This Saturday will see the first major action of the newly formed Occupy London. We plan to occupy the London Stock Exchange at 1pm and this will form a part of a Global Day of Action, which will see the emergent national protest movements across the world take action and demonstrate against their respective governments’ austerity measures.
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Time for action.
This Summer has not seen much in the way of angry demonstration and a worrying but fairly understandable lapse of organised protest-always the way eh. But the continued stagnation of our economy and our steady decline of living standards has highlighted its need as well as validated our opposition to both the cuts and the cunts.
It was good to hear Ed Miliband outlining a sketchy vision of an ideal future which prioritised people before profit, but we all know that Labour would do little to challenge the status quo – look how much hope was invested in Obama and how little effect he has had on the power structures that dominate US politics. I attach little to no expectation to Ed.
The more people that are affected by this financial crisis the more prominence this question should gain – that is, “is this economic system working for everybody?” You’d have to be a fool or a fundamentalist to believe so. Surely even the those with the highest faith in unfettered free-marketeering will wonder where the benefits are for the hard working and aspirational.
I cannot believe we are still hearing the Tories blaming Labour for their every economic problem (well I can but the desperation of its ringing is getting ever louder), when it is as clear as day thay they themselves have compunded whatever damage Labour wrought. I understand nobody having faith in Labour’s economic policy, but seriously, how can you believe in that of the Tories? Even the IMF has denounced their austerity measures. The IMF!
Basically I think our job is not to simply oust this government of moneyed monkeys but to get people questioning what they want from society. We will all agree on some degree of equality and anyone can see the vast and unprecedented iniquity that has defined this modern age and its consequent, destructive division. We need to challenge these power structures, question the benefits of our pursuit of perpetual growth and establish an economic system that works for us, is sustainable and that we are invested in. I don’t think Labour would be nearly as bad as this god forsaken coalition, but is it really too bad a thing to idealise a future in which we have politicians we want to vote for, who represent us? The neo-liberal economic experient, rolled out to almost every corner of the earth, has failed on a monumental scale. Those who wish for its revitalisation and sustenance are those who occupy that tiny minority of untold wealth, who exist in a reality so detached from the overwhelming majority that their existence has until now gone barely registered. They’re already rich enough so why can’t they just fuck off and die in their heaps of happiness. Let us have a go at restructuring the foundations of society so that it works for the majority’s interest. We have the courage to fight to realise our dreams of a fair and sustainable society and the time is ripe to get our views across and build this protest movement into something with serious influence.
Feeling very reinvigorated after a weekend’s protest. After yesterday’s anti war demo we occupied Westminster Bridge this afternoon in order to apply pressure on the House of Lords, who will be voting on the reforms this week.
It was fantastic to have that characteristically UK Uncut atmosphere back of joyful and peaceful protest. It has really felt as though the Summer’s lethargy and disorganisation was shaken off and it is incredibly exciting to look ahead to the plethora of planned actions over the coming weeks. Great comedy was provided by Josie Long, Mark Thomas and many other brilliant comics. We had an Occupy London general assembly thing, with plans for this protest movement’s direction discussed and the day culminated with a march to Parliament Square.
We need to keep applying pressure and keep fighting this government’s ideologically driven cuts agenda. Our actions this far have been vindicated by the economy’s total stagnation and we need to get the argument heard that it is people, not banks, that need investment. We can still recover from the damage thus far wrought, but we need to spread the word of a fair alternative that can lead to a sustainable economy and environment.
My contirbution to this blog has been shamefully nonexistent of late and I shall endeavour to rectify this and keep upcoming event posted, as well as our involvement in actions and protests in London. This Winter will likely be hairy, but it feels great to be back on the streets fighting our cause.
Yesterday we attended an anti war rally in Trafalgar Square to call those responsible to account for the mess they are sustaining in Afghanistan. This war has now seen almost 400 British soldiers dead, scores more radicalised Islamists and a Taliban that is still strong and hungry for an opportunity to re-establish its despotic regime. We were treated to talks by John Pilger, Julian Assange (thought he was in Sweden…), Seamus Milne, Tony Benn and an inspiring array of activists and anti war campaigners.
The issue of war is a cuts issue as we see millions spent on a daily basis on a war that is going nowhere and has caused immeasurable and irreversible damage. This money could have been used to strengthen our welfare state, prevent job losses and the gutting of our NHS, pensions and public sector. As the placards read: Cut War Not Welfare
It is quite incredible witnessing the mentality of the LIb Dem faithful over the course of their conference. Of course these are the most loyal party members and activists and were never going to reflect the anger felt by many of the leftwing members at getting into bed with the Conservatives, but the scale of self delusion is amazing. In his speech today Clegg said, “Never apologise for the difficult things we are having to do. We are serving a great country at a time of great need. There are no shortcuts, but we won’t flinch.” When entering Government Clegg looked uneasy at the best of times – now he, along with many members, has totally convinced himself that the coalition was unavoidable and what the public wanted – on the basis that the Tories got the most votes, neglecting the fact that many of the Lib Dem votes would likely not have been cast had the voters known the consequences. They also believe that every cut is necessary and that they are doing the right thing. Now this is a dangerous level of delusion and one that characterises Osborne’s economic policy. If these politicians are not going to acknowledge the possibility that they may be making mistakes, we are all fucked. The pathetic growth that our economy is expecting is a grim indictment of their manner of deficit reduction and now even the IMF is sending out the warning signs.
To anyone who has glanced our way over the summer I apologise for the severe lack of posts. New jobs/busy Summer/general dejection. But now the cold is here, the Summer gone and sufficient anger has replaced the disillusion. With this government I’m sure there will be plenty of fuel.
A useful cognitive trait of mine is being able to identify Phillipsian discourse (writings, speeches and general utterances of Melanie Phillips) and remove her cancerous diatribes from my consciousness. However her recent impassioned plea to close the Department for International Development has seared itself in my brain and just will not go away. Now, let me be frank: the problems associated with foreign aid are multiple and troubling. Dambiasa Moyo has been credited by many for forwading a compelling argument that aid fosters economic dependency and stunted economic growth in her book Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way For Africa. Readers of Private Eye may recall Richard Brooks compelling and frankly horrifying illustration of the venality of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (please read: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7505527.stm ). Even Phillips herself, someone more associated with refined prose rather than evidence based opinion, does make some important points regarding instances when aid has fuelled civil war and consolidated the position of despots.
Considering the evidence, it would be deeply naïve to suggest that the UK’s aid policy is flawless and should be immune from reform. However her dramatic solution, based primarily on a narrow perception of Britain’s economic interest, leaves no alternative proposal for meeting the needs of the worlds poorest.
Phillips deems emergency responses to disasters to still be justified, but hesitates to name the body which would administer such support if the DFID ceased its work. Recipients of DFID money, including NGOs, often do extremely important work around immunisation, the provision of basic sanitation and famine relief. It is clearly evident that Melanie Philips parochialism is of the worst, and most dangerous kind.
Well Osborne has been facing criticism from the left from day one and now he will have to further justify his unwavering commitment to a failing economic policy to some of those who provided initial support. ‘Some of Britain’s leading economists today warn the chancellor…that the economy is too fragile to withstand his drastic spending cuts and that he must draw up a plan B.’
Two of the signatories backed last year’s letter supporting the cuts, along with two former Whitehall advisors. There is criticism of Osborne’s lack of growth strategy, although there is still support for the principle of the spending cuts. Academics who have lent their names to this concern have urged the government to ‘crackdown on tax evasion, [develop] a targeted industrial policy – including investment in green technology – and higher taxes on the rich.’
The arguments against this alternative course of action are becoming increasingly insubstantial. As the cuts are seen to be falling on the most vulnerable and the contrast of our society’s inequality is ever brighter, it looks plainly arrogant to refuse to consider a fairer alternative and incredibly patronising, as though the public has no grasp of politics or economics. If Cameron wants to hold on to power he had better start listening.