Andrew Ralmsley, writing in the London Observer, demolishes the notion that participants in the “Occupy” protest don’t know what they want. It’s a long and detailed rebuttal of that idea.
Frankly, the pundits who promulgate that notion are doing the pundit equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and going “Na na na I can’t hear you–and neither can anyone else.”
The default response of establishment opinion is glibly to dismiss these protests as a passing spasm which cannot achieve anything because the movement is either wildly unrealistic in its aspirations for a new world economic order or too vague in its demands. It is true to say that the protests vary in their tactics and are disparate in their goals. Movements like this are often woven from multiple threads of grievance, a tapestry of dissent which can be both a source of initial strength and an ultimate cause of weakness. But they are loosely united by common themes: fury at corporate greed, resentment at lack of economic opportunity, concern about social inequality and alienation from a conventional politics that appears incapable of doing anything serious to address and redress public discontents.
On top of the billions of taxpayers’ money already committed to rescuing the banks, the eurozone leaders have just signed up to providing billions more. Yet from the nabobs of finance there is still not a whisper of a hint of a scintilla of humility or penance. The Institute of International Finance, the main industry organisation, reports that banks are handing more guaranteed bonuses to new employees than they were before the financial crisis. Governments have neither punished those who wrecked the economy nor taken adequate steps to ensure that they will be more accountable and responsible in future. Sir Fred Goodwin – why the hell is he still Sir Fred Goodwin? Three years have elapsed since the bubble burst in 2008 and yet we are still waiting for the fulfilment of promises of systemic reform. The wonder is not that people have been provoked to occupy parks and squares in every continent but Antarctica. The wonder is that this did not happen earlier.