Home Business NewsPolitics No, Occupy London nutters were not "right"

No, Occupy London nutters were not "right"

by LLB Reporter
31st Oct 12 12:00 am

Foolish speech by Bank of England board member will only backfire

What on earth was Andrew Haldane thinking? This guy is supposed to be the Bank of England’s executive director for financial stability. And here he is, addressing the assorted Marxists and anarchists of the Occupy London movement, giving them a stomach-turning endorsement.

“Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularise the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason; they are right,” said our Stockholm Syndrome sufferer.

“It is the analytical, every bit as much as the moral, ground that Occupy has taken. For the hard-headed facts suggest that, at the heart of the global financial crisis, were — and are — problems of deep and rising inequality.”

Lord. Where to start with this mess?

How about the absurd notion that the Occupy Movement wants to fix banking. If Haldane stayed to chat with his audience it would soon have struck him that their mission is to destroy banking en route to destroying capitalism completely.

Perhaps he missed their banners?

In truth the Occupy Movement was crippled by a lack of agreement on what they did want. But it’s safe to list:

1)      Death and/or ruination of the rich

2)      An end to fractional reserve banking

3)      An end to profit-making by large corporations

4)      The imposition of Soviet-era centralised production quotas

5)      Green objectives to overrule all economic considerations

6)      Wholesale redistribution of income and wealth across society

7)      Destruction of financial services as an industry

Some Occupy bodies, such as the weird Zeitgeist Movement, wants a single world government, which would allocate jobs and resources according to a single “rational” plan.

Others are money supply conspiracists who believe all money is created by debt, and designed to enslave us all. Some want to live in teepees in a carbon free, sustainable manner.

A pseudo-Marxist craving for the collapse of our current society permeates all of the Occupy activist groups.

Poor Haldane is deluded if he thinks these cranks want to sort out banking by tweaking capital adequacy ratios or re-align the remuneration incentives of bankers.

They want smash him, and the Bank of England, to bits.

Annoyingly, the US version of the Occupy movement is far more nuanced. There the debate centred around reforms to the banks and disgraceful nature of the TARP bailouts. It was pro-capitalist, and had little in common with the London branch.

Haldane needs to realise this. Tellingly, his speech advocates dealing with asset bubbles, cracking down on corruption, promoting competition in banking and addressing “a system with in-built incentives for self-harm”. There was nothing Norman Tebbit would have disagreed with.

Maybe…just maybe…Haldane knows this, and was toying with his audience. If so, I salute his deviousness. He certainly pleaded for their support for his capitalist reforms.

But the sad truth is the Occupy movement will gain heart from his praise. These nutjobs will be back, and in greater numbers.

The greatest threat to our prosperity isn’t a banking crisis – look at Iceland, which was hit hardest, but survived socially intact. It is the re-igniting of Cold War era socialist alternatives, of the sort which plunged Eastern Europe into a fifty year Dark Age.

One would expect the Bank of England’s board members, if anyone, to understand that.

8 comments

Sophie Hobson October 31, 2012 - 11:01 am

I can’t find any evidence of any of the 7 points listed above within any of Occupy’s statements.

Here is Occupy’s Initial Statement, from: http://occupylondon.org.uk/about/statements/initial-statement

The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust. We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.
We are of all ethnicities, backgrounds, genders, generations, sexualities, dis/abilities and faiths. We stand together with occupations all over the world.
We refuse to pay for the banks’ crisis.
We do not accept the cuts as either necessary or inevitable. We demand an end to global tax injustice and our democracy representing corporations instead of the people.
We want regulators to be genuinely independent of the industries they regulate.
We supported the strike on the 30th November and the student action on the 9th November, and actions to defend our health services, welfare, education and employment, and to stop wars and arms dealing.
We want structural change towards authentic global equality. The world’s resources must go towards caring for people and the planet, not the military, corporate profits or the rich.
The present economic system pollutes land, sea and air, is causing massive loss of natural species and environments, and is accelerating humanity towards irreversible climate change. We call for a positive, sustainable economic system that benefits present and future generations. [1]
We stand in solidarity with the global oppressed and we call for an end to the actions of our government and others in causing this oppression.
This is what democracy looks like. Come and join us!
Notes

[1] Article 8 was added to the statement following a proposal being passed by the Occupy London General Assembly on 19 November 2011.

Sophie Hobson October 31, 2012 - 11:35 am

I can’t find any evidence of any of the 7 points listed above within any of Occupy’s statements.

Here is Occupy’s Initial Statement, from: http://occupylondon.org.uk/about/statements/initial-statement

The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust. We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.
We are of all ethnicities, backgrounds, genders, generations, sexualities, dis/abilities and faiths. We stand together with occupations all over the world.
We refuse to pay for the banks’ crisis.
We do not accept the cuts as either necessary or inevitable. We demand an end to global tax injustice and our democracy representing corporations instead of the people.
We want regulators to be genuinely independent of the industries they regulate.
We supported the strike on the 30th November and the student action on the 9th November, and actions to defend our health services, welfare, education and employment, and to stop wars and arms dealing.
We want structural change towards authentic global equality. The world’s resources must go towards caring for people and the planet, not the military, corporate profits or the rich.
The present economic system pollutes land, sea and air, is causing massive loss of natural species and environments, and is accelerating humanity towards irreversible climate change. We call for a positive, sustainable economic system that benefits present and future generations. [1]
We stand in solidarity with the global oppressed and we call for an end to the actions of our government and others in causing this oppression.
This is what democracy looks like. Come and join us!
Notes

[1] Article 8 was added to the statement following a proposal being passed by the Occupy London General Assembly on 19 November 2011.

Alex Barr October 31, 2012 - 1:57 pm

I’d like to congratulate occupy london on refusing to pay for the banks crisis, and protesting by drinking starbucks coffee whilst sitting in a tent bought from Millets that came in so handy for Glastonbury last year.

I might try refuse to pay my gas bill, by way of protest about the economy, and the use of fossil fuels, they’ll still cut me off though. Try telling your parents pension fund manager what you want it invested in, it’ll have more impact.

I’m thrilled you are from all backgrounds, has the claim been audited, or are you possibly rebelling against a middle class upbringing and making it all up as you go along, whilst hoping someone else can understand the point of it all…

Its is actually a good point about the regulators, though to police an industry effectively you probably have to have worked in it to understand it which might cause you an issue, but the point is still sound – Gordons light touch on the city didn’t do much good…

The present economic system destroys the planet? well you can lead from the front by not having kids, reproducing a human is probably the most damaging thing to the environment.

Authentic global equality, well doesn’t that sound fun! In combination with the rant against the bourgeoisie, it does sound a little bit like you are after year zero in Pol Pots Cambodia, and year one in the French revolution.. remind me how those turned out again?

Alex Barr October 31, 2012 - 2:25 pm

Ps. Andrew Haldane is clearly an idiot. Occupy have helped ‘popularise the problems of the global financial system’?? I’m guessing the global recession is pretty much sorted for PR without their help.

Haldane would agree with a barking dog.

Tom Seymour November 1, 2012 - 12:14 pm

Read this from last year. Pretty embarrassing for you as is your rant above, particularly in the light of events over last 12 months.
http://occupylondon.org.uk/about/statements/statement-on-economy

Tom Seymour November 1, 2012 - 12:23 pm

I’d like to congratulate occupy london on refusing to pay for the banks crisis, and protesting by drinking starbucks coffee whilst sitting in a tent bought from Millets that came in so handy for Glastonbury last year.

– We all pay for the banks crisis. Shocking, protesters drink coffee.

I might try refuse to pay my gas bill, by way of protest about the economy, and the use of fossil fuels, they’ll still cut me off though. Try telling your parents pension fund manager what you want it invested in, it’ll have more impact.

– presumably assuming my parent’s situation, perhaps you meet my mother who’s been bed ridden for 15 years, no pension fund manager though

I’m thrilled you are from all backgrounds, has the claim been audited, or are you possibly rebelling against a middle class upbringing and making it all up as you go along, whilst hoping someone else can understand the point of it all…

– yeah, that’ll be a no but never mind

Its is actually a good point about the regulators, though to police an industry effectively you probably have to have worked in it to understand it which might cause you an issue, but the point is still sound – Gordons light touch on the city didn’t do much good…

– worked in the City for 15 years, macro economics at the LSE before that

The present economic system destroys the planet? well you can lead from the front by not having kids, reproducing a human is probably the most damaging thing to the environment.

– hmmm, just slightly big brother but let’s just leave it at that

Authentic global equality, well doesn’t that sound fun! In combination with the rant against the bourgeoisie, it does sound a little bit like you are after year zero in Pol Pots Cambodia, and year one in the French revolution.. remind me how those turned out again?

– yeah, doesn’t really deserve a response, see Osborne’s comparison of the green movement to the Taliban, you must love that

Tom Seymour November 1, 2012 - 12:31 pm

Especially for Mr Barr and anyone else who deny the incrontrovertible evidence against the banks for banking crimes and for the inevitable evolution of the current economic paradigm in the face of the obvious global challenges of the 21st century. Yes I am from Occupy Mr Barr

Reasons to be cheerful

Well finally. After being derided, written off, deplored, denigrated, and generally slandered by the press and many others it was nice to see some public vindication of our efforts. Andy Haldane, Executive Director of Financial Stability at the Bank of England, at an event organised by Occupy, argued that actually Occupy were “loud and persuasive” and that the finance sector is now going through the early stages of reformation, a “reformation, which Occupy has helped stir.” And that we had attracted public support because, in his words, “they are right.”

I am happy to hear this because given the events of the last 12 months it would seem imbecilic to argue otherwise. You would have to be blind not to have seen the various stories unfold that merely confirmed what we had been talking about right at the beginning. I say this with some confidence on the basis I had quite a lot to do with an ‘initial statement’ published on our website in November last year by the Economics Working Group of Occupy. In it we talked about making banks accountable for their actions, past and present, we said that austerity was not working and making things worse, we said the current system is unsustainable, that we must tackle systemic economic inequality, clamp down on tax avoidance and put in place tough, independent and effective regulation. Any of that seem familiar? I hope I do not need to list the wealth of evidence that has appeared since Occupy started in relation to the above but we only have to think of LIBOR, UK economic performance, shop-less high streets, money laundering, fuel poverty, pay day lending, and a widening of the massive chasm in socio-economic conditions within society. You would have to be an idiot not to see that, you would have to have the pomposity and disconnection with reality of, let’s say, Boris Johnson not to get it. You would have to have the depth of thinking of gnat to think that, for example, as he said in Clapham after the riots last year that civil disturbance had “absolutely nothing to do with socio-economic factors.” He may have used “claptrap.”

So I really am glad that someone has, firstly understood the reason for our existence and also given us credit for being right. We were right then, we are right now. In terms of recognition, it is a bonus for us but I suspect that others might start to come round to the idea even if they would rather not have to admit they agree with Occupy. I don’t care. As long as they do see the need for change, and as long as they demand change as we do…in whatever way they want to express it.

I do hope that others, who would not otherwise entertain anything said by a ‘bunch of reprobate protesters’, do now listen carefully to Haldane’s words, perhaps they will feel it will legitimise their own protest on the basis they would never take Occupy’s word for it. Perhaps they will also join the debate.

There are critics that will say he has not gone far enough and that this just scrapes the surface. However that undermines the change in sentiment marked by such an event that signifies a much much more significant change deep within the financial super-structure, however faint at this time. We are hearing the first creaking and cracking in the bedrock of the financial system that will in time fracture according to the pressures exerted by society to form a financial system for the benefit of society. The sooner this happens the better.

In terms of Occupy’s strategy, it is a success and a result of an increased focus on outreach, education and positive engagement with other constituents of the greater system to effect a greater change. Of course there are detractors, some within Occupy, who say we shouldn’t engage with anyone but then again they tend to say that about everything we do. Instead of positive and progressive change through engagement, it would seem some prefer no change at all, hoping that leads to anarchy and chaos no matter what the societal or environment cost, which I presume they would see as ‘necessary.’ They might say, for example, that we were wrong to do this event but then again they say that about a lot of things a lot of the time. It’s never easy is it.

One has to remember that as well as working together within Occupy and with others to come up with answers and solutions much of what Occupy is about is encouraging and empowering more people to ask the question. From this comes critical mass, political pressure and behavioural change. These are the facts, what are you doing to do about? It is interesting that both major parties have talk about responsible or moral capitalism. It is interesting that Totnes refused Costa because they wanted to keep local money circulating in the local economy. It is interesting there is a boom in wood burners. It is interesting that nation states are buying back or seizing power and energy resources. It is interesting that Anthony Hilton in the Evening Standard, of all places, supports the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax. It is interesting a representative from the Bank of England tells Occupy “you are right.” Who’s next? What’s next?

These are all the early signs that signal a huge change in the way we operate. It’s the little things that signal big positive change. Reasons to be cheerful, part 1, 2, 3.

[email protected] November 11, 2012 - 12:47 pm

I was there and this is what Occupy London Stock Exchange really looked like – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sJQRLyBma0&feature=relmfu – filled with good in-tent. We did no harm, we came with right purpose and we did (and continue to do) our very best to help expose the harms and find the solutions… together.

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