Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Church of England in the Pockets of the Sharks and Moneylenders



British Christian groups have undertaken to protect the Occupy London tent-city out front of St Paul's cathedral by surrounding it with a "circle of prayer" in the event that the cathedral attempts to evict the protesters. I was also wondering whether or not this would apply also to the latest threat emanating from the City of London Corporation who will (at the time of writing) issue a letter at 12:00 GMT warning High Court action will follow unless the camp is cleared within 48 hours?
 
And so it seems then, the hardliners in the Corporation have had their fill now, of the differing and put over to deferring of a very indecisive divided and dithering clergy, not only at St. Paul’s but of the Church of England leadership as a whole.

In the meantime Home Secretary Theresa May has now called on the authorities to work together to move on the protesters, which is to be expected as the frustration within the British establishment escalates, very much due and owing to the media campaign backfiring on them; rather than the public’s opinion running against the protest and the camp its finding a shared empathy with and from thousands if not millions, that may be a bit optimistic but then again we live in times when anything is really possible, and capitalism in crises is on the back foot.

As the news filters through, that the cathedral's ‘rulers’ have agreed suspending a legal bid to remove activists from its grounds in favour of engaging with them, this must be seen as a face saving exercise and an unexpected triumph to OcuppyLSX and their many supporters. But let’s not get carried away here or lose sight of what this occupation is all about, it’s not a fight with the Church or St. Paul’s Cathedral higher-ranking and well paid clerics. I remind myself by reading the initial statement agreed by the assembly of 500 and the points they made originally on 16 October. Just to run through some of the points gives clarification and helps to stay focused, so here are an abbreviated few:

The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust.

We stand together with occupations all over the world.

We refuse to pay for the bankers’ crisis.

We do not accept cuts as either necessary or inevitable.

We support the strike on the 30th November and the student action on the 9th November.
We stand in solidarity with the global oppressed and we call for an end to actions of our government and other in causing this oppression.

And although I have said that the occupation is not about a fight with the Church or St. Paul's there are facts and circumstances that cannot be ignored or overlooked, especially when we talk about democracy in its greater context and I am afraid the Church of England cannot escape its two bob’s worth here.

The Church as we have come to know it, is nothing more than a tool of the establishment and the state with the Queen at its head and a government who pick and select its leaders. If we take a closer look at St. Paul’s for instance, as indeed ANONYMOUS (UK) did, and so have others by the way; just to say I had the great pleasure meeting and chatting with ANONYMOUS (UK) yesterday whilst visiting the occupation. They did a little research into the people who help to run and support St. Paul's and who may have in my own opinion been trying to pull some of the strings of the dithering clergy, and as it were behind the closed doors of the Cathedral.

So here is a list of them for your perusal, and a further examination can be done over the Internet of that I am sure, this list is reproduced thanks to the Morning Star.

The Broad of St. Paul’s and Trustees

Chairman Sir John Stuttard, a former lord mayor and sheriff who racked up 30 years as a partner at the multinational auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers, taking two years off in the early '80s to join the Central Policy Review Staff advising the Thatcher government's privatisation agenda. 

Dame Helen Alexander DBE - deputy chairwoman of the right-wing Confederation of British Industry, the largest and most influential business lobby group in the country. Much like Sir John, she beams confidence in the neoliberal status quo.

Carol Sergeant CBE. Having worked as the Financial Services Authority's managing director for regulatory process and risk, Sergeant left in 2004 to join Lloyds TSB as its chief risk director.

John Spence OBE, Roger Gifford, the British head of Swedish merchant bank SEB and former master of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers, Gavin Ralston of the FTSE 100's Schroder Investment Management and former Met commissioner Lord Blair of Boughton - who since retiring in 2008 has retained a pension of around £160,000 a year, in addition to whatever savings he may have scraped together from his £240,000 annual salary.

All that leaves on the board is theatre director Joyce Hytner, the cathedral's fundraiser in the US John Harvey and Dean Knowles himself - not exactly a cross-section of Britain's civil society.

And as the Morning Star put it: “And that's just the trustees. The foundation's full list of current corporate donors consists of Lloyds, money managers to the mega-rich Fidelity and Sarasin & Partners, brokers BGC Partners and the London Stock Exchange itself.” 
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