Nothing is too daft for those intent on aping America. It seems that London is going to have its own Occupy Wall Street demonstration. Tomorrow a group of excitable schoolchildren, professional whingers and wannabe anarchists intend to occupy Paternoster Square near the London Stock Exchange. The creative energies behind this copy cat event have dubbed it with the snappy title ‘Occupy LSX.’
The motivation behind the event seems to be to have an event. Like their American big brother the movement insists on being leaderless and emphasises non-hierarchical ‘direct democracy.’ The aims and strategies of the movement are to be decided in the midst of a process of continual, rolling open assemblies. These are an endless succession of meetings where everyone can chip in, express their concern and argue their particular position. Imagine endless Presbytery meetings with added cannabis.
What we have in Occupy LSX is a group of people who first of all decide they are going to have a protest and then only during the protest decide what it is that they are protesting about. It is the event itself and their participation in it which is important to them, not anything which may be achieved. A neat inversion of previous protests and an indicator of their complete lack of seriousness.
Once they have decided what it is they are protesting about can we hope that they will bring forward any positive alternatives, any workable ideas? Will they create a viable alternative economic plan or just a series of witty placards? Don’t hold your breath.
Clearly for Occupy LSX what is vitally important is their image of themselves as fearless radicals struggling to protect the downtrodden. Self image is at the heart of their agenda, not the downtrodden.
In the midst of a recession spoon fed, pampered middle class youth can no longer afford afford to go on a trip to Kenya or Rio for a gap year. This is their gap year staycation. London in a driech October with winter coming on is no place for a carnival. We’ll see how long this lasts.