It’s been three weeks since the start of the UK Occupy movement and much of the mainstream media coverage has centred around its primary encampment site, outside of the historic national landmark St Pauls cathedral in Central London and its effects on the church. The Church controversially closed down for six days last month for fire safety reasons, marking the first time since the blitz of World War 2 that people were not able to visit the church.
This led to both Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson issuing calls for protesters to leave with Mr Cameron even remarking that protesting should be done on “two feet” rather than in a “comatose” state. Seeing as the protesters purposes and aims have not received as much attention as their effects on the church, we went down to St Pauls to find out for ourselves.
Much like their fellow demonstrators across Europe and America, Protesters explained that the movement is about bringing an end to the inequality and injustice which has become increasingly potent throughout British society. While sceptics may have questioned whether this can be achieved, these protesters are acutely aware of what they can achieve through their Unity.
“We want freedom and we want a new system. The 1%, the rich, they live off us” says a young protester by the name of Pricilla.
Social commentator and Political lecturer Brian Gerrish believes that these protests were inevitable with rising unemployment rates and cuts to the public sector while bankers continue to profit relatively unaffected by the economic recession.
“When people are comfortable they haven’t got a problem but we’re witnessing the collapse of the monetary system. People have no jobs, food parcels are being handed at Job centres and Ordinary people are being bled to death by exorbitant interest rates implemented by bankers who are creating money out of nothing.”
Mr Gerrish believes that the Government are essentially controlled by these bankers and thus unable to bring about any real change;
“We don’t have a proper democratic government any more, what we have are ministers controlled by the bankers themselves. When we look at George Osbourne, (Chancellor of the Exchequer – responsible for all the UK’s economic and financial affairs) his background is with the Rothschild’s. David Cameron’s only employment was with a banking house. What we have here are three political parties who are working one agenda, whatever the bankers want to implement.”
Up until recently it seemed likely that these protesters would be forcibly evicted from St Pauls but the corporation of London and the church have agreed to allow protesters to remain until 2012, perhaps with next year’s Olympics in mind. However some have warned that unless serious changes are made, they will not be leaving.
“We will not bow down to someone else’s dictates.” We were told by one masked protester, a member of the international group anonymous which had helped to instigate and organise the occupy London movement
“We came here on our own accord and we will leave on our accord. If we choose to stay up until March of next year or 2015 they will just have to get used us”
Participants of the movement are also wary of any potential Government settlements.
“The biggest danger to this movement is the Government giving us small concessions, like not privatising a small segment of the NHS, we can’t accept that” said one protester
“It’s not small things, it’s the whole system. It’s like cancer, you can’t remove one tumour you have the whole thing clear and that what we want to do” adds another
Several people told us that they even in the face of Police aggression, they do not intend to leave. While occupy movements in America have seen hundreds of Police officers assault protesters with rubber bullets, flash grenades and tear gas, it appears that such conflict here is still some way off.
One protester informed us many people are still on church land and as such the church would have to take legal action to remove them. This seems unlikely in the near future due to the PR (Public Relations) issues it would raise.
Nonetheless, British Constitution Party chairman and founder Roger Hayes who was visiting the St Pauls camp believes that these protests are just beginning.
“It’s (the Occupy movement) helping to wake people up but it’s not the ultimate solution because are behind their walls, they are carrying on with business as usual. However people are out here educating one another and I think the realisation has set in at last that policticans aren’t going to do anything. We have to do it ourselves and people are getting to the point where they are ready to work on mechanisms of change and a lawful bank is one of those mechanisms”.
His sentiment was echoed by Daniele, a Spanish social worker is one of the founders of the site, “take the square” which aims to unite protesters across the world for the purpose of sharing knowledge, ideas and advice. He believes that ultimately, communities must work together to create their own systems and institutions;
“It is good that people are waking up but we don’t to fight the system anymore. In Barcelona we are building our own institutions and society. We have created our own currency and we want to start producing our own food, our own schools and universities. Let the Government keep their system, we’ll have our own”
A strong community spirit is building within the Occupy movement and a libraries as well as health care facilities have been created within the camp already. As more people continue to learn about the corruption of the government and the workings of the monetary system, it’s only a matter of time before the elite’s tenuous grasp on society fails.
The fact that the occupy movement has spread to over 95 cities across 82 countries is proof that the 1% ability to deceive and manipulate control the 99% is waning. Whether the international bankers like it or not, it seems that real change is on the horizon.