Maybe the 99% do support the 1%….
Anthony Painter writing, admittedly some time ago, on LabourList declared his unequivocal support for the ‘99% movement’ and contrasted this to the ‘1%’ behind the occupations of Wall Street, the London Stock Exchange, etc, etc. He said:
The 99% are not behind the 1%. In fact, they are barely even aware of them other than in fleeting pictures on BBC News 24. Cars burn, police kettle, 1000s gather and, in the meantime, the right is in office or binding the hands of those who are. The left must listen to the 99% if they are to prevent the rightist march.
It’s worth noting that during the occupy protests I have seen none of the behaviour Anthony describes on display. Secondly, the people seem to disagree. ICM’s latest poll for The Guardian found 54% support the Occupy protests. Granted, it isn’t 99% but it is, for example, 18% more than the number of people who voted for the Conservative Party at the last election. Of course, none of this means that Anthony is wrong when he says that the revolution is not around the corner – it isn’t but it is an important indicator of how fed-up people are with capitalism in general and banks and the finance sector in particular. They recognise the truth of what Anthony says about capitalism simply not working and providing for the majority anymore and are willing to actively support people raising these issues and taking direct action against the causes of their misery.
This is an important development and one we cannot ignore if we are to make the radical changes that the total meltdown and mess necessitate. Of course, we should always be listening to the majority (though not always blindly doing what they want) but while we should not fall into smug self-congratulation we should also not underestimate the huge, epoch-defining, shifts taking place in people’s attitudes and how these are being informed by their everyday suffering under this failed system.