In the News

Examples of direct action pressure group success are like London buses!

Mike McCartney

2nd February 2021

The case of Black Lives Matter and Britain's past history of colonialism and racism

That is to say, you wait for ages and two turn up at once.

I was just reading on BBC News this morning:

'TV historian David Olusoga claims it is "palpable nonsense" to say that removing controversial statues "somehow impoverishes history".

Prof Olusoga says statues, such as those of slave traders, are not useful ways of teaching history or explaining the values of previous eras.

Instead the historian argues they are a continuing public "validation" of people who did "terrible things".'


These comments come soon after the Guardian reported:

'Scores of tributes to slave traders, colonialists and racists have been taken down or will be removed across the UK, a Guardian investigation has found, with hundreds of others under review by local authorities and institutions.

In what was described by historians as an “unprecedented” public reckoning with Britain’s slavery and colonial past, an estimated 39 names – including streets, buildings and schools – and 30 statues, plaques and other memorials have been or are undergoing changes or removal since last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.'


So if you add the success of Black Lives Matter to an earlier blog post about the success of the student rent strikes, we now have two examples to add to our notes on the popular topic of pressure groups. And both come from recent months.

If you didn't see my earlier post about the student rents strikes and a bit of background on direct action, see here:

There's another entry here, by the way, on the anti-HS2 Euston tunnel protests.

I just don't think this particular protest is going to be as successful in changing outcomes. Though they have done a good job in raising awareness.

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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