With apologies for furthering the argument... in response to this. I have two outstanding questions after reading it, even though it's probably the fairest account in support of the protests that i've read.
1. What is an occupation? Why do protesters occupy things? Seriously. I’m not sure any more. I thought the whole point of occupation was to cause inconvenience. Presumably, the Occupy Wall Street thing chose Wall Street rather than, I don’t know, Sunset Boulevard, because it was a location broadly associated with the reason for protesting. Otherwise - if location hadn't mattered - they should probably have chosen a field, because it is easier to camp in a field than on Wall Street. Clearly, the occupiers wanted to occupy the place they had issues with. Occupy London Stock Exchange would have done the same, but as we all know they couldn’t go to London Stock Exchange, so they occupied a square outside a cathedral instead, because it was nearby. But as they had no particular issue with the cathedral, they attempted to be as nice to it as possible. Fair enough.
But they were, on the other hand, still occupying the area. And doing this quite successfully, it would seem, as they have caused the cathedral sizeable inconvenience. This is utterly undeniable. Even if the cathedral staff wanted to remain open and the police waterboarded them into coalescence (actually, especially if so, thinking about it), the cathedral has obviously now been caused sizeable inconvenience. St Paul’s has shut and is losing money needed for maintenance. This would not have occurred if the protesters had not occupied the square in front of it. The cathedral has suffered because of the protesters.
Given that (as noted) the protesters are not protesting against the cathedral, I can only conclude that they have massively misfired, and, somewhere along the way, forgotten why protesters occupy particular things.
2. Can the protesters really be credited with making bankers reevaluate their life choices and capitalism? I do know quite a few people who have gone into what is essentially the financial sector. None of them match the stereotype of the ‘greedy banker’. Maybe they are just not rich or fat enough yet. Or, on the other hand, maybe they have just chosen a convenient job which they know will earn them a good – excellent, in fact – living salary. Pretty logical really. I absolutely would have done the same if i'd had any common sense. (But no, i'll work three unpaid internships simultaneously, that'll be really clever and fun.) But the main point here is that my friends haven’t got these boring money jobs because they are massively enchanted with capitalism or because they love money and enjoy spitting on tramps and hippies. Working in finance makes sense for many practical reasons, and that’s it; we say that you ‘sell your soul’ when you get a job in the city precisely because such work is uninspiring and unengaging. 99 percent of the time, working in the city is not love for money, but just convenience. Greedy bankers are straw men; most of them are just bankers, profiting from a system prepared to give them lots of money for reasonable work.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that plenty of bankers and whoever else think that the protesters have a point. Why not? It's not like it's costing them anything. They may have a slightly greater vested interest in capitalism than the protesters, but let’s be honest – everyone knows that capitalism isn’t going to vanish any time soon; the protesters aren’t actually a threat, are they. And although they may depend on it to some extent, it’s deeply unlikely that a majority of bankers actually feel any particular attachment towards capitalism as a system in itself. It's just this weird alien thing giving them stuff. A banker expressing support for the Occupy movement is like a 12-year-old whispering to himself in his bedroom that his headmaster has a silly name, even though he’s just been given a scholarship. Or something. Hmm.
What annoys me most of all, though, is how my default writing mode is 'hugely sarcastic and bitter', but i don't seem able to change that. Plus it is quite late so i will stop. Sorry!