Tuesday, November 8, 2011

#occupyinsertstreet

Is this the popular uprising against the fascist controllers of capital that lefties and anarchists have been waiting for?

No, not particularly. Not in the least.

While it is popular, I can't see it making real, effectual change unless it completely overthrows the capitalist model we have now and starts the whole thing over, which is nary possible.

In the United States, I can certainly understand how such a movement formed. Banks and multinational companies were bailed out for their failings, wheelings and dealings. Their auto industry for example has been slowly dismantled since the Reagan years, and they failed to tend to the market with fuel efficient vehicles, leaving the door open to cheaper imports.

A scenario which is rumoured to be repeating with Australia's auto industry.

But how can protest make proper reforms?

An example of how bizarre this movement is the multi-million dollar celebrities joining in with the crowd.

Not to mention one protester that recently had a hissy fit in McDonald's for not getting a free burger.

With celebrity involvement, it signals that fortunes made through talent are good, but people that made money through shady means, ala credit default swaps, are bad. Even though bankers are probably far more educated and talented in their own way; it's just that were put to do financially destructive work in the free market by the banks.

As with protests in the 60s and 70s, where celebrities like John Lennon cashed in on being with the young rebellious groups, I cynically see these protests as being of the same ilk.

The disembodied hacker group Anonymous claim some credit for starting the movement. Anyone can be a member - if you're holding a "we are the 99%" placard and wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, you're in.

And how are the international protests, such as Occupy Sydney, being organised?

Facebook, Twitter, et al.

Also, the technology that enables their use are the result of decades of research, capital investment, and the hope that products sold generate a profit, driving further investment.

The dark side being that much of what is physically manufactured comes from China by people on slave wages.

By all logic and reason, they should be organising protests on behalf of impoverished Chinese employees outside these factories.

Protest is something foreign in the Australian political establishment. Accordingly, the Occupy movement here doesn't have much popular support in the media outside the usual suspect groups, such as Green Left Weekly.

In contrast to Occupy Wall Street, and despite their claims, the protest isn't really focused on any one particular issue.

I haven't seen a mission statement, or list of demands - I'm sure they have these things, but given the fact that, being a consumer of news media, I can't recall a single one of their placards or messages.

Even following their Facebook page, is a mish-mash of web memes and "we'll be back!" postings in regard to their being turfed out by police.

This isn't to say I disagree with them and the original intent.

But what are they trying to target, inequity? I don't see any of them venturing to the outer western suburbs, like Mount Druitt, and knocking door-to-door in Department of Housing areas garnering support; where the very inequity of long term unemployment and other social ills are becoming increasingly concentrated.

A better idea would be to occupy Centrelink. Our welfare system is in far more trouble than the wider economy, which is by all intents and purposes the envy of the global community, if you have a ticket to it.

No, this is a somewhat removed protest. So far their most publicised demands in Martin Place are for wifi internet access and a place to charge iPhones and laptops - why not carry the eco message and use solar panels?

The best summary for the Occupy movements around Australia are that when it hits Monday, a large swathe of the protesters get to return to their jobs.

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