2012/04/20 EWG Meeting minutes

Economics’s Docs 2012/04/20 EWG Meeting minutes

Chris, Elena, Mike, Janos, Tim, Dave, Peter, Clive
1. Minutes from 16th April 2012 – workshop on infiltration in Southend didn’t happen and that
caused some division. Suggestions that the Tavistock Centre is bent on subverting occupy
and other grassroots movements but the rumour could be disruptive in itself.
2. Location of EWG meetings – some were prepared for bad weather and to meet in FS.
However, conditions in the dome were unpalatable and the space used previously was
unavailable. FS had promised to prepare the dome but failed (weather may have been an
issue). FS need to get their act together and promised to do so. Some have put up with a lot
to support occupy but there are limits (rain, cold, dirt, noise etc.). There is uncertainty over
FS generally; the alternatives? – Barbican? Local coffee shop or pub? None ideal. Agreed to
meet at Finsbury Square on Monday and should it prove necessary a decision will be made
to move to an alternative venue on the day. Physical space is less important than the
intellectual space we occupy.
3. Waltham Forest – 12:48am from Liverpool St arrives in Walthamstow just after 1pm. By
Victoria line, exit and go straight up the stairs in front of you and meet Mike and Sean on the
platform where they will be meeting the mainline train. Venue is the Harmony Hall in Truro
Road, E17 7BY. Mike’s mobile: 07742 290069. Flyers have been distributed and a lot of
people expected – objective is to form links between occupy, trade unions and local
community; plan future events/actions . Waltham Forest Council has given a dodgy
Australian outfit rights to set up a camp for the Olympics – plan to occupy the space? Sean
will video the event and upload clips to youtube. Trades Council have been in touch with
Leyton Marshes people and they will go. The event is to establish principles rather than
focus on details with a view developing momentum for change. (The occupy presentation
gives lots of ideas for activism but there’s not sufficient time to arrange to show it
tomorrow). Will be collecting contact details of all attendees.
4. Housing – Sean has put a lot of effort into the presentation . The way the proposal was
pulled at the last minute does not reflect well on the EWG but the editing process has
continued and the document has expanded to 12 pages; needs to be brought back to the main
focus. NEF wasn’t too supportive of the current document but agreed with the aim. It is
merely designed to be a political statement rather than a planning document. This country
hasn’t had a housing policy for 40 years; the paper is putting forward a sound rationale for a
housing policy but QE detracts. For all the protestations, QE is not there to stimulate
economic activity; it has created low interest rates leading to liquidity driving asset price
inflation feeding into real inflation. Food price speculation is not limited to the developing
world – we are victims as much as anyone. QE is likely to blow the economy out of the
water as inflation feeds further into the real economy. Politics is about priorities –
traditionally Labour represented the interests of workers while the Tories were concerned
with preserving the empire. There is a strong economic/social case for housing – paper
should be presented and judged on that basis. NB. Tim raised is objections to the inclusion
of QE verbally and in written comments on 25th December 11. Perhaps a mansion tax to
fund housing policy – wealth transfer.
5. QE – Dave is ambivalent; it would be less inflationary if used for housing; Peter: QE is the
wrong term. Janos: Mansion Tax is a close neighbour to LVT. Dave: “Transfer of wealth –
fast or slow? Debt restructuring/repudiation. Tax havens need addressing. Government
printing money – EU restrictions limit the room for manoeuvre”. Chris: QE is there and
everyone knows about it and questions why it’s not doing more. Mervyn King is only able to
implement policy of the government – can’t make policy. The point is to raise the issue and
raise anger on the streets – and as a talking point. We are not economists; economics is not a
science; the implication that Mervyn King, Mike: “that the FT, Economist and Mervyn King
knows about economics is laughable- none anticipated the collapse and didn’t have a clue as
to how to react. Quantitative tightening will happen later in the year. Why use QE as a stick
to beat the government. Housing is a good lever on its own.” Awaiting paper being worked
on by Sean/Chris.
6. Banking campaign – out of time
7. Autonomy – out of time
8. AOB – Occupy faith group: Pilgrimage for Justice and conference Building a Just Society
details which are on the website http://www.occupyfaith.org.uk/ – could provide opportunity
to raise housing issue. May12th – Tim is looking for statistics which could be expressed
visually eg. Income inequality expressed as people’s height. All ideas to Tim.

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