Page 1 of 2

Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:22 pm
by Adam Blake
Dear Friends on SOTW,

I have a situation developing in my family whereby my nearly 19 year old daughter is all fired up by the 'Occupy' movement (as, indeed, am I) but her mother is decidedly not. I refuse to enter into triangulating arguments (bitter experience) but would very much like to present a coherent series of debatable points.

To me, it is a massive breath of fresh air, long overdue. As my partner pointed out to me, all these disparate people have one thing in common: hope. Hope that things can be changed for the better. That seems to me to be a very precious thing.

Anyway, I would be most grateful if you lot, who for the most part I like, admire and respect (hem hem) would help me out by listing a few reasons why 'Occupy" makes this a very interesting and exciting time to be living in.

I'll start the ball rolling: How come no-one has made the obvious point that 'Occupy London Stock Exchange' have been allowed to camp outside St Paul's - to the cathedral's enormous and costly inconvenience - but have been allowed nowhere near their primary target, i.e, the London Stock Exchange? The Stock Exchange is heavily guarded by armed police. No-one can get anywhere near it without stringent ID checks. To me, it seems obvious that this is because the Stock Exchange is the real seat of worship in this country and it must be protected from any interference at all costs - even if that means trashing any laws regarding legitimate protest or right of assembly etc. I am sorry if this is stating the obvious but I think this is perhaps a time for stating the obvious. The message is clear: You can camp out on the steps of that old church but if you come anywhere near the Stock Exchange we will forcibly arrest you.

More stating the obvious: Unfettered, free market capitalism has only one aim: to maximise financial profits by any means necessary. All other priorities, be they social or environmental, are secondary to this. This is unacceptable in any society that contains old, sick or otherwise vulnerable creatures. It is fundamentally inhumane.

The rewarding of failure is unacceptable: It is unacceptable that Fred "The Shred" Goodwin can bring an enormous bank to the verge of bankruptcy, for example, and walk away with more money than most people can conceive of. It is unacceptable that Rebekah Brooks gets a £3.5m severance package from News International and keeps her company chauffeur driven limousine when criminal acts were committed on her watch.

Just two examples of gross injustice.

I could go on!

But I would prefer to hear from some other people.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:03 pm
by Rob Hall
Well, there is the link I posted to the Aljazeera piece that I posted previously:

http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes ... 94658.html

Maybe your daughter could find 25 minutes or so to watch it. As I said at the time, I think it provides some insights into the position of both sides.

I was under the impression that the reason they couldn't occupy Paternoster Square itself was because it is private property; I'm assuming that the grounds that they are currently camping on are not covered by the same laws. I could be wrong.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:05 pm
by Adam Blake
You're probably right, Rob. It's the symbolism that, to me, seems so obvious that has not been commented on as far as I'm aware.

Thanks.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:38 pm
by Rob Hall
One aspect of the whole occupy thing that bothers me is the insistence that some of the protesters have on wearing the "V For Vendetta" masks. Apparently, Warner Bros own the copyright on the image used to produce the masks, so - unless they're stealing them - every time one of these masks is purchased, Warner Bros get a cut of the proceeds. If your daughter does go along Adam, make sure she doesn't fall into that particular trap.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15359735

Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:55 pm
by Philellinas
It seems to me that the London Stock Exchange and St. Paul's Cathedral are both in the business of bringing the country to its knees. The "Occupy" Movement in its turn is having the effect of bringing St. Paul's to its knees.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:35 pm
by will vine
Something is in the air. Everybody knows our current way of living is unsustainable (though many are in denial) and that hope can only spring from a radical new plan. Such plans do not originate in Parliament or the City of London. They are more likely to come from such movements as this. Everything is up for discussion, which is why the people occupying St. Pauls are being dismissed as a loose affiliation of different causes. Collectively they probably represent all the arguments that are going on inside our own heads all the time. Let's face it, we are all lost.
Time to start smoking Gitanes and discussing philosophy again.

I'm looking for me
You're looking for you
We're looking at each other
And we don't know what to do. -- The Seeker -- Pete Townshend

Sadly, I still get the feeling the bad guys win in the end.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:36 pm
by Adam Blake
Oh, Will, don't say that! After that splendid observation on Gitanes and philosophy and quoting one of my favourite Who songs! Something is in the air alright. The 30 year debauch initiated by Thatcher and Reagan has run its course. The bad guys never go quietly but if their power is taken out from under them they will not be able to sustain. The proposed run on the banks on November 5th should be very interesting.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:33 pm
by judith
This morning, Judith Butler's comments at OWS came to my attention. She too mentions hope.
http://feministing.com/2011/10/24/judit ... ns-occupy/

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:27 pm
by AndyM
I have reservations about it all, but the important thing is how much it's getting younger people energised about thinking politically.

If you could briefly summarise your daughter's mother's objections, Adam, maybe we could target counter-arguments?

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:46 pm
by AndyM
I can't recall if this was linked to here before, but this is a brilliant diagnosis of where we are and how we got there, written by Britain's cleverest man (or a serious candidate):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011 ... eoliberals

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:38 pm
by Adam Blake
AndyM wrote:If you could briefly summarise your daughter's mother's objections, Adam, maybe we could target counter-arguments?


Oh, I can't really summarise her objections. It's all too emotive. She's getting terribly right wing in her old age. It happens. Stuff about having to work from inside the system to effect any real and lasting changes (i.e. become an MP) mixed up with the usual accusations of 'champagne socialists' and students out for a quick thrill on their way to starting their careers in banking, marketing etc.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:03 am
by Adam Blake
AndyM wrote:I can't recall if this was linked to here before, but this is a brilliant diagnosis of where we are and how we got there, written by Britain's cleverest man (or a serious candidate):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011 ... eoliberals


Fascinating reading. Thank you, Andy, for posting. But he doesn't really address the systemic failure of capitalism per se. The assumption that free market capitalism cannot ever fail is surely what underpins the neoliberal "project". If the edifice crumbles, as it is surely crumbling, what then?

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:47 pm
by NormanD
I think your girl will do whatever she thinks is right to do, irrespective of parental agreement / approval. I'm sure you don't wish to see her with a busted head, but again, that's up to her to balance out. Just as long as she's not alone, has an emergency telephone number written somewhere on her body, and is not relying on a cell phone, then she'll be OK. She'll probably get a lot out of, and put even more into, the debates and discussions going on there. Probably far more instructive and informative than her over-priced degree course.

"The banks are made of marble
With a guard on every door...."
should be the theme song for the international Occupy movement.

Maybe someone here could post it - I'm not able to here.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:27 pm
by Chris P
here ye go Norman:

I've traveled round this country
From shore to shining shore.
It really made me wonder
The things I heard and saw.
I saw the weary farmer,
Plowing sod and loam;
I heard the auction hammer
A knocking down his home.
[Chorus:]
But the banks are made of marble,
With a guard at every door,
And the vaults are stuffed with silver,
That the farmer sweated for.
I saw the seaman standing
Idly by the shore.
I heard the bosses saying,
Got no work for you no more.
But the banks are made of marble,
With a guard at every door,
And the vaults are stuffed with silver,
That the seaman sweated for.
I saw the weary miner,
Scrubbing coal dust from his back,
I heard his children cryin',
Got no coal to heat the shack.
But the banks are made of marble,
With a guard at every door,
And the vaults are stuffed with silver,
That the miner sweated for.
I've seen my brothers working
Throughout this mighty land;
I prayed we'd get together,
And together make a stand.
[Final Chorus:]
Then we'd own those banks of marble,
With a guard at every door;
And we'd share those vaults of silver,
That we have sweated for.

Re: Why is the 'Occupy' Movement necessary?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:18 pm
by garth cartwright
Gosh, Adam, your daughter is lovely. So nice to know that some of the youth feel motivated. Tell her to go protest. And tell her that she will meet some idiots, even some scumbags, amongst the protesters. Tell her not to worry about Occupy failing, that at least she and they took a stance and tried to make their voices heard. Tell her to listen to all the different voices - including her mum and the anti-Occupy people - and make up her own mind. Tell her to avoid lazy slogans and those that suggest throwing a brick is a way to protest. Tell her that Gramsci wrote "pessimism of reason, optimism of the will" when locked in one of Mussolini's cells.

By the by, I visited the Occupy camp on Sunday afternoon - glorious autumn sunshine. Nice atmosphere if very deja-vu: I have been on so many protests over the decades that I recognise certain types and the polemics they use. I wish the Occupy movement had a clearer, more definite agenda but, I guess, if they did then it would not be the mass movement it currently is. Can they achieve anything? Doubtful. But as a voice to remind those who hold the reigns of power that many are not happy with the way they have handled the economy their efforts have value.

I imagine the bad weather currently settling in will shrink numbers. I hope your daughter has a great time. I can just see her, dark eyes shining, all full of revolutionary fervour. Brilliant!