Politics

Violent anti-vaxxers are wrong. But can they teach us lessons on climate?

Climate change’s promise of death and destruction is violence, so why shouldn’t its victims be violent in self-defence?

Protesters outside the CFMMEU headquarters in Melbourne on Monday September 20, 2021 (Image: AAP/James Ross)

Last month a freakish mix of rusted-on anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists and neo-Nazis — and at least some regular people — led protests against Melbourne’s COVID-19 restrictions that ended in violent confrontations with the CFMMEU and police.

It was a scene that didn’t seem to fit our rich and comfortable country. But now the dust has settled, it’s safe to ask: what can be learnt from those protesters?

Anti-vaccine protesters are wrong. They should not be opposing COVID restrictions put there to save lives. But the protesters seem to intuitively understand something that most politically engaged people have long forgotten: you can become ungovernable to force change. Political violence against corporate property and the state can be justifiable when the threat is existential and other avenues have been extinguished. Slavery was not overturned with polite conversations. It was the same for apartheid and civil rights.

Read more about the radical protest required to combat climate change…

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