Occupy London gets moving on policy: first statement of the City of London Policy Group


*** Update – some media outlets appear to be reporting that Occupy London has agreed to leave if its demands of the Corporation are met. These specific demands only focus on the Corporation and are in no way part of our ongoing dialogue in relation to the Highways Act. There will be further demands from Occupy London in the future as part of its aim to challenge social and economic injustice in the global fight for real democracy. ****

After three weeks of occupation at its original site near the London Stock Exchange – just by St Pauls Courtyard – and two weeks at Finsbury Square, Occupy London is turning its attention to substantive policy recommendations, as part of its aim to challenge and address the economic and social inequalities in London and beyond.

The City of London Policy Group, set up to examine matters pertaining to the Square Mile including, but not restricted to, its governance, has now had its initial three demands approved by the General Assembly.

Those demands, which are published for the first time today, emphasise the importance of transparency for public bodies, particularly in regard to their financial and lobbying activities. The City of London Policy Group also holds that the anomalous status of the City of London in relation to the Freedom of Information Act, which all other local authorities are subject to, needs to be addressed.

The City of London Policy Group is independent of the continuing process of dialogue between Occupy London and the Corporation of London regarding the Occupation’s position in relation to the Highways Act. Those discussions are ongoing.

In its initial statement, the City of London policy group calls on the Corporation of London to do the following:

1. Publish full, year-by-year breakdowns of the City Cash account, future and historic.

2. Make the entirety of its activities subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

3. Detail all advocacy undertaken on behalf of the banking and finance industries, since the 2008 financial crash.

It is the intention of the City of London Policy Group to present this list of demands formally to the Guildhall later this week. Future meetings of the City of London Policy Group will be publicised in advance to enable interested parties who may not be attending Occupy London on a regular basis to participate fully in proceedings.


64 Responses to “Occupy London gets moving on policy: first statement of the City of London Policy Group”

  1. Great start. Lets watch them squirm and rebut.

  2. >The City of London Policy Group is independent of the continuing process of >dialogue between Occupy London and the Corporation of London regarding the >Occupation’s position in relation to the Highways Act. Those discussions are >ongoing.

    It was my understanding that during GA on Friday 4th November, following prolonged discussions and break out groups involving several hundred people, consensus was reached that we disband the City of London Liaison group and cease further dialogue with the City of London.

    I am also aware that Naomi raised a proposal at GA on 7th November objecting to this, in front of a handful of people. Unfortunately, I could not stay until the end of this GA so I am not aware whether this consensus was changed.

    The City of London Corporation Working Group, of which I am part, accepted that the “preamble” to their statement was dropped to focus on the three core “demands” raised by their statement, and was rewritten by the press team.

    However, given the overwhelming consensus reached to break off dialogue with the COL, I find it extremely questionable and undemocratic that a statement like that above can be published, never mind be actioned upon.

    This consensus was reached on the basis that the demands from the COL, in relation to the Highways Act and the timescale of the camp, were unacceptable demands that should not even be entertained and that the COL was not in a position to make demands to us. It has since transpired that they have issued further demands, apparently received on Friday 4th November, which were apparently only discussed today. Unfortunately, I could not be present so I am still unaware as their contents.

    I would be interested to know in what way the press team is accountable to the democratic ideals of the Ocuppy LSX movement in issuing the above statement which is against consensus. If consensus opinion was changed at GA on the 7th, I would be interested to know how a properly and thoroughly discussed consensus can be overturned, or ignored, when it has not been fully discussed, and what methods are in place to overturn consensus which has been reached.

    This raises the question as to the legitimacy of the press team issuing statements contrary to camp consensus, when the issue of working groups doing the same thing has caused so much furore in the past.

    • I think Occupy London is increasingly being run by a small group of “very busy people” who always look exhausted and have that “I’m too busy to talk to you” face because they are doing so much – but at the same time are totally controlling.

      There are a small group of people who always seem to be going off to give interviews to the media and say things in the name of the Occupation. There are ordinary people who go to the same working group meetings as these “i’m too busy to talk to you” people, but they never get told that so-and-so has unilaterally decided to go off and talk to the TV or the newspaper and say things in the name of the Occupation.

      The process and GA while imperfect is brilliant. But in many ways the real power lies with a load of people who don’t really go to GA, but say and do stuff in our name.

      • A suggetion

        Put through GA a request to anyone speaking to media that they state at outset they do not represent occupy, merely represent their own personal views.

  3. Please can OccupyLSX reply in public to the above. They’re good questions and I’m interested in the answers. Thanks,

    • The liaison and policy groups are separate and unrelated issues, as made clear in the statement above.

  4. There seems to be the concern – voiced by several people – that the occupation’s democratic processes have been abused in order to railroad through these rather weak and timid demands relating to the City of London.

    Is that the case?

  5. Did the General Assembly really agree by conensus to demand a “commission, with representatives of the main Westminster parties, to look at reforming the corporation, with the archbishop of Canterbury suggested to chair it” as the Guardian reported?

    Or was this added by the media team?

    It strikes me as a pretty conservative, establishment-friendly demand to make.

    • The Guardian, for some reason we are unable to fathom, have printed inaccurate info. This will be taken up with them.

  6. Dear Human Being, (you rock!)

    I feel the occupy movement does have a basic underlying message; Stop letting money decide political elections; And regulate corporate lobbying (and all lobbying) making it a public forum. Right now lobbying is mostly two old white guys sitting across from each other in an office. “They” probably used to work with each other or went to the same school; And “they” have promised you a job when you get out of politics, — tripling your present salary!. The “lobbyist” used to be a “politician”, it worked for him!. Who owns who? – That’s a Person-hood.
    My friend and I put on a protest in Olympia for World Can’t Wait Oct. 5, 2006 at the capitol. Here are some photos…


    I also coordinated and promoted a protest in Bellevue when Bush was there.


    Happy to say both worked out without arrest, injury or property damage! I worked with the Washington State Patrol in Olympia, and Bellevue Police beforehand, and we pretty much understood the rules of engagement. Medina police were not good partners..

    I lived in the Glenn Hotel in downtown Seattle when the WTO protests happened. It happened at my front door. I was a part of it, promoting it, and involved in it. There is something going on, and I am going to be a part of it again. I have helped organize and promote protests in Bellevue, Olympia, and Seattle Washington; another big one is coming. I feel it will be a “WTO” sized protest in multiple cities.

    “I” was at the WTO protests in Seattle Washington, (with thousands of “other” really awesome “people”, and a few “freaks”) when a bunch of “anarchists” started busting windows with crowbars. We surrounded them, and they got in a circle with their crowbars. I tried to get the “Seattle police” to come arrest “these anarchists”, that were only fifty feet away and threatening violence and breaking windows… The “Seattle police” would not budge from their “police line”, making all of “us” the “enemy”…. (There were thousands of “union” and “other” people sitting and standing in the street, – it was a relativly peaceful protest until the windows started breaking…). ” I” am not the “enemy”.

    I will be in Seattle at 700 Stewart street at the Federal courthouse January 20th, 2012!!! I know we can do this better than last time.

    The Corporate Occupation of the United States

    Our corporate controlled government (through corporate lobbying and election funding ) is out of the peoples control. People want government control back. Makes sense to me… I feel US corporate capitalism (corporatism) is a type of economic fascism: To have a corporate being where the chain of command eventually muddles all responsibility to any human being. These corporate beings are running your life, and controlling your government. (Enough to really make an individual mad and protest.) In reality, the corporate being does not exist, and when it comes to face it’s corporate responsibility, it is a piece of paper. (Or a CEO saying; “I do not recall that”, “I did not have that information”, “that was not my responsibility, I was running the company, and not just that department”,,, and on and on. It has bred a corporate culture of abuse, because they keep getting away with it..), Corporate person-hood is plain and simply wrong: A corporation is not a human being. Restore capitalism to individual responsible chains of command, or this struggle will be lost.

    Please Sign the petition to amend the Constitution for revoking corporate personhood at:


    (I feel January 20th, 2012: will be a bigger day in US history than WTO in Seattle. The battle continues, rage against the machine is real.)

    January 20, 2012 – Move to Amend Occupies the Courts!

    Move To Amend is planning bold action to mark this date — Occupy the Courts — a one day occupation on Friday January 20, 2012, of the Federal Courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States and as many of the 89 U.S. District Court Buildings as we can. Inspired by Dr. Cornell West, who was arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court last month, Move to Amend will lead the charge on the judiciary which created — and continues to expand — corporate personhood rights.


  7. As someone who has been involved in process I can clarify some points here. Much of this material has passed through the process group to be put on the agenda for the GA.

    1. Last week the Corporation of London asked to engage in dialogue with the camp regarding their position, in the light that they had ‘paused’ their legal proceedings against the camp.
    2. The GA reached a consensus to set up a WG; the Corporation of London Liaison Working Group. It had a mandate to prepare for and receive the information that the CofL wished to pass to the camp. The CofL Liaison WG did not have authority to negotiate nor did they do so. Three individuals from the group (selected by consensus from within the Group – and representing several different camp WG’s) attended one meeting only. This was on Wednesday 2nd November. They were accompanied two minute takers (volunteered from the GA) and a solicitor (Bindmans). They received a package of 2 proposals from the CofL and took this back to the GA.
    3. The package of proposals boiled down to two offers, (1) Leave now, (2) significantly reduce the size of your camp (over 50%) and then remain until the end of the year. Official camp rejection of these offers would result in near immediate ‘fast track’ eviction for which we may not even be entitled to legal aid.
    4. Now we have to be very clear: The GA >DID NOT< reach consensus that we cease further dialogue with the City of London. The CofL Liaison Group’s mandate had expired. It was discussed whether to extend their mandate or disband. The outstanding question was what system should the GA employ to maintain dialogue with the CofL. The consensus was that the camp Legal team WG would maintain an already existing phone/email contact with the CofL. Any new packages would be brought to the GA by the Legal team. Any ‘dialogue’ between the two parties would take place at the GA. Consequently the CofL liaison group disbanded. It seemed to me that the primary concern from the GA was not whether to have a system to communicate with the CofL or not. The concern was that if any communication did occur that it had to be transparent and inclusive of the GA.
    5. In regard to consensus reached Proposals and counter proposals over-turning them: This is an interesting question and one that the Process team has considered. The Process Team have not drawn any conclusions as of yet. Every proposal that passes through the process group gets submitted to the GA for discussion. We must, therefore, expect there shall be instances where a proposal that previously gained consensus becomes void in the light of a new proposal. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Our camp is fluid. Consensus is a system of adaptation. Our needs as a camp are constantly changing. One scenario of concern from a Process point of view is the proposals process jamming up. Specifically, a rush of ‘tit for tat’ proposals and counter proposals. This has not yet occurred. Consensus works where there exists respect for each other and for the camp. So this scenario should not occur. The Process team will be considering this scenario and in time working out some contingencies to address this.
    As a disclaimer I am writing only in the capacity of an observer who has sat in Process and the GA’s. Any other questions I am happy to answer.

    • Indeed. The consensus reached was “We want direct communication between the Corporation and the GA.”

  8. Can we not have a resolution to outlaw the the right of banks to create money out of nothing, as debts, and instead replace the current debt based money creation process by only allowing a a publicly accountable body to create the money supply, debt free.

    This would eradicate the whole national debt and help build a nation based on the needs of people instead of corporations.

    full proposal details can be found here, http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/our-proposals/ with an already drafted act of parliament to be debated.

    Make money our slave not our master.

  9. The democracy process within the Occupy LSX movement is very questionable not just because of the issues raised above but also because of the way it excludes the majority of the 99% it is supposed to represent by holding working groups etc. during the day when a major part of the workforce (as yet still in the majority) cannot attend! We are continuously being told to join them at 10 am, 2pm, 4pm (even 5pm would be a challenge) – and they ask this with zero concern for the majority of the workforce that will clearly not be able to make it to these groups! The media is correct for criticising Occupy LSX for representing only a small sector of society and the camp will continue to lack a democratic conscience if this doesn’t change and change soon.

    • Need to bring forward internet voting on policies, corruptable as it is, it needs to happen, just keep improving it.

    • Hi Jacqueline,

      It is an issue. One one hand there is tremendous pressure for the movement to make progress and on the other for it to be as inclusive as possible. Full time employment restricts the level of engagement most people can take in politics (many of the politically active people I know have transitioned to part time employment to allow this). However, most people can attend the evening general assembly and we have a commitment to consensus based decision making. Everyone I know who is deeply involved is working long days to try and group function as inclusively as possible. I’m sure all of the working groups would accept written proposals and there are phone numbers and mail boxes available from the info tent.


      • “On one hand there is tremendous pressure for the movement to make progress and on the other for it to be as inclusive as possible.” You seem to suggest it’s acceptable to present the two as mutually exclusive! If you do not accept that inclusivity is the priority who exactly are the select few who define ‘progress’?

        There is an evident power base in the camp which the majority is being exlcuded from (submiting suggestions in no way compares to physically attending and participating in the group). Your comment appears to be an acknowledgement of this and suggests that we have to chose between progress and inclusivity – what happened to ‘new’? To innovation? Where is the revolution? It hasn’t taken long for you to give up on it by the sounds of it!

        Aside from operating via consensus – which reading the above sounds more dubious by the day – the only way the democracy being practiced by the camp differs from that of houses of parliament is that we get to vote for mp’s every four/five years whilst people in the working groups are un-elected.

        • Jacqueline,
          A bit harsh I feel,
          Yes we get to vote for MPs, but once they get to parliament they are out of our hands and in the pockets of lobbyists, or at least the whims of the ‘party whip’

          I a sure the process is always evolving and rightly so, but some constructive slack and criticism should help it along.

          • The process isn’t just evolving – it’s also being manipulated with people who aren’t happy with consensus decisions finding ways of changing what has already been agreed … that same power base at work again?? … I’m not so sure it should be cut anymore slack – it seems pretty slack already.

          • On a positive note … the youth movement could well turn out to be Occupy lsx’s saving grace! Perhaps they could give a workshop on how people can retain their integrity!

          • Glad to read some positive, I would love to see some major changes forced through, some short term pain please as opposed to life long suffering !

  10. Is this really the best that we can muster? Because this is pretty tame. It appears as though the thinking behind these three points is that ‘transparency’ will be enough to ‘reform’ this centuries-old elite enclave that have operated within, but separe from, our country. This financial Vatican Ciy has felt no need to obey our laws, pay our taxes or seek any democratic legitimacy. The City of London Corporation must be disbanded, a replacement local authority must be formed and elected (by one-person-one-vote not investment banks’ bloc voting) and all special privileges of the Corporation must end, including the disgrace of them having a constant presence in Parliament. Without this action Britain cannot claim to be either modern or a democracy.

    • Michael, you can see my comments regarding the demands below, but I do want to pick up on some of the points you make.

      There are over 9,000 residents in the City of London. Like any other part of inner London they are a multi-racial, multi-faith and mixed income community. There is as elsewhere wealth and privilege, but there are also council tenants (The Corporation is a social landlord with housing in the City and elsewhere in inner London.) The people of Portsoken ward (near Spitalfields) http://j.mp/ustj0S are probably used to the City’s critics airbrushing them out of the picture because they fail to conform to the wealth and privilege stereotype.

      The City is not seperate from the rest of England and is subject to the same laws as anywhere else. Income tax applies the same as anywhere else and corporation tax dis-applies in the same way as
      everywhere else.

      The residents of the City appear to be quite happy with the present arrangements and it seems somewhat patronising to change their way of doing things without asking them first. There are no block-votes by investment banks or anybody else. Businesses, a term that includes sweetshops, churches, pubs and hospitals, can appoint voters http://j.mp/rYt7I4 , but voting is by secret ballot and nobody can cast more than one vote.

      You claim that the City has special privileges, but it is clear that you have got muddled about the only one you specify namely the City Remembrancer. The rememberencer no more ‘sits’ in the House of
      Commons than newspaper sketch writers or members of the public who queue up ‘sit’ in the Commons. As to lobbying, the Child Poverty Action Group http://j.mp/tzvtHY , unions such as UNISON http://j.mp/uqGA2p , the Local Government Association http://www.local.gov.uk/ and environmental groups such as Greenpeace http://j.mp/tBRwVh all take pride in their lobbying.

  11. Leaving aside the content of the demands, and whom they represent, may I suggest we pay attention to basic grammar, so as not to appear like muppets.
    The comma is superfluous in the following sentence:

    3. Detail all advocacy undertaken on behalf of the banking and finance industries, since the 2008 financial crash.

    • Leaving aside the attention to grammar how many superfluous comma’s did you put in your sentence whilst leaving aside what really is relevant in the content of demands and did you not relise not everybody has gone to a grammar school so shall we get back to the points of discussion now please.

      Need I go on ?

  12. I need to agree, that the fact that the working group was going to meet again today at 5 to allow anyone to go to discuss further their plans. I personally was going to go to it.

    I must say, I am disappointed to hear this. I must say also that I am disappointed to hear of some of the plans about the movement within the article of the guardian, not sure if all is an accurate account though.

    You do need to keep to plans. This is not showing to be a democracy as yet. I feel you are getting anxious and letting yourself be rushed. Slow down, calm down. There is a lot of learning that is needed to be done by all. Rushing things will not achieve learning.

    This is not taking away the hard work that clearly has been done on this, but, I feel so strongly on this to an extent that at present I now am taking a step back from the movement. I will be observing again and need to see that this is a movement that is going to be keeping to their promises and try and reach as many as possible.

    I am sorry for my honesty, but I need to be. I would not, at present get up and talk on the mic, so this is the only real avenue left for me.

    I suggest you set up a forum, for people to have an opportunity to speak that would not be able to get to the meetings and take whatever is said on the site to account.

    This is said though with peace and love and I am still very grateful to the movement for the good work done so far; but A few more days would not have mattered.

    From me, a hidden member of society, still 🙁

    • Very true h.m.o.s.,

      Dont be rushed, and dont rush, we all have only death to look forward to so why rush to it. 🙂

      • Yes, we could die tomorrow. But what you need to realise is that once you are seen as entering a contract, we could be chucked off the site because it could alter our strong status. They know what their doing.

        I am someone who planned to commit suicide in June. But there were some things that came to light that stopped me, so I am someone who would love it to be all sorted tommorrow, but this is tactics and I see them clearly. It felt like cameron tactics, rushing it through. I now suspect a rat. Do not be influenced by anyone so you keep to the plans that is supposed to be the ‘process’. Someones seems to be steering us off the plans, I suggest you keep a check on this.

        Anyway, nuff said

    • @Hidden Member of Society

      Feeling for you 🙁

  13. Here is the Guardian article on the Occupy London Statement


    “…A third proposal is for a commission, with representatives of the main Westminster parties, to look at reforming the corporation, with the archbishop of Canterbury suggested to chair it. The Occupy statement says democratic reform is “urgently needed” for an “unconstitutional and unfair” institution. It calls for:

    • An end to business and corporate votes in elections, which can outvote residents.

    • Removal of “secrecy practices”, and transparent reform of institutions.

    • Decommissioning of the City of London police, with officers put under the Met.

    • Abolition of the offices of lord mayor, sheriffs and aldermen.

    • A truth and reconciliation commission to examine allegations of corruption.

    Here is the Guardian article which lists a TOTALLY different statement to the one agreed at the General Assembly – and its three points given in the original post.

    The guy who is quoted here is someone called “Bryn Phillips, who helped draw up the demands”. WTF is going on here? Archbishop of Canterbury? Which GA was all this agreed? Who is trying to screw with us?

  14. A few people rushed this proposal through at a very, very small GA. Concerns were raised several times at the meeting that this was a non-representative group, and that it should be presented again at a bigger GA since this was such an incredibly important decision. However, we were in effect told, too bad – if people are not here then they can’t have their say.

    We were also treated to a long and sanctimonious lecture about how “serious” blocking was and how we shouldn’t be “using our blocks inappropriately” – by someone who seemed to want the proposal to be rushed through without the due process or questioning.

    Then someone else stood up and said “can we get a temperature check on the proposal please?”, saw a few wavy hands and then said “Ok so that’s passed then”, without even giving people a chance to use blocks.

    The whole thing stinks to high heaven. This is not democracy. This is not process. It makes me question extremely seriously the motives of these few people who want this “dialogue” with the City of London. Also, something I am noticing is that this same small, select group of people always, always say that the decision must be taken *right now*, no time for argument, no time for your silly democratic processes because this is *too important*, and you just don’t understand the *urgency* of the situation.

    A message to these people: we are noticing, and we will not be fooled for long.

    • >> I am noticing is that this same small, select group of people always, always say that the decision must be taken *right now*, no time for argument, no time for your silly democratic processes because this is *too important*, and you just don’t understand the *urgency* of the situation.

      seems to me exactly like the franco-german axis pressuring the greeks against democratic processes because it is ‘to urgent’ for us to wait for the plebs to have their say

      and we all know how democratic the EU is?

      • @Anon, I agree with you! I was at this meeting as well and have said pretty much the same thing as you in my comment above.

  15. Please, let us take a moment to ponder on some very important issues raised above and then address them towards a practical resolution.

    Issue – I personally participate in GAs every time I am able to BUT because I work participating in daytime GA is not an option for me (seems that a lot of people are in this same position – i.e. somewhat excluded).

    Some decisions are so critical they need wider consensus THERFORE, in my opinion, daytime GA should not be the place to push proposals through.

    The democratic strength of what we are building comes from an informed and consensual decision making process that involves people.
    It takes time to reach consensus in such emotionally charged debates but isn’t that the whole point of making this work? That we actually come to a place where we can have factual information, open debate and THEN make a critical informed decision?

    Proposed solution:
    Please, can we try to think of a more inclusive timetable for the GA to happen, especially when we are debating KEY proposals?

    “Tell me and I’ll forget, Show me and I may Remember, Involve me and I’ll Understand.” Chinese proverb

    • Some sort of list of all who have attended for/on the fence/against,
      All on the list must vote, have a chance to vote,
      Even though not hearing all arguments they can still vote in principle.
      After all even when hearing opposing arguments people still vote with their principles in mind.
      Electoral roll / Voters registry ?

  16. 1) We have camp against the abuses of local and global oligarchies including COL, not becouse COL.
    2) Don’t get distracted by their legal and administrative burden. We need time not answer all the questions but to mature first.
    3) We dictate our time, place and way. We also include the opinion of those not camping.

  17. I think we urgently need to make clear that Bryn Phillips, whoever he is, wasn’t speaking for and doesn’t speak for Occupy LSX. This is serious misrepresentation, and thank you to the media team for trying to clarify it asap.

  18. @ Rab if what you say is the case, then perhaps it would be more beneficial to contact the media team directly, rather than post a cynical and distrustful statement about them. Communication has been known to break down occasionally in the history of human civilization, and this could well be a genuine mistake.

  19. We need to keep the centre of the camp holding and for me, the centre is process, the GA, consensus. It’s what visitors find incredibly inspiring, as do I.

    I went on to the COLC Working Group in order to try and ensure process is respected after the earlier ‘leak’. Now something similar has happened again, but this time, with bells on. As the statements are far away from anything we discussed or took to the GA.

    I don’t know what to say about that, I simply don’t have espionage skills, just believe in this camp and what we are all trying to achieve.

    As you can see from the release above, the plan is to deliver the original three demands to Guildhall soon. Any press there will see clearly that what was stated in the Guardian was entirely misleading. Which will hopefully lead to some illumination about what else is going on outside of the Working Group.

    I think it’s important to remember that we do need the media, not as lackeys to them but as the best way for the public to know why we are here and what we aim to address. One of the most remarkable aspects of the camp is that a very, very high proportion of visitors go away being completely supportive to us. We need to widen that appeal as soon as possible and the media are the main way to do that. Unfortunately, it’s the best way to get mass support.

    The GA itself: the preamble to the three statements was wiped away due to blocks, completely understandably. We did get consensus eventually, this was clear. It took ages but then, so it should. At the last reading, there was a very clear consensus to each statement and after that, Josh clearly asked if there were any more blocks, stand asides or clarifications and there were none.

    But, the assembly made some excellent points which I hope are taken on:

    Make sure that major statements in the future are headlined as the agenda in advance, ideally, a day in advance.
    Hand out at east 30 copies of the statement.

    I received a lot of personal attacks during and after that GA. I’m a big boy, I can handle that. But, it’s really worth realizing the following:

    1. Process and real democracy as practiced in the camp is something to be proud of but something we need to develop more. No point in blaming any individuals for that.
    2. That a lot of people are working very, very, very hard in the camp.
    3. That without genuine love and respect for all, we won’t go forward.

  20. You’ve got rats in the kitchen guys – stay sharp!

  21. Dear Sirs

    Whilst I probably don’t agree with the politics of the majority of the ‘Occupy’ movement, I nevertheless support the right to freedom to protest, it is what separates us from the despicable regimes around the world.

    However, I find something quite amusing about the way that a consensus is being reached (or not) through the General Assemblies.

    It seems that consensus, even for 3 minor “demands” (oh dear, poor choice of wording, makes the movement sound like a terrorist), is difficult to come by for the 100-200 people attending.

    Thus I find it difficult to understand how this alternative “true democratic” process could effectively govern a population of 61 million. Indeed people are calling for online voting etc to include people who are unable to attend because of work and other commitments.

    Surely this is the problem. Everyone cannot be included in every decision that needs to be made to govern a large and complex society.

    Ironically, will taking the process forward not ultimately lead to some form of elections where people vote for someone, say every 5 years, to take decisions on their behalf. And, is it conceivable that these people may form themselves into alliances with others of similar beliefs?

    I suggest that, whilst not always “fair”, the current system is as good a representation of democracy as you are likely to get to.

    • Ollie, you’re absolutely right! It’s rather strange that the Canvas Corps don’t understand this.

      • Wouldn’t having direct democracy encompassing the whole population mean that we get hanging back too? Or perhaps the guillotine…
        It strikes me that the Occupy movement is really going to struggle to make any sort of point at all while there are such irreconcilable tensions over details of process and representation. There seems to be a core of anarcho-syndicalists who cleave to a pure system of direct democracy with no established leadership, trying to dominate the mass (presumably) of supporters who are just fed up with the mess that the powers that be and the financial sector have created and want their protests to be heard loud and clear. Unfortunately for the Paris commune die-hards, history suggests that things don’t get done without organisation, which requires consistent leadership from the minority within any group that both have leadership qualities and are willing to work harder than the rest to achieve the common goals.
        By the way, bigging up the role of the COLC within the global financial conspiracy by making them the focus of Occupy London’s first set of demands feels like it’s missing the mark. It’s a local council, run by people who like sitting on committees, dressing up and wearing gold chains. They’re not the guys who pull the strings in the global financial system.

        • …And you just pointed out the elephant in the room. 😀

    • Good post Ollie,
      However, one of the big issues with MPs is what happens when they get into westminster, the LOBBYISTS get involved and we personally dont get to vote on a policy that interests us, the LOBBIED MPs get to vote.
      Our current democracy allows us to vote for a candidate representing a party and that parties manifesto. We do not get to vote in parliament after listening to debates do we.
      I may agree with one party on certain policies and another party on other policies, so who do I vote for ? I would rather vote on a policy than vote in MPs to be lobbied or obey 3 line whips etc.

      • I understand where you’re coming from, but think it may be fairly labourious and inefficient for the electorate to vote on every decision currently undertaken. Even if you could find the time to actually cast a vote on every policy, how would you find the time to research every topic to a knowledgible enough level to make an informed decision. Wouldn’t the media become even more powerful in this scenario?

        I think their is a definite question as to how MPs can be made more accountable to the electorate. However, I’m not too sure whether this will require the major changes to the “system” that most of the occupy protesters seem to be demanding.

        • Fantastic posts Ollie. I watched the GA argue for ages and ages (before I eventually left) over whether or not to have a meeting about having a meeting with the COLC. Despite its flaws our current system is vastly superior to what is being practised and proposed by OLSX.

          Although, having said that I respect the desire to try and create an improved system even if I think the methods are somewhat naive

          • I guess the GA is going through an old saying that goes something like this

            You can please SOME of the people ALL of the time,
            You can please ALL of the people SOME of the time,
            BUT you can not please ALL the people ALL the time.

            It is about the logistics which with more resources could be worked out in time.

            @ Ollie,
            I see a system where you dont have to vote on every single policy if you do not have a vested interest. Once a proposal has gone through a round of debate, in an open parliament, viewable to all, then those who want to vote can. Too much knowledge about a subject can sometimes blur it, at the end of a day most of us use our gut instinct do we not ?

  22. The demands above appear to be predicated upon a fundamental misunderstanding of what the City Corporation is, and perhaps more pertinantly, what it is not.

    “transparency for public bodies” & “anomalous status of the City of London in relation
    to the Freedom of Information Act” The City Corporation is not a local authority, but a
    unique body that Parliament has, on numerous occasions, chosen to give local authority powers and responsibilities to. The City Corporation is also the police authority for the square mile and the port health authority for 94 miles of the Thames
    http://j.mp/tGsr1n .

    In common with other bodies that have “public authority” roles, but are not actually
    public authorities the Freedom of Information Act only applies to the public authority
    aspects of the body. There is nothing anomalous about the Corporation’s status with
    regard to FOI.

    The City Cash is the Corporation’s private funds and as such not only is FOI not
    applicable, but in common with any person, natural or corporate, attracts the right to
    privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It is Parliament, or the Secretary of State under delegated powers, who decides who or what is subject to FOI, not the City. However, any attempt to extend FOI would fall foul
    of ECHR.

    You can by all means ask the Corporation what lobbying they do, how they do it and why they do it, but talking about anomalies that do not actually exist is only likely to
    distract from the question you are asking.

    • Mr Ellson,

      It’s nice to read some comments from someone with a depth of understanding rather than those giving knee jerk reactions to things they haven’t bothered to research properly

  23. Well said Bill. A sensible, grown up comment at last. No start aiming at the real villians, the short-termist politicos, of all colours, who eternally print money and accept no longterm responsibility

  24. Guys – I’m all for transparency which appears to be what you are asking for, but I’m not sure what you are getting at with this statement in terms of your objectives, which I believe to be along the lines a more fair and equal society. If I read between the lines, this is basically another fight pitched at the wrong people because they want you to clear off, so this is your reaction. I thought your targets were big businesses and not the CofE or CoCL?

    • Perhaps, just like the CofE , the CofCL will learn from the error of their ways too………………….hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  25. Dear Occupy LSX

    Did you know that there is a UK band called ” BLAME THE BANKERS” who play a mixture of pop, blues, jazz and Latin? They were formed about six months ago and if in London would love to play for you – pass it around.


    Good luck and keep it going until victory!

    Best wishes

    “Blame the Bankers” Band

  26. WTF?

    Someone, )debt curse), comes on here and points out the ONLY solution needed for the resolution to THE underlying problem in the worlds economy. And that is WHERE does money come from, and WHO creates it.

    Untill those issues are addressed all you chatting by the fire side, argueing about who should say what and when, and considering ‘debating’ these issues with the City of London Corp, (are we serious here) are just peeing in the wind.

    ONLY 3% of all the money in the economy is made debt free by our sovereign elected government. The other 97% is made by Banks, OUT OF NOTHING, when they make loans AND at added interest.

    To pay that interest you need more money that does ot yet exist, so more people need more loans, to buy more goods that they dont need. This is called economic growth.

    Economic growth actually = more debt.

    FFS guys you need to research this problem it is the KEY issue. Stop moving the deck chairs around and acting like the band, (just playing), while the ship sinks.

    OUR money should be crated by a public body = debt free and spent into the economy on public services. Not created by profiteering corporations called banks.

    Here are links for you, please wtach the vids and reearch this problem, it is THE root cause of world poverty and inequality.


    • Before anyone winges about spelliing etc – i was in a hurry – and angry.


      • Hmm – how come my message about the spelling mistakes in my previous message has been approved – but my message that contained those spelling mistakes – and making a critic of the approach and the issues has not been approved?

  27. I was rather fond of the idea of a completely new system, not just getting a better view of the broken one we have now and fixing it up a bit. It’s rotten to the core and needs replacing, not reviewing.

    I also thought that the idea was to gain the support of vast numbers before getting into what to do next, it needs to be talked about globally, not tribally but happily we have the internet for that.

    If the movement starts issuing demands it can very easily get bogged down both with the members of the movemant, the media, government local and national. The movement needs to concentrate on exponential growth, not what happens next.

    Just my two penny-worth, am recently full of a nascent optimism for the direction of humanity and thank you for your part in it., whether I agree with the detail of how you go about it or not.

    • Here here and yeah yeah
      for a NEW system
      the current one does not work for me

  28. I do find it a bit ironic that the structure of my local authority is a topic of such debate by people who do not live here? As a resident of the CoL I do not seem to be able to engage in this “democratic process” of the GA. I wonder how many representatives of the CoL residents or businesses are on the CoL communication group?. Am I missing the point? I live here, and find that as a resident the opportunity to engage with this local authority is better, easier and more democratic than any other place I have lived. We have regular ward meetings, I can speak and email CoL representatives at any time, I have access to Guildhall and representatives at any time. The CoL immediately responds to any issues and the standard of services is high. There is actually a reason why I chose not to live in Westminster or Camden. Your efforts are discrediting my local authority do I have a right to say anything about this?

  29. at last! you are actually doing something effective! had started thinking you were a waste of time but have changed my mind. well done guys, this is ace.

  30. Occupy London score an internet success against City Of London Corporation. Search traffic increased by five!
    More here: http://wp.me/p1Znbh-f


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