‘I don’t get taxed nearly enough,’ said ‘John the Banker’ speaking at Occupy LSX at Finsbury Square this afternoon. He said that he should be paying more than the current 40 percent tax on high earners.

This kind of statement is rare enough, but incredibly rare coming from the mouth of an investment banker who spoke out today against ‘the world of banking and the wicked web it weaves.’

A crowd gathered around to ask him questions and join the discussion. The debate ranged from the ins and outs of derivatives (a financial device that is tied in value to an underlying asset, but which varies rapidly in price over time and can easily ‘spin out of control’) and the benefits of progressive taxation to whether or not banks should be abolished.

He said that capitalists complain about the ‘moral hazards’ of debt defaults, but the moral hazards of war -fueled by profit motives- are kept out of public view. The audience came from a range of political views and at times the debate began to heat up- that’s what’s so great about the occupations, they are a forum for raw political debate where people are thrown together to discuss alternatives to austerity.

‘John’ explained that people with large credit card debts tend to be near ‘the bottom of the social-economic ladder,’ and their spending stimulates the economy in contrast to ‘savers’. Yet ordinary working people are the ones who have their wages depressed and jobs and services cut- whilst the rich with their stockpiles of money push for more tax breaks.

‘Workers produce the most value- banks should support the delivery of services and goods,’ he added, emphasising the importance of building the occupy movement.


Dan Poulton

Dan is a writer, broadcaster and campaigner.  His most recent documentary was The New Scramble For Africa and his documentaries have appeared regularly on the Islam Channel. He is an organiser for Counterfire and a regular contributor to Counterfire site.