Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Occupy Movement: Best Buddy of Bastard Bankers

The Occupy movement is seeing something of a resurgence in pockets across the globe. I feel this can only be a good thing for bankers who want to maintain a 'laissez-faire' regulatory environment.

It is a matter of personal conviction that my generation have been totally ignored and pilloried when it comes to the most contentious issues of our time. The protests against the Iraq war were vast, passionate and, perhaps most importantly, right.

Britain had no reason to invade another country, in the process causing the deaths of over 100,000 people. The reasons we were given for this invasion have been proven to be lies and/or distortions of the truth. It is generally felt these lies were deliberately fed to parliament and to the populace in order to justify what would otherwise be unjustifiable. All the talk of WMD and the 40 minute warning took the centre of debate away from the central issue: that this invasion was an illegal act based on a colonial morality (nb: nothing 'neo'-colonial about it).

We were out on the streets before it happened, saying "don't invade Iraq" and "you're lying to us". We were told to pipe down, that we were naive and didn't understand what was at stake. Turned out: we were right and they were lying to us.

The other great injustice of our time has been the banking collapse. Through deregulation and worship of the financial sector by chancellor Gordon Brown, Bush and Clinton, the conditions were set where some areas of trading became one great big game of bluff. It got so bad that the traders themselves had no idea if the assets they were buying and selling were toxic or not. It was like they were playing poker without being able to see their own hands.

Occupy started, in essence, as a reaction to this catastrophe. The time at which the Occupy movement was at its most popular was when the message was simple: "regulate the financial system so this stuff can't happen."

It was at this time I was seriously considering taking my tent to LSX and joining the movement. This now seems a very long time ago.

As happened at the Iraq war demonstrations, the left-wing crazies came out and took ownership of the entire movement. I remember those pathetic creatures trying to push me to buy 'Socialist Worker' and join their sordid little group. "But I'm here to protest the Iraq war," I said, "not to commit intellectual suicide."

The anarchists and the Marxists had the loud-hailers and the big banners and they freely claimed to speak for everyone there.

No-one told me that you had to become an avowed anarchist to attend the demonstration.

Last year, when a vast body of people came to the conclusion that the financial sector shouldn't be run like the worst
casino in the world, the little Lenins got all excited again and started to bleat their claptrap with visions of armed revolution and storming Parliament and an end to capitalism.

The movement's message became diluted, going far beyond 'regulate the financial system' to the outer reaches of Slavoj Zizek's non-reality-based imagination. All sorts of rubbish was thrown around about remaking the world and abolishing countries and re-writing property law. Some of it was sensible, some of it was quixotic, some of it was deeply divisive.

Ultimately, the little Lenins still had the loud-hailers and the big signs. It is they who drowned the Occupy movement in a sea of anachronistic utopian hot air and self-importance.

But that was December, when Occupy also died of natural causes: winter. No serious revolution has ever succeeded in cold weather with the exception of Russia (which I think actually proves my point, for reasons too long to go into here): July 4th is American Independence Day; July 14th is Bastille Day; the English Civil War started on 22nd of August and effectively took the winters off; the Arab Spring is called the 'Arab Spring' because it happened in the spring.

I think if OWS had got traction in May of last year instead of October, it would have been a more effective movement. Unfortunately, this year's resurrection is a confused mess of lefty anarchists, demanding an end to capitalism (no-one in their right mind actually wants an end to capitalism).

I still want financial regulations, but I don't want to stand next to signs condemning Barrack Obama for being 'a fucking traitor' written by some middle-class child called "Magpie" (real name 'Michael') or "Hunter" (Henry) or "Raven" (Lizbeth to her parents) whose morality is as transitory as it is purist.

So that's how these imbeciles are helping the financial sector to maintain their death-grip on our economy - by driving intelligent people off from what was the movement to regulate it.

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