The little campers that couldn’t
Conflict is more than an ethical issue; it can be seen as the driving force of our species. Whether it takes place between two parties, or between two different ideas within the same individual, conflict is a spark that either generates warmth or spawns destruction – it can bring forth underlying issues, create new solutions to old problems, as well as turn social environments into hostile ones.
Since every person is unique, it can be argued that there are as many ways of dealing with conflict as there are people. However, based on our determination in achieving our own goals and on our willingness to cooperate with others, we tend to fall into certain categories. These can range from highly competing to accommodating, to collaborating.
Or so they say… But think about it: is it really true that all these approaches can be effective, and it’s just about using the right one at the right time? I don’t think so. It seems to me that if history teaches us anything, it’s that those in power will always win in conflicts against those who lack power. Unless they do something really stupid and shoot themselves in the leg – but that rarely happens. Conflict resolution methods will only work in the rare cases in which the two parties come from equally powerful positions.
A recent example is the eviction of the Occupy London campers from outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. This was accompanied by the demolition of the “School of Ideas”, which the activists had inaugurated.
The Occupy London movement, an ongoing protest against social inequality and corporate greed, had made this particular encampment its centre since October.
A valiant struggle to be sure, but when going against authority, especially in such a vocal manner, you are unlikely to win by being peaceful and full of wonderful ideas. To my mind, it’s general public apathy that led to this eviction. Had there been wider support for the activists, the authorities might have been more willing to show their collaborative side and try to meet the protesters halfway. Why? Because public support can translate into votes and votes can obviously translate into power. And at the end of the day, it’s power that solves conflicts, not carefully considered words…
What about you? What do you think?
Tags: activists, authorities, authority, campers, capitalism, conflict, corporate greed, debate, demolition, Discussion, eviction, force, history, inequality, occupy, occupy london, police, power, resolutions, school of ideas, St Paul's Cathedral, struggle, words