- Category: Campaigns
- Published on Sunday, 26 October 2014
- Written by Dane Vincent Smith
#Occupy has been in a state of hibernation until recently. Three years ago, the movement which started with Occupy Wall Street in the US sent ripples over the world, with camps in every continent, in hundreds of cities, demanding a alternative to the status quo. The occupations are organised horizontally through general assemblies. For various reasons, although the movement’s effect continues to be felt, the Occupy movement itself slowed down and gradually went into decline.
Awaking from this period of slumber, the latest action has been named Occupy Democracy. In Parliament Square, opposite the Houses of Parliament, the occupation started on Friday 17 October, the day before the latest big action called by the TUC, which, as is traditional, took the form of a march followed by a rally in Hyde Park. They plan to be occupying till Sunday 26 October. However the police since the first night of the protest have been trying to move them off using various bylaws. Even though Parliament Square’s main purpose is usually to give a space for protest it seems that is not quite the case anymore.
For the occupiers it has been a mix of extremes, of activist solidarity and celebrity endorsement on the one hand, and heavy state harassment on the other. Russell Brand showed his support for the Occupy Democracy on a number of occasions, bringing pizza and speaking to the occupiers, as well as Green MP Caroline Lucas. UK Uncut came to do a talk on direct action. I spent the night with the occupiers on Saturday night. It was a great experience with people all sitting down on the tarpaulin (which the police tried to confiscate) talking about politics and how our current model of representative democracy isn't working to represent us. The atmosphere was really relaxed once the police retreated from trying to pull us off the square. However, people have been arrested and now Parliament Square is guarded by a fence all the way round. Despite this, the occupiers have spent the rest of the week on a small piece of grass next to the square.
For more information you can see the occupiers online at http://bambuser.com/channel/OccupyLondon where there are video blogs of what has been going on. Where next for Occupy? Keep a look out, I have a feeling they will be around for some time to come.