At the height of the blitz, relentless bombing by the Luftwaffe caused St Paul’s to close its doors for four days. The protestors can therefore be very proud of themselves, as their protests have achieved what Hitler could not: the closure of one of Britain’s finest buildings for a grand total of seven days.
Unfortunately for them however, this is about all that they will achieve. The problem with anti capitalist protests is that they don’t actually know what they want. Anyone watching Question Time this week would have seen Benjamin Zephaniah ask why we don’t “create a new capitalism”. I have no idea what he means by this. I’m sure he doesn’t either; it just sounded nice for the cameras.
The question has got to be asked what these people actually hope to achieve. Do they actually want to go down the route of communism? These protestors do not realise how lucky they are to be living in the UK under its democratic and capitalist society. Do they really think they would be treated so patiently by the police in a communist state? The belief that one can get rid of capitalism implies that you can change human nature and you can’t simply criticise something as embedded as capitalism without offering an alternative.
Of course, the protestors would still want to be able to access Facebook from their Iphones or Blackberries, while looking forward to whatever presents they’ll receive at Christmas; so we can assume they don’t want to scrap capitalism altogether. If we examine what they’re actually against we can further see the ridiculous nature of this protest. They’re against poverty, inequality and injustice; well let’s be honest, who isn’t? However my democratic beliefs are that only those elected should claim to represent our views. I certainly do not feel represented by people who decide to protest outside one on England’s finest Cathedrals. Indeed why on earth are they protesting in a graveyard of a cathedral? Not only is this disrespectful to those buried there but the church to so much to fight inequality.
As with all irritating protests, this too has had people jumping on the bandwagon. The protests include signs against sex trafficking for example. And although people like to blame the bankers for most things, I do find the link between HSBC and sex traffickers slightly tenuous.
The Church needs to start standing up to these people. Instead of saying that they won’t press charges or put into force actions that they legally can in order to remove these people, they need to take the actions that they’re entitled to. We have an Archbishop of Canterbury who, instead of criticising these people for closing the cathedral which has resulted in both tourists and worshippers being disrupted, is instead pushing for a ‘Robin Hood Tax’.
What the Archbishop needs to remember is that these protestors have caused St Pauls to lose a huge amount of income because of its closure. As so much of the cathedral’s money comes from donors, Rowan Williams should carefully consider any further taxes to them. A cathedral spokesman, when asked whether an increase in taxation would lead to a drop in donors, replied that they’d not thought about that. In order to do this they need money, money generated through Capitalism.
I know how wrong inequality is and I can see how sometimes capitalism can exacerbate some of these problems, as would any other economic system, but we simply can’t blame all our problems on “Corporate greed”. A lot of this criticism stems from jealousy and to be I feel that these protestors are been equally selfish by letting their protest disrupt ordinary lives.
Capitalism neither can nor should be changed and however much people hate bankers, they are not responsible for wider problems such as Sex Trafficking. It is time these protestors moved on.
They have made their point and it has been noted and rejected and it is time to allow others to use the Cathedral for what it was intended.