OCCUPY 2 – GOD OR MAMMON: ETHICS AND POLITICS

A few days ago I promised to pursue the ethical, theological and political issues thrown up by the Occupation outside St Paul’s and the relationship of all this to the City of London, that haven of plunderers and parasites. As you can see I’m utterly neutral. However I’m also embarrassed by a trove of other issues to share with you. In addition you might well be suffering from a surfeit of Occupation analysis. On the other hand I know plenty of folk, who don’t have the time to peruse the media’s outpourings. Whatever, given our focus on youth work, I remain fascinated  by the question of to what extent workers are discussing with young people these events. And, in particular, given my ignorance of life in the Faith sector,  I wonder how much these happenings are being taken up therein?

With this in mind some eclectic links.

Terry Eagleton, lapsed Catholic Marxist [?] and a favourite irritant of mine, in his Guardian Comment,

Occupy London are true followers of Jesus, even if they despise religion

concludes, in this, Jesus was at one with a later Jewish prophet, Karl Marx, whose concept of alienation involves just such a break between the product and the producer. Under capitalist conditions, Marx thought, men and women cease to see themselves reflected in the work of their own hands. Jesus was not an anti-capitalist, any more than Dante was a Darwinist. But he was ready to risk death in order to defend what he saw as an authentic form of giving against a system that impoverished it. As such, he would probably have understood what those currently shivering outside St Paul’s are up to. They have certainly managed to throw the ruling caste of a holy place into an unholy panic, just as he did. And to that extent they are his followers, however much some of them may now understandably despise religion.

Whilst Dan Hind concentrates on exploring the innovative character of the Occupation and its refusal to be cornered in his

“I demand to know what you’re demanding!”:

He finishes by saying, so let the media demand to know our demands. We have instead a suggestion – that we all try free deliberation for ourselves and turn our attention back to our rulers when we are ready, on terms we choose.

A bit indulgent, but give Tony Benn’s socialist Christian affiliation, here is the lovely bloke’s appearance outside St Paul’s giving the same speech he’s espoused for at least three decades.  I was quite close in the late 80’s when still in the Chesterfield Labour Party. We often disagreed.

Late news too, but tomorrow after the students’ demo. there is a Protest Sing-Along outside St Paul’s.
Some of your favourite firebrands are gathering for a sing song in support of Occupy London. Peggy Seeger, Billy Bragg, Tony Benn, Roy Bailey, Chumbawamba, Steve Knightley and Leon Rosselson will all be there, so bring your loudest singing voice and be ready to join in! outside St Paul’s Cathedral tomorrow (Wednesday, November 9) in support of Occupy London, joining demonstrators campaigning against cuts and corporate greed. The event will follow on from tomorrow’s student demo against fees, cuts and privatisation, which takes place from 12 – 2pm, offering a chance for thousands of people to sing together.

Tony Benn singing – you’re having a laugh!

However this is a scarf-waver. Would love to be there. Have a good crack and watch out for the tooled-up Met!

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