Sunday, 20 May 2012

May Not Occupied

In case you missed it, Occupy London held their final action of Occupy May on Tuesday. This time the target was the British Bankers' Association HQ on Old Broad Street. A turnout of 80 assembled at Russell Square before heading to their destination, shouting at branches of Lloyds and Topshop on the way. When they got there, they demanded a meeting with CEO Angela Knight which, and I suspect this came as a surprise to them, was granted. The day got virtually no press coverage but Bloomberg ran an article with the details:

“She listened to their views and explained how the U.K. has a world-leading banking center, employing around half a million people and making one of the largest contributions to the country through tax and charitable giving,” the BBA said in an e-mailed statement. “She said she understood the concerns of the group, had no doubts about their sincerity.” The meeting lasted about 25 minutes.

This is simply the BBA following its remit of promoting and defending the industry, and they've done exactly the right thing in meeting the protesters. You'd think that Occupy would be spinning this as a victory but there is nothing that I can find on the many, many websites that they maintain, not a word about the meeting or even the day itself. This is extraordinary, especially as they've actually achieved something for once! The same thing happened when they met Hector Sants from the FSA last year - barely a word was mentioned about it afterwards. What I reckon happened in both instances was that they were completely out of their depth in dealing with people at the top of their game, who were acting reasonably, and attempting to engage with empathy. Therefore they were unable to challenge or persuade them of their arguments, that's if they had any in the first place. It's yet another example of the complete inability of Occupy to work with others, send out a positive message, and bring people onto their side. Look at their write-up of the 12th May protest; it's entirely negative, written with an oppression complex with no mention of what they achieved on the day. The one comment from someone who appears generally supportive of Occupy is heavily critical about the number of drunk and stoned people there.
Overall, Occupy still have no coherent message and nothing positive to say; occupying being the end rather than the means of their actions.

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