I thought the description of occupying the carbon neutral company's offices was highly interesting...playing the blues on the harmonica? messing around with stressballs? what on earth did they think they were doing? The fact that the employees didn't seem to get the point that a protest was going on, and then the police turned up and left without even bothering to evict them indicates to me that they were not protesting effectively: they might have done better to go and make some cogent and cutting-edge points about the uselessness of carbon offsetting at the house of commons after all.
On Feb 10th I had interesting discussions about what non-violent protest actually achieves: some are cynical. I am not cynical and I continue to go on demos and support various protests because I think at the very least there is a healthy, spirited, communal support-building and consensus-building function to public demonstrations. They build common strength of feeling and conviction among those of us who participate, and this is useful in the strengthening effects it has on the rest of our lives and the conversations we have with others and the way we can change our lives. If they pass vital messages about public opinion to policy-makers, then that's great, but it's probably marginal and secondary.
So, to what extent might the three harmonica-players who occupied the carbon neutral company have strengthened consensus and support among others? the other two of them, perhaps. Did they influence policy-makers? not a sausage, I suspect. Did they make a valid point? Yes, perhaps, via indymedia and email lists. To those who already agree, such as myself.
Tideturners, your thoughts? Are they brilliant political satirists? Useless funsters? Is their protest still a protest because they reckon it was, while others clearly didn't give a toss? Is the internet replacing the need for 'real' direct action on the grounds that news travels better on the internet and makes more people think?
I can think of a better protest: send a polite jiffy bag full of coal to the next person who tells you proudly that they offset their weekend break in wherever...