This resistance is futile

November 10, 2011

I struggle to share Alan Ryan's positive evaluation of the Occupy Wall Street protests ("Kropotkin's heirs apparent", 3 November). While we might agree that they are "astonishingly good-natured", where's the beef? The examples offered of an alternative agenda are that some protesters had pepper spray squirted in their eyes by a police officer (unfair, but hardly a radical manifesto), and that they came up with the "99 to 1" slogan to call for better treatment for the majority rather than cosseting the bankers (another empty bleat of unfairness).

Ryan suggests that they are engaged in a democratic process to formulate policies, but there is no evidence of anything other than knee-jerk disgust with the bankers and the political elite. Rather than offering even the germ of any kind of solution, the unhappy campers in Wall Street and outside St Paul's Cathedral are simply an expression of the lack of a political response to the ongoing economic crisis.

Martin Wynne, Head of the Oxford Text Archive, University of Oxford

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