Occupy London Protest March

https://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

These images show the first part of the Occupy London protest march on 30 Nov 2011 in support of the more than 2 million public workers that were said to strike against the government’s plans to cut their pensions. A group of Occupy members met at 7am at Liverpool Street station to start a chain of peaceful protest actions. Loudly accompanied by a big drum combo and speaker phone announcements they made their way through the finance district of the City of London to later cross the river to meet up with another group of protesters. All along they were showcasing a long banner with the words: “All Power to the 99%”.

New “Bank of Ideas” – Abandoned UBS building OCCUPIED

Yes, I admit it, in the last few weeks this blog has become very occupied with OCCUPY! But in all honesty in the whole UK I find nothing more fascinating than witnessing the first big political awakening this country has seen since…aeh…ever?

People finally get off their sofas and start directing their conversations away from X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing towards issues that should really concern all of us.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with light hearted entertainment from now and then, but I think in such an overload with hundreds of TV channels it can stop many people from seeing what is really going on around them.

Yesterday I read that the Occupy movement has taken over an abandoned building of UBS – the United Bank of Switzerland.

The block of former bank offices is only about 20 walking minutes away from the Occupy site at the Stock Exchange / St. Pauls and a stone throw away from the second site at Finsbury Square.

In total awe about this surprising move – which got a lot of media attention –  I went there myself today. Although most parts of the building are still locked from access until clearing from Health and Safety I can already see this building becoming the new headquarter of Occupy UK.

Sheltered from the winter cold many rooms are waiting to be turned into offices for the organisers, class rooms for lectures, workshops for all sorts of creative purposes and definitely shelter for some people in need.

Although it was only taken over yesterday there was already an information desk, a technology room, wifi and a little cinema and a class room where talks and readings where held throughout the weekend.

But of course many things are still missing – for example there are no lights and electricity in the upstairs floors – so when it gets dark outside – it is pitchblack inside. There is no furniture and heating. And well the rooms were totally empty – so many things still need to aquired.

So if you have anything you want to donate, in material values of in form of some of your time just pop down there. You’ll be greeted with big smiles.

But what I definitely notice, the things that were not missing were a huge sense of dedication and drive to bring Occupy to another level.

I am curious to see how the movement will organise life and work in such a massive building. Will it be beneficial for the movement or will it be just a massive junk of additional duties to organise?

Regardless of that I am amazed to see that this happened and I hope this will be the start of many more occupations of the many empty buildings in the city.

Find out more about The Bank of Ideas here: www.bankofideas.org.uk

Discussing where the next banners will be put up.

I am sure this address label will be updated soon.I have noticed that these hand signs are used in all of the many talks and votings across the Occupy sites. It is a very clever system to keep talks civilised and efficient.This lady just passed by. She said she had to stop out of curiosity. She heard about Occupy and wanted to know if all the Occupants were unemployed too. She was really upset that her son could not find a job although he was highly educated. And she really supports Occupy because they are standing up for the right reasons. She admited that she used to be a banker 12 years ago – but is now totally angry with what trouble the financial system is causing.Over the weekend delegations from the main other UK Occupy cities held their first joined meeting in the building. They discussed ideas and strategies to bring the movment forward.Talks and…readings (here by James Miller – author of Lost Boys) were held……and of course a lot of discussions and votings.

A little exhibition displayed the Anti-War art by Chris Holden.

While some rooms where still totally empty…

…some where already the home of some occupiers…

…sleeping in tents or sleeping bags. It was actually really cold in the whole building as the heating is of course not working.I find it hard to understand that a city with so many overpriced flats and homeless people can leave a building like this stand empty for so many years……and this is only one of many others.

The outside smoking area – drinking and smoking inside the building is not allowed.It seems already the first homely rules have been applied.

How to start a Revolution

Gene Sharp – How to Start a Revolution Trailer from Gene Sharp on Vimeo.

 

On my last visit at the Occupy London at St. Paul’s  I met film director Ruaridh Arrow. He introduced me to his awardwinning documentary about Gene Sharp – the author of a book that changed the world.

Like myself most people probably would not have heard of him – unless you are one of the few people who started a revolution and brought down a dictator.

Gene Sharp’s book called From Dictatorship to Democracy describes 198 ways to end a dictatorship only using non-violent methods. It has been used as a instruction manual for the people of countries like Egypt, Morocco, Lithuania, Latvia, Serbia and many more in the successful peaceful attempts to get rid of their dictatorial leader of their occupating super power.

The film is not only informative in regards to Gene’s Sharps massive – yet almost unknown – impact on the peaceful uprisings around the world – it is also deeply moving as it shows you an old humble man who fought all his life to show the world that you do not need an US army (or any army) to invade and bomb a country in order to free a people from its tyran and introduce democratic rights.

If a nation really wants change it can reache it by itself – without use of weapons or violence.

In my eyes Gene Sharp should be granted the Peace Noble Price. And after watching this documentary I am pretty sure you will agree with me.

Find out more about the film HOW TO START A REVOLUTION here: howtostartarevolutionfilm.com

London – Still OCCUPIED!

Here are some more photos from another visit of the Occupy London site at St. Paul’s cathedral a week after the last visit. As you can see the numbers of people was still large and the numbers of posters and leaflets on the walls has risen. Heated discussion and informational talks were being held as they were since the beginning of the occupation in mid October.

It seemed then more and more that the site was becoming a manifested London sightseeing attraction – visited around the clock by sympathisers, curious Londoners and tourists alike.

It all of a sudden looked doomed when the Occupier had receieved the official eviction note from the council. It said that all the tents and constructions had to be removed by Thursday 17 Nov, 6pm. I went down there on that day too and saw that to my delight everyone had ignored this order and carried on with their usual proceedings.

It was said that the court proceedings will most certainly delay the occupation until after Christmas.

For more up to date info go to the official Occupy London site http://occupylsx.org/

 

Occupy London!

On Tuesday night I went down to St. Paul’s to see for myself what the Occupy London campsite was like.

I was happy to see a mass of tents surrounding the cathedral. It reminded me all of a little festival site – with musicians making music, people playing football, a tent handing out free food, a hospital tent to cater for the needy, tents where people could assemble and talk – even when it was raining outside and of course toilet cubicles. All very organised. I learned that anyone who would want to stay the night would be given accommodation.

And then of course there were the protesters. At the time of my arrival they had all gathered at the steps of the cathedral to talk and decided about proposals from the participants. Their ideas ranged from serious political issues about the whole Occupy strategy to less serious but still important issues like the kitchen opening times and reminders to recycle more to save rubbish.

I was happy to see how chilled and democratic everything went along. And that everyone was given a chance to talk and bring their opinions across.

It really felt like there was a real sense of democracy – and it makes me happy that so many people made and make such an effort to protest. I really hope this movement will succeed, although I have a feeling the media will soon forget about them and focus on other issues again – as they always do.
Although knowing the Olympics will happen soonish – and the city wants a clean tourist friendly town – I have a feeling that we will still see much more dramatic things happen when the camp is to be forcefully cleared.

I really recommend that everyone goes down there to show their support or at least witness a historic event.