Every day, on my way to and from work, I walk by the Occupy London shanty town set up in Finsbury Square. I expect that my comments will be rued by many of my more broad-minded, community-spirited, free-loving friends, but I have to say it: the shanty town grosses me out. And the whole shacking-up-in-a-public-space scenario kind of pisses me off.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a good old-fashioned protest rally for human rights when there is a discernible cause. If there is a march for equal rights or an end to prejudice, you can bet I will be right there marching in amongst it. Unless I have something else on, like if the Eagles are playing or I’m catching up with a friend for coffee. But you know, I support the causes. Go team!
Admittedly, I can’t help but be somewhat impressed by the way that this movement has been embraced globally. To an extent. Anyone would be hard pressed to find a country that didn’t have any of its citizens participating in some form or another. But realistically, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, it has become a whole lot easier for idiocy to be united in a mass form. Just look at the London riots.
My beef with the Occupy Movement is that it has gone on since September 2011 and I can see no discernible unified message, no clear goals, no set purpose. All I see is a bunch of dirty pinkos squatting in tents and makeshift shacks trying to revive the free-love hippy movement of the sixties.
I know, I know, I am a cynical hack. But I don’t think it is unreasonable for me to feel jaded over the relentless aimlessness of the entire affair. For any protest movement to have any value or meaning, there are two fundamental issues that the protesters need to communicate effectively: what exactly it is that they are protesting and what outcome they are seeking.
As far as I can tell, the Occupiers haven’t sorted this shit out.
What exactly is their beef?
Whilst walking past Occupy at Finsbury, I have had numerous statements shouted at me:
“Money in the banks is money for the bankers.”
Possibly. However, if I kept my money at home it would most likely get eaten by rats. Plus, I don’t think I will earn 3% on my savings if I keep it under my bed.
“Keeping working in your high rises; soon your boss will have another boat.”
Quit work and end up living in a tent and having your daily shit in a porta-potty. My boss can have his boat if it means that I get to have ready access to a bed and a toilet.
“Keep taking your prescriptions; the NHS will love you!”
Ummmmm. What is this about? Should we be against a national health scheme? Or is this about pharmaceutical companies? Or conventional medicines? And what the hell does it have to do with the economy? That’s what you guys are about, right? The economy?
“We are the 99%. WE ARE THE 99%!”
Yes. Okay. By your definition, I believe that I might also be in the 99%. So why are you SHOUTING at me?
Every day I am presented (rather loudly) with a new and enthusiastic message, seemingly unrelated to the last. What are they trying to be? Anti-globalisation? Anti-capitalist? Anti-government? Liberalist? Socialist? Anarchistic?
What the fuck is your message?!
The best answer I have been able to find is from my
google search extensive research was on Wikipedia, which states that the Occupy movement is “a non-violent protest and demonstration against economic inequality”. So, from what I can gather, their whole game is that (to use the words of Dennis Denuto) they’re against the whole vibe of the current economy.
When a movement is working in such general terms, how can it possibly be effectual? How can you bring your message to governments if you don’t have a concise, unified message? How can you unite the “99%” if you scream at them with sarcastic indignation.
And what the fuck do you think you are going to achieve by sleeping amongst your own filth in a shanty town in the middle of the city? Who do you think you are annoying? The banks? Big business? I assure you, they couldn’t give a shit. After all, the big bosses have “another boat” where they can retreat. However, the rest of the “99%” would like their park back so they can sit on the grass and enjoy their lunch during the week.
What the hell do they want?
How does the protesters of the Occupy Movement expect to make changes if they don’t have any goals? I have read the Guardian. I have browsed the website. I have googled the shit out of them. However, I have never been able to find any kind of mission statement, list of demands, spectrum of ideas, proposed changes to legislation. Nothing. Except, for this broad idea that rich people shouldn’t be allowed to be as rich as they are.
Don’t get me wrong, I cannot say that I am incredibly pleased about the status quo. I’ve watched Inside Job. I think Michael Moore has some interesting things to say (albeit, sometimes in a douche-baggery kinda way).The system stinks. The distribution of wealth is shitty. What do you want done about it?
TELL US HOW YOU WANT TO FIX IT!
I do applaud them for bringing some kind of message to the media. They are certainly doing a lot more than I am about it, except that so far my going about my own business appears to be just as effectual as their sleeping in a stink den. It has been over six months and they need to either sort their shit out and make some progress, or pack up their tents and find a new cause to scream about.
If any of the five people who read this blog are part of the movement, or are supporters and disagree with my diatribe or can show me exactly what progress has been made, I will gladly be proved incorrect. I love a bit of debate. And so far, my quest to understand their modus operandi has led to very superficial answers.
There was one day, a few weeks ago, when I noticed a white board at the Occupy site by the street. The white board had in big, bold letters: NEEDS and WANTS. Finally, I thought, a little insight into how this operation is moving along.
Under NEEDS there was a list: pens, paper, scrap books.
Under WANTS: radio, card table, board games.
Sadly, it was not quite the decree I was after. Feeling suitably jaded, I walked off and wondered to myself how they would react if I donated the board game, Monopoly.