by Robert Hunziker
In America, a nascent movement against “politics as usual” or to put it another way, “anything other than the establishment” is reflected by the popularity of weird, offbeat presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson. This looming national mood reflects a provocative anti-establishmentarianism, targeting exploitative and repressive neoliberal governmental policies.
But, America’s fledgling anti-establishmentarianism is relatively negligible when compared to the worldwide movement, which is gathering momentum by the month, by the year. It is now officially worldwide, as acrimony turns outrageously furious when people hit the streets.
Capitalists should be concerned. After all, neoliberal principles have effectively removed working people from upward mobility, noticeably into a downward spiral, in the context of “winner takes all economics.”
Now that neoliberal policies of 35 years have pulled the rug out from underneath workers of the world, intensity of street protests increases, portending a dark future of massive uncontrollable demonstrations, bringing down the walls. It’s happened time and again throughout history, the French Revolution (1789) and the Russian Revolution (1917) are but two prime examples of street anger taking heads, bodies, leaving behind twisted souls.
For example, Central London erupted into massive street protests on November 5th as chants of “One Solution: Revolution” rang throughout highbrow Great George Street, within iconic Trafalgar Square, along opulent Regent Street and in front of royal Buckingham Palace. Guy Fawkes’ image was omnipresent, an anachronism of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605 when Fawkes and co-conspirators intended to assassinate King James I in order to restore a Catholic monarch.
According to the BBC: “The Million Mask March was organized by Anonymous to hit back at austerity measures and perceived inequality brought about by the government,” Million Mask March: Three Police Officers Treated in Hospital, BBC News, Nov. 6, 2015.
Today, Guy Fawkes’ mask, a top seller thru Amazon but banned in Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, exemplifies the mask worn by “V” in the comic book series “V for Vendetta,” battling against a fictional fascist English state.
But, nowadays, the fictional fascist English state is not fiction. As far as protestors are concerned, it’s the real thing, real fascism thru and thru, as fascism engages rampant capitalism, similar in many respects to Italy and Germany, circa 1930s.
The Daily Mail claims: “Thousands of masked anti-capitalist demonstrators descended on central London for a bonfire night protest.” Yes, today’s brand of capitalism or neoliberalism is under fire; it is disliked and an incendiary-provoking force. Signage reading “No More Cuts” clearly references austerity measures enforced in Mediterranean countries, like Greece, Italy, and Spain, as well as the UK and throughout Europe and coming to America.
After all, when economies fail to provide solutions for everyday common livelihood, and especially when banks bleed at the gills, societal government programs shudder, knowing they’ll lose their heads, figuratively the heart and soul of well-being. The big axe is dropped, cutting social programs that heretofore rescued masses from destitution, infirmity, and vagabondage.
Everywhere all across the world, parks, alleyways, and streets have never been so full of downcast stares. A supercharged capitalism, or 21st century neoliberalism, stiffly serves as the root behind downtrodden spooky forlornness, reflected within the saucy and witty, slightly sinister, smile of Guy Fawkes’ impressionistic mask.
Why all of the fuss? One logical answer is that nation-state policies and borders no longer protect jobs, as wages are forced to compete amongst the world’s most humble from shore to shore. As it happens, and ironically, neoliberal principles, over time, inadvertently kill capitalism as workers of the world are cut off at the knees, prompting ever-growing demonstrations, which can only lead to class warfare. Ultimately, it happens when too few exploit too many.
London street protestors squarely aim insults at the destruction of civil liberties, and creation of a surveillance state, and governmental disregard for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled summarily crushed by austerity measures to save the treasury that saved the bank.
Protestors in London hoist a coffin full of money through the streets, not so subtly suggesting “death to the moneyed class.”
Indeed back in 2014, the Million Mask March conducted in 481 cities was acclaimed as the largest ever protest against capitalism. Anonymous, the central organizer of the Million Mask March is closely identified with Occupy protests, Wikileaks, and the Arab Spring.
Purportedly, Anonymous is a loose and leaderless movement that makes a virtue out of dissent. Curiously, a leader is not required for increasingly large street protests. People just show up.
Setting new records in 2015, protestors hit the streets in over 670 cities, a brisk 40% increase in only twelve months, but without any of the fanfare reserved for publication by establishment media, which is likely a major misjudgment, likely a big mistake by not forewarning the capital class of imminent danger, as a result of blowback from brutal neoliberalism.
The uprisings bring questions to mind. Why are so many people inspired to hit the streets, an uncomfortable endeavor indeed, risking life and limb with each step into quasi-war-zone streets filled with angry strangers? Why do it?
By all appearances, frustration is the primary motivation, similar to what happened in late 18th century France when ordinary folks took up sticks, stones, pitchforks, and eventually guillotines to behead any and all wearing fine garments. Not only a king and a queen but snooty, pompous aristocrats and men of cloth and entire families lost heads, 16,594 guillotined in one of the world’s most powerful prototypes of anti-establishmentarianism.
Yesteryear’s Versailles is today’s gated community, similarly rich in splendorous golden touches of design with refined comfy features at odds with all but each other, whilst casually ignorant of compassion, other than “trophy donations,” for those in distress. Gates keep them out.
Meanwhile, the streets, sans restraining gates, become the stage upon which public seething comes to life, as a cascade of smoldering anger and deep frustration flash danger signals to the select few beneficiaries of neoliberalism, but nobody is watching or listening or caring, yet.