A recent blog by Miranda Devine in the online version of The Telegraph came to my attention via one of the March in March Facebook pages.
Being one who does pay attention to what the ‘other side’ thinks, I had a very good read of it. I was astounded at the many false assumptions made in her piece. So I was compelled to send off a response. Not holding too much hope that my comment will see the light of day on her blog, I reproduce it here in my own space.
Well done, Miranda — you managed to collect the few negatives from the March in March to make the whole mass of protesters seem evil and sinister.
We were not all lefties (and I really don’t know why lefties=bad, after all, it was the lefties who pushed for decent wages for workers). Many marchers were what you might call ‘ordinary Australians’. Sure there were Labor and Green members, unionists, human rights activists, but there were also those who were protesting for the first time, even former LNP supporters, disturbed at the current government’s display of lack of humanity, its complete disregard of climate change concerns, its backdown on the Gonski reform, its lack of transparency, People marched simply to give voice to their discontent on various issues. Yes, there was some hatred for Abbott expressed in placards, but that was not the intention of organisers, nor was there a multitude of them. The ones you mentioned in your article, I wager, would account for 80% of the total vile placards. The lead organisers did not condone personal abuse and insults, nor personal threats, and before the marches issued a plea to keep all slogans decent. But in a loosely organised, grassroots-oriented movement like March in March, with no real structure and mechanisms for sanctions, one that wholly depended on the will and resources of the people to organise the marches, unsavoury elements were hard to police. It was always hard for organisers to choose between exerting authoritative/dictatorial control and allowing freedom of expression, as you would agree, perhaps, as a plain ‘l’ liberal.
You have the right to criticise what you see as wrong; so do we, marchers. But unlike you, we don’t have the backing of a powerful media outlet to carry our messages across — so we march, as common people, as is our democratic right.