Monday, 14 November 2011

The Occupy movement

I have now visited two Occupy camps, one in Norwich and one in Bath, and the thing that really struck me about them was their openness and inclusivity.

The Norwich camp has a board where you can write what you think are the problems the world is facing, and another one where you can write a solution to a problem (such as the Robin Hood Tax, or more co-operatives,  and so on). We were welcomed by a really articulate woman explaining what the Occupy movement is about.

The Bath camp was initially set up by students but lots more people have got involved. They also have a world map with all the other Occupy sites marked on it. I chatted with one of them, who said that they sometimes get flak from people shouting "Get a job" which they either ignore or point out that they do have jobs. He also said that the other night someone had a go at the camp, but then they got chatting and he explained what it was all about, and they ended up shaking hands before leaving.  While I was there, they gave a man who seemed to be homeless a cup of tea and a blanket because he was cold.

Occupy Bristol recently held an interfaith picnic - unfortunately I couldn't attend, but I heard it went well.

You can see a map of all the Occupy camps on The Guardian data blog. The Guardian also has an entire section of news, analysis and comment on the Occupy movement.

The Occupy movement is not centrally organised - each camp is independent, and has sprung up in response to other camps. The movement is intended to be as inclusive as possible, and to raise awareness of the issues facing our world - climate change, financial meltdown, globalisation, poverty, greedy capitalists, war, environmental degradation, and so on - and to start a conversation about finding solutions to these problems.

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