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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Anti-capitalists and other people wasting their precious time


I have been trying to blog about the anti-capitalist protestors since they first took up camp, but have held back until I had really understood what they were about. It would have been too easy to mock them for moaning about capitalism whilst sleeping in shop-bought tents and chatting on
mobile phones: wearing an itchy jumper does not remove you from being a cog in a capitalist society.
At first I was scathing – if you inherently don’t like capitalism, then you should probably move to a country that has a different way of organising itself, as 200 people nibbling on stew and sipping at Starbucks lattes cannot change the way our country has established itself over a thousand
years. But then I listened a bit more and realised that “anti-capitalist” was possibly a mis-nomer, and “bank re-organisation lobby” might be more accurate. Then I had a bit more sympathy – but only a bit.

Yes, bankers earn far more than me – but they possibly generate their company more money than I do to mine. Anti-capitalists tend to forget that in the private sector people have to earn their company more than they cost, and that is what determines their level of pay.
Of course, no-one has the right to bring down a bank – especially one that I want to pay my cheque for £37.50 into, but I think bankers would be even stupider than people think they are if there were all these wonderful ways of making lots of money, but they turned them down as it might be a little unfair to earn more than the bloke who potters around in the
wholefood café round the corner.

The real villains are obviously the people who set the rules that allowed our banks to exchange their foundations of gold to foundations of traws (hedging detritus), but 200 people pissing
behind St Paul’s Cathedral isn’t going to get to the inner circle of them.

I think the thing that sealed my opinion of the Anti-capitalists was the fact that within hours of setting up camp, they had established a kitchen tent (maybe fair enough), a prayer room, a library and a university! To me, if you’ve time to set up a university, your work has been
done. If I wanted to protest about something, I would spend my time banging on doors, debating convincingly with people who can make decisions, and thinking of clever things to say to TV cameras. I wouldn’t spend it arguing about where the tent poles for the prayer room should go
put when there is a bloody great cathedral next to it.