Friday, 30 December 2011

Occupy AT (after tent)

Noam Chomsky said:
“You can't achieve significant initiatives without a large, active, popular base. It's necessary to get out into the country and help people understand what the Occupy movement is about -- what they themselves can do, and what the consequences are of not doing anything.

Organizing such a base involves education and activism. Education doesn't mean telling people what to believe -- it means learning from them and with them.”

I have been giving a lot of thought to what we do next as a movement; how do we progress and grow what we have started? How do we include others of the 99% who have only witnessed a (likely negative) media representation of Occupy? A lot of other people are also considering the same thing and trying to find our next steps, as is Noam Chomsky in the quote above.

Here at Occupy London, we have had our court case and await our fate after 11th January 2012.

When asked the other day to write one side of a debate for The Occupied Times of London, I had to give the matter even more attention; the subject requiring a response was to choose whether I believe our OccupyLSX camp should stay or go.

Sadly (and surprisingly for me) I chose the ‘to go’ side of the debate. Not completely, I believe what we have done is important and historic and needs to remain in some form ie: an information point and teaching area (a la Tent City University) that are staffed by rotating Occupiers (not twirly-people …but ones who support Occupy and come for a while, to be later replaced by others).

So many people have sent words and donations of support to Occupy but been unable to attend and stay in a camp for a whole host of very good reasons: health, job, family, finance etc. Staying in a tent is just not a practical way for the vast majority of the 99% to demonstrate and seek solutions to society’s problems.

My thoughts on what could be a part of what happens next include this idea for Occupy Outreach:

OCCUPY Presentations

AIM:
-To enrich people’s understanding of what the OCCUPY movement is, how it functions and what sort of problems it is confronting in society.

-To enrich the OCCUPY movement with fresh insights and contributions by more people.

METHOD:
An interactive presentation about the movement that can be delivered by anyone with knowledge of OCCUPY. The presentation would be effective if given from - or accompanied by - a tent : )

TOOLS:
A tent, an OCCUPIER and a *presentation pack.

*PRESENTATION PACK:

The Presentation Pack would be designed to show how Occupy functions ie: hand signals, workgroups, General Assemblies etc. and include time for questions and answers. The presentation would lead to a proposal that those participating would come up with by posing an appropriate question or topic that will get the participants working in groups, facilitating, presenting their conclusions, proposing and finding consensus.

PLANNING:
There could be two types of opportunity for OCCUPY Presentations – PLANNED OCCUPIES where we have scheduled in advance with the host (school, workplace, group etc) and FLASH OCCUPIES where we simply appear somewhere (shopping mall, street, park, civic building etc.) and get a crowd.

POSSIBLE ACTIONS

Planned/Staged Occupies:

OCCUPY ASSEMBLY - for schools/colleges etc. either in assemblies for the whole school or a select year, class etc.

OCCUPY GROUPS – for youth groups, drug user groups, volunteer groups etc.

OCCUPY STAFF MEETINGS – for nurses, hotel staff, shop workers etc. as part of their scheduled staff meetings

Flash Occupies:

OCCUPY Shopping Malls

OCCUPY Town Hall entrances

OCCUPY the street (any street)

OCCUPY alongside an event like a fair, market etc.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Where has the time gone?


Wow... it has been 30 days since we started our OccupyLSX action and I haven't even thought about putting something on my blog. I guess that's because my time is so stretched as I camp for 4-5 days then come home for 2-3 days (to cram work and family love). My income is down to a fifth of its original size once you factor insane £74 train fares, life is looking just a tad wobbly at the moment!

So why? Why on earth am I doing this; every time I give up my warm bed and comfort of indoor plumbing I wonder. As I arrive at St Paul's (looks as much like home as home these days... maybe strangely moreso?) I am genuinely scared and then I leap anyway and freefall into a different world.

In this world every conversation counts; most are warm, enlightening and wise and the few that aren't are at least challenging or lesson learning as enforced patience-practice. No one is trivial.

In this world I have no idea whether my fellow campers are married, employed, wealthy or poor... I don't generally know their religions (except for Sister Ruth - but that is a whole other blog post that I just wouldn't know how to start!!) and I don't know where they came from and I don't care because I already 'know' them. I know they are willing to endure cold, hard-ground conditions because they share my determination to ask questions of the 1% and those who work for them.

Each of us knows when we look at each other - even in challenging situations - that we share an experience and strength of commitment. We can spend up to 6 hours making simple decisions at our General Assemblies (1pm & 7pm where decions are made... eventually) but it is the act of getting all sides heard and ensuring even one objection means a decision doesn't pass. We are so damned democratic I could kick us lol! But hey, it works and not only that... it is quite beautiful.

I am too tired and eager for the softness of my marshmallow bed to go on but I will top this blog up with Occupy tales when I can because I should; this feels like something special.

In the meantime, I have been in a few videos so will post them next to ensure all is in one place.

CNBC -

BBC -

GUARDIAN -

Monday, 17 October 2011

Once I’d touched you, I couldn’t let you go…


I was there outside of the London Stock Exchange on Saturday 15th October 2011 at noon. I was amidst around 3,000 others as part of the ‘Occupy London Stock Exchange’ movement that was in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and so many other Occupy actions across the world on that day.

Encountering others with shared views, is like balm for all the times you have had to fight to be heard, believed or understood. It is also impossible to have been there and then walk away untouched by the dedication, determination and sheer hardiness of those that brought tents and were settling down to a very cold, uncomfortable night’s sleep on the hard, stone, consecrated grounds of St. Paul’s (stunningly beautiful) Cathedral. I will join them in a tent on Wednesday and am not hardy. (UPDATE: here now!!)

I don’t want to.

But since coming back to get my things for a longer stay with Occupy in London, I have felt wrong getting into a soft, snuggly bed – knowing that those who remained weren’t and nor were all the others standing for what I believed in across the world.

What I believe in.

That is the continuous question asked of those who Occupy; wherever they do it, as well as online of those who support the action. Such a disparate swathe of humanity is contained in this 'Occupy' that the unity is a miracle. But it’s there – a singular strong sense at the core of this – brighter and stronger than all the other stuff to be mad about around it. This is from some fine Professors who are supporting the Occupy movement and it expresses the feeling very well:

“…the dramatic increases in poverty, joblessness and economic insecurity in our society are directly related to the extraordinary rise in inequality, particularly the wealth captured by the 1% of our population, which has deeply corrupted our political system. We stand united with the 99% to take back our economy and government from the 1%.” (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Professors-supporting-Occupy/?mid=5067)

I hope the weight of the determination of those who Occupy, is felt; sleeping outside in uncomfortable conditions really isn’t a lifestyle choice. I can only begin to imagine how much responsibility those at Occupy Wall Street must feel – so many across the world looking to them for example, for clarity, for purpose and for hope that this at last, might be something that works.

A lot needs to change in the world but there’s only 1% stopping that change.

The effect of removing our power and wealth from just 1% of the population should not result in a suddenly unrecognisable, unworkable world and does not need to lead to violence.

You only have to watch a Ted Talk (http://www.ted.com/) to be in awe of the wisdom of humanity and know that the answers are in here, somewhere

…or gaze at the universe with Professor Brian Cox (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zdhtg) to know we are missing out on being amazing delights of creation; started, somewhere out there.

One life each.

I will not spend it paying for the 1% to relish theirs whilst I scrape by, worry, wonder and wish at what could be so much better for all around me.

Occupy Wall Street Occupy London Stock Exchange organizer - YouTube

Occupy Wall Street Occupy London Stock Exchange organizer - YouTube

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

But what do you hope to achieve?

On October 15th 2011 I will Occupy the London Stock Exchange

"But what do you hope to achieve?"

...I hope to achieve the breaking of a spell.

Those in power (who are abusing it) have only got away with it for so long because they didn’t hear us complain loud enough.

Those in power (who abuse it), imagine that we are so busy scrambling to make a life with the poor quality tools they provide – that we won’t have time to notice just how bloody fabulous life could be – if ‘we the people’ weren’t held in place by the 1% that has the power (and abuses it).

...I hope to achieve power by standing with others.

‘We the people’ are, in all areas of our lives, labelled and then divided by these labels. We are black, white, male, female, gay, straight, graduate, student, christian, muslim, public sector, private sector, yob, youth, unemployed, immigrant, foreigner, expatriate and all the rest.

These labels are used to divide us by the media representation of those labelled and by those in power who make laws based on highlighting the wrong in any one labelled group at any time. There are no good groups or bad groups, no right labels or wrong labels – just an ease of division.

BUT before my label I am first and foremost one of the people who inhabit this earth. I see this in every other human before I see their label and start working out what divides us. I hope we can hold ourselves to this one label so that our sameness unites us and we cannot be divided and conquered (again and again)

...I hope to achieve change.

I want the system of government to change; not just the party and the people. It is the way government abuses the power we give them with our votes and taxes that needs to change. The way politics and business are so entwined needs to change. The priorities of government need to change so they reflect the role as representative of the people and FOR the people - not banks, business, other governments etc.

I don’t know what this change looks like – but I know it shouldn't be so ugly.

I don’t have answers - I just have questions.

I don’t have solutions – but I have a starting point along with others from the 99%
who are stifled by the abuse of power by the 1%.


And I have hope - because I am with those who:
#OccupyWallStreet #OccupyOregon #OccupyBoston #OccupyToronto #OccupyLeeds #OccupyCanada #OccupyAtlanta #OccupyTheHood #OccupyPittsburgh #OccupyPhoenix #OccupyDameStreet #OccupyDublin #OccupySydney #OccupyManchester #OccupyLondon #OccupyLSX #OccupyTucson
@occupytaipeitw @occupystaugust @OccupyUP @OccupyWSaParis @occupyseaside #occupywallstreet #takethesquare #otw
and so many more too numerous to list.

#OccupyTogether

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

June Irene 10/12/1943 - 05/05/2011


I’ve sat alone

Without you by my side before

Shut doors behind you

My life inspired by you

Even when you couldn’t be seen


I’ve cried about you

In the past

Had angry feelings that couldn’t last

When I imagined your words

Even when they weren’t heard


But I’ve never breathed before

The air from a world

Without you in it


I miss my mum x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Intrigued about the future of QR Codes... so got one all my own :)

In a nutshell:
The info you want to share on a business card 'bar code' - no matter who has your card, where they are or how long they have had it - your details will be current if you ensure you keep your account details accurate.

Recipients of your card or even just the QR code - simply scan with their Smart phone to download your 'business card' (it is very nicely laid out too, corporate, uncomplicated and open to individualisation).

You maintain your account with the sort of details you want to share ie: Twitter/LinkedIn/FaceBook & other social media links, website & email, company name & job title, contact details, image etc. and each time your particular QR code is scanned - it will show what you have entered as it gets its info from your account.

If you're interested, you could go to http://getqrky.com/ or follow @QRky on Twitter to find out more.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Tina Louise: Fragmented People, Coagulating

Tina Louise: Fragmented People, Coagulating

As each individual, regardless of position or role in society, regardless of title or faith, accepts that he is first and foremost a human being, we begin at last to realise not only the sameness we share with our fellow man but the power we have as individuals; when we are of one intent, together.

The mass that is forming looks like ‘we the people’ and nothing is bigger than this; even those with the weapons and those who have had the power, cannot fail to recognise that at their core, they too are a part of ‘we the people’.

One life is what we each currently have and how we live it – is what our uprisings are about.


The current situations arising in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and elsewhere are happening so quickly and each day the world looks a lot less like it did yesterday. It feels like remembering who we were – before we became our job titles, our marital status or our god’s image creator. It feels like the shedding of our outer layers; built up over years of dressing to fit our pigeon-holed surroundings. It feels like letting go of what’s-to-be-expected and a reaching instead, for a possibility. It feels at last, like a feeling that originates at our core – not at a dictate.

Naïve, optimistic and blinkered by rose coloured shades? Sure it is likely to get a lot bloodier before we tidy the place but in my heart, it truly feels like we have let something escape and that it is refusing to be contained again. It feels also like, that something - is us.

In the March 3rd issue of CounterPunch in 2007, my essay ‘Stuffed with Terror, Starved of Dreams’ was published and as I sat to write this (my second essay to be published by CounterPunch) some four years later – I realise it is almost to the day. Something about an end to winter and coming of spring? Maybe.

That first essay was written as the Iraq war and all that surrounded it; the torture, the illegality, the theft, the abuse and the sheer bloody waste of life, pleasure and joy; had grown so very great. Frustration and anger at our governments had finally spilled over from the protesters to the general populous and yet, protest after protest, revelation after revelation and even common sense’s attempts at intervention, nothing was changing.

I opened the essay in 2007 with this paragraph:

“Sick of Iraq, war on terror, torture, civilian deaths, political lies, corruption in high places, loss of civil liberties, stolen elections, media manipulation and conversation after conversation about all of the above. Over the past four years I have evolved from a contented mother to a raging activist granny. This is not something I chose to be; I want to get a cottage, grow organic vegetables and write poetry that speaks of love and passion whilst I relax safe in the knowledge that my offspring and hers will live to a decent age, in a peaceful world with air they can breathe, clean water and freedom to choose whatever path they want to follow. Sadly, the cottage image is a shattered mess along with all the other hopes as the screen before me fills with images of other mothers whose children are slaughtered by armies that claim to represent me and make me an accessory by using my tax to fund the killing.”.

To say that today is a contrast would be a ridiculous understatement. I watch as dictators slaughter their people and other powers offer help, that sound more like colonisation and yet there is still a powerful sense that it is ok.

It is the people.

Whether each who chose to risk his life by standing up to the powers that govern it, was mislead, manipulated or truly informed - doesn’t matter as much as the fact that each stood. Each chose life or death rather than acceptance of what feels wrong and each was emboldened by the stand.

Long fragmented by our divisions, we the people are now forming a mass of discontent and the abusers of people and power are so very few when compared to the majority that is …us. We may not have an easy path ahead but it feels like the right path to take.