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The Occupation

24th November 2011

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The claims made by most media coverage of the movement use the term ‘anti-capitalist’ as a blanket term for the movement. But to fully understand the Occupy movement is to know that every single person who is partaking has had a different life experience and has a different world view, and a different perspective on how far the movement needs to go.

General Assembly at the Occupation in LondonSome believe that the implementation of a Robin Hood tax and pressuring the bankers into being more ethical with their lending and spending are powerful enough changes to spur on the equality they feel we all deserve. Others feel that our current capitalist society will continue, in however many different costumes, until the people revolt, reject and reform society to meet the needs of the many. Either way the movement as a whole has united a whole subset of people, usually dissatisfied with society.

David Cameron recently said that the occupations aren’t “constructive”. From the perspective of someone who has observed the Occupation at St. Paul’s I can say categorically that; if the movement is anything, it is constructive.

People are experiencing their own democracy and finding their own voice, working together. The Occupy movement is bridging the gaps between us all that modern society and the ‘work more, earn more’ culture creates, reconnecting people with power and community.  

Where else in the UK could a homeless man run a kitchen? A homeless resident of the Occupation at St. Paul’s, worked from dusk until dawn. He claimed the power to tell members of the press to leave when they created a nuisance. This defies the idea that most homeless people ‘wouldn’t be homeless if they were willing to work’.

Well this homeless man certainly earned his place at the camp and the respect he would never have experienced, had the occupation not taken place. Constructing a community, cause and routine is complex, but most occupations seem to function with ease.

The Occupy movement is powerful and poignant. It can be difficult to communicate to others that the occupations don’t necessarily need to make demands or set out objectives. They are a statement of the discontent at how short changed we have become in the name of corporate greed. 

With businesses like Topshop and Vodafone not paying taxes and the hospitals and school resources quickly becoming strained it’s a question of need and profit. In the LSX occupation a small functional, democratic society has been formed. Everyone makes decisions, people can educate themselves at the Tent City University, and people can create their own ‘working group’. It is a model, a break from the life we have been conditioned into and as a result the people are empowered. The environment away from the binds of everyday life is a liberating forum for lively debate.

They are renegotiating the essential functions for an autonomous and decentralised form of governance and they are recycling, educating and re-socialising whilst they’re at it. If that isn’t constructive, I honestly don’t know what is.

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