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Milbank: Anglican Church blind to protest symbolism

Milbank: Anglican Church blind to protest symbolism

Theologian John Milbank skewers the Church of England for its ignorance about protest symbolism of church and state and finance:


ANGLICAN CHURCH SPECTACULARLY BLIND TO PROTEST SYMBOLISM

By John Milbank in ABC Religion and Ethics

It has turned out that, unbeknown to themselves, the occupiers outside St Paul’s Cathedral are camped on a hornet’s nest. This nest is the secret point where the ancient arrangements of the English polity interlock with contemporary global finance.

This interlocking has two aspects.

First, as initially Maurice Glasman and now George Monbiot have pointed out, certain freewheeling banking practices, which helped to cause our current global recession, were only made possible by a routing of American monetary activity through the City of London.

This is because the City of London is uniquely independent of the normal scope of national law, while, under Tony Blair, the power of corporate financial bodies over its local self-government was considerably increased.

Yet, far from this representing a survival of some sort of medieval corruption into the modern era (as Monbiot implies), it is rather (as Glasman far more accurately insists) the result of a perversion of properly Medieval participatory and guild arrangements, originally designed to subordinate commercial to social purposes, in the modern era.

And far from this perversion being some sort of anomaly, it rather indicates, in the sharpest possible way, just how the supposedly “free market” depends upon aberrant legal privileges that license and underwrite a kind of international buccaneering that we have absurdly come to see as normative.

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