The City of London Corporation has decided not to go ahead with an eviction notice at this time. Following the church’s lead, they’ve asked the Occupiers to liaise with them, to scale down the size of the camp and to guarantee departure by New Year. The Guardian is reporting that the City is ‘happy’ for us to stay… I’m not sure they’re happy, more likely just pragmatic and resigned to the inevitable. As yet no guarantees of downsizing or departure have been made. There are a number of legal issues to address and much discussion will be had in the next few days.
Meanwhile, St Paul’s Cathedral will not be pursuing legal action to dismantle the OccupyLSX camp; the Chapter of St Paul’s is unanimous in wanting to negotiate with OccupyLSX to reduce disruption to the Cathedral and also to discuss the issues we came to draw attention to – economic, social and environmental injustices.
Putting this new approach into practice, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, has called for a ‘Robin Hood tax’ on financial transactions, in an attempt to redistribute wealth from the 1% to the 99%. While that is just one measure that some of the Occupiers may like to see implemented, it’s good to have the Church onside and engaging positively in the debate.
The public support we’re receiving at the camp is heart-warming, sometimes tear-jerking. At last, people are communicating on London’s streets. Passionate debates about money, politics and religion are occurring, night and day. As one Occupier said: “I’ve had more conversations in seven days here than in the last seven years of my life.”
This is important. It’s also exactly what the Cathedral’s own website says this magnificent space is for: “It is a place for protest against injustice and for the public expression of hope for a better society.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.