TWO YEARS SINCE WE OCCUPIED LONDON – A TIMECAPSULE FROM ST. PAULS & FINSBURY SQUARE
It was two years ago today that a frustrated UK public stormed towards Paternoster Square, determined to Occupy the London Stock Exchange. The police acted to protect the City of London, and acted to remove thousands of protesters from the area. Giles Fraser, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral offered sanctuary to the protesters in the churchyard and grounds of the Cathedral. And there we stayed. Over time grew another camp, Finsbury Square. I had been participating in Occupy Bristol, and moved to the South East in late October. I headed straight to join the camp at Finsbury Square. And there I stayed, on and off, through to the end. It was one of the most dramatic, educational, exciting, scary, hopeful periods of my life.
So, this anniversary means a lot to me. It is an anchor to a transformation in my own life, where I went from management consultant to tent occupying activist and writer overnight. I started writing this blog in earnest as part of the media team at Finsbury Square, doing coverage from camp and protests called Voices From the Occupation.
To those who say – almost nothing has changed and what has changed, has changed for the worst – I have the same message then as now: That’s why we Occupy, because things are really bad and getting worse. If you feel that more could be done, or be done in a different way (say it with me now) DON’T GET ANGRY, GET INVOLVED! Occupy never was and isn’t an organisation, a political party or an answer. Occupy is a call to question our beliefs, question the rules we live by, question our complicity and passivity in the face of real human suffering. It is also, for each one of us who get’s off their ass, stops acting like a spectator and begins to conceive of themselves as someone who can make a difference, a coming of age.
Today, I am so grateful to have been and continue to be a part of this awesome movement. I am grateful too for the extraordinary people I met, who still play a big part in my life on a daily basis, and for all of you then and since who have taken up the call to get involved and transform the world for the better in our lifetimes. I salute you all. It is a pleasure to stand with you still and always.