Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupiers again

I can't seem to get over my obsession with the Occupiers. Following their eviction in Melbourne and Sydney in recent days, there is a new flurry of confused commentary.

The standard line gets repeated that the occupiers need a point not just publicity.

A new avenue is found by David Penberthy who tries to claim that it is a left-wing protest about left-wing problems. He makes a number of errors, first by grouping everything that is not conservative into one basket of "the left". Yes some of the occupiers are your usual group of Trots who practice continual revolution, object to everything etc. But a slab are not, they are more thoughtful.

The second is to try to use the European protesters in Greece as if they are the same as OWS. They are not. To go to blame US problems with;

it is highly debatable whether the broader economic troubles are being caused by the kind of obscene and indefensible greed demonstrated by the likes of Goldman Sachs, or excessive government spending and sloppy banking policies which meant that hundreds of thousands of people were given money for mortgages which they could never repay.

is to suggest that "sloppy banking policies" had nothing to do with lax regulation. The "excessive government spending" has mostly been on very un-left war efforts.

A more thoughtful piece notes;

Not surprisingly, the 1 per cent are fighting back. Given their disproportionate wealth, power and privilege compared with the demonstrators, their PR message is cutting through. It is that the dissidents are ridiculous and their message unclear.

To make the point the author provides some snippets from the New York "Declaration of Occupation";

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality … that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations - which place profit over people, self-interest over justice and oppression over equality - run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here … to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through … illegal foreclosure … they have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity and continue to give executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions …

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies continue to produce … join us and make your voices heard!

To put the US housing experience in perspective - why is it that the financially illiterate people who borrowed money on the professional advice of their bankers and brokers are the ones to suffer, while the bank executives have been still taking their salaries and bonuses, and the shareholders who failed to appoint competent Boards have been largely protected?

And it is not true the movement has no demands, their eight demands include specific ones about revamping financial and corporate regulation. Some of these are as appropriate in Australia.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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