much meejah air is being exhaled on those camping by st paul’s.
the mighty andrew ranwsley has written about them.
that tory mp who makes her living writing books that might one day aspire to a career as toilet paper tried (without much success) to get a laugh on ‘have i got news for you’ by rubbishing the protesters because some of them may have visited starbucks (says plenty about their taste in coffee but little about the validity of their agenda).
someone somewhere (yes, my usual level of detailed research has gone into this post) felt that as some of the campers may go home at night (dognose if this is correct) they are hypocrites.
there is a degree of cynicism about all this.
i am reminded of greenham common, of molesworth and indeed of the chartists.
i have dropped in very briefly 3 times. if they are still there i will drop in again. on one occasion i was with the clp and the kids. every time the atmosphere struck me as friendly, thoughtful and unthreatening. as an unreformed old stalinist i like a situation that may turn nasty – i myself am cynical enough to believe that governments rarely start to listen until people turn nasty. but this wasn’t. this weekend people were doing shoutouts – brief spots at the central microphone giving their take on what the protest was all about, why they personally were there and what this moment in history might remedy about the sad, broken system that has impoverished us all even more morally than financially (and the financial bit has been bad enough). they weren’t ranting; the ones i heard spoke with composure and calm – goodness, they even made sense. they spoke with respect for the views of others there while accepting they may not agree with them. they seemed to be saying that this was just their way, it didn’t have to be that of the whole world, the whole camp, or even of a single camper other than themselves. this is perhaps unusual. the fact that people around actually listened and apparently thought about what was said was bloody unique. at a time when the level of debate in parliament has risen to the lofty heights of cameron calling milliband a complete mug, the sound of people listening to what someone else thinks and seeing how it works for them rang out like truth in a stock exchange.
as it stands, the camp has a lot of people debating, thinking and listening. of course it isn’t the answer to the crisis of capitalism, but nobody is sorting that lot any time soon. and the people who are at the heart of that crisis and profiting from it are the ones shouting loudest that it’s hopeless even to address the issue. funny that…
the chartists are often cited as an example of the inevitable failure of all rainbow alliances. but chartism’s legacy is best seen not in what they achieved directly but in what others achieved precisely because chartism had been there first. standing on the shoulders of giants – or even ordinary people; the little people – bless ’em. bless us.
it’s the new putney debates. just hope it doesn’t throw up a new cromwell.