Monday, October 24, 2011

Mainstream media letters pages articulate strong feelings about the worldwide Occupy protests

Monday, October 24, 2011
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Mainstream media letters pages articulate strong feelings about the worldwide Occupy protests
One immediate result of the Occupy the London Stock Exchange protest in the UK has been the precipitate and unlawful closure of St Paul's Cathedral by the Dean and Chapter, and the holding of select élite services behind closed doors.

It is the first time this central London cathedral has been "forced" to close since the Second World War. The Anglican priests who comprise the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's are emerging as controlled agents of capitalist interests within the City of London Corporation.

Here are some comments on Occupy London from readers of The Guardian newspaper (London), published on its letters page:

"The Occupy movement is a platform through which concerns are being expressed and widespread anger communicated to those in power. We are allowed to think about alternatives." (23.10.11)

The Occupy movement is not characterised by a void of proposals, it is, in fact, characterised by "a process where proposals will arise from a study and discussion of the alternatives. The Occupy movement is where the seeds of the new system that will replace this crumbling one are being sown." (23.10.11)

"It is illegal, for any Church of England place of worship, to hold any services behind locked doors. All services must be open to the public. Why, after showing support for the peaceful protester, in line with Christian doctrine, have the Dean and Chapter closed the cathedral? They know it is wrong." (23.10.11)

And from the San Francisco Chronicle:
"I would like to know who raised these Occupy Wall Street protesters. They have clearly been brought up to think that everyone makes the team without any effort, talent or hard work. It is evident that these protesters never considered that perhaps the 1 percent started out as part of the 99 percent. With hard work, motivation and talent, they have risen to the top. This can happen without having connections or using somebody else's money." (22.10.11)

And from The New York Times:
"Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s assertion that the Constitution doesn’t protect tents, but protects speech and assembly, is just wrong. Unfortunately for those involved in Occupy Wall Street, tents are prohibited, a prohibition that may well be unconstitutional. This makes the occupation far more difficult. Occupiers are forced to sleep on the ground, and in inclement weather under plastic sheets. In 2000 a federal judge upheld the First Amendment right of protesters to sleep on the sidewalks of New York, finding that such expressive conduct can be part of political protest. If protesters can sleep in public places, surely they can do so under a tent, especially if the weather turns bad. In this case, sleeping in the park, occupying it, is integral to the message of the protest: occupying the location that protesters believe is at the heart of the great economic inequalities in this country and the world." (21.10.11)

And from The Independent (London):
"You quote a City type, faced with anti-capitalist demonstrators, complaining that 'I don't think they appreciate what the City contributes.' Too right, we don't, because they have never troubled to explain it to us. Perhaps somebody from the City would care to tell us how our lives would be affected if all the merchant bankers, brokers, derivatives-traders, short-sellers and the rest of them were suddenly to be swept away?" (20.10.11)

And from The Age (Australia):
"Chris Berg is mistaken in his claim that there is no similarity between the mass popular protests that toppled the previous Egyptian government and Occupy Wall Street. The Egyptian protesters finally took on a repressive régime that had violated human rights for years. What Berg fails to recognise is that anger with these long-standing abuses came to a head when the Mubarak government's program of privatisation further increased the gap between the 1 per cent and everyone else and price rises made life in Cairo intolerable. Mr Berg's Institute of Public Affairs has for years provided the pseudo-academic cover for the economic policies instituted by crony capitalists in both Egypt and the US. It is not surprising that he is deaf to what this is really about. That ringing in his ears is the bell of history tolling for the neo-liberal twaddle whose corrupt implementation yields the vast inequalities that lie at the root of both protests." (16.10.11)

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