When I went to the London Stock Exchange on 15th October 2011 - I did so because I'd reached a personal 'enough-is-enough' moment. I'd seen the government bail out the greedy, gambling, irresponsible banking sector again and in the next breath... speak of austerity and cuts for 'we, the people'. They talked of 'trickle down' and that's just ridiculous - why give money to the very sector that created the problem and then HOPE they will trickle it back into society? Then they said... "it's ok, they will probably lend it back to businesses and people" ...grrrrrrrrr! Why wouldn't they build in an INSISTANCE that they at least ensure the money makes its way back out of the vault? They didn't build in a clause or requirement or anything. So... along with my sister Julie Daniels and a tent we went to join Occupy the London Stock Exchange.
It was clear that 'our' government wasn't actually ours at all - that somewhere along the way we had not only let the corporate lobbyists in... but we had grown so used to this, we weren't noticing that something needed to be done about it. Those lobbyists are still there and we didn't get them out - this is clearly evidenced in the fight we are having to ensure dangerous, extreme energy extractiontechniques like FRACKING - are not done in our country. Key lobbyists and those PERSONALLY invested in the industry itself... walk the corridors of our houses of commons and lords: John Browne, Baron Browne of Madingley (Lord Browne), Baroness Hogg, Lord Howell (Chancellor George Osborne's father-in-law), #Balcombe MP Francis Maude and others. They have hijacked democracy.
BUT... the amazing coming together of individuals from all walks of life and all sorts of places, for all sorts of reasons... that became a worldwide Occupy Movement - was a fertile space and time; many of us, freshly informed and empowered - went on to discover symptoms of this 'DISease' of our democracy, this corruption of our government - all over the place. We joined other groups or made our own and became merged with campaigns tackling poverty, disability rights, employment, environmental and community threats, saving the NHS, exposing insane economics and for my sister and I, RAFF - Residents Action on Fylde Fracking.
It's not our UK Occupy anniversary until next month but it was Occupy Wall Street that placed a seed of an idea in me 2 years ago - the idea that I didn't have to accept anything so intolerable as watching communities be put at risk for some investor's profit or the ceaseless hacking away at the quality of our education and health care systems or the vile disregard for the dignity of our elders when they most need and deserve it or the slashing of our rights to object to any of this.
The 50 Best Signs From #OccupyWallStreet