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Occupy London: video interview with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Massive Attack’s Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja; Call for all to get involved in Occupy movement


Updated with transcript of interview at bottom 😉

  • Occupy London invites people to get involved in global movement for social and economic justice
  • Calls people to get involved and submit witness statements in support of legal case for St Paul’s occupation – deadline 3pm today

Following the surprise thank you gig by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Massive Attack’s 3D & Tim Goldsworthy of UNKLE for Occupy London – part of the global movement for social and economic justice – is delighted to be able to share an exclusive frank interview with Massive Attack’s Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke about why they support Occupy and why they did the gig. More details about the gig here.

Occupy London invites you to watch and share widely the 10 minutes video below:

Occupy London now has three spaces, including its first occupation camp at St Paul’s Churchyard – just by the London Stock Exchange in the heart of the City – and a second camp at Finsbury Square in the borough of Islington. Its third space, is a multi-million abandoned complex of building at 21-29 Sun Street in Hackney, belonging to investment bank UBS which Occupy London, in an act of ‘public repossession’ has turned into its first Bank of Ideas, a space for debate and dialogue.

Two of these spaces are currently facing eviction – the occupation at St Paul’s and the Bank of Ideas – and your support is called on.

Occupy London invites you to get involved and support the Occupy movement:

  • Help Occupy London’s Stock Exchange camp by St Paul’s in the High Court as it faces eviction – Deadline for witness statements is 3pm today so provide one now whether you are a supporter from afar, a visitor or an occupier. More info here
  • Occupy Everywhere! On December 15, it will be two months since the start of Occupy London. Occupy London started by building communities in our capital city. Now it’s time to occupy everywhere. Occupy London is joining with occupations across the UK and Ireland and beyond, to call for a National Day of Non Violent Creative Direct Action. Occupy everywhere, the workplaces, banks, universities and the streets
  • Donate – We are accepting donations from anyone for anything they might wish to donate. They can be financial donations or donations in kind. To find out more information check out here
  • Join the debate and spread the word – Start talking in your communities, in your families, with your friends about the issues Occupy is raising. Spread the word about the Occupy movement
  • Follow online – Participate in our discussions, keep up-to-date with our events and spread the word through our online platforms 
  • Take part – Various free events take place on a daily basis across Occupy London sites. Our events provide spaces to learn, share knowledge and develop skills through a wide series of workshops, lectures, debates, films, games, praxis and action. So why not attend an event or even organise your own session or workshop. The Tent City University, the educational arm of Occupy London puts on events at both the St Paul’s and Finsbury Square camps, while the Bank of Ideas, situated at 19-21 Sun Street, is a community hub with lots of events happening.
  • Participate in the General Assemblies – Our General Assemblies, which take place across the different occupations, are gatherings of people committed to discussing issues and making decisions collectively. They look at a variety of subjects, depending on the needs of the occupations so can be focused on political and economical topics as well as discussions involving the camp and the movement. Open to everyone that is respectful of the process and others involved in the Assembly, your input is truly valued and welcome. Do come along or follow it online via our Livestream channel. [http://occupylsx.org/?page_id=2023]
  • Volunteer or bring your expertise – The Occupy movement exists thanks to all the volunteers that want a more just society, to talk about it and to begin to make it happen. It is people like you that can make that happen and grow. You can help either just by offering a few hours a week or engaging more actively by offering your expertise to a working group. Please use the forum to let us know how you would like to help or to find out what the occupations needs are. Or just come by the Information points at the occupations and ask there
  • Join a Working Group – Working groups are formed by people deciding that they want to meet to discuss or focus on specific issues. There are a large variety of working groups, some involved in debates, others in the outreach of the movement and others are specific to the logistics of the occupations. You are welcome to join working groups either by dropping in to one of their meetings, or following their activities on the online forum.
Transcript of video interview
We would like to say a massive thank you to @spentrails on Twitter who volunteered to transcribe the interview with 3D and Thom Yorke this morning.
<<music & onscreen text>>
On the evening of 6th December 2011
The banks owed the UK taxpayer £456 billion
for their bail-out
but hey
it’s nearly Christmas
so UBS were having their Xmas party
and so were Occupy London
3D from Massive Attach
and Thom Yorke from Radiohead
played a thank you gig
for those sleeping in the December cold
for economic justice
for the 99%
In one respect, I think I always imagined the, the sort of like any change coming from something romantic like, um, you know rioting in, you know, in Bristol that happened in the 80s and I always thought it was something of a romantic notion but actually when it happened this year it was far from it, it was pretty sad and scary, really. And I saw it wasn’t really a solution to changing anything and I think a movement like this, when it is non-violent, it’s people applying pressure in all the right places, for all the right reasons, I think, it’s not a place to argue, it’s a place to offer support really because I really want things to change, but I don’t want to see it happen in a way which is sad, burning things down, you know. I think this is a way to apply pressure, um… Anyone can get involved, it’s not exclusive, you know.
Thom Yorke
I mean, to me the starting point in my head was that film Inside Job. ‘Cause basically I didn’t understand… I don’t understand how this stuff works. I don’t understand how the City works, and then to have a film basically explain to you that there’s a very good reason why you don’t understand it. They’ve made it so you don’t understand it, so they can carry on and you feel that you’re powerless.
Bank are, basically, took the money that was supposed to be safe, that was supposed to keep us safe and, and robbed it, and then said, oh, well, it was an act of God. It wasn’t us. It was just, that was the way it was. And everybody on the street knows it’s not the case. It’s not an act of God, it was deliberate. There’s people that are responsible and they’re not being held to account. Because it’s in the banking system, because it’s in this, uh, great cathedral of glass and steel, um, we’re not allowed to say anything about it. The system is as it is, and so every western politician is there saying, we’ve got to mop up. You know, you’ve got to dig deep, you’ve got to dig deep because we’ve got to mop up’. And even, like, normal middle class people are going, hang on, how does this work?. Um, I feel sad that, like, with this thing…that the way the media will put it across is like, you know, the Occupy movement, oh troublemaking, blah blah blah. And I think it’s interesting, like, that there is so much sympathy for it, you know…and it’s obvious why. But people can’t put it together in their heads, you know. I mean, because like, it’s the banking system, it’s like the law of God, it’s like beyond us, we’re not allowed to think about it, you know. I swear to God, that most politicians don’t understand the banking system at all anyway, They’re told they’ve got to mop up, they just mop up.
It’s organised crime on a, on a global scale. It’s…in any other situation it would not be protected by the law, but in this case the bank…the law have their politics and banking are the same thing, you know what I mean. Most politicians come from an economic background. The whole thing is so interlinked and intertwined. You look at America and the moment and they can’t even sort out this issue of resolving how to, sort of like, lessen their debt because they’re trying…some parts of the American, sort of like, Congress are trying to back a few people, to protect the wealth of a very few. And it’s just, I mean that, on any level is just ridiculous and sad and the fact that the rest of the world is being held to ransom at that level is just ridiculous, it’s crazy.
Thom Yorke
You don’t need to be an anarchist, you don’t need to be someone who smashes the state to have sympathy with that viewpoint, you know. I think that that’s what I find… If I was like, the pres…the prime minister of this country right now, I would be, well, I wouldn’t be the… I wouldn’t go to the right school but, anyway. You know, I would be wondering how I’m going to keep this anger at bay, because this anger’s going to get worse. How am I going to keep in power? And I swear, they’re siding with the wrong people. You cannot keep the system going in this motion. It won’t work.
It’s a very crazy and confusing thing because, like you said, there’s no real sides to this. It’s about all of us saying, what the hell’s going on? What’s happened to a system, you know, a democratic, capitalist system, which is something that we’ve all come to realise is that works. But it hasn’t been used properly, it hasn’t been regulated, and people say, well that’s human nature. But it’s not really, it’s not just about human beings being greedy, it’s about the system, the law, not protecting the right people. And not siding with the right people. And it’s the time when, as you’re pointing out, you know, right now, we’re having, you know, marginalising the sort of, you know, activists and citizens of the country. You should actually listen, and sort of stand by them and say, okay, what can we do to protect this country and the people in it. As opposed to sort of like, trying to protect a few – the banks. The banks only work if we bank with them. You know, it only works… If we don’t operate within the system then the law… And I think, this is a law-abiding protest, it’s a protest of pressure, it’s about actually about putting, keeping a pressure on the situation that won’t get better if we all stand back and eventually…it blows up, there’s a riot for sort of like three months. A lot of the people lose their businesses, kids end up in jail, that’s no solution to anything. Do you know what I mean, right now, this is a better solution.
Thom Yorke
And how else would you do it? Do you know what I mean? How else would you…how would you…how else now, right now, in 2011, would you register your protest? What, would you go and talk to your MP?
I think all of us have…all of us have, you know, a sort of responsibility to look at how it all works, as much as we can find out and how…as difficult as it is, as we were talking about, to sift through it and work out what you can do as an individual. And any, any solution that can sort of help, you know, create a wave of change that’s going to be one to do. And I think everyone right now is looking at different options and sometimes, you know, it has to hurt you in the pocket to get people to do things. All of us are that way, we are all self-involved with our lives, our families and stuff, and our friends and our situations. And it takes a bit of a crisis to get people to move. And we’ve had a big crisis, a series of crises really and now people are thinking about how to make a change, how to…where to spend their money, where to save their money. And this whole idea of keeping the consumer bubble going by having to spend money at Christmas is crazy. People don’t need to spend their money. I know the economy’s in trouble but it’s not…the solution isn’t to keep spending money. It’s not about creating a bigger debt. It’s a crazy way of looking at it.
Thom Yorke
That’s it. It’s perpetuating the motion in the same direction, which is just…it’s not…it’s going to end…it’s just going to keep making it worse. But, what you’re saying with banks, banks… It’s like, to me banks can’t have it both ways. They can’t have the luxury of being protected as part of our country’s infrastructure and then take the capital of that, and do what the fuck they like with it. You can’t do that, right, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot have that luxury. You can’t say, oh you need free capital… And I think, if like, if the British government, for example, is not prepared to really, like, um, make amends to the British people for this, by, um, penalising the banks the way they should, then I think we should do it ourselves.
I think that everyone in the Occupy movement knows exactly what to do and what they’re doing is brilliant. And it’s up to us to, sort of, stand back and applaud them and drink, and raise a glass to them for what they’re doing anyway. Because, you know, I think they’re leading the way. And, you know, whatever we can do as other citizens or as musicians or whatever, is just, kind of like, helps support it. And you know, my hand is raised to them really, to be honest.
Thom Yorke
My Christmas message to Occupy would be that, I mean… To be honest, there’s two things. The first thing is like… To me it’s really inspiring to actually see, when it kicked off in New York, how it kicked off, how it happened really naturally, how it happened non-aggressively, cleverly… You know, I’ve always been sympathetic with that passive protest; peaceful protest is great. The police tried to move them on, they came back, moved them on, they came back, it got bigger, it got bigger, it got bigger, it got bigger, it got bigger, it got bigger. It’s like, why do you think that is? It’s because it means something. It’s because this generation actually has to do this. We have no choice because there’s no…you know…and I’m…yeah…absolutely… Like you were saying, we’re just really proud that our fellow human beings have got their shit together. It’s great.
Yeah, absolutely man. It’s like one of these [raises hand as if to toast] to everyone in the Occupy movement. I mean that’s actually a wanker sign…
Thom Yorke
No, it’s the Queen…
[raises hand with pinky out as if drinking tea]
Yeah, sorry… [does same]….

6 Responses to “Occupy London: video interview with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Massive Attack’s Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja; Call for all to get involved in Occupy movement”

  1. “A democratic capitalist system is something I think we’ve all come to realise is one that works.” – 3D

    Spoken like an aspiring one-percenter!

    “I’ve always been sympathetic with passive protest” – Thom Yorke

    Yeah, fuck direct action, lets get passive.

    • They are speaking off the cuff, perhaps you prefer well rehearsed spin. Passivity is a good strategy in any struggle thats in for long haul.

    • Feel free to say something positive, you never know, you might like it.

  2. @Karen

    To give them credit… I saw 3D as referring to the positive products of capitalist development (e.g. the technology which even allows me to communicate with you, or allows 3D the tools to make his music) which cannot be denied. I refuse, and by virtue of Occupy’s use of technology, I think Occupy refuses a naive primitivism that thinks any new form of economics won’t be made out of the shell of capitalism and therefore retain aspects of it.

    And as far as Yorke, he’s a musician not a political scientist, so going beyond semantics I think in the context of what he said I believe he’s referring to creative direct action as “passive” versus violent direct action which is “active” or aggressive.

  3. One of the best aspects of the Occupy protests has been the opening of real dialogue between people who are of dfiiering political experience and opinion. A huge range of people are participating in an unprecidented debate about politics when for twenty years or more the political landscape has been dominated by indifference, apathy, proaganda and division. I applaud Thom and 3D for sticking their necks out into an arena that is not their area of expertise and in doing so will inevitably get castigated for. Musicians and artists should be heavily involved in politics: “In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.” Ernst Fisher… this is exactly why they are participating in my opinion.

    As for passive protest. This means peaceful. This worldwide peaceful movement of people has resulted in more people becoming politically aware than at any other time in history. Passive imaginative resitance works. It scares the shit out of the ruling class because it is so effective. When grandmothers get assaulted by heavy handed police or students sitting down are pepper sprayed it is hard to spin and even more people begin to ask why. It encourages wide participation more than any other form of protest and unites people from all walks of life. Most importantly it gets discussion underway in wider society. One group imposing their views only serves to alienate the majority and for a real evolution of our species and society to occur the vast majority need to be along for the ride. Bloody revolution only imposes a new boss. Evolution might just save our species.

  4. @Karen Elliot
    I think 3D is saying we’ve all enjoyed benefits of a democratic capitalist system and as popular musician he wouldn’t be who he is without it. That being said, the banks and politicians have corrupted that system at our expense. We don’t want to be communist or socialist because history has shown us that those societies are not as free & more open to corruption. This movement has presented us a great opportunity to shed light on the problems we are facing, the media and politicians have to pay attention now so let’s use that to fix democratic capitalism. It’s not perfect, nothing is, but it allows the most freedom for everyone.


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