So, the cities of London, New York and Bristol have started to move in on their occupy protesters.
Do the protesters rack this up as a partial victory? It’s interesting to note that the clearances are being undertaken in the name of public health and safety, in Bristol, on the grounds that the site is the designated landing spot for the air ambulance – one wonders whether we couldn’t possibly call on a couple of bankers to spend their bonuses on a helipad for the Bristol Royal Infirmary if that’s the case?
Meanwhile in New York, apparently the authorities are concerned that the camp may have become a haven for lawlessness – now this may well be true, let’s face it, the occupy camps are just the kind of thing that attract their share of nutters. I would point out, though, that Wall Street itself is something of a centre of excellence for lawlessness if you count rogue trading and the systematic defrauding of the American taxpayer and the (billionaire) mayor of New York hasn’t sent in the riot troops so far.
I’m still not sure how I feel about the protesters anyway – don’t get me wrong, I think that they’ve succeeded in bringing a debate about the effects that money ahs on the way that we live much closer to centre stage in the public eye and I’m all in favour about that and I’m proud that the protests have been almost entirely peaceful so far – I really hope that the clearances aren’t marred by violence.
I just wonder if there’s a trick being missed here – should we be working to conserve this cultural momentum? What comes next? I’d like to see some credible grass-roots political movements use the occupy protests as a springboard. Herein lies a rub, though – there’s such a spectrum of opinion caught up within these protests that it’s nigh impossible to draw up a political agenda that might invite serious consideration in the mainstream.
I have a lot of thoughtful, wise, compassionate, liberal friends here: help me, people. Where do we go when the tents finally have to come down?