Saturday, 21 April 2012

Occupy is Dead

I'm not a fan of Occupy.  There was a fantastic opportunity back in October to get a powerful message across when they had the attention of the UK's media, but instead they came up with this.  Ten, mainly nonsensical, points not even of a sixth form debating society standard.  Other people have taken it apart elsewhere so I won't repeat the exercise here.  What a waste - opportunity squandered.

It was shortly after that occupying became the end rather than the means of the protest with the occupiers breaking into various buildings with their newly acquired bolt cutters and battling evictions in the courts.  Whatever message they were trying to convey was lost in all of this with little attempt at outreach, so no one outside of Occupy (and even many inside) knew what they were up to.  An insular group of squatters with not much to say does not endear itself to the public.

Two months on from the eviction of Occupy LSX and they've gone a bit quiet with few updates in terms of general assembly and no spending published since the beginning of March.  Unbelievably, some of the more recent GA minutes show that the usual attendees (it seems to be pretty much the same five or six people doing the talking) are still discussing the initial statement and what Occupy is about.  Good grief.

Most of the other Occupy sites around the country have either been evicted or have fizzled out quietly, although there now appears to be a roving Occupy group in London that has been going around pissing off the communities it squats in.  The only high profile Occupy still going is that of Finsbury Square, which is majority addicts/homeless now and was in dispute with the ex-St. Paul's lot over people, money, and if it actually still  wanted to be an Occupy site.  The minute and pathetic Occupy Southend, situated out of the way on a disused car dealership, hosted the 4th UK and Ireland national Occupy conference recently with a stated turn-out of 50, although the reality was probably around half of that.  Pretty poor for a movement that appeared to have some fairly decent support at the very start.

Overall, perhaps calling Occupy dead is an exaggeration; moribund may be a better word but apparently they have big plans for May to "meet the 1%" implying some sort direct action in the City.  The major flaw I see in this is that the planned date of 12th May is a Saturday and therefore the City will be practically empty.  In the meantime, I suspect that the legal teams for councils and property management companies are working overtime sorting out updates to by-laws and injunctions in likely protest spots - this is my biggest problem with Occupy, that their form of protest has very likely made it harder for future protests of any sort to take place as no one wants to spend time and money trying to remove a shanty town, prevention being better than cure.

If Occupy is good for one thing though, it did inspire the name of this blog (scroll down to the Economics section).

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