Wonga Is The Wrong Way
The Occupy Wonga May Day Protest
We at Occupy feel the whole premise of Wonga is exploitative to a degree that we would be more comfortable seeing criminalized rather than recommended by government services.Wonga package their business as such:
We’re here to ease your short term, urgent cash flow needs. So, if you’re short of cash due to an unexpected bill, emergency or opportunity you can’t miss, we could help. We know life doesn’t always go to plan, so we’ve made our service as flexible as possible.
It sounds great!! Their conditions are displayed very clearly and effectively on their website.
Extracted from Wonga.com 2nd May 2014
After reading their glaringly clear terms and conditions one is forgiven for wondering how such a service is actually ‘helpful’. We at Occupy feel the whole premise of Wonga is exploitative to a degree that we would be more comfortable seeing criminalized rather than recommended by government services. Consequently we chose to conduct a protest outside Wonga on May 1st at 5pm after we had set aside our differences in ideologies and dutifully marched alongside a large variety of left leaning groups at the infamous May Day 2014 march in London. From trade unionists, to Mao Zedongers, to Marxists, to the unaffiliated who simply believe that austerity is not the answer, we marched with, from Clerkenwell Garden to Trafalgar Square in the rain.
As you can see from the livestream the Wonga protest was lively and informative with all folks involved being well behaved including the police and the big cats that decorate the entrance to where Wonga is based in Central North London. The monolithic statues provided an apt theatrical back drop illustrating the response we were expecting – silence. Nevertheless we made some noise. Our speakers spoke eloquently. They included main organizer Janie Mac who highlighted the cartoon advertising of Wonga being especially easy to digest by children who would not understand why their struggling parents cannot afford to buy them a couple of new toys. George Barda highlighted how slowly but surely the robustness of our democracy has been eaten away by the blunt power of the financial industries who effectively hold all government led economic initiatives hostage to their demands through debt. “The Golden Rule is – the one with the gold makes the rules” says George through the screeching megaphone. When will they design one that doesn’t distort I ponder . I was happy to note that many police seemed to be relaxed enough to unwittingly nod in agreement with much of what Occupier David Dewhurst said, as he skillfully included the police sector’s limitations on their access to their pensions as simply part of what Wonga represents through its very existence. His contribution can be found at the 11:22 mark of the second video.
It was a much needed day for me, an Occupier since the beginning, to feel that we are still alive and that a change is possible. Across the community people are, some rather unwillingly, noting the simplicity of the sense that we speak and the need that we all have, for more people to occupy their communities, social spaces and work places with an ethos that honors sustainability, equality and democracy. The need to question the extent of our capitalism and our societal disconnect with the desperately poor whose numbers are avoidably increasing is not the duty of activists alone. We do not have all the answers, how can we, we are not a funded think tank with a bulging university budget. However more and more we are discovering the questions the mainstream never ask, who to target and what should be formed and funded to find the answers.
Talking about questions the mainstream never ask, here is a video of an interview with Tony Benn who was honoured alongside Bob Crow in Trafalgar square on May 1st 2014. Benn’s death is made all the more sad because the number of influential men with his tenacity to integrity, seems so dangerously low these days. We will all miss you.