By Wendell P. Simpson
ABOVE PHOTO: Police face off against protesters as the Occupy London camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral is cleared after bailiffs moved in to remove tents from the anti-capitalist protest camp in London, Feb. 2012.
(AP Photo/Lewis Whyld, PA)
Just before the Chicago police cold bloodedly gunned him down in 1971, Black Panther Fred Hampton prophetically said, “You can kill the revolutionary but you cannot kill the revolution.”
Two months ago, after nearly a year of legal wrangling, and just in time for the London 2012 Olympics, the City of London Corporation and St. Paul’s Cathedral officials finally secured the long-sought after injunction that forced the removal of the sprawling tent city that had become the home of London Stock Exchange (LSX) Occupy movement and the symbol of discontent from the church grounds.
Except for the pigeons that persist all over London and the tourists that trickle through the historic grounds, the vast pavilion around St. Paul’s Cathedral stands deserted now, as empty as the Church’s promise to give succor and comfort to the poor and as hollow as capitalism’s synonymy with democracy.
In typical British fashion, there were no armored riot police wading through the crowd wildly swinging their truncheons at anything or anybody that moved as occurred in Oakland nor was there the indiscriminate application of poisonous pepper spray dispersing the people as we saw in New York and in other American cities.
No, British fascism always seems to be of the kindler and gentler variety. Different means, same end The protestors, an embarrassment, an eye sore, and a reminder that, here, too, with its socialized medicine and nanny statism, power will still do its utmost to squash the opposition, were hustled out the public thoroughfare.
True to Hampton’s maxim, you can move the Occupy encampment, but you cannot move the spirit of the determined young people for whom everything—the future—is at stake. The LSX protest simply moved from the church grounds to the Mile End Green just on the edge of Hyde Park, a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace. Another relic of power that now seems so terrible anachronistic and irrelevant.
But the movement of human dignity that started with the founding of democracy in ancient Greece and Mesopotamia, through the Magna Carta and the French Revolution, through the Emancipation Proclamation, through Gandhi and the Mau Mau uprisings, through Malcolm and Martin and the radicalism of 1960s America, through the end of apartheid,, and through Arab Spring hasn’t stopped there. In fact, Occupy has provided us with a new paradigm and a new adage: Sometimes poop actually manages to trickle up.
Right now, in Parliament across from the square where anti-war protestor Brian Haw spent the last five years of his life protesting Britain’s role in the Iraq War before cancer finally ended his gallant vigil, Lord Leveson’s inquiry is raking Prime Minister David Cameron and his conservative Tory cohorts over the steaming hot coals of public scrutiny for their oh-so-cozy relationship with Rupert Murdock and his army of media ghouls and stockholders are bearing down on the army of bankers whose inordinate renumerations are way out of sync with their dismal, subpar performances.
In France, Prime Minster Nicolas Sarkosy has been undone by his pedestrian and unimaginative conservatism, losing the presidency to a socialist candidate. In Greece, the people have rejected the mandate, dictated by the markets, that demanded austerity for the poor and middle classes by electing a leftist, ‘spend-our-way-out-of –poverty’ government; and even President Obama has begun to lip-sync to the words of Occupy’s chorus.
Revolution, by its very definition, is the antithesis of stasis. It is also inevitable. It will move whenever and to wherever the people demand just redress. You can try to silence the dissent, you can try to shove it off into some desolate corner out of view, you can tear gas it, and beat it down into the dust with your batons—but the momentum of Occupy lives beyond the bodies that crack and bend and crumble under the tracks of tanks. Occupy lives in the spirit of righteousness and justice. It is here for the duration.