Heckling - counter-productive?

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Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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Jan 9 2009 07:39
Heckling - counter-productive?

ok, not exactly an organising question, but...

George Galloway's speaking at the Gaza rally in Brighton on sunday, and when he pulls out 'victory to the resistance' and defends it on the grounds Hamas are 'democratically elected' i'm gonna get pretty fucked off at the demogogue fuckwit for channelling humanitarian sympathy into support for a murderous, repressive nationalists. that said, anarchist heckling is usually an embarassment, and might it be counter-productive at a demo full of flag-waving nationalists effectively baying for israeli blood?

few things that could be said...

'victory to the resistance!' - 'are we anti-war or pro-hamas?! angry '
'hamas are the democratically elected government' - 'so's bush, brown and olmert!'
'brave resistance yada yada' - 'no politicians are worth dying for, might be worth lynching though'

of course being on the podium, him being a seasoned politician (full of rhetorical put-downs, misrepresentations and smears), and having a sympathetic audience of 'victory to the resistance!' types means he's gonna have the last word no matter what anyone else could say.

can't really point out in heckle-form that hamas are doing what all governments do in a time of war and rounding up dissidents as we speak, and it's hypocritical as fuck to support them doing it but oppose it elsewhere - even Galloway managed to not explicitly support Saddam during the 2003 war (although he did say 'iraq is fighting for all arabs, where are the arab armies?', the utter, despicable fuckwit).

so anyway, to heckle or not to heckle? that is the question.

stuffit
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Jan 9 2009 10:42

one of the points thats come up when criticising hamas is that as well as firing rockets they do a lot of civilian welfare work. A good point to counter this might be to say that the bnp are organising more based around peoples needs these days so does that mean we should support them?

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 9 2009 10:53
stuffit wrote:
one of the points thats come up when criticising hamas is that as well as firing rockets they do a lot of civilian welfare work. A good point to counter this might be to say that the bnp are organising more based around peoples needs these days so does that mean we should support them?

and of course the british state itself, which runs the NHS while taking part in mass slaughter in Iraq and elsewhere. people also pull the 'they're democratically elected' argument, yet this doesn't lead them to cheer on bush, brown and olmert too.

weeler wrote:
Stay in bed, have a tug.

the manifesto of the weeler federation. back to libcommunity u!

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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Jan 9 2009 10:54

i've actually enquired about there being an internationalist speaker, so see what happens on that front

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Demogorgon303
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Jan 9 2009 13:43

If there's no chance for questions and comments from the crowd, can't you distribute a leaflet? Heckling seems a waste of time to me, personally, and with people charged up is probably counterproductive. A leaflet read in the cold light of day might have more effect.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 9 2009 13:50

we're working on a leaflet (based on the Manc AF one, tailored to brighton). i just want to make sure repressing my urge to bottle the cunt is in the best interests of the communist movement tongue

Jason Cortez
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Jan 9 2009 15:06

nah, go ahead and bottle him. smile

Mike Harman
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Jan 9 2009 15:44

Bottling and heckling aren't the same thing though, not that either of them are a good idea mind you.

yoshomon
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Jan 9 2009 16:43

Why would one bother attending a nationalist demonstration in the first place?

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 9 2009 16:47

it's notionally an anti-war demonstration (it's billed as 'stop the killing/blockade'), so it's going to be full of brighton lefties who think massacring people is bad, thus we're going to do an anarchist/communist/internationalist leaflet. and resist the urge to assault members of the ruling class invited to tell us how glorious and indefatigable hamas are.

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cantdocartwheels
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Jan 9 2009 16:55

Heckling george galloway would be counter productive, he's far too used to it to be put off by it, and anyone convinced by him personally in brighton is somewhat of a lost cause. Your better off leafleting, chatting to a few people and heading off to the pub when george starts going on a mental about how gaza is the ''new stalingrad''.

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jef costello
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Jan 9 2009 16:57
weeler wrote:
Stay in bed, have a tug.

like a tommy tank?

Heckling is a bad idea generally because it shows you can't participate in it normally, if it's set up so you can't do that there's a deeper problem with the meeting. I'd say if they let you question, then ask a sensible question requiring a decent answer such as the one about elected governments. Otherwise you're better off talking to people handing out leaflets etc. You can't challenge someone who's got a PA when you don't and you're in a crowd that are likely to be automatically against you (even if they'd agree with your positions if they thought about them) and is stewarded.

no1
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Jan 9 2009 17:05

Heckling works, but only if a really large chunk of the audience disagree with the speaker and you're witty enough to throw the speaker off course. Otherwise you're shooting yourself in the foot.

Lurch
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Jan 9 2009 17:43

Joseph: think your basic preocupations - to make some sott of internationlist voice - are absolutely sound. My apologies, only being 90 mins away from Brighton, for not being present on this particular Sunday to support you.

If 'heckling' (won't they have any time for 'questions' which can always be turned into good basic statements by a chap of your experience?) isn't on, then I agree with folk who've said a leaflet distributed as best you can before and after the meeting is the best way to at least make an alternative (a proletarian) view heard.

Good luck and be safe.

Lurch
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Jan 9 2009 18:24

PS: If the Manchester leaflet is your 'weapon of choice', fair enough. On a first 'graze', it seems to defend internationalist positions and I support it.

I don't fully agree with the statement when it claims, only, to be a statement of 'anarchist' positions. I think I lot more people than those who would call themselves 'anarchist', (or left communist, for that matter), might adhere to the positions expressed.

This isn't being pedantic: it's an attempt to recognise a 'wider consciousness' that rejects both the Isreali state and Hamas as solutions, without necessarily having a coherent view of 'what is to be done.'

In all events, I'm for 'stirring the pot'. What's to lose?

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 9 2009 18:44

we're trying to do a version of the leaflet that rewords bits, adds in a bit more on imperialism and also some brighton-specific stuff. hopefully this will be ready in time for sunday.

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jondwhite
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Nov 8 2016 21:05

Resurrecting this more general thread on heckling in light of the meeting at the Anarchist bookfair and looking for answers. Not sure how I feel about it, but something about anarchist meetings feeling genuinely open as oppose to a gerrymandered slip system like big SWP "public" meetings makes me less inclined to heckle. Actually, in practice, I rarely do so anyway as if its a bad meeting, I trust the audience to see that for themselves.

ajjohnstone
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Nov 9 2016 08:45

There is a difference from shouting abuse to disrupt a meeting and stop a speaker from being heard and well-timed pithy comments shouted out to bring home a point or two.