The surreal shanty-town in the heart of London appears, initially, somewhat shabby and chaotic. Closer investigation reveals a micro version of the kind of society the Occupiers would like to see replicated in the wider world.
This is an inclusive, democratic, compassionate, hard-working community. A well-organised temporary village complete with central kitchen (run by a flamboyant Italian chef who feeds several hundred people three times a day – campers and bankers alike); Tent City University; the Occupied Times newspaper office; a free shop (aka ‘Tent City Surplus’); medics and lawyers; a piano; a peace-keeping Tranquillity Team; recycling crew; twice-daily General Assemblies (true democracy in action); a faith-liaision team; and the infamous Occupy London FC (“football for change”)…
The Occupiers are a diverse bunch with a wide variety of backgrounds, beliefs and priorities. What we have in common is the knowledge that the way things have been run – nationally, globally, politically, financially, socially – is wrong… combined with a passionate belief that “another way is possible”. The Occupiers agree that a change in values is required – we need to start putting people and planet before profit. This means nothing less than a severe shake-up and restructuring of our political, financial and social systems.
A tall order? Yes, but the Occupiers believe we’re worth it and we can do it. How? That’s the big question and Occupy LSX does not pretend to have all the answers, although the rate at which protesters are educating and applying themselves (skill-shares, knowledge exchange, debates, lectures and workshops happen 24/7 at the camp) means that possible solutions are beginning to emerge. The Occupiers want a transparent and truly democratic decision-making process; an end to corporations and financial institutions that are more powerful than governments and ‘too big too fail’; an end to oppression of majorities by unaccountable elite minorities. The camp’s International Commission is working with the Occupy Movement worldwide because in an increasingly globalised world the solutions have to be co-ordinated on a grand scale.