Tuesday, 1 November 2011

An Afternoon Spent at OcuppyLSX

I am very pleased to say, that yesterday I was able to make it back to the occupation outside of St. Paul’s (OcuppyLSX.ORG), hadn’t been able to make it along since the comrades had set up camp almost 3 weeks ago now, and of course last week I was on that dreadful ‘Work Programme’. The camp and the protest being far more important, significant and imperative than the forced hoop jumping ordered by the government, so I was just glad to get back.

The nights are now drawing in but fortunately temperatures are rather mild for the time of year, it seems that someone up above is looking down favourably on the camp and the protesters; as the clocks went back at the weekend, thankfully, night-time temperatures have stubbornly hovered at 14C (57F) in the south-east, which is above the norm for this time of the year – that’s global warming for you then.

I was also glad to get away from Canning Town, sometimes it feels like an open prison, strange that I say that for I do like it here, but sometimes you just have to escape from it if you know what I mean. Traveling on my bicycle it’s not a long journey and quite enjoyable, down towards Limehouse, along Cable Street and towards the Tower of London, taking-in the view along the Thames Walk Way, finally into the City of London and the so-called square-mile arriving at St. Paul’s.

I had the clear impression on arrival that the community had decided to move the tents to one side as far as it was possible so as to placate and try and conciliate all the fuss and controversy that was made in regard to health and safety, the risk of fire (safety issues which were never fully explained) and all that. I must say that the camp is well organised, although tents for sleeping-out-in seemed to be squeezed, squished and squelched together but not crushed, a really amazing sight colourful and intriguing, people milling and mulling around or just sitting about chatting, a truly great atmosphere of togetherness and evident cooperation. And of course as you could imagine a police not so princely presence at hand, but let’s not think about them.

Taking my time and looking around the camp I found the information tent, where I inquired about the possibility of using the toilet, or rather for those of you who are more refined, sophisticated and cultured, the lavatory, I was told I could use the coffee shop just across the way or one of the pubs nearby, it seemed that the toilets on site were only for use in the evenings. There were plenty of people coming in and out of the information tent which was of standing height, full of information, leaflets a message book and general information about meetings and activities, and there was a university of life tent, used for discussions which probably included topics like the international banking crises or the effects of global warming, looking inside, it would easily take 60 people with cushions scattered around on the floor it looked fantastic.

It really is surprising what good use you can make of limited space; there was a free book lending library, a tent with a comrade playing a piano, a free tea and coffee tent, a larger marquee tasked with generally feeding the camp and supporters which was constantly on-going, food being donated all the time by well-wishers and sympathisers or just members of the public, who incidentally were making financial donations all the time while I was there.

Oh yes, and before I forget to mention it, there is also a large tent which had a sign on it that simply said:

“Meditation and Prayer Room, All Faiths and None”

Just a mention of some of the other tents will give you a really good idea how well this occupation is being run and organised by all those involved, like the legal and clothing tents. No one person is in charge and everyone has a say in the running of the camp through the general assemblies and working groups, a real democracy without leaders.

In fact there was a handmade poster which said:

“This is what Democracy looks like”

I made a note of some of the posters on display at the camp and thought it a good idea to share them in this post with you:

“No Alcohol No Drugs on Site”

“Power to the People - Hell - No We Won’t Go”

“Jesus’ did not go – He Drove the Moneylenders from the Temple”

“English Heritage Real Freedom Reborn Here October 2011”

I noticed that many office workers were taking a keen friendly interest in the camp, specking and conversing with protesters whist music and song was reverberating around the great Cathedral and for me it was a great afternoon spent only sad that I had to go home, but I will be back like the good penny that I am!”         

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