Thursday, 5 January 2012

Occupy the New Year, but grow up a bit first

Revolution! With it's impassioned rhetoric and gritty anger the Occupy movement is intent on overhauling democracy as we know it. Bitter, disaffected people around the world are answering Occupy's call, and Governments are beginning to pay attention to the voice of the disillusioned masses!

Reading preachy propagandistic non-journalism like the above paragraph makes me crush my glass of whisky in disgust and want to go on hunger strike until Critical Thinking lessons are given to all children of all ages until they're so skeptical they end up believing nothing at all.

Yet this is what we have to deal with. A right-wing press that unilaterally dismisses anything remotely Occupy-related with “allegations” of drug abuse, defecation on Church property, and general rowdiness. And a much smaller left-wing press that prints youthful, idealistic tripe and worships at the feet of Occupy as the best thing to have happened to socialism since the welfare state was first conceived.

This pseudo-debate is like listening to two people debating over an orange: one thinks it exhibits typical banana behaviour while the other believes it is a wonderful example of an apple. Both sides are talking out of their elbows, and it bores me senseless.

I will not waste many valuable words explaining what is wrong with the conservative side of the “debate”. There can be few people in Britain today who don't think the right-wing press is the two-faced mistress of the upper classes, little more than a Conservative propaganda machine with a thinly-veiled sprinkling of islamophobia.

The left-wing press is usually slightly more subtle and discerning in its opinions, but with Occupy it comes across as a schoolboy with a crush: the Occupy movement can do no wrong. Photos of Guy Fawkes masks accompany the anticipation of an approaching revolution. The Government must listen to the voice of its people! We are the 99%!

Leaving aside the dubious statistical nature of “99%”, what I really want to address is the idea of revolution. To young idealists like myself and the members of Occupy, “revolution” can seem exciting and liberating: who hasn't imagined themselves as a British Che Guevara, motorcycling down the streets of a burnt-out London, cigarette in mouth, awaiting the symbolic, V-for-Vendetta-style explosion of Big Ben?

But has it really come to this? Do we really need a masked vaudevillian veteran or an angry Venezuelan medical student to save us from our authoritarian overlords? Of course not. The fact that I can write here that 'David Cameron feasts daily on the bloodied corpses of children' without getting arrested is proof of that (though if I mysteriously stop writing articles after this, you'll know that Britain in fact is in a North Korea-style authoritarian nightmare).

Occupy is about bringing back democracy, returning complete control of the Government to the people who elect them. And whatever revolution is, it is not democratic – it is, in fact, fairly totalitarian.

I think I'm justified in saying that most people don't want a revolution, or, to phrase it less controversially, a “complete overhaul of democracy”. It is the everyday concerns (Will the buses still run? Who will pay the winter fuel allowance? Will the police still be on duty? Will I still be able to fund my alcoholism on the Disability Living Allowance I'm fraudulently claiming from the Government?) that make revolution - for lack of a better phrase – a terrible idea.

The system of Government clearly needs to be changed, anyone with half a brain can see that. But it is essential that it is changed from within, by getting elected and passing legislation through parliament. Any other approach is hypocritical and dangerous.

As a new approach in this New Year, Occupiers and Occupy-supporters should join and vote for the Green Party, a party with near-identical policies to Occupy, but with less stigma and – importantly – an MP in Westminster. The Green Party should debate strongly with other large parties and repeatedly make the point that none of the other 3 main parties in England will make the sweeping changes that are needed.

With Lib Dem popularity at an all-time low, the Green Party should pick up a few more seats in the next election. Then, and only then, does Occupy have the power and legitimacy to pressure the Government into making changes.

In short: Occupy is absolutely right in its motives, but completely wrong in its methods. The left-wing press should take heed of this – a schoolboy crush is a cruel thing, and it will only end in tears.

1 comment:

  1. I get the feeling that every new intake of MP's has a proportion of idealists, but they soon get that knocked off them by "the system". Do you have an advice on how to stop this happening?