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.

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2 thoughts on “New “Bank of Ideas” – Abandoned UBS building OCCUPIED

  1. @Shelena:These are people who want to create a place that the London community and the Occupy movement can use to share ideas, work on creative projects and plan strategies. It is place to gather, talk and educate everyone.The problem is that the building was not used for years now. The rooms are mostly empty. No furniture. No heaters. No lamps. No toilet paper. No bins. Nothing that you would need to create the place they intended – and that you would expect to find in an office or home. There simply is no electricity in the top floors – and it seems to be quite a difficult task to bring the place back to life. And what makes it so challenging is that the people who occupied the place cannot afford to buy everything that is needed. You say it is their responsibility to get electricity. Well, one cannot use the word responsibility here, as everything is done on a voluntary basis – the Occupy movement is mostly made of people like you and me who joined together to bring change to the unfair society we live in. It is not their job – they do it from the bottom of their hearts in their spare time or they often even stopped their normal lives completely – and they do it with the aim to improve all of our lives.So they ask like-minded people to help making the Occupy movement stronger, because only when everyone works on it together – real change can be achieved.

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