How would you define Occupy ?
I saved this till last as I thought the other questions might help me to answer it.
Life changing, problematic, system tackling, painful, exhilarating, exhausting, empowering, disastrous,perfect, challenging, educational,the best, the worst, strong, COLD,
What were you doing before Occupy ?
In activism? Nothing at all, other than marching against the Iraq war, but didn’t everyone?
I am still doing the same pretty ineffectual job I was doing before hand. Occupy has helped me to see how ineffectual it is though!
Why did you participate in Occupy?
My flat mate at the time suggested we check it out on the 15th October 2011. He then had to work and pulled out so I found myself alone, surrounded by thousands of people having never seen a scene like it. Suddenly aware that the conversations happening around me were exhibiting the frustrations with our rotten society I had thought only existed in my head. I had arranged to meet my brother that afternoon and so did not spend the night, frankly the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind.
The next day my boss was getting married, to a banker. In my naivety spent the reception explaining what I had been up to the previous afternoon to all the guests thinking that only horrid faceless corporate fat cats could possibly disagree with what had begun in that square. I was wrong. This intriguing development to my social education led me back to St Paul’s after work on Monday where I came across my first general assembly. I was hooked…
What impact did Occupy have on your personal life?
A substantial one. Pretty much all the time I wasn’t at work I spent on camp. I went home to shower and let my flat mates know I was alive, that was pretty much it. I also had a bad relationship on camp which put further strains on my existing friendships and family.
Having said that, I have some wonderful memories and I now have the best group of friends anyone could wish for. I met them all at, or as a result of, my involvement in Occupy.
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?
Absolutely. Occupy provided the opportunity for people to live and work along side each other who would probably have never met. People who campaigned on homeless issues, lived with people who were homeless, people who campaigned on drug reformation dealt with the fall out of addiction in person. The situation on camp was intense, it pushed all my preconceptions of how I felt about my place in society.
What impact do you think Occupy has had on the economic and political situation?
It has certainly changed some of the language used by the media, terms like the 1% for example. It doesn’t matter that this figure may not be perfectly representative of the populations it refers to, it invokes such simple imagery that it has been used countless times in the media to refer to the super rich vs the rest of us mere mortals.
Generally I think people are more politically aware than before Occupy. However, how much credit Occupy can take I think is uncertain. It certainly was a popular movement during its time however I think perhaps the impact of the Blair, then coalition government and then the Tories may have had more of an effect than Occupy did.
I do certainly think Occupy can be credited for making the banks tread slightly more carefully, or at least appear to. Certainly not out of good will but I think Occupy played a very strong part in destroying a great deal of reputations.
A great number of other groups grew out of the movement and alliances formed making a very strong network.
Given the current political and economic situation, what is your view on what people can do to bring long lasting systemic change?
We need a revolution.
Destruction of Capitalism, build a sharing economy based on valuing peoples’ time and energy rather than property or surname.
Abolish nations. Work toward a society where you chances of survival are not based on where you were born, the colour of your skin, who your parents are.
Smash patriarchy, empower women to realise they are strong and empower men to realise they don’t have to be.
This is a big question, those are a few broad ones.
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)
Are you still actively working or engaged with people that you met through Occupy?