong, looong gone.

Now then, never mind the unpleasant patriarchal undertones of much of the coverage of the actual thing, about how a woman is Marrying Her Prince. Middleton herself, as more than a face and a name, has basically been buried under the torrents of Male! Royalty! ZOMG! I’m – let’s just call it Not A Royalist – anyway, so this whole business is striking me as somewhat ridiculous. After all, none of us have anything more important to care about, as our young people’s futures are being thrown away, our most vulnerable members of society shunted out entirely, and huge swathes of the population designated ‘lesser’.

But still. Let’s just teach our children that a Heterosexual Marriage is The Thing To Aspire To. I haven’t been told how they’re doing it, whether they’re targeting the kids who are enrolled as female more than those enrolled as male – although I logically think they must be, since a primary school version of a Royal Wedding is almost certainly going to try to appeal to the Disney Princess mentality. I mean, come on – there’s nothing else that a bunch of children could be doing, is there? Nothing more long-term beneficial, nothing less kyriarchal, nothing more fun, nothing more useful? After all, who doesn’t want to have children celebrate an occasion that will siphon money away from the services that those children need and will need in the future? What other way will we get them to accept rich folks stomping all over their futures?

Way to enforce the messages of compulsory heterosexuality. Way to enforce the idea that hereditary, unearned power is a Fine and Beautiful and Good thing. Way to entrench kyriarchy.

Sarcastic rant alert.

Cut, cut, cut. Of course we can rebuild the NHS in the image of market forces while asking it to cut costs, and of course that won’t affect standards of care. Of course we can cut funds that are vital for the poorest students to attend higher education, and of course that won’t affect social mobility. Of course we can cut certain child protection units, and of course that won’t affect prevention of abuse. Of course we can cut education, and of course that won’t affect our people. Of course we can cut frontline services, and of course that won’t affect their quality. Of course we can cut disability benefits, and of course that won’t affect the quality of life of those who aren’t conventionally able.

Of course we can backtrack on things we promised. We’re in power now, who cares? Of course we can ignore the warnings of experts. Experts, who needs experts, we’re politicians! Of course we can gloss over the public’s concerns. They’re only the great unwashed, what do they know?

Of course we can continue to support capitalism. Of course we can continue to support kyriarchy. What d’you mean, that’s a bad thing? We’re mostly rich cis white conventionally-able educated monoamorous straight singlet age-privileged males or those who support us. We don’t need to work against the kyriarchy.

What d’you mean, we represent the country, and most of the country does need the kyriarchy ended? Hey, what’re you smoking? Right, it’s illegal now, whatever it is, since we don’t need scientific approval – COPS! Anyway, everyone just loves us! We’re really passionate about this! It gives us loads of money – no, sorry, we meant capacity for good, of course we did, but aren’t they the same thing really?

Trigger warning for homophobia, transphobia, erasure and discussion of suicide.

Browsing through the BBC News site, the four main Welsh party leaders have made videos for the launch of Stonewall Cymru’s YouTube channel It Gets Better… Today. The aim of this campaign, inspired by America’s It Gets Better project, is to tell lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers that they ‘don’t have to wait for their lives to improve – they can be great now,’ (from Stonewall Cymru) and that ‘they don’t have to wait for life to improve as bullying is being tackled’ (from the BBC).

If it really is a start of a concerted push against homophobia from politicians and media figures, then that’s obviously a good thing. As far as I can gather, one major failing of the It Gets Better campaign is that there’s little or no concrete action going on, and it’s based on the foundation of ‘hold on, then later on things will get better.’ This one seems to counteract that by saying, no, you shouldn’t have to wait. Which is good, although empty if there’s no action taken. And by the way, action doesn’t mean posters; my old school had the SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY : GET OVER IT posters up everywhere and I still experienced quite a bit of homophobia, despite not even being out to myself as any kind of queer, and I still wouldn’t have been comfortable speaking to teachers about it.

BUT. I addressed the positives first because that’s my normal essay style. (do you agree ‘yes because… NO NO FUCKING NO because THIS, GODDAMN IT, THIS!!!’)

BUT. What about transphobia? Stonewall has always ignored or denigrated the non-cis population. They have given awards to transphobes. Sometimes they have claimed to represent the T in LGBT, but they’ve generally done more harm than good. Again, non-cis people are being thrown under the bus, being ignored and erased utterly. In the UK, it was found in ‘the UK’s largest survey of trans people (N = 872)’ (http://www.nmhdu.org.uk/our-work/mhep/gender/transgender/) that 34% of adult trans people have attempted suicide. According to the LBGT Excellence Centre Wales, ‘the national suicide rate for Trans People is estimated at 3 in 100,000, 31% of this group. It is estimated that 1 in 7 of diagnosed Trans People attempt suicide at least once during their life. It is estimated that the main causes of “Trans Suicide” are harassment , denial of treatment, and absence of support. It is also estimated that 1 in 200 transsexuals commit suicide within 5 yrs of having Gender Reassignment surgery, as a result of depression brought on by harassment / bullying.’

So yeah, transphobia and transphobic bullying totally aren’t worth campaigning against, because, like, no-one gets affected by it…

Dear top politicians; you don’t just have a responsibility towards non-heterosexual people in your country. You have a responsibility towards non-cis people in your country as well. We’re hurting. We’re dying. We’re bleeding. Stonewall is not our friend, and by endorsing them you are signalling that you are not our friends either. And we need you. Damn but we need you. Don’t abandon yet another population. Begin to take a stand against the kyriarchy – all the kyriarchy – in our society. Then maybe faith in you will return. From someone who exists, despite everyone’s protestations to the contrary.

Transphobia is rampant. Possibly more than homophobia, although the two are so closely intertwined in most of the cis, straight bullies in schools that it’s very hard to tell which you’re dealing with. I’ve experienced both. As far as homophobia went, there was lip service towards its wrongness. There was lip service towards the wrongness of many other types of kyriarchy. Transphobia… anything to do with being trans… never mentioned. Ever. Except by the kids who saw someone different, and went on the homophobic and transphobic warpath.

*    *    *

On a side note, I think I, as a non-binary person, got explicitly included in a lesson the other day. In history, the guy that takes it said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, and anyone who isn’t a lady or a gentleman is welcome to participate too.’ He probably didn’t mean it the way I took it; he was probably being sarcastic, or facetious. But it gave me a warm little thrill inside and I really want to send him an email thanking him, but I daren’t because I’m scared of coming out to my teachers. It feels pathetic that I’m thrilled by these tiny, tiny, tiny things…

Seriously, though, unless he’s saying it to every class, what were the chances of him saying it in the presence of a non-binary student?

So we get to keep a lovely high VAT rate, but the rich will get their taxes cut again? Oh lovely. Thanks, Dave, George. You’re really dedicated, aren’t you? To your own fortune, that is…

This is a terrible thing to happen; a Democrat Congresswoman in Arizona and many others were shot by a gunman during a ‘Congress on Your Corner’ event to communicate directly with voters. Several are now dead, including a nine-year-old child. It’s thought that the shooting may be linked to a culture of violence among certain factions in America’s right, fostered by the violent rhetoric of some Republican leaders such as Sarah Palin. The shooter has been identified as a young cis white man, who will no doubt be painted as a fringe element where people with less privilege, especially people of colour, would have been taken as a representative of their group.

And more evidence of the tuition fees plans falling apart. Really, I can’t see any reason for continuing with them, except bloody-mindedness and Tory ideology, frankly.

I appear to be almost incapable of telling my family important things, and I’m wondering whether this stems from when I was getting picked on in primary school and I was told to stop being a soft target. That’s when I can trace my discomfort talking about my own feelings from, anyway, it may be where my problems talking about things with family comes from as well.

Trigger warning for self-harm and violent metaphor.

Anger is a hard emotion. It can lead to a person doing something they’d never normally do, can lead to inappropriate actions/words, can lead to succumbing to social norms in an effort to get the point across. It can be ugly, destructive, self-harming. It can hurt and hinder.

It is also valuable. Anger, properly managed, directed and used, is effective. It works. Anger is a motivation, a spur to actually tackle an issue rather than letting it slide. Anger is a wake-up call; if you see someone who is angry, you wonder why they’re angry and then maybe you open your eyes and you join them. Anger can even be beautiful.

And we have a right to our anger. When someone treads on us, we have a right to be angry at them. We do not have a right to physically retaliate, but we have a right to safely and constructively express our anger.

Not expressing anger can hurt even more than the original pain that spawned the anger. If it is suppressed, it can boil inside, searing away beneath the bones of our existence and eating into our deepest selves. I have done that. I bear the scars, the scars that resulted from a poisonous brew of hiding, of pretending, of denying and of suppressing negative emotions.

Some of us are trained not to express anger by the kyriarchy. We are told that our anger harms our cause. We are told that we become less sympathetic when we are angry. We are told that we have no right to be angry, because no travesty has occurred. We are told this from an early age, and many of us internalise those messages. Some of us manifest anger destructively, either because that is how we have been trained or because we are reacting against the messages we received earlier. Kyriarchy does not allow for constructive outrage. It runs on destructive rage expressed by those it elevates and suppressed rage from those it denigrates. For the elevated, destructive rage serves to intimidate those they stand on the shoulders of into compliance. For the marginalised, we are not supposed to express our anger because our anger is dangerous.

Our anger is dangerous. The kyriarchy fears our anger. It fears it so much that it tries to train us to deny it.

No more. Every time a person realises the machinations of kyriarchy and its effects, every time a person allows themself that anger at the sheer injustice of it, we become more powerful. It happens often, but not nearly often enough. Once that realisation has been gained, the kyriarchy tries to make the person suppress it again. The person battles through kyriarchal shit every day, every time they try to do something; thus the kyriarchy tries to intimidate us. But we will not be intimidated.

We will not be intimidated. We stand together, united in our strength. The kyriarchy tries to divide us. Sometimes it succeeds – but there are always enough of us standing there to prove that we will never go away. We will never go away, until the kyriarchy must blink and slinks away, to be shunned by all people for ever more.

We are powerful. Sometimes, the slings and arrows the kyriarchy sends us become too much – for some of us. The wounded retreat behind the battle lines to the meagre protection we can offer, but we are still there and still fighting. We, the whole, the many.

Oh noes, there was contact between Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and a participant in the protests on Thursday. Really? Is this what it has come to? That we are more worried about two people’s frightening experience than a young person’s brain injury, and an utterly over the top reaction? (see comments for a news report about actions committed against Jody McIntyre.)

Right. First, interpersonal violence is a Bad Thing. Injury is a serious matter, and people should attempt to refrain from violence towards others where possible. That includes both civilians and police. Second, down to business. There is only one argument that should be standing right now over these protests – Dear politicians, we won’t stop breaking your windows until you stop breaking our futures. It’s really quite simple.

Yes, there’s a lot more to protest about. A sniffy letter-writer in a newspaper yesterday says, ‘In my day, we protested about wars and the environments. Today’s students protest about (their own) money.’ But many of the student protesters aren’t just protesting about fees. It’s about all of the cuts, it’s about the impact on our whole society. There are links being formed between other groups such as unions and the student movement.

And the media condemn the violence, and say it’s turned ‘disgusting.’ They say students should no longer be allowed to protest. They say that we’re making a fuss over nothing. (Yes, Thunderer, I’m disappointed in you. You’re normally so good. Can’t you see how all these drastic cuts, enacted by millionaires, are going to tear away at the fabric of our society, of our world?) They don’t even think to turn their sharp tongues towards the predominantly rich, straight, cis, white, able, male politicians who’re doing this stuff without even understanding the consequences. They don’t even think to condemn the appointment of super-rich tax avoiders as Government advisors.

I’m still angry. I’m angry for the people whose lives will be changed for the worst, even lost, as a result of all this reckless cutting. I’m angry for the chances lost. I’m angry for the protesters – and police, actually – injured. I’m angry at the thoughtless words and deeds that to their enacters are words on a paper, empty promises and the howl of the mob outside.

I’m angry for the condemnation that desperation engenders.