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Occupy 16/06/2012

June 16, 2012

It’s been the longest time since I’ve written anything on this blog.  I haven’t done so because I have had nothing to say.  This doesn’t mean I’ve been doing nothing.  I’ve been intensely involved with Occupy, and trying to work out where I stand and where I place myself within the ongoing, unfolding concerns that characterise a socio-political movement.  I’m not going to say too much tonight, not least because in the morning I need to be up and ready for an outreach general assembly which, I hope, will draw people from local communities across London, to form a visible confirmation of what we are experiencing with a bankrupt, corrupt and currently unaccountable local, national and international political and corporate power block which does not address the needs of most of humanity or the well-being of our natural resources.

As you might imagine a proclamation of inclusivity, which is the clarion call of the Occupy movement does not appeal to the wealthy of our world, however it does interest people on the margins, who, rightly, will challenge us as to whether we mean that they are included too, or whether, yet again, they are deemed too far gone to be included.

I have consistently said at Occupy that we are not qualified to deal with people addicted to drugs and alcohol, or those with mental health problems.  However that has not prevented them from being attracted to our encampments, which is hardly surprising,given what’s on offer, through ‘the system’, is repression and conformity.  What we make visible is people of all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances coming together trying to change the way things are.  Why wouldn’t marginalised people be attracted to that?  Why would they only want to be with other people just like them ?  Whatever that might mean.

So then the dilemma is.  How to do this?

I haven’t come up with any answers, and, as I said in an internal mail today, I haven’t got any precise figures either, but this is what I do know, as someone in the Finance group of Occupy.  The weekly expenditure on the Occupy encampments has been about £400 a week.  This has provided subsistence maintenance for between 50 – 100 people, i.e. food, sanitation, energy.  I don’t know what it would cost to place all these marginalised people in a state system they don’t want, but I suspect a lot more than that, indeed, I would hazard a guess it would be nearer £400 per person.

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with these thoughts, but since it seems that people would rather live in tents, winter as well as summer, and since they seem prepared to put up with this rather than cave in to the status quo’s demands to commodify everyone, it seems worth thinking about. Does it change if it is ‘ secure’ encampment, not liable to eviction?  I think it might.  This in turn proposes that the marginalised people, attracted to Occupy, are not, in fact, as interested in free food and shelter as might at first appear to be the case, but are interested in whether we can, collectively, make the change we say we want to see and that they want to be part of that.

Do comment.  I would be interested in your thoughts.


From → Thoughts

  1. brondove permalink

    Difficult to be succinct without embarking on an essay. I’ll try. I guess it’s all to do with winners and losers and how our society encourages that, and so the question is: how do we change that?

  2. Since capitalism is by definition a competition, and since a competition has one winner and lots of losers I suppose Occupy is more or less on track challenging capitalism. Due to the imbalance the winners are all but invisible. The losers on the other hand are multitude.

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