There is enough real poverty and there are enough people with real problems in the world. These are the people who should be protesting and not a bunch of spoilt brats who expect luxuries as a matter of course.
I will never, of course, condone the use of violence on any protester – no matter how idiotic the cause they are protesting about. And I will never, of course, accept any sort of attempt from the part of the authorities to silence any such protesters.
But this does not mean that I have to applaud or encourage their behaviour either.
And just to put things in perspective, this post is coming from someone who – like the protestors – is far from being at the top of the food chain, far from being in a position to throw away money on luxuries and far from being on the higher end of the wealth scale. But this is why, no matter how much I wish I was richer and how much I wish I could afford more expensive holidays, clothes etc, you won’t find me jumping on the bandwagon of fashionable protests.
1. The protesters are under the impression that the government owes them a living. Well, here’s some news. The government owes you Jack – or at least, nothing that goes beyond providing a basic health care and livelihood. Things that every western country in fact is already providing. The government certainly has no responsibility to finance your addiction to Manolo Blahniks. Or to take steps to make sure that your bank balance equals that of the CEO of any given multi-national.
2. The protesters are mistaking commercial companies for philanthropic ventures. One of the biggest bones of contentions is the “greed of corporations”. Seriously? The “greed of corporations” is what every well-adjusted society thrives upon. It’s what secures your pay cheque at the end of the month. Or are you lot also expecting to get that for free, by any chance? Corporations are greedy – they exist to make a profit. The higher, the better. That is the natural order of things. I believe history has already shown us why communism is not a viable option. Again: grow up and deal with it.
3. The protesters do not fall within the real definition of poverty. I would be a hell of a lot more sympathetic to this cause if I saw evidence of real poverty amongst the protesters. What I see in all footage and photography, instead, is evidence of medium class wealth. Stuff like snazzy mobile phones, the latest laptops, nice clothes. In short, it’s only your regular Joe who is Occupying Wherever. People like me, who enjoy your classic “middle-class” standard of living. This is the real identity of the 99%. A 99% who should know better and who should be at their jobs rather than wasting time and public resources lying around in the street. So you want to be as rich as some multi-national CEO? Well, here’s a hint to help you along. That CEO certainly didn’t get to where he/she is now by wasting time parading placards in the streets.
4. The protesters are pissed off simply because they can’t afford to “buy things”. By this they don’t mean the base necessities of life. You know, stuff like food, warm clothing and shelter. No, what gets their goat is the so-called “inequalities between classes”. For which read the fact that some people can afford a Rolex or the latest Armani suit while they have to make do with a highstreet knock off. Well, you know what? That’s life. Grow up and deal with it. I can’t afford the latest Vivianne Westwood collection or the newest Powerbook either but I don’t bring half the country to a halt because of this. So yes, the reason they are stamping their feet is good, old-fashioned jealousy.
5. The protesters are behaving like a bunch of teenagers who’ve had their allowance cut. This is no Tiananmen Square scenario, where students literally had no choice but to fight against possible starvation. I was brought up by generous but realistic parents; I was never led to believe that wealth is a matter of right and for this I’m very grateful. I was always taught that if I wanted something I had to work hard for it. And I was also taught that equally valuable lesson that the world is not necessarily a fair place. And that working hard is not a guarantee of success. There will ALWAYS be a 1% and nothing we ever do can change that. The protesters seem to have missed on this important part of the socialisation process. I’ll spell it out for them: not everyone is lucky enough to become stinking rich. You can either accept it and get on with life or you can waste your time – and public resources – by protesting about it.