Thursday, 1 December 2011

I am sorry renter girl

In a recent post, I received a stinging comment from a fellow blogger rentergirl.  I have received nastier comments, but this one really hurt.  This was because I have always really liked her blog, and still do.  In the past we have communicated via email.

Rentergirl's complaint was that I had made some snide comments in a photo of an OWS demonstrator (see here).  I am going to come in with my hands up; she is right, I was wrong.  I was rather nasty about the young man in the photo.

However, I also should be clear that I don't support the "Occupy" movement.  It is a visceral reaction that stems from a profound fear of the mob.  Their objectives and critique of capitalism might have some merit, but the idea of occupations and street demonstrations provoke deep seated anxieties.  It is the fear of violence and confrontation that sets me off.   In the same vein, I was deeply disturbed by the recent riots in London.  I found the whole thing extremely distressing.

I really dislike the illegality of it all;  I know the area around St. Pauls well, and I resent the fact that it is now occupied.  I was particularly upset when the Cathedral was closed. It opened up all kinds of fears about religious freedom; a subject that matters very much to me.  I just want the occupiers to go away.  This is where the animosity towards the demonstrators is coming from, Rentergirl.

I still believe that there are other less confrontational routes that can be utilized to generate change.


Richard said...

I don't think you have any need to apologise, Alice. The image made a good point about the hypocrisy of many of those in the 'movement' and I saw nothing wrong with it. The young man in the photo may have been a nice guy who loves his mum, and was just caught at the wrong angle, making him look like a snarling animal, but that's the luck of the draw. Technically, he may have been a poor, downtrodden innocent in a borrowed parka and rucksack, but somehow I doubt it.

RenterGirl said...

Alice: as you know we have been in contact for several years now. I just feel that when there are pictures like the one I suggested, with people exercising their legal right to protest being pepper sprayed when sitting still silently, was unworthy. When voting leads to a government nobody actually voted for, and they punish the poor rather than the bankers, the 'masses' will take to the streets. They have more to lose - like their actually homes, jobs and even food. Nobody is listening: the Autumn Statement cut spending but ended the extra on private jest. That says it all for me. Keep up the with the blog Alice. Thanks.

RenterGirl said...

Tax on private jets. And there is no need to apologise.

Sobers said...

I have to say I thought the mocked up Mastercard ad was a very good bit of satire on the 'Occupy' movement, a sentiment I heartily concur with.

When one compares the quiet dignity of (say) the Jarrow Marchers in the face of total destitution, the antics of the Occupiers seem like childish tantrums.

Richard said...

Ought to say that I support absolutely the right to peaceful protest, and I share the protesters' outrage that we have been comprehensively screwed over by the politicians and bankers, working in a nasty conspiracy against the ordinary taxpaying public. But I am with Sobers on the form of the protest/s, and I disagree with their proposed solutions like greater state regulation, which seem to me to be a recipe for more of the same that got us into trouble in the first place.

Let's take due recognition of the OWS movement, whilst noting their Starbucks and the iPads and other capitalistic 'essentials', sorry, tools of the struggle.

Richard said...

... and pepper-spraying seated protesters is an outrage too, and I hope the poilcemen involved face proper justice for their inexcusable actions. That should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Well personally I support both the OWS protests and the Tea Party protests. They have rather more in common than they consider themselves.

They both can see the problems, and they both can't see workable solutions. So you get similar fantasies from both sides.

There is also hypocrisy on both their sides, from the "Don't touch my Medicare" from the tea-partyers to the Mastercard parody that you pictured Alice.

Turning to the UK and your comments.

I really dislike the illegality of it all;

Agreeing with the Government will never be illegal for they make the laws. How many times will it be right?

I know the area around St. Pauls well, and I resent the fact that it is now occupied. I was particularly upset when the Cathedral was closed.

That was a political gambit. It failed. The Church of England is very politically subservient. There was no reason to close, which is why when the closure failed, it opened like magic, despite there being absolutely no change in the situation.

I still believe that there are other less confrontational routes that can be utilized to generate change.

Go back and look at the news reports at the first night of violent protest surrounding the shooting of Mark Duggan in London. See how many politicians canceled holidays. Did they take any other protest as seriously? Sorry, let me clarify that. Did they take any other peaceful protest as seriously?

The Occupy protests are irritating them more than the usual marches because they're not going home at the end of the day to be ignored like good little boys.

The Police have consistently kettled peaceful protesters to stop them protesting. Despite the Police's pleading to the contrary, it doesn't work against violent protesters - see Mark Duggan.

The Politicians have consistently ignored protests that follow their rules.

Eventually people are going to get sick of protesting for the sake of it, and to start protesting for results. You may end up looking back on the Occupy London protest with nostalgia.

You reap as you sow. "If peaceful protest is made illegal, violent protest will become inevitable."

The reaping isn't over yet.

Stevie b. said...

@ Anonymous 13.35

Well said and nicely put. I agree that to avoid your conclusion, politicians need to be seen to be taking some sort of real action (for once) to at least show some sort of real recognition ("understanding" may be asking too much - especially from politicians) of the Occupiers' concerns.

dearieme said...

If they object to the bailing of the banks, they should be demanding the arrest, conviction and jailing of Gordon Brown. I'd approve. (Hanging should be reserved for Blair.)

Electro-Kevin said...

Now imagine how Jeremy Clarkson feels !

(Nice one Renter Girl @ 09.30)

RenterGirl said...

Enough! Alice, I understand how many people feel about the people in the Occupy camps: they look weird, and seem like a mob. But speak to them, and you'll find them quite nice: idealistic, dedicated, intelligent and nice. I don't think not being able to enter the church is the same as religious freedom - they were sort of shepherded there (pun unintended. The mob are actually more likely to rise up if they are pushed down. Keep up the excellent and challenging blog Alice. We are as it were on different sides, but you views are always interesting. All the best, Penny

Dearieme: I think they object to banks being bailed out when people are having their benefits cut.

Electro-Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Electro-Kevin said...

Renter Girl - I fear that we're all rather too delicate these days.

Except for those who aren't delicate in the least.

A bit of a dichotomy in modern society really. Side by side Alice instinctively identifies a mismatch in human nature that's a bit of a worry.

I follow her - I don't follow you. Pick from that what you will.

Alice Cook said...


It is up to you of course, but I would recommend following Renter girl.