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<nettime> A Political Tourist {AT} Occupy London
Patrice Riemens on Thu, 27 Oct 2011 10:04:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> A Political Tourist {AT} Occupy London

bwo INURA list/ Michael Edwards, Mark Barrett



OccupyLondon's extension squat is now well established right in front
of the Bloomberg HQ in Finsbury Square. The School of Oriental &
African Studies student union have moved their big Mongolian yurt, a
splendid affair robed in very thick white felt, from London University
to the shadow of Deutsche Bank.

A number of the Finsbury campers seem to have been lured from their TV
sets by Friday's sudden volte-face by the Cathedral authorities. St
Paul's announced out of the blue that they wanted the pro-democracy
demonstrators to depart. Yet just a few days earlier it was suggested
that maybe the police should leave. Why? The pressure from above to
which the Dean & Chapter had succumbed was not, of course, God but

The latter, however in the form of City of London Corporation & the
Tory Party at prayer, with more than a phone call or two, no doubt,
from the Home Secretary (i.e. for European readers, the Minister of
the Interior) seems in its tactics to have brought forth that which it
sought to suppress. Sudden evaporation of any visible principles of
Christian charity, in favour of the nation's money lenders, was the
very thing that caused a second anti-banker bridgehead to bounce up
almost overnight.

Finsbury Gardens, which in the Christmas bonus season play host to
hordes of fat cats & vomiting commodity traders, are ideally placed to
catch the autumn sun most of the day; and the attention of constant
passing traffic, which is forced to stop at a set of conveniently
placed City Road traffic lights. Bus drivers hooting support as they
drive by. Well-wishers of all sorts dropping off donations of food,
tents etc.

Each time it happens a big cheer goes up. Team of volunteers yesterday
(Sunday) apparently went 60 miles to collect a set of donated
portaloos. Yesterday morning requests for interviews at Finsbury
Square alone were coming in at two or three an hour, from the likes of
LBC radio phone-ins, Press TV (Iran), BBC Online etc. A very clued-up
young Palestinian, who's doing a course at Exeter, had completed four
or five no-nonsense question & answer sessions by lunch time.

Young women seem to play a major role - unusually for most such
political situations at Finsbury. Very focused & efficient, they
facilitate the two general assemblies each day, for example, more
so than the men. And run around recruiting campers to deal with the
meeja. One of the most skilled technical advisers, however, flitting
between St Paul's & Finsbury, yesterday at least, is a self-employed
window-cleaner. One Met Superintendent, stood watching from a distance
as yesterday's morning meeting got under way. He was a tad audibly
contemptuous, I noticed, of two legal observers some yards away across
the lawn.

Which are they? I asked, not having hitherto spotted that there were

The ones in the yellow tabards, he replied. Autonomous collective?
Now there's a contradiction. Like socialist worker I pointed out that
the meeting of hand-flutterers wasn't in fact called an autonomous
collective but a general assembly. Seeking to establish some common
ground, I reminded his colleague, a Scot, that the Church of Scotland
has a General Assembly. Which prompted his superior - somewhat to my
astonishment - to start quoting Winstanley at me. "And the earth shall
be a common treasury for all . . ."

General assembly was a term used by the New Model Army . . . He was
familiar, it turned out, with both the Penguin edition of Winstanley
and, in the circumstances, its suitably titled companion volume by
Christopher Hill: The World Turned Upside Down.

. . . Very interesting man, Winstanley. Stroll on. And mind how you

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