Ooh, ah, Cantona
The most notorious philosopher of the football world, Eric Cantona, is about to lead a people’s revolution against the global banking system.
November 21, 2010 11:43 by Samuel Potter
The banks must have thought they had it made. Thanks to insanely complicated and flawed systems the world’s banks managed to help the globe into the largest recession in living memory, and take the international economy to the brink of destruction. As a reward they were largely bailed out by governments using tax dollars, who by the way also had to “create” a huge amount of new money to try to halt the economic slide.
[Kipp is of the opinion that the whole crisis seems to have been solved with more debt, which will surely be bad news in the long run.]
Anyway, the banks weathered a rough year or so, and now most of them are back to business as usual, mega-bonuses included. They’re probably laughing at us all right now – at least that’s what most people think.
Step forward Eric Cantona. Yes, Eric Cantona. The prolific footballer was as well known for his philosophical comments on life as he was his footballing skill (he once said in a cryptic interview, “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea”), and that’s before you get to his explosive temper (which saw him banned for kung-fu kicking a racist fan). He has now popped up to give the bankers a taste of his, and everyone else’s, fury.
At a newspaper interview last week, filmed and available at Youtube, Cantona has suggested that infuriated members of the public who feel betrayed and undermined by both government and the financial system could take direct action. Not through a riot, or violence, but by withdrawing all their money from the banks.
All of it.
All of them.
On one single day.
“The three million people with their placards on the streets, they go to the bank and they withdraw their money and the banks collapse,” said Cantona. “Three million, 10 million people, and the banks collapse and there is no real threat. A real revolution.”
The interview has inspired thousands, according to the UK’s Observer newspaper, including a French movement called Stopbanque who now plan to take out their cash on December 7th. They have tens of thousands of followers already, and the paper suggests the plan is spreading across Europe.
The consequences of this action are unpredictable, but we suspect the banks will weather it as they have done everything else. It also fails to make a distinction between investment and retail banking. But as a statement of public discord we think it’s simple, brilliant and justified.
A spokesperson for the French Banking Federation, Valérie Ohannesian, is quoted in the paper as saying: “My first reaction is to laugh. It is totally idiotic. One of the main roles of a bank is to keep money safe.” She seems to have completely failed to grasp that that’s exactly what the protest is about – the banks didn’t keep our money safe. It is that kind of arrogance and ignorance that has people so angry.