Friday, October 28, 2011

The warped class war taking place at Occupy London

The Telegraph

I have visited the Occupy London camp outside St Paul's Cathedral three times now, and each time I have been struck by its warped class dynamic. For all the claims that this is a people's movement facing down evil bankers, in truth the majority of the occupiers are middle-class and well-spoken and clearly have lots of time on their hands, while many of the men and women in suits making their way to offices or trading floors in the City are working class.

On one side you have the plummy-voiced pink-haired daughters of academics and writers complaining about how banks have "destroyed working people's lives", and on the other side you have ambitious wide boys from the suburbs and young working-class women from Essex or High Wycombe going to jobs that they hope will earn them lots of cash.

Occupy London does not speak for the 99 per cent or for the working man – on the contrary, it is more an expression of slacker disdain and organic-fuelled fury for the ethos of the ambitious working man. Hence all the placards telling the besuited passers-by that they have been brainwashed by capitalism and consumerism. One placards informs these aspirational ignoramuses that capitalism makes you into either a "chump" or a "tart". That's how the bookish, well-brought-up occupiers view the people who work in the City: as thickos and slags. This protest expresses middle-class spite more than everyman anger.

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