Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What is an #Occupy site actually like? What's it about?

Taken Monday 17th October

Welcome sign

Having been in to support the #OccupyBristol site on College Green today and yesterday, I can tell you.

It is tidy. No mud - yet. The people are very welcoming, and there is a good, purposeful buzz. These are early days - I was there for days three and four, to be exact. I brought stuff in, as per their wish list folding chairs, firewood, saws, pipe, and hazel poles. For a bender. 

Au urban camp is a strange space. Here's the city of Bristol going about its frenetic rush from home to work to coffee shop eatery and back again, and here are a bunch of people who are camping, talking, and (sometimes) singing. 

 Why?  What's the point? How is camping in the middle of the city going to change anything? 

Exactly the same questions were being in Cairo asked eight months ago. How will a bunch of young people camping in Tahrir Square change anything? Do they seriously think that they will be able to topple Mubarak by occupying space in the city?

But they did succeed, because of their persistence, and the fact that they were physically expressing the rejection of the majority of the Egyptian people.

Now I have been on many demonstrations since 1969. I always try to talk to passers-by, and am used to finding only a minority of support. #Occupy is different. 
People are walking in, bearing gifts of food. 
Everyone is sick of politicians and banksters and corporations and the Daily Mail. Except not the Daily Mail. They're still buying that. 

Which will probably lead to the Mail and Sun giving us a bad press. I heard today that the Bristol Evening Post belongs to Dacre and that he owns 50% of the local press.  Please tell me its not true.

But I digress. As in Egypt, so throughout the world. Obviously Cameron is no Mubarak. We could topple Cameron, but would probably wake up to find Liam Fox. Our struggle is not with a single dictator, but with the multinationals who have bought our politicians. 

It is a high mountain to climb. There are hardships ahead, right across the globe. And right across the globe, people of all types, shapes, sizes, ages, and colours are standing up and saying -

Enough! That's enough poverty and powerlessness for us, the 99%, when the 1% has so much wealth they do not know what to do with it.

These are ordinary people saying the system is broken. Back come the critics, asking what they offer to put  in its place. And they laugh because these are not economists or politicians, but ordinary (or extraordinary) people. They are not economists or politicians. They just want (as one activist said) to be.

It is up to us, the bloggers and writers, to work out the changes necessary to fix the system.

It'll take a bit of work, but we owe it to our brothers and sisters sleeping (or not sleeping) when their canvas is shaken by rain, wind, or drunks. We, the bloggers and tweeters and writers and thinkers, owe it to the activists to draw up a clear, pragmatic programme designed to remedy our broken economic system.

There are many such operations in progress, right across the web, but if you feel like staying on this blog, there is a starter right here on the Ma'blog, so you don't have to go flying around all over the Web.

PS here's an account of a #Occupyakland, in the USA. 


tabithatwitchetty said...

Nice one Richard :)

DocRichard said...

Thanks Tabitha. I feel as if I have been waiting 50 years for this to happen.

N Oui said...

good to get some information on the Occupy Bristol people. I'm one of those peeps who walks past on my way to and from work. Keep meaning to stop and say hello, but I'm always late.

On a point of fact, Paul Dacre is the editor of the Daily Mail, not the owner. Viscount Rothermere is the owner (a non-dom, incidentally, who pays no UK tax. Odd that you don't read about that in the Mail...!)

DocRichard said...

Hi N Oui

Thanks for the point of fact. I will amend it.