From Protest to Progress, what’s next for capitalism?

22 Mar

Last night we, Itchy and Bacon went to a debate organised by nef, the new economics foundation which discussed the Occupy movement and the ways in which we as individuals and collectively as part of various social movements can move away from the current economic system which is not working for the 99%.

It would have made sense to Storify the event, although the network coverage wasn’t great and it wasn’t really a tweeting crowd, so I’ve done a little blog.

The headline speaker was Ross Jackson, the author of Occupy World Street, a global roadmap for radical economic and political reform who spoke of how current global financial practices are driving economies to the brink of collapse and his plan of action to allow countries to regain control of their own economies through what he calls ecological economics, through a new WTO and a new World Bank, sovereign trade and the reduction of capital flow.

All of which will be led by a handful of small countries that are ready to break away from the current system with the support of global social movements. This is of course a very simplistic way of describing his strategy, but outlines the barebones of a real alternative. Here are a couple of quotes from Ross which really stuck out:

‘Economics is politics in disguise’

‘Capitalism has many different meanings to different people’

‘The World Bank, the WTO and the IMF are currently the biggest barrier to sustainability’

‘A massive gap between ideas and what’s happening on the ground’

‘Current system doesn’t recognise limits to growth’ (See the Impossible Hamster)

Fanny Malinen from Occupy London was very positive and upbeat about the future of the Occupy movement and did stress the important of institutional reform. Here are some quotes, Occupy isn’t going anywhere:

‘The Occupy movement shows that global and local movements are part of the same picture’

‘Main strength is the diversity of the movements (and the people involved)’

‘Not just a protest, it is a process’

‘Not just about the physical place (St Paul’s etc)’

‘There has been a significance change in discourse’

‘It’s about where next’

Danni Paffard from Move Your Money UK and UK Uncut explained why it’s so important to have ‘Protest and progress at the same time’ and why a large part of the campaigns she’s been involved with are about ‘educating’ people about the current system and how you can make tangible steps such as ‘Moving your Money’ as part of ‘creating dialogue for what we actually want’. Dannie was almost animated when she described how she’s often asked ‘what’s wrong with the banks?’


‘Lots of us believe we live an ethical life, but who has your money!?’

‘It’s such a massive problem, it’s almost intangible’

March is move your money month, you can pledge to move your money now. We’re moving our money this month.

Tony Greenham, Head of Finance and Business at nef was the final speaker. Here are some quotes which made my brain throb (in a good way):

Capitalism is a relic’

‘The idea of trickle-down is a mirror’

‘The idea that you grow your way out of poverty is a complete joke’ 

‘Set up your own currency system, set up your own local energy system’ 

The whole debate and vibrant questions from the audience (mostly much older than us) were filled with hope, doubt and inspiration to be part of a movement which is working towards an economy for the people and the planet. It seems a reassessment of our current value system is a crucial place to start.


One Response to “From Protest to Progress, what’s next for capitalism?”

  1. jtascensao March 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Some great quotes. Nice article.

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