St Paul’s anti-capitalist camp

Much of the encampment and debacle at St Paul’s is good and even hilarious news, but the best bit is that it has produced a nearly perfect confrontation…

It is of course right that there should be some sort of vague, heartfelt, right-on and hand-wringing and useless protest about capitalism and that it should be heard. It was inevitable that it should seek to bear witness in “peaceful direct action”, and so on. It was delicious that it settled on property which was in part owned by the Church of England, near The City.

The C of E rightly bent over backward to accommodate their fellow-travellers. In the days which have followed, everything has emerged beautifully. The protest has been able to show itself inchoate, and not widely supported. It strikes a note, of course, and then reminds one that making capitalism even better than it has been is not child’s play.

Now, of course, St Paul’s wants to get back to its real business and there seems to be serious muddle as its managing clergy flip-flops between their vague sympathy for the protestors and a desire to see the back of them. As of this morning, it seems that St Paul’s cannot bear to assert itself legally.

I like this situation. It has brought about the perfect confrontation between two factions of the peace and love brigade. Neither side has to change its thinking about the future of capitalism (such as it is). But both will presumably learn lessons about  the limits of protest and public sympathy for disruption.

So far as I know, little would be lost by letting the protest squat continue for as long as possible. The general public will slightly benefit from sensing that the protestors have little to add to the debate.

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Publication date

01 November 2011