3 October 2011
It looks like the City of London is about to be occupied too. A group calling itself Occupy London intends to occupy Paternoster Square and the area around the London Stock Exchange near St Paul’s Cathedral in the Square Mile commencing Saturday October 15th.
Inspired by the 15-M protests in Spain, Occupy Wall Street (which gained momentum over the weekend, thanks in part to the extraordinary incompetence of the NYPD), the occupation of other US cities, Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and the ‘Arab Spring’, Occupy London anticipates that its occupation of the City of London will go on for many weeks.
Like Occupy Wall Street, which outlined its aims in the Declaration of New York last night, Occupy London is primarily seeking proper financial reform, greater economic justice and a more inclusive, properly-functioning democracy. Jackie Fellner, a marketing manager from Westchester County who is taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protests yesterday told Associated Press: “We’re not here to take down Wall Street. It’s not poor against rich. It’s about big money dictating which politicians get elected and what programs get funded.”
In an advertisement on Facebook Occupy London said:-
We are a people-powered movement, protesting against the increasing social and economic injustice in this country. Since the financial crisis the government has made sure to maintain the status quo and let the people who caused this crisis get off scot-free, whilst conversely ensuring that the people of this country pay the price, in particular those most vulnerable. What we have in common is that we are the other 99%, that we want People over Profit, that we are making our voices heard against greed and corruption and for a democratic and just society. And we are doing that in a non-violent and peaceful way.
A worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics is underway right now that bodes well for the future. The spirit of this fresh tactic, a fusion of Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain, is captured in this quote:
The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people.
— Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people’s assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the real democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen…