Doublespeak in the Occupy Manifesto
May 11, 2012
The lovely folk of Occupy have finally put together a list of policy demands, which have been perhaps unfairly compared to the demands of every student union for the last century. It’s true that they are long on rhetoric and short on actual research on how their world would actually work in practice and why it’s different to the forms of socialism we’ve already tried. It’s also true that they haven’t stopped to think about how the words in their manifesto cash out once they’re translated into their underlying components. For example:
“The economy must be put to the service of people’s welfare, and to support and serve the environment, not private profit. We want a system where labour is appreciated by its social utility, not its financial or commercial profit.”
What is ‘the economy’? The economy is the labour of everyone, the products of the effort of everyone in our country and on our planet. Translated, this means that everyone must be forced to labour for people’s welfare, which while it is a noble end is hardly a noble means. Slavery in the service of virtue remains slavery.
Unless the Occupy people can find a way of reconciling this fundamental problem, their manifesto will pass into history as yet another attempt to claim socialism works. History has already had other ideas.