Global protests: Are the good guys finally winning?
Protests movements often have trouble gaining the sympathies of the masses of people whom they actually represent.
Corporate media, bragging politicians, the well-funded propaganda of big business and a pervading desire of most people to maintain the status quo (or at least not rock the boat) usually win out over principals of fairness, equality and even the self-interest of the masses themselves.
My inner conservative (read: cynic) thinks that the middle classes as well as the ‘relatively comfortable poor’ will usually choose not to risk what security and wages they have, preferring to go it on their own and stay with the system. Solidarity – both ideological and in terms of real political action – be damned.
But take away enough people’s expectations, crush their dreams (American or European) and to my inner cynic’s surprise, they will rise up, commit in enough numbers and flex their political will so that it is felt throughout all levels of political culture – all the way to the corridors of money and power.
Occupy Wall Street, Occupy London, the Indignados of Spain and Portugal, protests in Greece, Israel and at the upcoming G20 meeting in France are no longer simply being represented as the actions of a few radical trouble makers. The ‘99%’ mantra is ringing true.
Because of the scale of the financial crisis, ordinary people are being affected. There are many more unemployed people, and people who have lost their homes. It is a different scene now, it is much more political.
A so-called ‘Robin Hood Tax’ finally makes sense to the previously complacent middle classes, meaning common folk are finally recognizing that their political and economic systems effectively allow the rich to steal from the non rich. Even a piece in the Spectator has quoted British PM David Cameron’s acknowledgement that a Robin Hood Tax has ‘wide support’, though the author still makes the dubious claim that ‘The Tories, not the anti-capitalists, are making all the political capital’ from the Occupy London Protests.
This kind of desperation by the right wing press reminds me of an issue of the Economist last year which attempted to brand Cameron’s government as some kind of radical punk movement within European politics, when they are in fact the same old conservatives, updated with a sunny disposition and some lip-service to the Green movement. Reference The Smiths and The Clash as much as you want, Tories – you are not revolutionary, you are counter revolutionary.
But I’m glad the conservative press is desperate. I am glad there will be a referendum in Greece (even if it will just be used to pass the political blame onto the people rather than the government). I’m glad the mainstream media is covering Occupy protests in New York, Oakland, London and Calgary. I am hopeful that Middle America will realize that Michael Moore is on its side and that Fox News is not.
A Robin Hood Tax, environmental legislation, financial regulation, fair and equal pay, getting money out of politics and putting the rights of people above those of corporations are all things for you, the 99% of humanity. Keep realizing this.