‘Against the Extreme Centre’

‘Against the Extreme Centre’ by Tariq Ali for the London Review of Books blog, September 30, 2011

After the hopeful Wisconsin flutter, might this be the beginning of an Egyptian summer in New York? Spring has absconded from the heart of political America for far too long. The frozen winters of the Reagan and Bush years didn’t melt with Clinton or Obama: hollow men who rule over a hollow system where money overpowers all and the much-maligned state is used mainly to preserve the financial status quo and fund the wars of the 21st century. Discussion, serious debate, openness have virtually disappeared from mainstream political life in the United States and its more extreme versions in Europe, with Britain as the cock on the dung heap. The extreme right is small. The extreme left barely exists. It is the extreme centre that dominates political and financial life.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters are consciously or sub-consciously demonstrating against a system of despotic finance-capital; a greed-infected vampire that must suck the blood of the non-rich in order to survive. The protesters are showing their contempt for bankers, for financial speculators and for their media hirelings who continue to insist that there is no alternative. Since the Wall Street system dominates Europe, local versions of that model exist here too. The young people being pepper-sprayed by the NYPD may not have worked out what they want, but they sure to hell know what they’re against and that’s an important start.read more

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