Welcome to London Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: London ConfidentialNews & Features.

Occupy The London Stock Exchange

Power to the people, er… not just yet

Written by . Published on October 17th 2011.


Occupy The London Stock Exchange

LONDON was one of a number of major cities that staged protests against economic and social injustices. Hot on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and similar affairs around the world, protesters in London converged outside St Paul’s Cathedral. Could this really be part of a global consciousness and future direct action that will achieve real change? Or is it just set to provide the ever hungry media organisations with newsworthy content?
 

Londoners do love a protest. We love getting our placards out and steaming en mass to central London. Students and octogenarians alike, sharing solidarity, good humour and flasks of tea. Ban the bomb! Stop the war! End foxhunting! Save the NHS! It’s a noble tradition and a good excuse for a day out, but do peaceful protests do anything aside from voice disapproval? Organisers and participants always testify that it brings important public exposure to key issues and makes the government stand up and listen. But generally, it’s just a case of the media turning up (typically paying more attention to random destructive acts of civil disobedience and so delegitimising the peaceful majority), those in power fielding a few tricky questions on Channel 4 News or Newsnight spouting a few ‘we understands’ and ‘that’s why we are…’ and displeasure voiced its back to normal service has resumed.

The UK under Blair and Brown pretty much followed the American model for economic governance and now has a government that loves big business and hates regulation of markets even more. Cameron banged on about ‘leadership’ at the Tory conference and he’s right, just not in the self- aggrandising way he meant, but in the sense of an alternative leadership than is being offered by the traditional parties. 

At this early stage it’s hard to say what effect the latest protests will have other than keeping the media, political commentators and philosophers busy. The current London protests are trying to highlight the practices of the financial sector. But unless you have been living in a cave for the last few years, you most likely already know that the banking world has a lot to answer for.

GuardianImage via The Guardian

And here lies the crux of the latest gaping black hole that faces debate about global economic issues, even given the vast amounts of economists, theorists and analysts, no one seems to really know for sure what to do. Sure there are ideas – cash stimulus for the economy, bails outs for banks and austerity measures for cutting debt – but is any of it working? And what chance has the mob of making demands to their politicians, other than the obvious 'this is bad, we are angry and do something quick'? Aside from vague attempts at global manifestos, it seems that a lot of protests at the moment are along that line. The only possible solution to living in a more equal and fair society is moving to Norway.

With mass unemployment and high inflation effecting many people around the world today, riots, protests and demonstrations look set to continue. It’s encouraging to see the current occupations in Wall Street as the US is truly the land of capitalism unfettered. A place it seems where arguing for things such as universal healthcare or restrictions on big business and banks marks you out as a communist, even if you happen to be the President. Is America waking up still hazy from the Bush years to realise that free markets unchecked, low taxes and limited government, which Palin and the Tea Party stands for, are possibly not the best way forward. Could the global protests be part of a global consciousness that is emerging, a desire for a system other than what is slavishly adhered to and we are constantly told is the only viable option?

The UK under Blair and Brown pretty much followed the American model for economic governance and now has a government that loves big business and hates regulation of markets even more. Cameron banged on about ‘leadership’ at the Tory conference and he’s right, just not in the self-aggrandising way he meant, but in the sense of an alternative leadership than is being offered by the traditional parties. The established parties are so rooted in ties to big business, the party funding, the contracts, the relationships and sweeteners, that public concerns are secondary at best. The Lib Dems would do, and have done, anything for power and what does Milliband, who is meant to be a bit of lefty, actually stand for other than bad haircuts?

_56099209_013169305-1 Much has been made of the power of social media in the Middle East uprisings and its continued potential for mobilisation of dissent in the future. Whether the power of social media and the Internet can be harnessed in the West for direct actions that have real influence rather than just make statements remains to be seen. As people in London, New York, Rome and Madrid take to the streets angry at financial mismanagement the time is ripe for alternatives, for the protests to become a real movement, a cultural shift, for people or organisations with real ideas, workable plans, but where are they? Looking through the long lens all that is visible, if you squint hard enough, is a very distant ray of light in an otherwise arid political landscape. Hell, let’s all just move to Norway.


Top image via International Business Times

 

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code