Thursday, April 02, 2009

Money, power and the G20

"Anyone whose angry and protesting about this is a lazy, workshy, scruffy, unshaven, homeless yob with a dog on a string. Really?" Mark Reed on the London protests.

April Fools Day. For a decade now, this has been a traditional day of protest.

Protestors drive around London in converted Armoured Personnel Carriers. Come on, if they were trying to sneak into the Bank of England, they wouldn't be driving a shell-firing APC would they? Nor, for that matter, a suit. Not now all the banks have put everyone in jeans. Still, when you look down and see Gucci Loafers, the game is swiftly up.

Page 5 of The London Paper shows a protestor in a suit with Joker makeup. Apparently he is doing so to show how all the bankers are April Fools. How easy it is to reduce a statement to a soundbite. Could it be that the comparison is between bankers and the random, and pointless evil of Heath Ledger's Joker? Social commentary doesn't fit into a headline.

Black helicopters hover over Bishopsgate. Black. They couldn't've done any better if they'd planned it. Talk about feeding the fire of paranoia.

The office where I work is full of chatter and giggling. “A tank! Where did they get that?”

I can get you a toe.

Of the 10 letters in this afternoons thelondonpaperdotcom, seven deal with the G20 protest. For those of you who think that any of the press think that the protestors may have a point, lets sample a random selection of the letters. “YOBS OUT TO CAUSE CHAOS.” (Andy, Newbury), “I won't wash or shave. Now all I need is a mongrel and a piece of string” (Justin), “these lazy fools have no clue” (Joyce), “those intelligent enough to understand are too busy working” (Hannah), “The wasters will be joined by students and layabouts” (Simon, Luton), “Unemployed layabouts trying to justify their pointless existence” (RB).

Apparently these protestors are castigated by all – including the BBC – are people who are angry without any real reason. Anyone whose angry and protesting about this is a lazy, workshy, scruffy, unshaven, homeless yob with a dog on a string.


Could it be that the protestors have a point? That perhaps the yobs causing chaos are shifting money through tax-havens, scuppering social welfare programs, funding military expenditure, and withdrawing support for windfarms? No, the people who do this, they aren't yobs causing chaos. They're our masters. And us lowly serfs demand change. For that reason, we are all painted as mere ignoramus yobbos. (Further proof that perhaps they aren't the sharpest tools in the shed).

Maybe the police are out there because it's not the gazillionaires who need protecting from us. It's us who need protecting from them. Society as a whole is run by people for whom radical change is a threat. Those who are in a position to effect the change the long term survival of mankind requires are those for whom this change will hurt the most, and that is precisely why they won't, because sacrifice and the concept of the greater good for the majority are alien.

It's not the politics of envy. If that were the case, Beckham would be mugged everytime he went out. If that were the case, well known millionaires who walk the streets without security – the drummer from Pink Floyd, for example – would be targets for kidnapping. Nobody begrudges Chris Martin's millions, but a few of us might wish he made less boring records. It's not about money. It's about a misuse of power that will disadvantage us all.

Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o'clock this afternoon... with nail polish.

It isn't about money. It's about power. These bankers are meant to be economists. Meant to understand the fractions of chance. The politicians are meant to be using power fairly to ensure the good of all is served.

These economists are poor mathematicians. The costs of acting now, whilst painful, are miniscule compared to the enormous costs of the failure to act. Their failure is a grossly offensive, and incompetent esquivalence. It's economically irresponsible not to act. They are, at best, incomptent to handle the power they have been gifted.

The protests are about a failure of the powerful who have rendered themselves unaccountable. Decisions are made that affect all of us – cause mass unemployment, poverty, castrated pensions – and we, the people, are meant to silently accept this as those with power know better than us. Millions of us can see that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. And we are rightly angry about it.

People are protesting for a simple reason: the power at their disposal is being used abusively. Instead of allocating resources to tackle the energy, food, and poverty crisis, billions are being spent on Fractional reserves, on wars and military budgets. American Military Forces are worth more than the next 17 biggest countries on the planet combined.

The financial powers have Total Spectrum Dominance. The world is facing an energy famine of crippling intensity. Meanwhile, idiots proclaim that windfarms are a fascist abuse of power. Well, that's fine for them, but if faced between a wind farm in my garden, and running out of electricity, I know which one I'd choose.

We are not scruffy layabouts, but the righteously angry at a world that has been ruled and controlled with only the interests of a tiny minority at heart and the consequences of this rule are catastrophic : Energy famine, rising sea levels, ecological collapse, food shortages, and cultural conflict. These protests are a flashpoint between those of us without power who see the inequities and consequences of misrule, and those who sit behind police lines eating thirteen course meals cooked by Jamie Oliver, and see them fiddling whilst Rome burns.

Politicians sit on the premise of representing the will of the people. The world requires leadership from people who will refute the interests of business if it hurts mankind, who will act without fear of upsetting the CEO of GlobalMegaCorp, who will represent the best wishes of the people of this planet and not the myopic incomptence of a minority of millionaires. As with everything in capitalism, the market will ultimately correct itself: the question is not 'if', but of if many humans are alive when it happens.

The police should not be there to protect them from us: but to protect us from them. But there is no justice. And if there is no justice, no peace.

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