Back in 1977, the first indignados were called punks. Rebels with or without a cause, whatever. Most famous of them all were the Sex Pistols, in fact a commercial joke from Malcolm McLaren and boy did Johnny “Rotten” Lydon make money out of it ! Of course releasing “God save the Queen” on her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee helped a bit speaking in advertising terms. The first singles on vinyl my brothers and I bough were “Roadrunner, twice” from Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers and “No more Heroes” from the Stranglers. The Stranglers, made famous in those days by BRT broadcasting on Sunday evening using the intro from “Peaches” as the kick-off tune of Sport Weekend. But in today’s framework of the financial crisis entering year 6, next song is more appropriate :
Flash forward 35 years and over to Indignados and Occupy London. Last week, we were pleasantly surprised to read the following open letter in the Pink Papers :
Occupy London, FT 25 January 2011
How Hayek helped us to find capitalism’s flaws
By Occupy London
Fans of Friedrich von Hayek may be surprised to learn that the Austrian economist is the talk of Occupy London. Hayek’s observation that distributed intelligence in a voluntary cooperative is a hallmark of real economy rings true beneath the bells of St Paul’s. Occupy is often criticized for not having a single message but that misses the point: we are committed to incorporating different preferences before coming up with policies. In this sense, it could be said we work more like a market than the corporate boardroom or lobbyist-loaded politics – our ideas are radical but also just and democratically decided.
Full version :http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/89d242b0-4687-11e1-89a8-00144feabdc0.html
I consider it very nice from the FT to publish this letter and our indignados have a point when it comes to their democracy arguments, with some resonance of Popper’s magnum opus “The Open Society and its Enemies”. Indignados meeting Hayek half-way, albeit a controversial dissident idea, may be it’s not not so crazy after all. Briefly, I like !
So following this logic, we have to conclude with a yin and a yang. The optimistic me will shout out loud “people have the power !!” along with good old Patti “punk” Smith. And especially the power to dream and to redeem (the work of fools). But let’s not get too overexcited about it before we fall into the pitfalls of ideology. Because then we might become a bitter cynic, a state of mind even “commi cockney” Billy Brag fell victim to when he was dreaming of “the great leap forward”. Great lyrics nevertheless and on the back ground Occupy Wall Street. And Billy concludes : “Beam me up Scotty !” or briefly Dr Spock acknowledging there is no intelligent life on this planet.
Cheers and have a nice weekend