Yet again, the Occupy movement has attempted to shut down ports around America, further damaging the economy and injuring port companies and their workers. While they did this supposedly to express ‘solidarity’ with various ‘martyrs’, the ‘leaders’ of the movement still deny receiving any endorsement from unions operating within the Northwest port area. As a Britain, I want to ask this question: how much further do Occupiers have to push before Americans stand up and say “enough”?
At a time when the worldwide economy needs all the support it can get, protests like these directly cost the American economy millions and millions of dollars in negative publicity and lost productivity which, in turn, hinders growth in the European economy. Therefore, I’m sufficiently pissed.
History will likely place the Occupy protests as a footnote on the global financial crisis. While the Eurozone crumbled and American unemployment soared, a collection of socialists, environmentalists, anti-Semites, radicals, statists and progressives set up camps around the Western world to ask the government to give them something for nothing.
But the Occupy movement has been a blessing to Barack Obama and Democrats, allowing them the luxury of deflecting their own mistakes onto bankers and businesses rather than facing up to their own failed policies. But its not just American politicians that may be rethinking their support of the Occupy movement. The left-wing Labour party in the UK is also reconsidering their supporting role in the Occupy protests. European politicians used the same tactics to shove their failed policies off onto the banking industry and it is going to come back to bite them.
The simple ‘bash the bankers, soak the rich’ rhetoric has been given too much airtime by liberal media happy to attack a soft target. But not even the noble cause could maintain the high stature of the movement; it lost serious legitimacy when the world heard of the criminality occurring within the camps. Sexual assaults, robberies, thefts and shocking examples of hypocrisy ended any justification for the occupations. Civility was lost and positive attention fled the scene.
In the Occupy London protest, police used a thermal imaging camera to examine the tents. The majority of the them, almost 90%, were empty at night. These rent-a-cause protestors were hanging around the camp in the daytime then going home to their warm, capitalist beds in the evening. Hardly ‘solidarity’ at its finest.
The icy chill of winter will inevitably send the majority of protestors home, and it is likely that the entire Occupy ‘movement’ will end in a damp squib rather than a final conflict. The cost of policing and cleaning all of their camps will run into millions of dollars though, a cost which will be generously met by, you guessed it, the taxpayers of America.
Without realizing it, the Occupy movement has been used by everyone. To the media, they are a quick story they can stretch out for months. To Republicans, they are an example of modern-day entitlement culture, young people who expect the moon on a stick and refuse to work for it. To Democrats, they are useful idiots, taking media attention off Obama’s diabolical ratings.
Frank Manning // University of Nottingham (UK) // @billymanning