The non-violent protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has now spread to many other cities, including London, gets my cautious support. Please note my words ‘non-violent’ and ‘cautious’. I urge them to harm neither people nor property.
I listened to three protesters interviewed on Radio 4, and their calm, articulate views on how they would like the future to be, impressed me. These people seem not, on the whole, to be motivated by politicized union bosses or anarchists, but appear to be compelled to protest because of the powerlessness and sense of injustice many of us feel about the economic crisis we have been plunged into.
Make no mistake, the main culprits for the crash and all its consequences, particularly in the UK and the USA, are the financial institutions – banks and other organizations – who, fuelled by the adrenalin of deregulation, believed that they could make mega-money for themselves by selling impossible-to-assess packages of debt to each other, believing that the mathematical geniuses they employ had come up with formulas that had eliminated risk and made failure impossible. If this sounds like madness, that is exactly what it was – but don’t take my word for it: read any intelligent, independent author and it will be explained to you in all its barmy, fantasy-land glory!
Deregulation – the fault of governments; greed – the bankers’ area of expertise; insanity and total disregard for our economic well-being: the combination of the two.
The measures we are now forced to implement are the result of the callous, stupid activities of the financial institutions over three decades, and the compliance of one government after another. There was no boom – it was all pretend money. The bust, however, is all too real.
These peaceful protesters call themselves the ’99 per cent’. They represent the majority of us who have had nothing whatsoever to do with all this madness, but who are having to pay for it. I know it has to be paid for. I genuinely think any government in power today has very few choices indeed about how to alleviate the situation. I call, with the protesters, for strict regulation of the banking system, for some calling to account, for root and branch reform because I, like you, am one of 99%.
Cllr Keith Hutson