Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Bristol - bridging the gap between the nitty-gritty and macroeconomics

Just to give a flavour of the #OccupyBristol group meetings on Day 3 (Monday).

The meeting was very open and welcoming, but tended to be a bit unstructured, because most people (and that includes people who sleep in warm beds) do not know the difference between a decision-oriented meeting and a conversation, but I have been in more chaotic meetings in the NHS.

Most items discussed related to the nitty-gritty of setting up a camp in a city. Offers of water access from a local shopholder; site safety (random drunks had staggered on site in the middle of the previous night, causing trouble), how to protect the grass from turning to mud, whether to declare it an alcohol free site, what to do about people who wanted to play music all night, what to do about toilet and washing facilities; the usual, but interspersed with discussion of what message we could put out to those who asked what our agenda was.
Hurwitt -

After the main meeting there was a sub-group on media. We asked people to say why they were there. A wide variety of expressions of  what we felt was wrong came out, deeply held, and related to immediate personal experience:

Poverty, food and energy prices, being thrown on the scrapheap, people are not valued, mega-capitalism overriding democracy. We have had ENOUGH!

What are we for?
Fairness, honesty, justice, the right just to be, opportunity.

Reference was made to the statements of other occupations.Here is the #OccupyLSX statement.

Detractors major on the lack of precise political agenda. This is unjust criticism. The majority of protesters are ordinary people who have been struggling along until things have now gotten so bad they have said 


In the main, they are not economists or academics or politicos. It is up to us who are to provide a clear, pragmatic political programme as an alternative to the disastrous economic policies being visited upon us by the Coalition Government.

It's not rocket science - just a  bewilderingly diverse set of changes - ranging from high finance to community structure. It is in fact what the Green Party has been toiling over for the past three decades. The results of our labour is here, in the massive document that form Policies for a Sustainable Future. 

But in answer to the question that the Paxmen will want to put, "OK, how specifically do you want to change the present system, given that we have a massive global financial crisis?", here are 10 changes that need to be carried out to get the economy working for people :

  1. Tax the rich. 
  2. Close all tax havens & loopholes, worldwide. 
  3. Quantitative Easing to go preferentially  to the Green Bank. 
  4. End the private banks' monopoly on issuing money through debt. 
  5. Rein in the corporations. 
  6. Regulate the money markets. 
  7. Impose a Tobin Tax on financial transactions, and earmark it for poverty projects.
  8. Cap donations to political parties
  9. Reform the credit ratings agencies. 
  10. Impose limits on salary ratio of lowest/highest remuneration.
  11. Introduce a Green Wage Subsidy
  12. Cancel Trident and reduce military spending worldwide.
  13. Provide enough affordable housing
Of course, there are many other changes that need to be made at community level also. The answers to the one question branch out into many areas, but these are some of the central reforms necessary to get the world economy started again, down a new path where people matter more than profit.


The Bristol Blogger said...

"The majority of protesters are ordinary people"

If you think the people at College Green are ordinary people you need to get out more.

The problem is still perfectly encapsulated in Chapter 11 of Orwell's Wigan Pier.

Read it. It's on the internet.

Anonymous said...

No3 - agreeing with Lib Dems again!