Thursday 3 November 2011

Occupy St. Paul's

There will be a cross-cultural solidarity protest with the Syrian people on Thursday outside St Pauls, 5pm. Please RT. #occupyLSX
-- 2-Nov-2011
Help, they’re being oppressed! At first I thought it a spoof account but no, it’s the real thing and was duly re-tweeted by dozens lacking any sense of perspective. I’d have loved to see the looks of their more rational comrades, such people certainly exist but I imagine they’re drowned out by the more active; and the vigorous political types tend to be at polar ends of any debate. This is a problem for any protest movement claiming to represent “the 99%”, though I think they’ve now broadened the definition to “acting on behalf of the 99%”, as opposed to letting them decide for themselves. Thus some polar explorers will claim it’s a left-wing protest - which it is - whilst being in the interests of the 99% - which it isn’t.

Camping outside St. Paul's, refusing to move, and instead of weeks debating the issues we’ve been diverted by questions of whether they should even be there, whether they have imposed on the good faith of others, and the resignations of people with whom they have no disagreement. If the occupy movement were representative then we’d have had something other than an initial statement inspired by UK Uncut, we’d have had at least one idea with a level of support from both left and right; an intersection rather than amalgamation of familiar gripes. For example, legislation on lobbying might have been an issue that all sides could get behind, instead they gather under an anti-capitalism banner. In place of having a problem, many protesters have settled on capitalism being the problem, rather than an expression of our freedom of choice.

The collapse of any business has a ripple-like effect on those with which it used to trade; the bigger the business, the bigger the effect, to the extent that a bank failing can be a disaster for us all. Where capitalism has failed is not in income inequality, our freedom to choose means some will always be wealthier than others, even obscenely so. Nor is it a lack of job security, businesses fall so that other stronger ones can take their place. Its failure is in a framework that for one particular sector, grants large businesses a government guarantee; it will not allow them to fail, no matter how poorly run, as to do so would be catastrophic. That's what needs fixing, after the small matter of a large debt.


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