The small rabble that has taken to camping outside St Pauls Cathedral as part of a call to occupy the London Stock Exchange, in what appears to be a mimic of the Wall Street occupation, have, among other things, taken to calling themselves 'the 99%'.
Oh really, is that why there are only 500 of you? Apparently these 500 individuals represent the vast majority of us, 'this is what democracy looks like' their initial press statement proclaims to which surely all sane people must reply 'no it doesn't, or at least not since the charade democracy of Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao'.
To begin with the cranks and would be sixty-eighters that gathered outside Wall Street in the hope of reviving something of the countercultural activism of the Sixties, a heyday for the New Left, provided us all with a certain amount of amusement. Then things took a rather darker tone when some of the demonstrators were caught on camera holding placards with anti-Jewish slogans and telling passersby that the Jews control the money, the media, the government, well everything really.
Brendon O'Neil dismissed the demonstrators as 'a fashion show masquerading as a political movement' while Tim Stanley referred to the protests as an 'exercise in nostalgia' remarking 'of course; wherever there's dirty people and hemp, you'll find a hippy environmentalist'.
Now however, the so called occupations are spreading to Rome, to Berlin and of course to London. The list of demands released by the demonstrators currently camping outside St Pauls reads like a beginners guide to infantile leftism and it is hard to believe that those who issued them can really be serious about expecting the government to take any real notice. That is, of course, partly the point. These grievances are not supposed to be addressed; they are supposed to serve as a never ending sense of injustice around which to rally.
Trotsky's permanent revolution has been exchanged for perpetual protest. Indeed, one can hardly imagine the sense of disappointment that would be felt among Britain's few hundred professional discontents if their demands were actually met and just days in they were forced to pack up and go home to their squats and eco-communes (or parent's places in the suburbs as looks more likely to be the case for many).
What this self titled democratic 99% demand in their 'initial statement' would be sure to create a society that 99% of the rest of us would never want to live in. It seems bazaar that they should choose to attack the financial sector, the wealth creating part of the economy, in this way.
Where, after all, do these people imagine the money for their sacred-cow of a welfare state comes from? Where, for that matter, do these people think the vast amount of camping paraphernalia they are using comes from? Where do they think any of the consumer goods that they, like the rest of us, require come from?
Such questions seem not to trouble these people, instead they busy themselves expounding on the virtues of government spending. 'We do not accept the cuts as either necessary or inevitable' reads point number four of their statement, which is of course perfectly true, provided you are comfortable with your economy eventually coming to resemble something close to the one currently being experienced by the citizens of Greece.
The protestors don't even limit themselves to giving instruction on how Britain should be governed; they seem to wish to extend the jurisdiction of their recommendations to the whole of the planet. A position that not only smacks of megalomania but if ever to be implemented it would demand the kind of interventionism that these types usually brand as imperialism when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan. 'We want structural change towards authentic global equality. The world's resources must go towards caring for people and the planet, not the military, corporate profits or the rich' reads article number 7. Heart warming as this vision of a John Lennon style never-never land is, those who penned these demands would do well to remember that when writing about 'the rich', compared to how people in the rest of the world live, they are the dreaded rich who by all accounts should be robbed to feed the world's poor.
Whatever one may think of terrorist revolutionaries such as Che Guevara, at least he suffered out his convictions in the wilderness of Bolivia, rather than just doing a dry-run for Glastonbury in the middle of the City. Oh well at least they were good enough to declare 'We stand in solidarity with the global oppressed and we call for an end to the actions of our government and others in causing this oppression' in article eight. I'm sure those mowed down in Syria and Sri Lanka would agree that it's the thought that counts.
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