17th October 2011
The 'Occupy London' protest itself passed off with relatively few skirmishes, but it is symptomatic of an increased polarisation between the financial community and the rest of the world. Plenty believe that bankers still haven't atoned sufficiently for the crisis. Ana-Marie Cox in the Guardian quotes a time magazine poll showing that a majority of Americans (54%) have a favorable view of the protesters. She believes this may be a surprise to anyone following mainstream coverage of the agitators, which has generally been negative.
This piece asks whether liberals should support the protest.
"Its resistance to needed regulations that would stabilize the U.S. economy is shameful. And, insofar as it has long opposed appropriate levels of government spending and taxation, it has helped to create a society that does a deeply flawed job of providing for its most vulnerable, educating its young, and guaranteeing economic opportunity for all."
In the end it concludes that ‘the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend' and that liberals should not support the movement. The piece sparked considerable debate. Konstantin highlighted the intellectual dilemma for many: "I do not seek the end of capitalism, but I do support OWS's efforts to address the relentless normalization of some of the dangers & shameful behaviors our capitalism facilitates in our daily lives. And obviously it's impossible to disagree with their basic message that incomes for the majority of American workers should not stagnate while incomes for the richest increase exponentially."
disgruntled2 commenting in the Financial Times points out that part of the problem for the protestors is that they have failed to articulate an alternative agenda: "Just because they can identify that Wall St and Washington are too close, and no electable politician can run against the interests and survive, does not mean that they have any solutions. It's very hard to articulate a political program that will maintain the liberal (economic sense) virtues of globalization while encouraging socially useful and innovative investments on a national basis.