Statement from OccupyLSX

 

OccupyLSX was surprised to hear The Telegraph and others reporting this morning that 90% of our tents are empty overnight. This is simply not the case. We try to keep vacancy to a minimum and operate a sign in/sign out system to help ensure this happens.  When someone knows they will not be staying overnight, they offer their tent to someone else.

We are ordinary people with jobs and families.  We are occupying in order to register our objection to being shut out of the political process. The fact that we are camping out here shows how seriously we take our right to participate and be heard.  We are part of the 99%.

It’s certainly interesting to hear that the Corporation of London are wasting many thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money in monitoring our numbers by helicopter. But what about the “thermal imaging cameras”?  We might be in a public space, but these tents are our homes – at least some of the time – and everyone has a right to privacy.

Being woken up in the middle of the night by a journalist with a camera is an unpleasant experience, and even more so for a female sleeping in a tent alone.  The Press Team is happy to facilitate interviews at all hours of the night (we had Radio 5 Live broadcasting from 1am to 5am the other day), but we do ask that such requests go through us on this number 0845 299 6175.  Our volunteers will do their best to help.

A “nine out of ten tents are empty” statistic is completely unfounded. Finally, these are the facts of what happened on the night of Monday, 24 October.

The journalist in question was found by our Tranquility Team (night-time volunteers who look after the peace of the camp and who keep it ship shape in the twilight hours), shaking the tents of occupiers, who initially thought they were police and understandably approached them to enquire what was happening.  The journalist explained that he was investigating a claim that tents were empty at night, and argued that it was correct to check this claim.  Our team asked if he planned to approach every tent in this manner (as people were asleep) and invited him to select 5 tents and they would facilitate this approach.  The journalist refused.  And now it seems to be a story.

In keeping with our statement, we stand in solidarity with occupations across the world.  As we have seen in Melbourne and Sydney recently, occupations, no matter how peaceful and serene – as ours is – are constantly vulnerable to harassment and intimidation.  Occupy London (LSX) is a peaceful place, with an open door to visitors and passersby who wish to engage in the politics of the camp.  We are now occupying in two locations.  We’re here 24 hours and we’re here for serious reasons. We appreciate the warmth and support we experience daily, from tourists, from local businesses and city workers, who agree with us, that we have an unsustainable financial system and that we need change.

 

Please direct any further enquiries to the Press Team on 0845 299 6175 or press@occupylsx.org

 

53 Responses to “Statement from OccupyLSX”

  1. We shouldn’t even have to justify whether tents are occupied or not – it’s totally irrelevant. People are protesting. It may not be 24 hours a day, but people are protesting. Amazingly some of these people even have families and jobs, yes even people with a job can recognise that something is terribly wrong.

    Non-story.

     
  2. What a non-story indeed! I can only mean that the movement has the government rattled.. Even so this is clumsy at best…

     
  3. Hi – there may be a problem with your website as the general assembly minutes seemed to have disappeared. Fortunately, some kind soul has managed to archive some of them at this link – http://councillorahmedkhan.blogspot.com/2011/10/occupylsx-general-assembly-minutes.html

     
  4. To me this illustrates another problem we have in this country. The Media. How arrogant must you be to think you have a right to wake people up in the middle of the night to check they are in their houses. It’s unbelievable.

     
  5. The Telegraph are owned by Tax Dodgers.

     
    • Don’t forget the BBC took the ball and ran with it on the evening news. A lot of people need to break their left/right conditioning, the fix is in folks!

       
  6. And yeah. The minutes have disappeared.

    No word about this, but regular updates about the media, the church and the police.

    Classic distraction techniques imo (from the authorities). Any chance those who agree with the occupation can have some feedback because it’s all gone a bit quiet on the issues?

     
    • We’re trying to reorganise the website and the minutes will be back up very soon. We know it’s really important.

       
      • Cool. If you need a hand, I can offer to help.

        I run a couple of wordpress sites myself.

         
        • We might take you up on this. The web team will be meeting again soon.

           
  7. At a tradeshow last week we were looking at the thermal cameras as we monitor sensitive premises. The first question I had was ‘can this see through walls’ as there was a very thin partition behind us, and it could have been handy. The answer was ‘absolutely not’.

     
  8. It was very clear which tents were occupied and which were not with the thermal imaging. The number cited of 1:10 looks correct. These are not walls but nylon sheets. Its a shame that the Church had to be shut down and lose money for empty tents and an empty protest.

     
    • Bad troll is bad.

       
      • He was simply making a comment, expressing an opinion (his disagreement).

         
    • I don’t think it is an empty protest. I thank occupiers so much for what they are doing and I desperately hope they can continue. As soon as I get a couple of days off I’ll come and join for those 2 days. I think that is the case for many people – fully in support of the occupation but under various constraints can’t get to London. Further more there are occupations happening in other cities in the UK such as Nottingham. So this is anything but an empty protest x

       
      • And Glasgow! occupyglasgow.org
        (and Bristol, Edinburgh, Paisley, Newcastle and Norwich, and rumors of new ones in Liverpool and Manchester).

         
    • Firstly i would love to see where you IP Originates Robertson possibly News international or the telegraph or even the BBC?

      Secondly its important to remember a church as a place of worship not a tourist attraction.

       
    • Robertson. St Paul’s chose to close, it did not have to. What is a shame is a place of refuge, prayer and worship charging 14 pounds 50 per head for admission like a museum or tourist attraction. Truly shameful. Westminster Cathedral manages very well without doing this.

       
      • You can enter St Paul’s for free as a worshipper.

        Which is the way I always enter. I also do an amazingly convincing “I don’t speak English” act.

         
  9. “We are ordinary people with jobs and families.”

    Have you banned the unemployed already?

     
  10. “We might be in a public space, but these tents are our homes – at least some of the time – and everyone has a right to privacy”

    If you decide by choice to camp in a public place then you are exposing yourself. No-one is invading your privacy.

     
    • Do you have to pick holes in a movement that is striving to uphold the rights of freedom of speech and the right to protest? Cost of living increasing, homeless rising sharply, unemployment the highest for 17 years, services being cut, the health service privatised…. and on and on and these people are trying to stand up to that and you have to lay into them because they’d like some privacy? Give them a break!

       
      • You CHOOSE to be on PUBLIC land. If you have an issue with your privacy being invaded, go to your HOUSE.

        The Churchyard and St Pauls Cathedral, my friend, isn’t your home. So, excuse me if I have no sympathy for you or your friends who CHOOSE to sleep in a tent.

        And yes, an empty protest. St Pauls Cathedral is not the London Stock Exchange. Doesn’t take a genius to work that out. I look forward to you all departing the vicinity in the coming weeks.

         
        • If the tent is the current *domicile* then I would suggest all the laws regarding statutory entry apply.
          The location is irrelevant.
          Home is where the heart is anyway…

           
        • St Pauls is right across from Paternoster Square. The camp is opposite the police barricade into Paternoster Square – you can see the police barricade / the entrance to Paternoster Square from most of the camp. It is as close as you can get without actually attempting to break down the police barricade.

           
      • The things you suggest are all valid complaints and you have the right to protest about them. I happen to disagree with the idea that ‘capitalism is chaos’ because if you compare how we have it now to most times in history or to most forms of governments in history or to many other countries in the world today then we have it pretty good. Yes, there are problems but we need to improve the system to fix them, not destroy it. I also disagree that you are the 99% and would suggest that if you are you should establish a political party and gain a landslide victory at the next election. Perhaps stand at some local elections first.

        And your complaint that I should not be ‘picking holes’ in your movement concerns me deeply. It is only dangerous movements that cannot take criticism. The beauty of our democracy is that we can criticise the government and protest against them. This forces them to change and improve. By not allowing this yourselves you only harm your cause. And btw the claim of a privacy breach is made pretty prominently on this website so it is the Occupy movement that is choosing to focus on this issue.

        I don’t agree with most of your complaints but your perspective is way off

         
        • 2 points
          1: It’s: “Capitalism is Crisis”
          “Right now we certainly should argue as loudly as possible that austerity measures that involve the transfer of responsibility from the rich to the poor should be curtailed.” http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/91/capitalism-crisis.html The article is core to the movement IMHO.

          The 99% is a label that seems to be deliberately spun by the media. None of the Occupations claim (as far as I am aware) to speak for anyone but themselves and the outcome of a very local GA.

          The protesters merely see themselves as being part of the 99% who have been disenfranchised from the political process Because the 1% wield *all* the economic and political power.

          The cabinet comprises how many millionaires?
          Is this representative democracy?

           
          • Brobof

            Sorry my mistake, “Capitalism is Crisis” not “Capitalism is Chaos”. But my point remains. Despite its flaws capitalism has actually served the country pretty well. We should be working to fix its many faults not abandon it. Or if we do propose to abandon it then a damn good alternative should be in place.

            Secondly on the 99% issue. I did not pick this up in the media, I saw a sign at the occupation that said “we are the 99%” and you’ve just said yourself that you are part of the “99% who have been disenfranchised from the political process”. I simply disagree that 99% are disenfranchised. Where is your evidence for this?

            I made a typo in my last post where I said “I disagree with most of your points” because I meant to say I agree with them. However, by attacking the whole system of capitalism, by appearing to claim to be the 99% when you are not, by crying publicity breach when you are deliberately camping in a public space in the centre of one of the busiest cities in the world as a publicity stunt, you undermine your/our valid arguments. Why don’t you put this energy into engaging with the political process, running for local elections etc? Perhaps, try to take on the difficult challenge of establishing some viable political policies, attempt to sell them to the public and trying to get elected. At the moment is seems that you are indulging in this occupation, attacking everything and expecting someone else to sort everything out.

             
          • Dave Matthews. On the point that capitalism needs reforming, you and the protesters are actually on the same page. The only difference is that the protesters believe reform is urgent, as the situation in which we “have it pretty good” is looking very precarious in the Western world right now.
            Your point that the protesters should be standing for parliament instead of protesting is wrong, I think. These protests simply go some way to balancing out the grossly disproportionate amount of lobbying and publicity in favour of the current extreme, radical market fundamentalism in our society.

             
  11. I just hope that when The Guardian stabs this movement in the back you will realise that it’s not only the so called “right wing press” that act as the watchdogs of the status quo. Just ask Julian Assange!

    The BBC has always protected the interests of the established order, the fact that many view it as a left wing operation these days is a true reflection of the stance of our contemporary elite.

    You are chasing shadows by thinking “the right” or “fascism” is your real enemy. Groups like EDL and BNP are pathetic hopeless operations, I also notice the group anonymous has UKIP near the top of their enemies list. Give me a break! The real enemy walks among you with a smile, pretending to be a friend.

     
  12. Find someone with a remote control helicopter, and a thermal camera. Get some real shots of your own and publish them. Even in the Telegraph’s video it’s pretty obvious that the 10% claim is nonsense. Good luck!

     
  13. What do you expect from a Murdoch owned paper/website. Its full of complete rubbish and should be taken as such.

     
  14. It’s not about sleeping in tents until the Govt changes things. It’s about discussion, exploring ideas, seeking solutions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeLHwbwI36g

     
  15. As someone writing from Portland, Oregon, where there is a very large Occupy Portland camp, I am heartened by all who are willing to take time out of their daily obligations to participate in this movement against the injustice of our international financial system. It certainly seems like harassment to me for you to be subjected to such treatment from the media in addition to being monitored by the government. I wish the best to all of you.

     
  16. First they pick us apart because we are non working non showered full-time campers, then they pick us apart because we are working showered part-time campers. It will never end. If we buy clothes from a regular shop we are pro-corporation, if we buy from a fancy green shop we are well-off privileged complainers, if we make our own we’re just another group of hippies.

    IT WILL NEVER END!

    Look at it this way, would they eve say if we were really eco warriors none of us should have children again since it’s one of the most carbon heavy activities one can take on? No, because that would not take into consideration what an educated child could do. Continue to change the world.

     
    • On the other hand the right wing media may end up feeling like they are wrestling with a pig. (Who are pretty smart animals in my book 🙂
      “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”
      George Bernard Shaw

      Every attempt to pigeon hole this: the most diverse of Movements just makes it all the funnier. Personally I sense that they (teh 1%) are starting to panic!

       
    • ignore the complaints and carry on, a critic is someone who never does anything

       
  17. On the St Pauls web site regarding the Cathedral’s history it claims, St Paul’s Cathedral embodies the spiritual life and heritage of the British people. It acts as an important meeting place for people and ideas, as a centre for the arts, learning and public debate.
    It describes itself as the nation’s church, a place for protest against injustice and for the public expression of hope for a better society. It goes on to say “Involvement in the global community and social justice is as much a part of the working life of St Paul’s as prayer and ceremony.”

    You may wish to use their words when they try to evict.

     
    • “The protesters at St Paul’s are the latest in a line of heroes speaking there for the conscience of the nation, stretching back to the 12th century. The churchyard is “where generations of Londoners played their role in fomenting public opinion and the preaching of the Christian faith”, according to the cathedral’s website. An Edwardian plaque explains that this was “whereat amid such scenes of good and evil as make up human affairs the conscience of church and nation through five centuries found public utterance”, until eradicated by Cromwell, that is.”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2011/oct/25/occupy-london-st-pauls-protesters

       
  18. The Telegraph said, a little over two hours ago, “The cathedral has been criticised after it released a full list of the health and safety concerns that has been used as justification for closing it for the longest time in living memory.”

    I can’t find any other reference to this “full list”, yet Mark Field, Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster, said the reasons were “spurious health and safety excuses.”

    Can anyone find this list?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8849225/St-Pauls-Cathedral-protest-Blitz-landmark-closed-because-you-might-trip-over-guy-rope.html

     
    • Graeme, as far as I know the full list is not available for the simple reason that it does not exist. There were repeated appeals from the protesters as well as the clergy to speficy the actual Health & Safety concerns, but no coherent information could be obtained.

      At the beginning they said it was tents being too close together, open fires, etc. Tents were reorganised, no open fires were found as there is a kitchen where people go to eat – no need to cook outside! That received a threat of an injunction shortly after with no explanation or attempts to engage in dialogue.

      Quite frankly, I believe Health & Safety concerns were just an excuse to close the cathedral and irritate the public, their anger directed at the protest. The Bishop (with a flat overlooking the square, by the way) is, apparently, enraged and there is a lot of energy & money (including a week-long – so far – anti-protest campaign by Murdoch’s Times) going into turning the supportive public away from the protest. Divide and rule.

       
  19. I wonder why people are so scared of what these protesters have to say that they are willing to go to such great lengths to discredit and silence them.

     
  20. If they’re there all the time, they’re branded as “slackers” with no jobs and a “health and safety concern” and the accusers state they don’t have a right to camp in a public space.

    If they don’t stay there all the time, they’re accused of being “elite brats” and “part-time protesters” that…go to their homes and jobs!

    What, then, should they do to be acceptable by the Right?

     
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