How would you define Occupy ?
From a mass movement that was curtailed by the powers that be, Occupy became a network for people from various campaigns that found like-minded people.
For instance, at the start of Occupy London, most did not know about fracking. However Tina-Louise Rothery from Lancashire had knowledge, so when there was a call out from Balcombe, which was threatened by the fracking company Cuadrilla, we knew who to contact for information.
What were you doing before Occupy ?
Just trying to live in a society where you tended to succeed more if you were a sociopath.
Why did you participate in Occupy?
Even my workplaces in the past discouraged Union participation. My Territorial Army unit tended towards “protecting democracy, not participating in it”. I started seeing videos of the UK Uncut, Indignados of Spain and then Occupy Wall Street. Mostly about people questioning the society we lived in and I was curious about these movements, but had never participated in any protest, apart from the 2003 Stop the War march.
There was a shoutout on Facebook about an Occupy world event and I decided to participate. Mostly out of curiosity and to see what happens.
I was late due to work, and the police prevented people from getting into St. Paul’s churchyard. When they finally allowed people to enter, it was into a kettle.
By 2200hours, people were allowed to leave, but not to come back. I found some cardboard to sit on decided to stay the night.
What impact did Occupy have on your personal life?
I ended up staying for the whole existence of the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp at St. Paul’s churchyard. I commuted to work in the morning, and assisted with the Traquility Team and part of the Sanitation Working Group.
I was curious about politics and thought that I knew a lot about it from the BBC. I never realised that my knowledge was grossly incomplete and I was a political idiot.
I found a community of people who wanted to change the world for the better and it was seen as a pipe dream.
Did Occupy change the ways you think, feel and interact with the world? If yes, how so? What do you feel that you learned (or unlearned) that was unique to Occupy?
I was mostly an armchair activist, shouting at the screen. With Occupy I was active in marches rejecting government policy. I had inklings of government repression of activism, but never realised that a peaceful movement could be regarded in the same category as Al Qaeda.
Middle class people are the ones who see the police and feel reassured. Witnessing police actions, I no longer see them as protectors of people, but as corporate enforcers.
I never really thought of the neoliberal Thatcher’s idea of no such things as society. I realised that it was an insidious programming for human kind, which affected everyone. Even those who thought themselves as good people.
What impact do you think Occupy has had on the economic and political situation?
Occupy was right about the economy. We continue to be right and we will just have to see what happens at the next banks’ crisis. Will the various governments find it so easy to bail out the banks again?
Given the current political and economic situation, what is your view on what people can do to bring long lasting systemic change?
People need to participate in politics on the streets and in the system. One cannot make changes otherwises. Indignados and Podemos have stood in elections to bring about reforms.
Before Occupy, were you involved in activities related to the reasons why you participated in Occupy? (Activist groups, campaign groups, media platforms, volunteering, research, etc)
Are you still involved in activities related to the reasons why you participated in Occupy? (Activist groups, campaign groups, media platforms, volunteering, research, etc)
Occupy London/Democracy, Occupy Livestreamers, Anti-fracking Network like Nanashire.
Disabled People Against Cuts, NoTTIP, Green Party, Squatting Network.
Are you still actively working or engaged with people that you met through Occupy?
What kind of activities are you doing together?
I tend to be the person contacted when activities and demonstrations need to be live video streamed.