Class politics or anti-semitic conspiracies? Why David Icke, Ron Paul and Alex Jones are dangerous to the Occupy Movement.

David Icke. Alex Jones. Ron Paul. The Zeigeist Movement. President Andrew Jackson. What do all these people have in common? No, they’re unfortunately not the next line up of Celebrity Big Brother. They are however a series of individuals and “movements” who despite having little sway over most political thought in the world today, have made a disturbing encroachment into movements against austerity, cuts and for social justice. This blog has already covered a few of these individuals before. And we’d be lying if we didn’t find the occasional presence of Alex Jones or David Icke amongst the internets a comedy joy we’ve all indulged in frequently.

But there is a time and a place for Alex Jones and David Icke, and that time is 3o’clock in the morning, pished, going on you tube – NOT inside movements for real, radical social change in the UK or anywhere else. This isn’t a call that everyone inside these movements must be 100% Marxists or Socialists. Far from it, we need to engage with people who are not already activists. It’s about recognising that the ideas promoted by the groups and individuals outlined in the beginning of this post aren’t just misguided and wrong – they’re actively dangerous to any real success over the economic misrule and capitalism.


David Icke knows Boyzone will destroy the lizard people

The groups and individuals are quite diverse, ranging from a US Democratic President in the 1800′s, a Republican Congressman standing for President and a former Grandstand presenter who thinks he is Jesus and that the world is run by lizards. What could possibly unite such a disparate group? The answer is that they are all people who have argued against the forces of the wealthy and powerful in society – generally the banks and financial institutions. So how are they any different from socialists?

The difference lies in their analysis of what problems the bankers cause, what should replace them and how they go about trying to enact that change. Their analysis ranges from completely insane to explicitly racist, and their solutions from ineffective to backwards and reactionary. The base of their analysis is that the world economic crisis is a problem inflicted by specific forms of banking (such as fractional reserve banking) and financial management, and that ultimately it is bankers and not capitalism and class society that is to blame.

These individuals obviously don’t agree on everything – Ron Paul’s not mentioned Lizard control over the Royal Family in the GOP debates, at least not yet – but what they basically agree on runs something like this; Banks developed their wealth and power at the expense of hardworking people (typically small businesses and artisans). They now use this wealth and power to enslave governments and control culture, media, politics, and social attitudes in a range of countries, as well as initiating wars for their own benefit. Often the phrase “International Bankers” is used interchangeably with Jews, or “Zionists”, alleging that the world is in the thrall of a gigantic Jewish-Banker conspiracy.


Alex Jones rocks out against the globalists

These theories have been able to make some headway on the left because there is a grain of truth in what they say about bankers, if not Jews. Bankers have historically used their economic power to influence society, and have a long history of exploitation of both the developing world and the working class in the West. The problem is that banks are just one part of a system of exploitation called capitalism. In capitalism the work people do to produce commodities is sold on at a profit to the employer. These employers are not just bankers, but range from retailers, oil companies, mines, factories, restaurants and so on. Banks are a fundamental part of that system, as the profit is invested in banks which then use this money to make more money, to invest in other industries and to lend so people can continue to buy products without having to raise wages.

This is the real cause of the economic crisis, and properly identifies what role the bankers played. In the past, if people wanted to buy stuff – like cars, clothes or houses – they either had to save up for it, or get a modest loan that was based on their ability to repay it. This meant working class people had to be paid enough so they could buy the things capitalism produced – whether it was trainers or tellies. Karl Marx identified the problem with this a hundred years ago – the companies which want to sell the working class trainers at £50 a pop are the same companies who want to pay them 10p an hour. Recessions come and go in capitalism because inevitably companies end up producing goods at the same time they try to keep wages down, so the working class cannot buy their goods and the companies end up going bankrupt.

For the past 30 years capitalism thought it had a way out of this problem – make it easier for working class people to borrow lots of money, so that way they can still buy the products without having to increase wages. This kept capitalism booming, even though for the past 30 years wages in the USA have been stagnating. It also meant as well as having money to pay for consumer goods, working class people now had to pay money to banks in interest. This is what the banks have done – lending billions of the profits working people made, so that the same people would keep buying and capitalism would stay afloat. This was not just a system endorsed by the banks, it was in the interests of  capitalism as system – every corporation, company, and business now had a market of indebted workers to sell to, and could continue to depress the wages of their workers safe in the knowledge that they could borrow money to buy their products.


Sensible and accurate version of why capitalism and the banks have collapsed

Eventually this illusion, that people could continue to afford things that were way beyond the wages they earned, came to a dramatic end with the economic crisis in 2008. This crisis began with the collapse of the housing bubble in the USA – where banks like Freddie Mae had offered loans to people with poor credit ratings, so they could own their own houses and keep capitalism afloat. When it became clear that the Emperor had no clothes, and the housing repayments couldn’t be made, banks in the western world collapsed requiring the bailouts we’ve all heard about.  The banks loaned money they couldn’t repay – using a system called fractional reserve banking – where they only had a fraction of the deposits people made to the banks in their accounts, while the rest was loaned out. In order to stop people losing billions of their savings, governments stepped in to guarantee these funds.

So there’s plenty of very real criticism to be made of the banks – the fact they recklessly lent to boost their own profits, and when the shit hit the fan instead of taxing the super-rich to plug the gap, they were bailed out with public money. What should have been done is something similar to what Greg Philo and Glasgow Uni Media Group have argued for – a one off 10% wealth tax on the richest (who made their money predominantly through the financial bubble) to pay for the mess they caused.

Unfortunately this is not what Alex Jones, Ron Paul et al call for. They won’t argue for wealth redistribution, because by their own admission they aren’t Socialists – they are paleo-conservative Republicans. They may be Republicans who oppose the War on Terror, the developing attack on civil liberties in the USA or ongoing funding to Israel, but they all absolutely believe in capitalism – and that the problem with the economic crash of 2008 is not the free market, but bizarrely, “socialism”. Jones says big corporations and big government are the same, in contradiction to everything that the right-wing in the USA and Europe actually rolled back. People like Jones, Ron Paul, Icke etc draw many of their ideas from a very reactionary period of US political history during the 1800′s in which the United States of America was half-feudal and half-industrial – or as Abraham Lincoln described it “half slave and half free”.

The United States was divided in two – the North, in which slavery was abolished and an industrial revolution was starting, and the South where the economy was based on slavery, and was backwards and feudal. In this topsy turvy time it was the Democrat Party which was racist and pro-slavery, and it was the Republican Party that wanted to ultimately abolish the institution of slavery. At that time the Republican Party correctly saw that slavery would keep the United States trapped in a backward, medieval economy. The profits made by keeping slavery going would make an industrial revolution impossible. Slavery stopped the development of a paid working class, that is necessary to consume the products of industrialisation.  The South was at that time a massive producer of cotton on the backs of slave labour, and was in practice a colony of European powers who wanted to buy cotton for use in their Industrial Revolution.

US Civil War

There were many honest Republicans at that time who found slavery morally abhorrent, but the alterior motivation for Republican opposition to slavery was their backing from the new American capitalist class. This class wanted the abolition of slavery so they could compete against the Southern economy, and so white Southern workers could be paid to do the jobs of the slaves. In short they wanted to develop the United States into a modern capitalist country like Britain or France, knowing that the untapped resources of the North American continent would make them a superpower.

The Democrats position was based on “states rights” – which meant defending the rights of states to uphold slavery. Their arguments were based on racist opposition to the emancipation of slaves, and the desire to keep large parts of the USA in a feudal state. As part of this outlook, many Democrats had a crude, populist opposition to capitalism. They opposed banks and the expansion of big business, believing it would enslave white Americans. Instead they promoted a vision of  the USA as a continent where all whites would be able to own their own farms and businesses as independent artisans, farmers, shop keepers and craftsmen – with slaves to assist them.

Democrats were hostile to the industrial revolution and the development of modern capitalism because they saw (correctly) that capitalism would eliminate this parochial economic system – replacing farmers with agrobusiness, shopowners with department stores, gold whittlers with mines etc. This process was no picnic. Capitalism was ruthless in destroying feudal opposition to it’s development, and the working conditions – most notoriously those of Victorian Britain – are infamous for their depravity.

BUT… capitalism was a massive improvement on what had preceded it, which was the rule of Kings and Queens, and an economy run along the whims of unelected noblemen. Capitalism produced economic growth on a scale unheard of in human history – the development of modern industry, the mass production of consumer goods, the move from the country to the city, and most importantly, the rise of the working class. This is the most important part for socialists as now the group of people who produced clothes, dug the mines, ran the railways etc could be organised, and could eventually become the rulers of a new society – a socialist one.

One Democrat who owned slaves at  this time, President Andrew Jackson, became infamous for his opposition to any central bank for the USA using his veto power to overrule it. Jackson today is heralded by many anti-banking Occupy activists for this stance. But Jacksons opposition to banking was not based on any socialist or even progressive desire for the working class to rule society – it was about defending small businesses and the institution of slavery against this massively powerful and dynamic economic system, that threatened to overpower all religious, nationalist and feudal opposition to it

President Andrew Jackson

Writing at the time Karl Marx identified these kind of “anti-capitalists” as feudal socialists,

“In this way arose feudal Socialism: half lamentation, half lampoon; half an echo of the past, half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the bourgeoisie to the very heart’s core; but always ludicrous in its effect, through total incapacity to comprehend the march of modern history”

Put simply, while many anti-banking forces in the 1800′s had legitimate points about the unaccountability of these financial institutions, their opposition fundamentally came from a desire to maintain an unfair, feudal and backward society. At that time Marx identified Capitalism as a brutal, but progressive force – one of the reasons why he wrote a letter of congratulations to Lincoln during the US Civil War for crushing feudalism and the slave economy of the South.

This radical transformation of society, from feudalism to capitalism terrified and alarmed many people in Europe and the USA. These societies existed during a time when the theories of race were commonly accepted and discussed as a science – to justify both slavery and the imperial exploitation of Africa and other colonies. As well as racist prejudice one other common bigotry was anti-Semitism, the hatred of Jews. As capitalism developed, producing transnational, global insitutions many racists alarmed at this transformation identified the enemy behind it – that of the Jew. As part of anti-semitic prejudice throughout Europe, Jews were forced into jobs in the financial sector that Christians deemed immoral – like banking. So when the industrial revolution was financed by and empowered banks with Jewish owners anti-semites saw a conspiracy by the Jewish race to enslave the white Christian race.

So much wrong in just one picture

The most notorious subject of these anti-Semitic conspiracy theories was the Rothschild Family. The Rothschilds were an extremely wealthy and powerful banking family during the 1800′s, who exercised massive influence over the developing capitalist economies of Europe and North America. This combination of power and Judaism made them the frequent target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. As a major banking institution there’s no question the Rothschild’s would have been involved in underhand and conspiratorial plans to influence governments and secure their markets – but the accusations labelled at the Rothschilds go way beyond criticism of bankers influence, and into conspiracy nonsense about world Jewish plots to enslave the world. For example, the Rothschilds were accused of both funding American Capitalism and Russian Bolsheviks, a ridiculous allegation that had it’s base in anti-socialist racist sentiment. Many anti-Semites were disturbed at the challenge global capitalism posed to nation states sovereignty and could not understand the power of the economic system they faced, so instead chose to blame it on conspiratorial groups.

These ideas – anti-banking sentiment of small business Democrats, and anti-semitic opposition to the Rothschilds – unfortunately haven’t remained in the past. They continue to be advocated by people like Zeitgeist, Alex Jones and David Icke. This piece by Norfolk Community Action Group criticizes the influence these forces have in the occupy movement,

“The populist narrative is also an integral part of the political views of conspiracy theorists, far right activists, and anti-Semites. For anti-Semites, the elites are the Jews; for David Icke, the elites are the reptilians; for nationalists, they are members of minority ethnic, racial, or religious groups; for others, they are the “globalists,” the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, the Federal Reserve, etc. All of these various conspiracy theories also tend to blend in and borrow from each other. Additionally, the focus on “Wall Street” also has specific appeal to those who see the elite as represented by finance capital, a particular obsession of the anti-Semites, Larouchites, followers of David Icke, etc. “The Rothschilds” are the favorite stand-in codeword of choice to refer to the supposed Jewish control of the banking system.”

The “Rothschild Zionists” feature in both Alex Jones and Icke’s material – which blame a 200 year old banking institution for conspiratorial involvement in global capitalism. The reality is that the Rothschilds influence declined by the early 1900s – blaming them for the financial crisis is like blaming the British East India company for the ongoing exploitation of Asia. The Rothschilds have been surpassed and overtaken by new financial institutions.

So why do they continue to be prevalent in conspiracy theories related to banking? Because in the USA, when people are discontent and angry at the banks instead of looking to socialism – which has historically been weak in the USA – they go back to the most prominent anti-banking ideas and figures, which unfortunately are anti-semitic. Likewise many bankers are identified as “Rothschild Zionists” by Icke who clearly have no familial connection to the Rothschild family at all – like David Miliband and DSK. But it’s ok, as Icke explains:

“I should also stress that when I say ‘Rothschild’, I don’t only mean those called ‘Rothschild’, nor even all of the people who are known by that name. There are many in the Rothschild family and its offshoots who have no idea what the hierarchy is doing and there are many ‘Rothschilds’ who don’t carry the name itself.

When I say ‘Rothschild’, I am referring to the Rothschild bloodline because, as I have detailed in my books, they have long had breeding programmes that produce offspring that are brought up under other names.”

This is effectively an excuse to link all Jewish people in areas of power together, based on racist ideas of “bloodlines”, and using the code “Zionist” instead of what people really mean, which is Jew. Whatever crimes have been committed in the Zionist enterprise of the State of Israel against the Palestinians, the idea a country of five million Israelis control international finance is absurd and only makes sense if you believe in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Last year SSY wrote about how an internet documentary called Zeitgeist played upon many of these conspiracy theories around finance, with reference to the banks. As well as the Zeitgeist movement another video has been doing the rounds – this one was posted by Occupy Glasgow:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJVJ5_4qNSo

The documentary is nowhere near as anti-Semitic as Icke’s rants. But it does have the same disturbing focus on the Rothschilds – along with lizardesque imagery for bankers – and puts slaveowner and Native American killer President Jackson in a good light. It makes its focus the inequities of the banking system – many of its criticisms have a point, such as the fact that the US Federal Reserve isn’t actually publically owned, but controlled by unaccountable and unelected bankers who have the power to control the US currency. However all of it stems from the same Jacksonian fear of big business and banking and not capitalism itself. Taking a look at its website – called “The American Dream” – it identifies the “good guys” as Alex Jones, The Cato Institute, The Drudge Report and other right-wing sites. They also link to Ron Paul, a Libertarian Republican who thinks someone dying from lack of medical care is choosing ‘freedom’.


The 99% can fuck off and die if they don’t have health insurance

Elsewhere on its website it calls for less government intervention in medicare, social security and federal spending. In short, a demand that the Government’s debt should be cut so we aren’t slaves to evil bankers – regardless of the massive job cuts entailed. They also ask you to be more like your grandfather, and not get into debt – ignoring that consumer debt would not be as  massive if peoples wages went up at the same rate as profits in the USA.  There’s also consideration to reintroduce the gold standard – that is link the value of your currency to the amount of gold you have. It’s very popular amongst the headbanger right, particularly with Glenn Beck fans, who like the idea as if you have gold the bankers can’t control you with their easily printed “fiat” money. But why would you want to organise a society’s currency on the value of a base metal, and have it fluctuate depending on mining rates? And why is it people who are demanding a rush to the gold standard are quite happy to sell you lots of precious gold for your useless fiat money?

The new Shitegeist

Jones, Ron Paul and the libertarian US right don’t call for the debt to be paid by taxing the rich, or for the economy to be restructured on need. This is because they’ve picked anti banking sentiment from a time when small scale traders were trying to survive against the onslaught of capitalism – a hopeless and reactionary struggle. Trying to solve the world economic crisis by trying to resurrect an economic system from 200 years ago is doomed to failure – it couldn’t withstand the force of capitalism then, in its progressive phase and it can’t stand against it now even if it’s clearly dying. What’s neccessary is a movement which organises not in the interests of small businesses vs banks, but workers and the poor vs all strands of capitalism. Only then will the interests of the 99% genuinely be enforced.

47 Comments

  1. james says:

    Lots of good points but sadly the SSP have been mainly conspicious by there absence at Occupy Glasgow. It would be far better if you joined the movement so you could put your ideas at GA’s rather than, as some of your members have unfortunately done, snipe from the sidelines.

  2. Andy Bowden says:

    Occupy Glasgow clearly has no positive role to play in the anti-cuts movement in Glasgow. There’s no point getting involved with an occupation that’s top heavy with rape apologists and conspiracy theorists, with no real base in the wider anti-cuts movements like COR, student anti cuts activists etc. 99% of the people I know in COR, and formerly from the Hetherington occupation who are the new generation of people we want to work with will have nothing to do with it.

    What makes Occupy Wall St worthwhile (and worthwhile challenging reactionary sentiment there) is that it does have a much wider base of people involved who are not already activists and have their heads screwed on ie no ranting about Vatican one world currencies or holofractal realities.

  3. james says:

    I have to disagree Andy, it is a pity that socialists such as yourself are dismissing the movement rather than trying to shape it, however in the long run the loss will, I suspect, be yours.

  4. Andy Bowden says:

    I think you’d be much better off trying to shape and involve yourself in COR than OG, as most young active socialists have done in the past 6 months. Realistically large sections of the anti-cuts movements are not going to involve themselves in a camp that acted so dismissively and abusively to a rape that happened on it’s watch, that’s a simple fact that you’d know if you had involvement amongst the anti-cuts organisations that have come out of the student movement.

  5. james says:

    Dismissing the #occupyglasgow movement, and lets be clear that happened long before the sexual assualt in the square, your “young active socialists” have sadly mirrored the attitudes of the “Old left.” I do wish COR well but having spent time talking to those passing through the square during the occupation there it is clear there are forces there we have to realte to and intervene alongside.

    However it ism of course your choice. Stay in the tiny ghetto the left in Scotland currently inhabits while accusing everyone outside of being “rape apologists” or conspiracy theorists, or reach out to a new and living movement.

    I know which I choose.

  6. Frank Martin says:

    Would that be James as in James Doleman?

  7. trumpetcrumpet says:

    carry on building your little cult of david icke fans. frankly, i’m happy to see you all contained in a bunch of tents in a park in winter, away from people who might mistakenly take your crap seriously. we care about the struggles of our class and the fight against austerity, not our egos.

  8. yer granny says:

    Brilliant article – well written and researched.

  9. Ewan says:

    James: I’m interested to hear why you feel engagement with Occupy Glasgow is of such importance.

    The occupation of a public park, without demands, targets or even a clear idea of who or what it is fighting doesn’t seem a very useful strategy for transforming society- in lieu of concrete action many sections of the occupy movement seem content to act as a discussion forum, in reality only acting to reproduce much of the oppression that underpins the society we as socialists want to change- as we saw with the camp’s dismissive and patronising approach to women’s physical safety.

    I’m sure there are some constructively minded individuals involved, but from the camp’s facebook and forums I’ve also encountered white supremacists, misogynists, anti-semitism, not to mention bizarre and irrelevant rants about the nature of reality. I appreciate your argument that I could raise my opinion at a GA and attempt to guide the camp into becoming something it currently isn’t- a base of effective action- but I don’t really see the value in this. I’m not a socialist because I enjoy talking about it, and there are plenty of more effective campaigns going on in anti-austerity and student movements right now.

    What’s so important about being in a tent in a park that makes it better than already-existing campaigns elsewhere, where I don’t have to argue over basic points of progressive politics and respectful behaviour to get anything done?

  10. Andy Bowden says:

    “However it ism of course your choice. Stay in the tiny ghetto the left in Scotland currently inhabits while accusing everyone outside of being “rape apologists” or conspiracy theorists, or reach out to a new and living movement.”

    COR, Hetherington etc are not the “tiny ghetto the left in Scotland currently inhabits”. It’s a sizeable and vibrant anti-cuts organisation which has consistently had at least 40 people attending at it’s fortnightly meetings. You and the rest of the SWP would do well to reappraise your original position that setting up COR was sectarian – incidentally before any meetings were held of COR. I have worked with the people involved in COR and OG and it is mindnumbingly obvious which one is a new and living movement and which is a protest that lost any capability for becoming broader after the rape and their response to it.

    And the people who dismissed OG from the beginning were by and large female activists, who said they didn’t want to be involved in OG because they felt the people running the camp did not take women’s safety seriously. These people unfortunately had a much clearer understanding and intelligence of what is actually the situation and forces of the anti cuts movement on the ground.

  11. Adrian says:

    I’ve been complaining about this Zeitgeist and David Icke crap for ages, and all I get is ‘come along to the general assembly’. I’m fed up with that. I can’t be assed turning up and being told I’m being close minded for ignoring people. I’ve had people tell me that Zeitgeist is as worth paying attention to as Noam Chomsky. Some people need ignored, and we have peer reviews and all sorts to save us listening to tales of the Queen being a Lizard Space Jew.

  12. Really good article.

    Didnt know that about the Democrats supported slavery, I had always thought that they had opposed it and indeed that Lincoln was a Democrat. From reading around the web, it seems that this is a common falacy – good rebranding exercise by the Democrats there!

    There is an issue with fractional reserve banking and fiat money – its really hard to put your finger on, but the existance of the dollar as an effective world currency through oil being denominated in dollars has allowed them to build up an enormous level of debt. Debt is essentially selling future labour, and state debt is selling the future aggregated labour which indebted state can extract from the workforce through taxation (even taxes on the super-rich are essentially appropriation of labour, as the super-rich aquire their wealth from the surplus value of their workers). The suggested return to the Gold Standard tho is puzzling. The US is the largest holder of gold and consequently a return to the gold standard would effectively see its debt hardened and the dollar fall through the floor – especially if oil was traded in gold.

    In terms of OG, while there is merit within the Occupy movement, it is fuzzy and unfocussed. It is unclear what *exactly* they are trying to achieve. I have heard it stated that this is not political and not a protest. At best I can see an alternative society seeking to be developed, but its dreadfully woosey. If you are going to occupy something – occupy redundant factories, schools, housing complexes – it would seem that is the direction that the movement in the US is eventually going in – with moves afoot to occupy foreclosed buildings, but I see no such appetite for such things at OG.

    Having been around OG, I can’t see where it is going – at the outset a number of people who had links with the unions, community groups, anti-cuts groups and political organisations were involved – these people dropped away in frustration – with the assault being the final nail in the coffin.

  13. James Scott says:

    When you start attacking Alex Jones and the Zeitgeist movement you can count me out for following your movement.
    You will continue to be slaves to the establishment if you start attacking people who want to expose these EVIL BANKERS
    and GLOBAL ELITE who rule the World.

  14. Clear analysis says:

    Attacking Occupy Glasgow and stating that they are rape apologists and David Icke conspiracy theorists is pretty low. It is an ad hominem attack that is not based on reality. If you were genuinely concerned you would participate. But no you have become the keyboard warriors you love to diss. I am not a member of Occupy Glasgow (having been there only once) but I believed the concerted attack on them from some of the self appointed guardians of the left in Glasgow is based as much from some jealousy and petty childish rivalry as it is from anything else. The global occupy movement is in the newspapers daily. Your staid marches from point a to point b achieve very little. In general you have not convinced the people of Glasgow. Look at your numbers. Glasgow is a working class city and you cannot get anyone out on the streets. Conventional leader driven socialism has failed. Put down your microphones (that includes occupy Glasgow or any other group who seek to impose their leaders – be they non-hierarchical leaders!) and operate on a truly non-hierarchical participatory basis. That involves an equal sharing of discussion – not the same people droning on ad nauseum!

    My belief – you are not participating because you did not organise it and are not leaders. This hurts your ego. You think you are a vanguard but many of you are a self righteous clique. Can you not see that many see you as strange as the Zeitgeist movement? The reality is the internet youth care more for Anonymous and Wikileaks then the relations of production – adapt or remain irrelevant. Do you remember Marx said he wasn’t a Marxist? Remember that! Embrace difference!

    So some of the Occupy people are new to activism – so what? You should be encouraging them – but what do you do? Sit from the sidelines – condemn, patronise and slander! Remember the statement you guys once loved – ‘haters gonna hate’ – well guess who that reminds me of? From the forums I have read occupy members repeatedly offer you guys the hand of friendship – your response – to refuse and repeatedly attack them.

    My advice – look into yourselves – stop trying to be leaders – be modest – the left is meant to be about love of humanity – try and see the big picture! If you have concerns meet them and discuss them – it’s pretty simple!!! If not leave them alone and lets hope that they do some good and sort out any internal problems they may have!

  15. Andy Bowden says:

    “You will continue to be slaves to the establishment if you start attacking people who want to expose these EVIL BANKERS
    and GLOBAL ELITE who rule the World.”

    There isn’t one single GLOBAL ELITE who rules the entire world – there is conflict and competition between the German, UK, Chinese, Russian, Chinese etc economies and imperialisms. If anything the world is becoming less ruled by one country (the USA) as China and other regional powers like Iran, Brazil, India are gaining in stature. All of these countries have ruling classes, and they often work together on issues concerning them but it is way oversimplified and inaccurate to say they are all on the same page as one another consistently.

    “Attacking Occupy Glasgow and stating that they are rape apologists and David Icke conspiracy theorists is pretty low. It is an ad hominem attack that is not based on reality”

    Seen several posts on their FB group from folk involved in the camp supporting Icke and engaging in rape apologism. The rest of your post doesn’t change that fact.

    We’ve been happy to work in occupations like the Free Hetherington (longest student occupation in UK) which clearly went far beyond established left. A to B marches don’t change much, I agree but neither does camping indefinitely at point A. You need to take strategy and tactics into account on what protests you launch and it’s clear that the usefulness of OG was over after their response to the rape.

    The new forces on the left that need to be engaged with and approached aren’t Icke supporters, they’re people like Glasgow Womens Activist Forum who are largely made up of the folk we work with in COR and at the FH, who criticised OG for it’s lack of response to women’s safety.

  16. Sarah says:

    “Attacking Occupy Glasgow and stating that they are rape apologists and David Icke conspiracy theorists is pretty low. It is an ad hominem attack that is not based on reality”

    Oh it is very much based in reality. Occupy Glasgow ARE rape apologists and David Icke conspiracy theorists, that is a factual facty fact, and lying about it doesn’t change that no activist worth wasting your breath talking to will go near Occupy Glasgow, particularly female activists, because we are NOT safe if we go there, and not just because a gang rape of a vulnerable woman happened there but because of the attitudes towards women’s safety and how important it is of the people who remain.

    Yours faithfully,
    A proud lizardJEWfemiNAZIevilBANKERfakemoneyFEDglobalELITEinserthyperboleHERE communist

  17. Occupier says:

    I’d just like to point out that until the incident happened, there were a load of Socialists (of different parties) attending GA’s, coming to the Square. Then they vanished. We had to deal with the reality and gravity of the situation. Conspiracy theorists don’t like reality. They vanished also. I’d like to invite you all to the weekly safer spaces induction, Saturdays 1 pm.

    You would be most welcome to come make suggestions, we welcome your input. I’ve shyed away from making judgements on people who have called me a rape apologist or a conspiracy theorist.

    The reason being, they are making descisions on the limited information they have at hand.

    I am a rape survivor and find conspiracy theories to be utter hocus pocus.

    But that means nothing i f all I do is write it here, I cannot prove a word I am saying…which is why I would like to meet you all, speak with you, and share with you my experiences.

    Please engage with us, you may find the reality to be quite different from the virtual.

  18. Occupier says:

    Also I’d just like to add, this is an indredibly astute and well written article!

  19. Ooft! says:

    I’m ashamed to be a socialist right now after reading such Immature Crap! Never has a saying had so much truth “the left will eat itself”.

    Why can’t we all just get along? Stop slagging people with common objectives and do something constructive.

    I only ask for tolerance, equality and respect.

    All my love.

    ……….

  20. Andy Bowden says:

    anti-semitic arguments don’t deserve tolerance, equality or respect. Onelove xxxx

  21. Ooft! says:

    Good luck Andy

  22. Andy Bowden says:

    Btw, the ‘left isn’t eating itself’ because Icke and Jones are quite clear that they don’t consider themselves part of the Left. Criticizing these people isn’t sectarian it’s legitimate disagreement with folk with dodgy politics.

  23. Squeak says:

    People don’t want to come to the camp because it is unsafe, and because of the disgusting misogyny that got spewed everywhere, and that doesn’t make us cowardly or lumping everything on everyone else.

  24. Neil B says:

    Great article, Andy.

    One question – how does Alex Jones fit all that into the day, in between presenting The One Show?

  25. DuncanB says:

    On International Hate Crime Day, Glasgow Occupied organised and held a commemoration against hate crime, directly in response to the rape in George Square and the horrific murder of Stuart Walker in Cumnock.
    One hundred and fifty people were there. Where was the SSY?

  26. Andy Bowden says:

    It was nice of them to have a vigil, but they’d be better off dealing with the apologists for the rape in their own camp and the members who intimidated two women who tried to raise criticisms of the occupation when they were there (stopping them from leaving and kicking a bin over saying “they didn’t talk about the rape”) before they expecting people to go to their events. Most young women I know in the anti-cuts movement would not have attended their vigil for these reasons, a fact the middle aged male commentators here should take into account.

  27. DuncanB says:

    What does “dealing with the apologists for the rape in their own camp” mean exactly? GO is an open organisation people come and go, no one can be forced to stay or leave the group. Its both its strength and its weakness in that many different ideas are expressed within the group which don’t necessary reflect the majority.
    But its decision after a full and frank three hour discussion in the General Assembly, after the rape, was to support and build the vigil. What more do you want?

  28. Andy Bowden says:

    “What does “dealing with the apologists for the rape in their own camp” mean exactly?”

    Not issuing a press release from the camp distancing themselves from the women that was raped. An end to constantly referring to the rape as ‘alleged’. Pulling up a guy at the GA who said there wouldn’t be as much furore if it was a man who was raped (he got applause instead of criticism).

    If you don’t remove people who intimidate women (by physically preventing them from leaving the space for example) with criticisms of the camp who have tried to engage with it then you can’t complain when the camp gets criticized. We had problems with abusive folk in the Hetherington, as I’m sure any long term occupation would – but we did ban people from the space who harrassed folk. There are still incidents of women who’ve went to the camp and raised disagreement having to deal with abuse and physical intimidation well after the safer spaces policy was supposedly enacted.

  29. DuncanB says:

    And all this is why you didn’t go to the Vigil Against Hate Crime? You couldn’t go along and argue for your politics with people you disagreed with?
    Pathetic.

  30. Andy Bowden says:

    These points were raised at the GA and ignored by the camp. And incidentally they weren’t raised by SSY or members from any other left political party – they were raised by independent activists, mainly those who took part in the Hetherington and COR. Several people independent of each other all tried to engage with the camp at it’s GA, and all came back saying the same thing – they weren’t taking the incident on board.

    How exactly can you ‘argue politics’ with people who physically prevent you from leaving when you disagree with them? Or when one of the security members of the camp shouts over people who try to criticize? There’s no point engaging with that.

  31. DuncanB says:

    “How exactly can you ‘argue politics’ with people who physically prevent you from leaving when you disagree with them? Or when one of the security members of the camp shouts over people who try to criticize? There’s no point engaging with that.

    I’m genuinely puzzled at to what people could be prevented from leaving. George square?
    People got heated and raised their voices … awww diddums.
    Best of luck in overthrowing capitalism.

  32. Andy Bowden says:

    “I’m genuinely puzzled at to what people could be prevented from leaving. George square?”

    Someone was locked in a tent and prevented from leaving.

  33. James says:

    Tents have locks Andy?

  34. James says:

    Since when did tents come equipped with “locks” Andy?

  35. Duncan,

    I kicked around OG from the 15th to the 26th October. In that period, I became more and more and more worried about it – since then I havent been near the place and have no intention of doing so. I’ve been told this isnt a protest, its not about politics and its not anti-capitalist by the occupiers – if all that is true then really its just a few tents in a park and has no purpose or interest for me. I find several of the occupiers intimidating, both in person and online, and I’ve also been threatened online by someone who I am fairly certain is associated with OG. I’ve been told by several occupiers and visitors about how they have feel intimidated by occupiers, the last time as recently as within the last week. I’ve heard stories about threats, intimidation and violence going on in the camp, of self-declared neo-nazis doing security duties and shouting white power slogans through the mics and of tolerated behaviour within the camp that I find completely unacceptable and which demonstrates a lack of safety awareness not to mention an exploitative element.

    I want to work with anti-capitalists on political activism who are committed to political change not just in the external realm but who are also prepared to examine power, privilage and its manifestations within activist communities. Occupy Glasgow holds no attraction for me whatsoever. If I wanted to go camping in the middle of November, I’d choose somewhere a lot warmer than Kelvingrove Park. OG could be ignored, but my concern with it is that it is actively dangerous – there are dangerous politics swilling around it – from white supremicism to conspiraloonacy; and that the space is fundamentally unsafe – the gangrape of a pregnant woman didnt happen in a vacuum, it occurred within a space where rape culture had a considerable hold – as evidenced by the actions and pronouncements of several of the occupiers after the event.

  36. Andy Bowden says:

    James – it’s fairly easy to stand in the way of a tent entrance and stop someone from leaving. I know the person who made the claim, and they are not involved with any group on the left.

  37. Sarah says:

    Duncan you’re a fucking idiot. It may be “diddums” to you to be physically and verbally intimidated by men, but that’s because you are a fucking man you stupid prick.

  38. “And all this is why you didn’t go to the Vigil Against Hate Crime? You couldn’t go along and argue for your politics with people you disagreed with?”

    Duncan, I hardly think that a vigil against Hate Crime called after the gangrape of a pregnant woman and the murder of a young gay man is an appropriate place to start a political argument. And that’s one of the reasons that I didn’t go – I didn’t believe that some of the people there would be appropriately respectful, and I would have found that behaviour difficult to tolerate, potentially further upsetting survivors of sexual violence and gaybashing.

  39. DuncanB says:

    Is this the level of ‘debate’ on this website? A gentle jibe gets a torrent of foul name calling in reply?
    This bullying abuse has no place on a Socialist website.
    And you accuse GO of intimidation?

  40. Are you serious Duncan???

    You are boo-hooing over being called a stupid prick, yet when women are threatened, physically intimidated and verbally abused your response is “Diddums”??

    You have no fucking idea.

  41. DuncanB says:

    Still waiting for this site to ‘sort out’ the bullies on this website. Or is it that you’re demanding something from the GO that you are not willing to do yourself?

  42. DuncanB says:

    @Mhairi do you know what bullying is? Because you and your friend here are class A bullies.

  43. No Duncan, calling someone a stupid prick who is behaving like a stupid prick is not bullying, it is descriptive.

    Bullying is shouting people down, talking over them, physically intimidating them, refusing to allow them to leave somewhere they feel unsafe, being violent in their presence for the purposes of intimidation, threating them with gangrape, denying them their perspective and experiences and demanding that they “shut up” and dont talk about certain issues and becoming violent if they dont follow the “instructions” given.

    If you think you are being bullied here, you have led a very sheltered life.

  44. Sarah says:

    Lol bullying. I’m sure you’d know nothing about that. GTF, boring

  45. john l says:

    Duncan B your a member of the swp – yes? The Swp’s position was that the camp should disband itself following the rape. You’ve since abandoned that principled position. Can you say opportunism?

  46. Andy Mc says:

    This article is seriously discreditting the Socialist Youth movement. All the hard work thats been done and then you start to lash out at people who are doing something their own way.

    I noticed somewhere that David Icke is selling out Wembley Arena for his upcoming shows. It wasnt long ago he was a public laughing stock and now people are queing around corners to hear this guy talk. Theres nothing more powerful than an idea whos time has come.

    • Andy Bowden says:

      David Icke’s site is full of anti-semtitic trash, with rants about how reptiles rule the world. He is a nutter regardless of how many people choose to see him (and lots of folk will see him for the same reason people watch his you tubes, to laugh at how mad he is.)

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