The are three types of political street demonstrations in the contemporary Western context, each a function of a different type relationship between the state and its citizens:
- Type 1 Protest: A ritualistic humiliation of the state’s internal enemies.
- Type 2 Protest: A show of solidarity between the people and the state against an external enemy.
- Type 3 Protest: A people’s challenge to the legitimacy of the state.
Type 1 Protest — “Hey Hey, Ho Ho…”
This is the type of protest in which the participants are jubilant and cocky, visibly having a good time. Participating in this kind of a demonstration is risk-free with regards to legal consequences, especially considering how destructive those protests can wind up being. I happened upon one of those demonstrations last year while walking down 14th Street just east of the White House. The procession looked something like this:
It was about fifty #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators marching, with several police cars slowly trailing them. The chanting was a spirited call-and-response. I have to give Blacks’ this: they are good at the clappy-rhythmy thing. I couldn’t get the chants out of my head for a while. If you didn’t know any better, you would believe that marching people were righteously angry, judging by their furious voices and wild faces. But we know better: it was all self-indulgence and theater, like the histrionics of an “American Idol” hopeful channeling Aretha Franklin.
Porter over on his Kakistocracy blog nails this attitude in his inimitable style:
Blacks don’t hold a monopoly on solipsistic meanderings, though they certainly make a market. […] It’s like hearing a child lecturing to play-doh figures. The latter being mute objects whose value and morality is judged by the extent they serve the speaker’s ends. There’s only one beautiful creature owed deference by the world. And I don’t just mean TaNehisiCoates.
There is no real anger among American blacks because America is their paradise. No other group of people in history had been given so much privilege on so little merit, short of maybe old Egyptian sun-gods. Anger is a very serious and dangerous thing; frivolous demonstrations of something that resembles anger are just play-acting.
With its fake indignation, the Type 1 protest purports to oppose the system, but it is in fact aligned with that system. Even when those protests get overly exuberant and cause loss of life and destruction of property, they never threaten the system itself or even risk much of a backlash when establishment press provides public relations cover.
This is the template for a standard left wing protest in Western countries. Other versions of this melodramatic freak show are Slut Walks or college campus rallies over a triviality. A Type 1 protest can look like a celebration or a tantrum, but whatever its form and tone, it affirms the state’s rule by humiliating any active or potential opponents of the state’s ideology. The Ferguson riots were essentially American establishment’s victory dance over traditional notions of community and property rights, all under the umbrella of Obama administration’s apocalyptic enmity to White America. At its core, the Type 1 protest is a by-proxy display of the establishment’s vigilance against internal threats to the system.
Type 2 Protest — “Welcome to Hell, Stray Lambs”
In this scenario, the protestors are secure in their relationship with the state but to reference writer Anonymous Conservative, their K-selected instincts are triggered by a perceived external threat. Nationalist and anti-migrant marches in east/central European countries belong to this category.
Europe has a knife to its throat but paradoxically, it is the countries that are under less immediate peril that are raising alarms more loudly and clearly. Hungary and Poland have next to no migrant population, and yet it is there that we see the most spirited demonstrations, most notably an estimated 50,000 nationalists marching through Warsaw on November 11, 2015. But it is not paradoxical at all, once you understand that people protest more confidently when they know that their government and police are on their side.
Given the large scope of this subject, I will limit my examples here to banners at football (soccer) stadiums. The following banner says “Protect your women — not our democracy” in English. The banner was unfurled by Polish spectators at a men’s volleyball game in Berlin in response to the EU’s threat of sanctions over Poland’s new right wing government and it refers to the New Year’s Eve migrant attacks on German women in Cologne. The message here is “fuck off, Germany.”
And the banner below — the namesake for this post — says “Welcome to Hell, Stray Lambs.” Consistent with Type 2 protests, its message is aggressive rather than defensive. The message here is “expect no mercy, invaders.”
Finally, HERE is a short video that features explicitly-worded anti-invader chants at Polish soccer stadiums, with English subtitles. It gets really good at the 2:10 mark.
What all of these examples have in common is an aggressive confidence of a Type 1 protest with the seriousness which those lack. The Type 2 protest is a warning, a guard dog’s growl in the interest of averting unnecessary bloodshed. It is a populist show of solidarity between the people and an acknowledgment of confidence in their authorities. Nominally, the riot police were out in Warsaw during those massive demonstrations, but there was no sense of antagonism between the protesters and the state. The show of strength is addressed to potential external threats.
Type 3 Protest — “Where Were You?!”
Type 3 protests arise under prerevolutionary conditions. They are potentially a genuine threat to the authorities because they are a symptom of the state’s loss of its legitimacy in face of people’s increasingly implacable grievances. Once the perception of legitimacy goes, all it takes is a push.
The short video below is what motivated me to write this post. It shows a small group of young German men aggressively confronting the police over their failure to keep security in Cologne on past New Year’s Eve, but instead amassing at a subsequent nationalist rally. There is a quality in this protest that is normally absent in Type 1 and Type 2 demonstrations, which you will see and hear in this 13-second clip:
It’s in the protestors’ voices and body language. Look at the man in the center-front of the crowd, his tense and jerky movements like a coiled snake that is still afraid to strike. He is overcome with emotion but restraining himself from lunging at the police. He and his fellow protestors are chanting “Wo, wo, wo wart ihr Silvesternacht!”, or “Where, where, where were you on New Year’s Eve.”
The overwhelming emotion in this protest is the rueful hurt of a man who just realized that he has been betrayed by those he trusted, similar to a man who just caught his wife in an act of infidelity. A government that wants to remain in power best take these people’s grievances seriously. Those German protesters are more dangerous to the regime, insofar as them being an indication of serious problems of legitimacy, than a blocks-long street march of confident people with banners.
Europe 2016: Where to from here?
“To say that democracy in Poland is in peril is ridiculous, to put it mildly. If anyone in Europe should be concerned for their freedom, it is the citizens in the West. If there is any place where political correctness and criminal law prohibit speech, it is not in Poland.”
–-Jarosław Kaczyński, chairman of Poland’s governing Law and Justice party
When you humiliate a man, he remembers it forever. The leaders of Western European countries are doing just that. In an unprovoked act of genocide-scale aggression, these governments and institutions are imposing on their people a fight-or-flight condition with nowhere to flee. People have picked up the scent of malice.
It does not appear that the usurper elites, in their arrogance, had thought this through. They rely on state security forces to suppress a reaction but they don’t seem to have considered a scenario in which policemen remove their helmets and join the protestors like Slovak riot police did last year at an anti-immigration march.
Members of Europe’s ruling class and their servants are betting on a comfortable life among Ahmed’s sons in Tahrir Square writ-large, with Johann’s sons protecting them from savagery of the sort that Lara Logan experienced. They keep building that world, all the while running up a bill of scores for Johann’s sons to settle.