We are living in a new age of protest. The Occupy movement in numerous cities has gained huge coverage, while strikes and protest in Europe gain in numbers. There is talk of a general strike in Spain as marches take place in several cities [Spanish] and of strike action to disrupt the Olympics in London.
What do the protestors want? It is not altogether clear. As legal action finally forced London’s Occupy protestors to take down their tents this week, an observation made by many journalists was that, if you talked to a different protestor, you heard a different agenda. It is easier to say what people are against (inequality, out-of-control banks, cuts to social provision), than what they are for. And because many of the implied remedies mean spending commitments by indebted governments, even the politicians who want to respond have few options.
Being against something isn’t enough. There is no guarantee that a different way of running things will be better. Action is dangerous without coherent ideas. The ‘Radical Shift’ we talk about means a change across the political spectrum, and in their largely failed economic theories. There is a summary here. Protest is not a way of life, so the question becomes: now what?