In the past few days, the Tate gallery in London has been the target of protests because it receives funding from BP. My girlfriend and I have been discussing this, and where she finds that the use of tactics that cause damage to property are not permissible, whereas I deem them to be, if not merely permissible in fact close to a moral requirement. I often draw parallels between the tactics employed by the suffragettes, the civil rights movement in America and Nelson Mandela's ANC (as well as the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe) and today's 'anti-climate change' environmental activists. Her argument is that the arts are important, and funding them is surely a good thing. If this means accepting money from legal, if slightly unsavoury, bodies then that is a 'necessary evil'. It basically comes down to the question "what is a legitimate form of protest to get an important point across?"
Slightly unsavory is okay but not very unsavory? So if the Tate Gallery were supported by the KKK then I suppose she would think that it would be time to protest. But a company that destroys the environment and causes many people to lose their livelihood is still in the moderately evil realm? Were the administrators of the Tate cognizant of the environmental policies of BP? Should they have been? These are all factors that I would take into consideration. Still, I can't come up with a formula for deciding between legitimate and illegitimate protests but I'm with you in thinking that, if all other means fail and the cause is important enough.e.g apartheid, there is nothing absolutely sacrosanct about private property.