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19 responses to “Occupy London: radical or conservative?”

  1. Alex White

    I’m sorry Guy, but criticising Occupy London because its aims are hardly visionary is ludicrous. Demanding “new, creative” messaging in order to feed the 24 hour news cycle is exactly the problem with politics.

    Just because the media have moved on to the next exciting scandal doesn’t make the Occupy London message any more pertinent or important — and the most effective thing they can do now is stay “on message” (that is, continue occupying) even when the news cameras have gone.

  2. John D

    The protests so far have injected “the 1%” into public discourse. This is a powerful label when dealing with “the 1%” opposing tax rises for the rich and other well funded campaigns to protect the interests of “the 1%”.
    I guess it depends on whether you think it is all about replacing capitalism or forcing it to clean up its act. There is a case for multiple groups attacking the 1% from separate directions.

  3. Occam's Blunt Razor

    I know!

    Get another lot of very rich Celebrities to express their solidarity. Maybe fly Michael More over from the US (because Celebrity travel is always CO2 neutral).

  4. Link

    I think the ‘Occupy’ movement’s biggest and most important impact has been the vocalisation of an idea that resonates with (hopefully) the 99%. The idea that capitalism in its current corrupt form is killing the planet and making fools of us all, that it is grossly unfair, cruel and favours a very select few. This is the problem.

    As a ‘brand’ so the ad men say, it’s been enormously successful. It’s an ideology and that’s it’s power. Whether people choose to take the idea literally and hang around public places in tents . . . well good on them, but the cat’s out of the bag now and even if they go home to a nice warm bed (or something) it shouldn’t be a sign of defeat or that the bankers have won.

  5. Link

    soz to teh apostrophe nazis.

  6. akn

    Agree with John D. Getting recognition that the problem is “the 1%” is a massive ideological win. It has generalised the problem of the ruling classes without getting mired in the exhausted language of exhausted ideology. After which we ought to grasp that this first “occupy public places in the West” as a general protest against the general conditions of existence is a training wheels run. Better that it is unprogramatic at the moment. That can come later.

  7. John D

    Guy: I think that both “the 1%” and “the 99%” are useful labels for different situations.
    My only hesitation with using “the 99%” is that my real concern is the quality of life of the people at the bottom of the pile. The people near the top of the 99% are quite well off thank you kindly and are quite capable of acting to defend their interests at the expense of the people near the bottom of the pile.

  8. PinkyOz

    Deserving and undeserving rich!?! That’s starting to get a bit odd. Maybe a better set of words would be “constructors” and “destroyers” because most of the arguments that I have heard around the occupy movement come from the idea that there are people willing to create a net negative outcome in society to gain a little extra money or power.

    You are right about those broad statements, they are very measured, incremental but still overall in the right direction. Of course, if they wanted to really start a few conversations then maybe a little bit of investigation is in order. Why not out a few tax “cheats” who are using overseas havens, or out the actions of a key lobbyists and the people they interact with or even present a case file of evidence on company head who woefully harmed the value of a company and in turn society at large. Don’t actually colour or interpret that info, just present it.

    It’s a bit harder to achieve, but it would have impact without violence.

  9. Salient Green

    The Occupy movement has been fed a wide ranging diet of issues but the reason for the diet is that we can do things a lot better. I think this is a period of exploration and that soon enough there will be a crystalisation into a small core of issues, the solutions to which will cascade over most of the others as they take effect.

    The well being of the entire natural world and Human civilisation is crying out for regulation of greed. Even the 1% are crying out for a cap on executive pay and higher taxes. Some don’t know it of course, but their psyche has to be crying out for some rules, some limits, on the ridiculous battle of super egos which has them making obscene amounts of money while most of their fellow man live in poverty and they systematically impoverish the natural world for future generations.

  10. akn

    Agreed Salient Green. This is a good start but it is the beginning.

    Guy, following on from this, who constitutes “the 1%” at this point isn’t too much of a problem. Gates bought his way out of that group through philanthropy and good on him. Murdoch is in but Soros is not for mine.

  11. Link

    to something that engages a bit more robustly with our political system.

    Or the legal system. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be the political will to prosecute those (banks) shown to be practising outside the law. Maybe the OWS movement can grow into an organisation (and probably is) that pursues prosecution off individuals and whole organisations, where governments lack the guts.

    Watching police scuffles with protestors I couldn’t help but think or hope that it’s the cops at the end of the day who will be arresting individuals who have allowed corrupt and illegal banking practises to continue. Theft and fraud are still against the law in most places and at the end of the day, the law will be the only recourse to . . . balance the scales.

  12. Link

    can’t believe I said “at the end of the day” –twice. Maybe at the end of the century would be a bit more accurate.

  13. Adrien

    Laudable sentiments, yes, but hardly visionary ones, and my, what a vague and middling way in which to express them!

    Much has been made of the vague aspect of these occupations. This is hardly surprising, after all this was something open ended. Anyone who wanted to could turn up. Each of those people would have all sorts of beefs and all sorts of limitations. You don’t get ‘vision’ from that.

    But the third point above is pretty much near to the mark. Corporations are devices for limiting liability which they do. They also acquire rights. This process has been going on for two hundred years with very little by way of scrutiny.

    Still does. The Official Left won;t do anything about it. Too much work and courage involved I’d wager.

  14. Ootz

    @13 As I understand there is some legal action happening already. JPMorgan, BofA Sued Over Home Foreclosures.

    As well as there are interesting moves happening that are little reported in msm, such as Los Angeles Poised to Be First Major U.S. City to Call for Ending Corporate Personhood .

    Unless one is connected through social networks, it is very hard to get a grip with what is happening and pushed for by the occupy movement and then one has to check and verify. It is remarkable how main stream news is extremely anaemic on this topic.

  15. John D

    Guy: “Unemployed and wrapped in red tape” describes some of the crap that people near the bottom of the pile have to put up with. If you add the unemployed, seriously unemployed and those in poorly paid, insecure jobs together my guess is that we are talking about 25% – at a time when our economy is supposed to be booming!
    I guess it is easier to mobilize against “the one %” than in favour of the “bottom 25” or whatever. It is important that most people feel part of the aggrieved as long as the whole thing doesn’t get taken over by middle class issues.

  16. GregA

    What I’d like to see is some effort to engage with the police, as participants, rather than as the usual tools of the 1%. The police forces are drawn from the 99%, but end up supporting the interests of the oppressors, because of how the power hierarchies are structured. Nevertheless, at least initially, in Egypt, for example, the army – effectively the police force – withheld their usual oppression, and the Tahir Square demonstrators were effective in removing, again, at least initially, if we’ve yet to see the final outcome, a dicatatorship, not entirely unlike what we’ve allowed our rapacious capitalist system to become. The banks own us, and so long as the police support their interests over ours, we will be nothing more than unwashed hippies in tents wishing for portaloos that will never come, until we straggle off in defeat after howsoever many months of effort. We need to engage this proletariat segment so that they will, if not join in opposition, then withhold their support of the rich, in favour of the rest of us, the majority, for whom they are meant to be a protection, as much as for the rest. If any of the Occupiers can achieve this, perhaps the rest will, too, and then we can have some hope of a outcome positive to us all.

  17. Adrien

    The police forces are drawn from the 99%, but end up supporting the interests of the oppressors, because of how the power hierarchies are structured.

    Oh yeah just restructure the hierarchy and everything’d be jake.

    The banks own us, and so long as the police support their interests over ours, we will be nothing more than unwashed hippies in tents

    Well you can be a washed punk-rocker in a loft, or a suburbanite in a brick six-pack or an inner city wanker in a terrace or high rise condo… but yeah the banks have too much power. One reason is that it is now virtually compulsory to lend money to a bank.

    What’s that you say, you have to lend money to a bank? Yep. If you have an account you’re lending ’em money. People forget that. They forget so badly they think nothing of paying the banks for permission to lend them money! Call it: account keeping fees.

    Why is this compulsory? Well to be sure the banks have been trying to convert cash into traceable, controllable digital information since the 1980s. They want it to be compulsory to go thru them if you wanna get paid. But specifically in this country it’s compulsory to lend banks money because of something the Hawke government did to stamp out tax evasion.