OK, the Times talks shit. Now can we move on?
In response to the ‘expose’ across the right wing press that people occupying London don’t actually sleep in their tents, the occupiers have released a video:
What it shows is that the infra-red camera supposedly showing that no one was in their tents at 11:13pm (who would be in their tents then anyway?) doesn’t work. They show people getting in and out of tents, and ‘disappearing’ as they go in – the camera doesn’t show them to be there.
Which is a good rebuttal, and hopefully there are some red faced journos at the Times, Telegraph, Express, on both BBC Question Time and This Week, who mentioned the story, etc.
But the problem is this: this type of commentary was inevitable. Journalists want to cover the camp. They, if they are right wing (and most are) they will want to be critical. But once it has come into existence there isn’t much more to say. And so they, the journalists, need a day 2 story (or, in this case, a ‘week 2 story’). If the camp doesn’t give them one, then they will focus on nonsense.
The solution to this is not to get caught up in the irrelevant debates they want to have, but to force them to criticise us on our ground – on the things we are there to debate. Set the terms of the debate. Have them criticise us for the things we want to be criticised for. There have been lots of calls to cement some demands. Some, Zizek, for example, have said the opposite – take time to think, before formulating demands. Either is fine.
But if you are going to spend time worrying about what the external world sees, and what the corporate press say – as those producing this film surely do – then surely what matters is not the debate around whether people do sleep there, but the debates around capitalism, the future of our civilisation, and the nature of our democracy.
So, yes, rebutal is important. It’s great that this film is out. Everyone should share it, and help expose the media lies. But now we need a day 3 story (or, a week three story). And this time, rather than being caught in a cul-de-sac about commitment, or who campers are, let’s make sure it’s a debate on our terms. Let’s get ahead of the ball. We shouldn’t do things just for the sake of the press, but if that has to be controversial, then great – controversy is the blood of debate. And if it’s a debate which puts the 99% against the 1%, then we will win.