Saturday, November 12, 2011

Just what is the Occupy Movement about?

Can somebody please explain in words with as few syllables as possible just what on earth the Occupy protestors are actually protesting about and what they are trying to achieve?
This random collection of individuals are full of worthy sounding pronouncements and sound bites but seem to be anti everything without being able to really explain what they see taking its place.
I have spent some time with that essential research tool Google to try and make some sense of it all but am failing miserably.  There are a couple of Facebook sites - Bristol Occupy for example where amongst the ramblings we find:
Never before have there been so many kinds of voices in one political group of people, we are from all walks of life and our umbrella of causes is wide. As the disease we are facing has many symptoms, our reasons for being here arise from each of our journeys.

What?  What journeys?  They been stuck waiting for a train because of the wrong kind of leaves? Made the live shows on X Factor?
There is a link to an article on a site called Aljazeera which supposedly explains what Occupy is about.  It says:

There's one question that pundits and politicians keep posing to the Occupy gatherings around the country: What are your demands?

I have a suggestion for a response: We demand that you stop demanding a list of demands.

The demand for demands is an attempt to shoehorn the Occupy gatherings into conventional politics, to force the energy of these gatherings into a form that people in power recognise, so that they can roll out strategies to divert, co-opt, buy off, or - if those tactics fail - squash any challenge to business as usual.

Rather than listing demands, we critics of concentrated wealth and power in the US can dig in and deepen our analysis of the systems that produce that unjust distribution of wealth and power. This is a time for action, but there also is a need for analysis.

Right.  Analysis.  Always a good solution, a bit of in depth analysis.  Helps the journey progress much more smoothly.  Maybe they could set up a forum, or a focus group, or get a couple more Facebook pages up and running.  That’ll sort the problems facing us all.
But what do they plan on doing?  What is their solution?
Occupy Cardiff’s Facebook page (liked by 756 people) gives the following information:

The words ‘corporate greed’ ring through the speeches and banners of protests across the globe. After huge bail-outs and in the face of unemployment, privatisation and austerity we still see profits for the rich on the increase. But we are the 99%, and on October 15th hundreds of protests around the world in over 70+ countries began taking place our voice unites across gender and race, across borders.
In London they have occupied the forecourt of St Paul’s Cathedral, next to the London Stock Exchange. Reclaiming space in the face of the financial system and using it to voice ideas for how we can work towards a better future. A future free from austerity, growing inequality,unemployment, tax injustice and a political elite who ignores its citizens, and work towards concrete demands to be met. This has been very successful providing various things to help out the long term campers :-

Kitchens providing hot/cold food and water
A libary with books to read
An information point to find out what exactly is going on

Fancy that, a library (I assume that is a typo) with books to read, whatever next. Perhaps they could use it to enable them to communicate a little better, rather than simply stringing together words which they obviously think sound worthy but which personally I find beyond irritating. 
Reclaiming space in the face of the financial system and using it to voice ideas for how we can work towards a better future.”
‘We are the 99%’ is the claim.  Seems to me that there are slightly less than 99% of people getting riled up about this.  It is reported that 100 people turned up in Cardiff, most of whom left when it started raining. Only interested in saving the world from the evils of capitalism when the sun is shining obviously.
The problem is people by and large don’t care.  If they did then the turnout at elections wouldn’t be so abysmal.  After all there all they are required to do to change things is put a cross on a piece of paper.  They don’t even have to go to the polling station to do it anymore but can wait until the rain stops and put it in the post.
As for all the protestors – if they are so unhappy with the way politicians are handling things then why don’t they put their heads above the parapet and get involved in a more meaningful way.  Actually do something instead of just raging against the machine.  Or is that too much to ask?

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