On Friday, meandering toward Moorgate Station, we happened upon the current Occupy London site, in Finsbury Square. Our first reaction: oh, this is still a thing? Huh.
We had a look at their movie screen and literature, and the only person who spoke to us quite nicely said we could take anything we wanted. Still, after a minute: “You wanna go in and look around?” “Do you?” “…nah.” “Me neither.”
15-year-old me would have chopped off a finger for the opportunity to meet real crusty hippies doing the protest/commune thing. The Greening of America was probably my first tentative step into semi-contemporary critical theory (in a town where visibly reading Plato or Descartes would be seen as dangerously subversive), and I believed every crazy word…aside from questioning how the counterculture’s supposed embrace of mass-produced clothing (in opposition to the square world’s fetishising of the imported handmade, doncha know) fit with their utter rejection of holding down something so regimented and dehumanising as factory work.
But in real life that counterculture vibe wasn't enticing. Adam Curtis has a much more interesting, if glass-half-empty, exploration of counterculture commune systems, how whatever lofty goals get subsumed into the mundane, the struggles of dominant personalities to stay that way opposed to the simple human needs for food and hygiene and who exactly is going to provide that. And if you’re going to have self-important wankers ordering you around and worry about Maslow's wide bottom, you may as well get a 9-5 and exercise your protesting bone leaving angry comments below Guardian articles and your asshole libertarian cousin’s facebook posts.
Hell, look at that sign. Even for idealistic crusties, injustice is a third-tier priority, below hygiene and regular meals.
I'm old and insecurely employed, and all I care about is that the people who clean bathrooms and produce food should get a good wage for doing it and be protected against the spiritual children of Gordon Gecko...not waste time and effort arguing over who is allowed to camp where under what circumstances in order to vaguely irritate the financial district. Somewhen, retro-adolescent-me is dreading who she'll grow into. Sorry, kiddo.