When R.E.M. first released Document, the occupation might more readily have referred to the occupation of The White House by Ronald Reagan, or the colonisation of our minds by neoliberal economic doctrines and assurances that There Is No Alternative. Since September 17th, it’s protestors around the U.S., and now around the world, who are doing the the occupying. Sing it, Michael.
With London joining the protests on the 15th of October, the movement continues to spread. It’s true that precise demands are still being formulated, but it’s also exciting, in our eyes, to see direct action becoming more and more widespread, demonstrating that more and more people feel frustrated with the current political (and actual!) climate, and are prepared to speak up in support of finding new, more equitable ways of organising society.
Some segments of the press are ~ unsurprisingly ~ quick to condemn the protests. This piece from the Daily Mail describes protestors as ‘a mob’ and claims that ‘the goal is mob rule’. Uh huh. A slightly more measured assessment can be found in the Telegraph, where a reasonably-balanced Louise Armitstead says:
At the moment, the protesters know more about what they are against – bankers, financiers, politicians, the system – rather than what they’re for. But they are working on it.
Which may be somewhat true, but admitting there’s a problem is the first step towards a solution, as any recovering addict will tell you.
That said, there do appear to be some stirrings of support coming even from financial quarters. Peter Walker in the Guardian describes the atmosphere at the stock exchange as ‘organised and good-natured’, and quotes one anonymous banker as saying:
I admire their spirit. I never dreamed of becoming a banker, but I ended up with a mortgage and children and it’s a good job. But if I was younger I’d probably be joining them.
The voice of dissent is growing louder, and more consistent. We see the protests as the cohering of that voice, beginning to form itself into a force strong enough to effect serious change. The sooner the better.