Occupy City of London - Murdoch's Times Onslaught

Mark Barrett marknbarrett at googlemail.com
Sat Oct 22 05:25:20 BST 2011

[hi Mark - could we have the list of what the St Pauls occupy crew are actualy demanding please? I hope they are not letting the evil dean's machinations throw them off the scent. 

News Corp. Declares Victory Over Opponents, Withholds Vote Total

Tony ]

See below for more info.

Suffice to say it is galvanising a response from the Occupy LSX Media team.
Hopefully we can turn this into a full blown statement of in tent (sic).

Real Democracy Now!

Love and Solidarity


*Phillip Collins 21/10 Editorial (FYI Collins is also a Times Leader
writer) *
Keep your new Jerusalem. I’ll take capitalism*Philip Collins*

The Dale Farm and St Paul’s protesters are deluded. Law and commerce have
made Britain a much more pleasant land
‘Here ye. This is Rooster Byron, telling all you Kennet  and Avon, South
Wiltshire bandits and Salisbury white wigs. Bang your  gavels. Issue your
warrants. You can’t make the wind blow ... Take your  leaflets and your
borstal and your beatings and your health and [naughty  word] safety and
pack your whole poxy, sham-faced plot and get.”

This is the dissenting defiance of the exuberant fabulist of Jez
Butterworth’s remarkable play, *Jerusalem.*  Rooster Byron is a Romany
squatter fighting the intention of the  authorities to evict him from his
mobile home in the forest. Where is  the beauty, he wails, of the F99
enforcement notice under the terms of  the Pollution Control and Local
Government Order 1974 set against the  cherubs and elves of English
folklore? As the new-build estate creeps  closer, Byron breathes fire
against the paradise he is losing and  asserts the right of every free-born
Englishman to have a party on his  green and pleasant land.

*Jerusalem* is too subtle a play to  be agitprop and Byron too complex a
character to be a cipher for a crude  philosophy. But he does speak for an
idyll of the common wealth in  which occupation is the law of the land. And
he does call up a mythical  past that we are invited to believe has been
degraded by modernity. As  the police stormed Dale Farm in Basildon in a
violent struggle, and as  protesters camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral, it
was impossible not to  hear echoes of Byron’s monologues.
In claiming Dale Farm, where  they have lived without permission since 2001,
the travellers are making  the very moral demand that defines Rooster Byron.
The land, they say,  is part of the ancient common wealth of the nation. It
is the property  of all, a gift of the landscape we all share. The police
force that  confronts them upholds the law in a way that they, along with
Rooster  Byron, dismiss as officious and unfeeling.

Travellers can live  however they like for all I care, but the judgment from
the High Court  was unanswerable: the desire to live in caravans does not
license a  breach of the criminal law. It is frivolous to pretend, as Byron
and the  travellers both do, that an illegal encampment has any superior
moral  force.
It is also odd to behold a group of travellers who will do  anything to make
sure they don’t have to travel. And when they are  urinating on the police
from 40ft-high scaffolding (remarkably there is a  similar scene in *
Jerusalem*), it is clear that they will do  anything. William Blake once
said that “the road of excess leads to the  palace of wisdom”. As usual, he
was wrong. It doesn’t. The road of  excess leads to excess. Both Byron’s
forest and Dale Farm are policed by  the threat of violence rather than the
law. It is not fair to say that  Tony Ball, the leader of Basildon Council,
has been the small-minded  enemy of the common wealth. He has, in fact, been
the brave and  reasonable spokesman of the common law.

Meanwhile, outside St  Paul’s Cathedral, anti-capitalist protesters have
begun a vigil under  tarpaulin to dramatise their case that the avarice of
investment bankers  has ruined the global economy. There is no need to
minimise our  economic problems to make a mockery of this. There was —
indeed is — a  crisis in banking. Credit was too freely available and
regulation was  too crude for the complexity of today’s financial products.
But that’s  not pithy enough to make a slogan. So, instead, the banner that
stands  above the tent village announces baldly that “capitalism is crisis”.

It  is notable that more than one British newspaper has solemnly declared
that, though the protesters may be a ragged bunch, they do have a point.  To
which it needs to be retorted: no, they don’t. Or rather, yes they  do, but
they’re hopelessly wrong. The notion that we should look back  before the
time of capitalism for a gentler era in which machines had  not turned men
into commodities — the shared vision of Rooster Byron,  the Dale Farm
travellers and the happy campers of St Paul’s — is  dangerous rubbish. We
can’t all live, like Byron does, off the proceeds  of selling our rare
blood. Some of us have to work.

It needs to be  said that the era of capitalist accumulation, to adopt their
lingo, has  been the most prosperous time in the history of humankind. In
the 800  years before 1820, income per head across the world was static and
so  was life expectancy. Life wasn’t much more than a matter of choosing
which noxious disease to die from. In the 200 years of industrial
capitalism, income per head has risen by 800 per cent. Life expectancy  has
tripled and back- breaking work has declined, especially for  children, who
now do something unheard of in both the medieval era and *Jerusalem,* namely
go to school.
It  is therefore silly to suppose that something called “capitalism” or
some malign mechanisms known as “markets” failed in 2008. There was a
serious failure in one part of the banking sector and, because the
wholesale lending market ties banks together, an obvious risk of  contagion.
It was hugely serious and it’s not over yet. But none of this  justifies the
egregious, almost incomprehensible claim from the St  Paul’s protest that
global commerce is “our global Assad, our global  Gaddafi”. To use one of
Blake’s better phrases, thoughts like these are  “reptiles of the mind”.

The thing to remember about the new  Jerusalem is that we will never get
there. Rooster Byron is an engaging  charlatan. “Who cares about asses like
Blake or bores like Byron?” wrote  Philip Larkin. There is no idyll in the
forest and the better world  won’t be the stuff of great drama. The prosaic
truth is that the  solution to bad capitalism is better capitalism. If we
want to build  Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land, we’ll need
some builders  and they’ll need to turn a decent profit.
As long as he lived,  Blake struggled to hold an audience. It is only later
generations,  yearning for the comfort of a golden past, who have fallen for
his  euphonious silliness. When we are tempted to declare the natural
common  wealth of all men, in an age before property rights, and when we
find  ourselves lamenting the loss of a prior paradise, we are always,
without  exception, talking mystical Blake-guff.

Evict the travellers and  ignore the protesters. Capitalism under the rule
of law will never take  us to the garden of earthly delights, but it is as
close as we will ever  get. “You can see, then,” said W.H. Auden in *Vespers
*, “why, between my Eden and his New Jerusalem, no treaty is negotiable.”

*Times Saturday 22/10 Leader  ( my highlights ) *
The protesters camped outside St Paul’s for the last week are vague about
what  they are for. But given what we know they are against, we could assume
that  in the age-old contest between God and Mammon such avowed
anti-capitalists  might favour the spiritual over the material.

Yet in seeking to shut down a stock exchange, these would-be
revolutionaries  have instead shut down a cathedral. As attempts to topple
the global  financial system go, turning a war against the supposedly evil
pinstripe  into a conflict with the saintly cassock is a pretty hopeless

With no little presumption, the protesters have renamed the piazza Tahrir
Square. Drawing further spurious parallels with the Arab Spring, the few
hundred occupants seek to characterise themselves as the true voice of the
people. They are not “the people”, however, but quite a small group of
people, just as those who toil in the Stock Exchange, or worship at St
Paul’s, or come to appreciate its architectural glory, or trade from
premises in the area, or navigate their way through the added traffic
congestion, are also groups of people. Rather larger groups of people,

The freedom to protest is a vital part of our democracy. But so is the
freedom  to religious assembly in the place of one’s choosing and the
freedom to go  unhindered about one’s daily business. *The protesters should
reflect on  these competing freedoms, one of which they are abusing, the
others  curtailing.  *
*Having so reflected, if they are the passionate democrats they claim to be*,
they should leave St Paul’s in peace, and instead devote such energy and
talent as they possess towards improving the world in more practical ways.

*Times Leader  Oct 18*

*Profits and Protest *

Critics of capitalism misjudge the causes of the financial crisis and the
 recuperative power and potential of markets

The global economy remains in a crisis sparked by the collapse of the
 Western banking system three years ago. A movement has arisen that
 it has the answers, or at least the right diagnosis. The problem, it
 maintains, is corporate greed, the bankers and government austerity
 programmes. This protest is wrong-headed and there is little purpose in
 being polite about it.

Protesters gathered in more than 900 cities in America, Europe and Asia
 weekend. Their inspiration was a protest that started in New York a month
 ago under the name Occupy Wall Street. Among the rallies was one in
 Several hundred demonstrators have now set up camp outside St Paul’s
 Cathedral. It is unclear when they might leave. The ground immediately
 outside the building is owned by the cathedral, whose staff have been
 cautiously sympathetic to the protesters while requiring that worshippers
 and tourists be able to pass freely.

The right of assembly is integral to a free society, but on the evidence of
 recent history there is little danger of its being overlooked. Protection
 that liberty has recently made Parliament Square a semi-permanent and
 squalid place of protest. St Paul’s should not become another.

There are two weaknesses in the demands of the anti-capitalist protesters:
 their analysis of what has gone wrong and their recommendation of how to
 it right. Bankers have not helped their case with some grievously
 insensitive public relations, but it is flatly wrong to explain the
 financial collapse as a tale simply about avarice.

The crisis happened, first, because monetary policy was too loose for too
 long, which fuelled a bubble in credit, and, second, because of a
 misconceived shift to financial deregulation. Banks are not like other
 industries: they have wider obligations than to their shareholders alone.
 They have responsibilities to their depositors and to the stability of the
 financial system. They failed in both respects, not only because bankers
 themselves wanted quick ways to make lots of money, but also owing to a
 perverse system of incentives in which it made sense to take on debt and
 deplete capital reserves to boost shareholder returns.

The errors were catastrophic. Reforms in regulation and in the mandate of
 central bankers are essential. This demonstrates not the immorality of the
 system but the inherent cyclical instability of a complex economy. There
 always a risk of financial contagion because banks are tied to each other
 the wholesale lending market. But great economic gains are achieved
 a system that allocates capital to businesses that can make profitable use
 of it. Britain’s economy is closely tied to the fortunes of the financial
 services sector, and it makes no sense to hamper this.

What makes even less sense is the programme of the protesters. It takes not
 only a lack of proportion but a lack of moral seriousness to maintain that
 global commerce is “our global Assad, our global Gaddafi”. The movement’s
 supporters would do well to consider John Maynard Keynes’s maxim that it
 better a man should tyrannise over his bank balance than over his fellow

In reality, such supranational bodies as the World Trade Organisation and
 the IMF are fallible but important means of creating a system of rules
 limit arbitrary power and serve popular needs. The expansion of trade and
 economic integration enable poor nations to better themselves. Gains in
 productivity allow growth in wages and economic development. That is how
 scores of millions of peasants in China have been lifted out of poverty in
 generation. The protesters think that they are standing up for the little
 guy; in fact their mish-mash of proposals makes for a muddled charter of
 stagnation in which he would suffer most. The fact is that economic
 enables the little guy to stand up for himself.

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