Occupy London is a Beautiful Thing

Today as I left to board my train I hugged a person I known for a mere few hours. On my back was the coat of a person who I’d known equally little and my belly was full of food financed by someone else. By some bizarre twist of fate I’d ended up at the Occupy London protest at Saint Paul’s; their own self confessed attempt at changing the world.

Posters Litter the Walls of Occupy London

I can’t say I’m your typical socialist candidate. Ever since my first Lib Dem vote in the 2010 elections I’ve been left disillusioned and lost. I’ve flirted with most sides, increasingly finding myself labelled either one of those “nutty lefties” or an “almost out of the closet Tory”. I think my problem is that no real party or ideology seems to offer me all of the right answers, or at least a good percentage of them. Whilst I know the system is fundamentally broken, I’m not really sure how to fix it.

It’s a slur often thrown against the Saint Paul’s protesters; they’re fighting, but can offer no concrete answer, no miracle solution to pave the way to enlightenment. They’re deemed as fickle and causeless if they occasionally go home at night and are frequently branded as high in the sky hippies, without any real contribution to society, just searching for an unattainable fantasy.

But these are not the people I met today. These were people with careers and aspirations, who laughed at hippies trying to change the world through music and were dubious about the merits of the didgeridoo. People with a simple hope for a better future and the discourse and intelligence to discuss.

As you wonder round Occupy London you’ll find many things; a kitchen, a first aid room, welfare tent . . . But above all a place for learning and active debate. A library offers free books and a “university” offers lectures and speakers, but beyond this they’ve created something more, a tangible space for discussion and change.

Everyone here has an opinion, a passion to have their voice heard and whilst they may not all be right, they’re getting there, or at least trying. Though the protesters at Saint Paul’s may not hold all the answers, they harbour an impetus for change which is only growing. And perhaps that impetus is all we need.

Tents Line the Streets as People Crowd the Cathedral Steps

2 thoughts on “Occupy London is a Beautiful Thing

  1. Jane says:

    Hi Jem, Anis mum here. Nice post. The irony is that those of us that have most reason to want to change the world at the moment are the very people who can’t possibly get to St Pauls or indeed stay there to make a point (if we insist on following the rules). Those without income for transport (twice made redundant in the same year, once from a £42k a year job and latterly a £3k a year job – and with no hope in the current climate of getting another, or indeed keeping 2 adults, a teenager and a home on the unemployment benefit offered of £105 a week with at least a 3 week wait with nothing at all coming in) the physically disabled, with the responsibility to get a young person into school every morning, and who, no doubt, the system would take the first opportunity of ‘having bang to rights’ if we argued that the same child would learn far more on the steps of St Pauls. Love and light to all those currently ‘occupying london’ = it may only be a matter of time until we see something akin to a thousand Jarrow Marchs heading into St Pauls from points all over the uk. The marchers will be neither hippies with Didjes or those with careers and aspirations – but families that are being made homeless, children that are going hungry and people that can’t receive medical care. The need for action and change is no longer a philosophical debate.
    I wanted to end with that really, something definite. But I almost feel the need to apologise. My generation, your parents generation – we’re not handing over a terribly bright world to the likes of you and Ani are we? But then my parents gave me Thatcher, and my first home repossessed at 19. People are stupid eh? When will we ever learn. Keep up the good fight. xxxxxxx

    • bambipoppins says:

      Thank you so much, especially for your comments.

      I don’t really feel like I have the expertise to match anything you’ve said but I do agree with you in that those who want to fight in this the most, physically can’t. After visiting though I’m hopeful that there’s enough feeling and people that we can and will make a difference.

      In fairness to you, I don’t think any generation has ever been handed the easy deal. . Old mistakes die hard.

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