I had a conversation recently with a climate activist about how some people we feel are onside end up saying something stupid that undermines our good work. Witness Mark Lynas' support for nuclear power and Jim Hansen's criticism of anti-aviation activists. It goes back into the mists of time. I remember well the big chief of Friends of the Earth, Charles Secrett, issuing a press release calling some Newbury bypass protesters 'hotheads and idiots'.
The activist I was talking to posited that these people are sellouts in proportion to the amount of time they spend in suits. Without wishing to sound a bit like 'never trust anyone over thirty', there's something to it.
It is not important to demonstrate causality here. Whether the suit remoulds the mind or the remoulded mind becomes attracted to suits is irrelevant. There is a clear established link between suit-wearing and talking a bunch of unhelpful arse.
The solution suggested was to form a genuine eco-terrorist group called Shoot The Suit. You know how nurses who work with X-rays and stuff have to wear little badges that react to radiation? If their badge changes colour they're taken away from that work before it does any damage. Shoot The Suit would be the activist equivalent, monitoring the amount of time spent in suits and taking out anyone overexposed before they can do any harm.
Personally, I think that's a bit hardcore, and perhaps offenders should initially be given the chance of rehabilitation via another kind of hardcore; compulsory membership of an anarcho-punk band.
Rather like an old-school boot camp that shaves your head and makes you do months of mindless square-bashing, people like Hansen would be given a mohican, doused in ketamine and forced to spend a year or two in squats shouting unintelligible rants about vivisection over brainmeltingly loud guitar that sounds like an avalanche of dirty gravel.
Hopefully this would redress whatever part of them has been knocked out of kilter. If, at the end of this, they are still found to be beyond hope then it's time for Shoot The Suit to take over.