NOMADIC OCCUPY at HAGGERSTON PARK: Camp Assembly 13.5.2012 – DAY 1
1) Why are we here?
4) Ground-rules for the camp / joining the camp
5) Camp security
6) How long should we stay?
NOTES from the MEETING (Em):
WHY ARE WE HERE?
There are different ways of answering this and different people have different priorities:
- ñ We are part of the global Occupy Movement for social and economic justice and we want to spread the message of Occupy through outreach into communities.
- ñ We want to connect with communities and listen to local residents to find out what the important issues are for different people and in different areas...
- ñ … We'd like to help highlight and campaign on important local and national issues, such as: lack of affordable housing; cuts to local services; land-grabs by business; privatisation of public space; massive hike in student fees; dismantling of the NHS etc.
- ñ We are particularly able to highlight homelessness as some of us are or have been homeless and by living in tents on public land we demonstrate this. Hackney has high levels of homelessness so this is a relevant local issue. We also want to encourage local communities to use and reclaim public land and to hold public assemblies.
- ñ Occupy is about putting people and planet before profit and creating a better world. It is about the people taking back power from the 1% at the top of the corporations and financial institutions. We want to bring about a more fair and horizontal society where people are equal instead of there being a pyramid with just a few at the top. We want an end to service cuts which are unjust while the 1% are still getting huge salaries and bonuses.
- ñ We want to live in co-operative and sustainable communities rather than competing and being selfish and in the Nomadic Occupy camps we try to achieve this.
- ñ Nomadic Occupy finds places to have temporary camps where Occupy supporters can work towards the goals of the global Occupy movement.
- ñ When people ask 'why are you here?' it's easiest and comes across best if we talk about the things we really know about and are passionate about.
- ñ Whatever we say we cannot speak for the whole Occupy movement we can only give speak for ourselves and give our own opinion as an Occupy supporter or Occupy activist.
- ñ There are public toilets in the park, open during the day. Maybe we could get permission to have night-time access too.
- ñ It would be great if we could make proper compost toilets from natural materials.
- ñ Water can be accessed from taps in the toilets. May be able to request access to water from City Farm too. (Kris will ask)
- ñ Sven has local connection, could help provide access to water too – will look into this.
- ñ Kitchen must be well-organised and be kept clean and tidy.
- ñ We could request donations of food from supporters but we should also all make personal contributions.
- ñ We should operate an Info tent with donations box. When the weather is good we should take an Info table to the park entrance to be visible to more people.
- ñ It would be great to set up a volleyball pitch – healthy and bonding for the camp members to play, also good for engagement with the locals if we can play together. Other games too... frisbee etc. We should find out what is already available in this respect and complement that. We could see if the local school has any unused old sports equipment that we could use.
- ñ We should decorate the camp, put up banners and keep it tidy.
- ñ Decoration, banners and games as above will help with outreach, also we can be proactive with the Info tent and mobile Info tables – we need to have an appealing site so that people want to engage with us and we also need to move out of the camp into the community, perhaps by taking flyers around with us and setting up a table at the local markets. Andrew is a cycle courier so could take flyers far and wide.
- ñ Em will ask other Occupiers for flyers if they exist and will ask one of the local Occupied Times people to drop off some copies of the paper.
- ñ We must be very well-behaved, we must appeal to families.
- ñ We should get involved with the City Farm.
- ñ We could ask to show Occupy films on the City Farm outdoor cinema, invite locals and other Occupiers, have talks about Occupy and local issues inbetween the films.
- ñ We should get on with political actions, not just focus on the camp.
- ñ We should invite other Occupiers here. We could ask the Citizenship Working Group to contact the local school. We could ask Occupiers to come here for a public assembly. We could ask campaign groups to help us with events, such as Cardboard Citizens, a theatre group made up of homeless people who highlight housing and homelessness issues. Or Occupy performers like Pete the Temp. We could have an event here in the park.
- ñ Jim wants to make himself a sandwich board to wear as a conversation piece :)
- ñ Top priority: everything we do must be child-friendly.
- ñ We must be aware so that we notice any trouble before it goes too far and we must be prepared to ask for help and to support one another if there is trouble.
- ñ We must remain calm as far as possible and avoid escalating difficult situations.
ñ We only want productive and peaceful people in the camp. If a new person wants to join they can only join if everyone agrees. If one person will feel unsafe if that person joins, then they cannot join. At first a new resident is on trial membership – if they don't pull their weight and behave well, they'll be asked to leave.
ñ Even when someone has become accepted as a full member of the camp, if they behave badly they'll be asked to leave the camp if it's very serious; if less serious they'll be given a warning; then if they behave badly again they'll be asked to leave the camp for a short time, a longer time or permanently, depending how bad the behaviour was. If they leave and later come back and still behave badly there'll be no more warnings but immediate removal.
ñ There should be no drinking of alcohol in the camp before 6pm; no visible drinking of alcohol at any time – ie no cans, bottles on display; and there should be no drunken behaviour in camp.
ñ Anyone drinking from cans or bottles or being obviously drunk will be asked to go into their tent or to move away from the camp until they have stopped drinking and are behaving in a sober way. (CONSENSUS
ñ Everyone must be prepared to ask someone to leave if they're behaving badly, even if they like the person. We cannot be selfish because this is about everyone in the camp co-operating and feeling safe and it's about representing Occupy.
HOW LONG SHOULD WE STAY?
- ñ Everyone should be concerned with camp security. If it's felt that there might be danger, some volunteers should agree to stay up late and others to get up early. Volunteers should call for help and be quickly given support if they need it – although the camp should never be abandoned by everyone rushing off to an 'emergency'!
- ñ So far in the Nomadic Occupy camps, members have not felt 24-hour dedicated security to be necessary.
- ñ There is a rule for gypsies/travellers that they can stay 28 days, we should stay no longer than this. Ideally a few days less, say 3 and a half weeks.
- ñ So we should leave by 9 or 10 June at the latest.