Mind the Gap: can the protest culture really work?

25 Sep

The occupy movement is one that believes that large corporations and the global financial system control the world in a way that disproportionately benefits a minority, undermines democracy and is unstable.

Started as a group of people occupying Wall Street as a protest against global greed and corruption, the occupy movement is now a worldwide one.

I understand what their message is, however what I am not that sure about, is what exactly they would like put in place if they manage to topple the top heavy structure of the global financial system.

‘Protests’ have always been associated with unrest, squatting, police arrests and a hooligan style nature.

protest_cultureI don’t disagree that the current financial crisis is probably due to a few large banks that seem to have the major power over the global finances, but I do not think that protests get anyone anywhere.

‘The key to a successful protest is planning, courage and belief in your cause. Protestors should do what they can to behave in a lawful manner, but they should be aware of their rights. Protestors who break reasonable laws and who cause innocent bystanders to be harmed will quickly lose any public sympathy’ says Martha Barksdale but I am not sure I agree.

Let’s look at the current teachers disputes over pensions. I am part of one of the major teachers unions, however I do not believe any type of walk out protest will accomplish anything. The NUT, a previously militant style union has recently adopted the quieter style protest of the NASUWT who have adopted a ‘work to rule’ style approach. Although I am not necessarily sure that will accomplish anything either, I know which one will have less impact on the learning of the students, don’t you?

One of the autistic students in my school who watches the news regularly keeps asking me about teacher strikes. From his point of view he does not understand the politics at all, what he wants to know is will the school still be open? The possible unpredictability of this one fundamental thing is currently ruling his entire education.

Are teacher strikes worthwhile? I am not sure they are, certainly not in this climate. Is the Occupy movement worthwhile? I am not sure about that either. If you are going to take part in a ‘protest’, at least be sure of what you think the solution is, and how it can be achieved. If you have that, then surely this becomes a negotiation and not a protest?

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