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Occupy: illusory radicalism?

Occupy: illusory radicalism?

In this debate, filmed at the Battle of Ideas, a panel discuss the Occupy phenomenon. At its various locations, Occupy has issued demands for tighter regulation of banks, a reduction in the level of inequality between rich and poor, greater transparency when it comes to political lobbying, and more broadly, an attack on greed and overconsumption. Yet given their sentiments, what does Occupy say about the meaning of radicalism, or indeed, anti-capitalism today? After all, almost all mainstream politicians in Europe and the US talk darkly of corporate avarice and bankers’ greed. Perhaps the anti-capitalism of Occupy is not quite as radical as some see it? Panellists in this fiery debate include Ian Chamberlain, writer and human rights campaigner, Solidarity Bank; Professor Natalie Fenton, joint head of department, co-director, Leverhulme Media Research Centre, Goldsmiths, University of London; Brendan O’Neill, editor, spiked; George Pitcher, journalist and Anglican priest, St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street and Nick Sotirakopoulos, assistant lecturer in environmental sociology, University of Kent.

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Related topics: Civil Liberties, Debates, Social Change

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Piotr said:

The liberal establishment (Guardian etc I suppose) response to Occupy was to kind of court them. “Bless these kids, that’s the spirit” in a way which was a bit revealing. Occupy’s ideas are a bit similar to theirs and they do like a bit of protest “down with this sort of thing, careful now”. As long as they are completely politically safe protests that is. At the end of the day were they anything more than Glastonbury goes to town?

James Lonsdale said:

The more I reflect on the political sentiment which vaguely motivated Occupy, the more I think that the expression, ‘I’m uncomfortable with this’ kind of sums them up. It says we’re not like ‘politicians’ with goals in public life or anything so concrete, nor are we duped by advertising or money like the rest of the ‘herd’. They were quite unpleasant about most people really.