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Two diametrically opposed views on the #Occupy movement

November 1, 2012

Two wildly different takes on the Occupy movement have recently found their way into my Twitter feed. Both deserve careful consideration (watch this blogspace):

Take One: Bank of England official: Occupy Movement right about global recession

Andrew Haldane said protestors were correct to focus on inequality as the chief reason for 2008 economic crash

The Guardian, Monday 29 October 2012 21.06 GMT

The Occupy Movement has found an unlikely ally in a senior Bank of England official, Andrew Haldane, who has praised protesters for their role in triggering an overhaul of the financial services sector.

Haldane, who oversees the City for the central bank, said Occupy acted as a lever on policymakers despite criticism that its aims were too vague. He said the protest movement was right to focus on inequality as the chief reason for the 2008 crash, following studies that showed the accumulation of huge wealth funded by debt was directly responsible for the domino-like collapse of the banking sector in 2008.

Speaking at a debate held by the Occupy Movement in central London, Haldane said regulations limiting credit use would undermine attempts by individuals to accumulate huge property and financial wealth at the expense of other members of society. Allowing banks to lend on a massive scale also drained funding from other industries, adding to the negative impact that unregulated banks had on the economy, he said.

Continued here…

Take Two: To the Precinct Station: How theory met practice …and drove it absolutely crazy

Thomas Frank from The Baffler No. 21

[…] Building a democratic movement culture is essential for movements on the left, but it’s also just a starting point. Occupy never evolved beyond it. It did not call for a subtreasury system, like the Populists did. It didn’t lead a strike (a real one, that is), or a sit-in, or a blockade of a recruitment center, or a takeover of the dean’s office. The IWW free-speech fights of a century ago look positively Prussian by comparison.

With Occupy, the horizontal culture was everything. “The process is the message,” as the protesters used to say and as most of the books [on the Occupy movement] considered here largely concur. The aforementioned camping, the cooking, the general-assembling, the filling of public places: that’s what Occupy was all about. Beyond that there seems to have been virtually no strategy to speak of, no agenda to transmit to the world.

Continued here…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2012 11:53 pm

    Yes? Curious to know your response to these two.

    • November 2, 2012 12:11 am

      Me too! I think my first serious attempt will be in Oslo later in the month. Will post some notes here.

      My first reaction here and now? Ok then: Both these pieces are giving us insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the Occupy/Indignados wave. Frank is probably right about the trouble with idealising horizontality and face-to-face community (see the entire essay), but I think there is much more to this movement – and its future offshoots – than the occupied squares. Right now I’m actually about to gather materials about some of the actual goals scored by Occupy and Indignados to date.


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