I am so pleased to see a theologian of “Radical Orthodoxy” ilk (many of whom may sound very standoffish toward much of U.S. politics) articulate what I feel has been much of the theme I have sounded since opening Occupy Theology in November.
They are a new kind of political phenomenon because it is not possible to say that they are emerging from any definite social group or ideology. They are a spontaneous protest of the people, and I think the common factor across the world is a perception that there is a new oligarchy that is profoundly removed even from the quite wealthy middle classes. These are the super-rich and the people in power, and they are increasingly coalescing. In the face of that, people have been taking to the streets.
Milbank does sound the old familiar “unclear goals”, but I am glad he says that in a context of his desire to see the church express a “middle-man” , clarifying, articulating stance for the Occupy movement.
In the face of phenomena such as Occupy London or Occupy Wall Street, the English and American churches should act as mediators, trying to coordinate new forms of debate and convince the protesters to better reflect on their goals. The risk is that these spontaneous protests will be manipulated by extremist political parties, as unfortunately has happened several times”.