Saturday, 2 April 2011
any questions rant 2/4/2011
Just listening to Any questions on BBC radio 4 and the panel's coverage of the anti-cuts demo, and how they all tunred on a New Statesman Journalist who was present inspired me to send them the following comment;
Listening to Laurie Penny get criticised by others on the panel (who were not there) for her description of what happened on the anti-cuts demo reminds me of the age old myths about crowds that keep getting churned out after each protest, despite there being no evidence to support them. The idea that those with violent intent can appear at a demonstration and incite others into a riot in the absence of other contextual factors, or that those engaged in property damage will automatically descend into violence towards individuals is utter nonsense and merely shows an ignorance of crowd processes. Studies of crowds over the past 30 years have found that by far the biggest predictor of mass crowd disorder is how the crowd is managed by the Police. Indiscriminate public order tactics such as kettling and mounted charges tend to have the effect of psychologically uniting previously disparate elements of a crowd together against the Police.
The belief that crowd members will uncritically follow a violent minority and get sucked into a mass mob mentality is rubbish and only reflects deeply pathological and distrustful views of crowds that may be common in popular discourse, but is not supported by numerous studies of crowd behaviour