On the evening of Thursday 17th November, thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched across the city to the Brooklyn Bridge. At the bridge, and to their delight, they saw that some very clever individuals were projecting this message, ‘bat-signal’ style, onto a nearby office block:
99% / MIC CHECK! / LOOK AROUND / YOU ARE A PART / OF A GLOBAL UPRISING / WE ARE A CRY / FROM THE HEART / OF THE WORLD / WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE / ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE / HAPPY BIRTHDAY / #OCCUPY MOVEMENT / OCCUPY WALL STREET / … / OCCUPY EARTH / WE ARE WINNING / IT IS THE BEGINNING OF THE BEGINNING / DO NOT BE AFRAID / LOVE.
The man who put all this together was 45-year-old Mark Read, who later told the website Boing Boing how much he has been inspired by the Occupy Movement:
I feel immense gratitude to these youngsters for kicking my ass into gear. I’m feeling so much gratitude to everyone, for putting their bodies on the line every day, for this movement. It’s a global uprising we’re part of. We have to win.
Since 1969, three thousand one hundred and eighty people have died in police, prison, psychiatric or immigration custody.
Think about that for a moment.
That’s three thousand one hundred and eighty people – all of whom were someone’s son or someone’s daughter – who died unnecessarily and often in deeply suspicious circumstances. Three thousand one hundred and eighty people who arbitrarily and tragically lost their right to live their lives, their right to a future, their right to spend time with their friends and families.
And very, very few of those families have ever had justice.
That is why the United Families and Friends Campaign remembers each and every one of these men and women, each and every year – and you can see some of my photographs from the 2011 march for justice above.
(Click on an image to enlarge it)
Photos from the one week anniversary celebrations at #OccupyLSX at St Paul’s Cathedral, plus the Tent City University State of the Nation Roundtable Discussion at Bank and the additional new site of occupation at Finsbury Square, EC1. For more information, visit the #OccupyLSX website.
(You can also see more of my #OccupyLSX photos here)
The Occupy movement is spreading. Yesterday there were Occupy actions in cities across the world, including here in London. As ever, I was there, armed with my trusty camera – and you can see some of the results above.
Follow @OccupyLSX on Twitter or Facebook for more information on Occupy London, or check out their website – they’re currently camping outside St Paul’s Cathedral (with the cathedral’s tentative blessing!) if you are interested in visiting and finding out more. You can also email them with any inquiries at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: On Sunday evening, #OccupyLSX issued an initial statement, which you can read here.
A couple of days ago, I blogged about the week-long on Clapham Common in London. I visited them again on Monday, and promised I would post some pics of what they’re getting up to! So far, the local response has been very positive and friendly – several local people came by when I was there and took part in an interesting and thought-provoking discussion on land rights and housing with the camp. Visitors are welcome, and the camp has a lot of events and activities planned for the rest of the week (see Camphere for further details and a map of the camp’s location) – if you’re in the area, pop by for a cup of tea!
The Land and Freedom Camp arrived on Clapham Common in London this weekend – despite the best efforts of the rain, a cheerful and friendly group of activists have set up on a small patch of the common next to Holy Trinity Church. I went to visit them yesterday to see what was happening, and was greeted with hot tea and much interesting conversation about the reasoning behind and the necessity of this “open exhibition and demonstration”.
In a fascinating Guardian interview published today, legendary comic book writer Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc.) was asked what he thought about the economic crisis and the cuts introduced by the British government:
It’s the bankers and financial institutions who have knowingly got us into this mess. Either they did knowingly or they were unbelievably stupid and incompetent. This is not even capitalism any more. Capitalism employs a rough and ready Darwinian survival of the fittest. The banks have become like monarchies. They are too big to fail, too big to punish. They are above parliament. Banks are treating themselves as if they were a new class of fiscal royalty. The kind of royalty they most resemble is Charles I. He was above parliament and not accountable for his lavishness. He put the pinch upon the country to the point where the poor people simply starved.
No, this cannot be tolerated. You cannot have libraries, schools and things that people need for a basic standard of living taken away while George Osborne is making deals with companies to allow them to make better use of tax havens because they are threatening to take their business elsewhere. There are alternatives. We are not all in this together.
I’m all in favour of anti-cuts demonstrations. And it’s always very pleasing to see so many V for Vendetta masks in the crowd. I’m very proud of those boys and girls.
(And that’s V for Vendetta masks like these, spotted at a Justice for Ian Tomlinson demo last summer…)
With public sector workers on strike across the country yesterday, somewhere between fifteen and thirty thousand strikers (depending on which media or official source you consult, as is ever the case with these things!) and their supporters attended a central London march and rally in opposition to government cuts to the sector and their pensions. This slideshow is just some of what I saw.
Back in October of last year, I posted a little rant on the subject of Bono and the slightly dubious finances of his non-profit organisation, the ONE Campaign. I wasn’t the only one who was confused and annoyed by all this (and by the U2 frontman’s ‘offshore’ tax activities) by any stretch of the imagination – indeed, last night, during the band’s Glastonbury Festival set, a group of UK Uncut protesters attempted to raise a banner rightly demanding that he pay his taxes.
They almost succeeded too, until the Glastonbury security spotted it and forced them to take it down. Music website The Quietus reports that there were “scuffles” with and “threats” from festival security in the process (what happened to peace and love, Glasto?). The NME quotes a “spokesman for Glastonbury” as saying, all too conveniently, what actually happened was that:
The stewards decided to stop the banner going up, but it was their decision and not under instruction from organisers. They clearly decided the banner could be dangerous and could disrupt people’s view. It was a decision taken on the grounds of health and safety, not on the grounds of censorship