Monday, December 26, 2011

What a week!

Occupy Exeter has been keeping itself warm and busy by doing a huge amount of events and direct action: subversive carol singing, a human Christmas decoration, the introduction of OE's own superhero General Assembly, and a well-earned Christmas dinner.

We even celebrated the winter solstice on the 21st, which sparked one hell of a Facebook argument! On a brighter note, word on the street is we now have an image projector (the best present an occupation could ever ask for, thanks whoever brought it!) and we can now show the Occupy Bat Signal!

Further afield, we have the third Occupy national conference taking place in Sheffield in late January and an international conference in Brussels (with simultaneous ones happening in Athens, Madrid and a few other cities) in March. The 1% better worry; things are getting organised! Out of the recent conference in Edinburgh, a plethora of ideas and experiences were shared and a few documents drafted as potential joint-statements.

National working groups with the purpose of keeping communications between occupations open permanently with a constant sharing of ideas and experiences have formed.

What a year this has been for Occupy and its related movements. Let's see what 2012 holds for us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Edinburgh National Conference - Official Statement


Members of Occupy camps from around the UK met in Edinburgh from Fri 16th to Sun 18th December 2011 for the second national conference of UK occupiers. All comers were welcome. In attendance were members of Occupy camps already established in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London (St Paul’s and Bank of Ideas), Newcastle, Norwich and Sheffield. The conference: 
1. Was pleased to note the growing support for Occupy around the UK and beyond; 
2. Resolved to share resources, skills and enthusiasm to help fellow occupiers negotiate the upcoming distracting period of court cases and bad weather as we move towards Spring; 
3. The foundations of Occupy in the UK had now been laid and the movement was now ready to forge ahead in 2012, with resources in place to enable new members and occupations no matter where they are in the UK; 
4. Expressed solidarity with Occupiers around the world especially those experiencing oppression this weekend in NYC; 
5. Unanimously dubbed the event “inspiring” and “a total success”.
Sessions were held on logistics, safer spaces, political campaigning, transparency and reliability in dealing with donations, media, social networking policy and winterisation, together with other ways to assist fellow members of the Occupy Movement. Among other decisions made were the agreement of a new safer spaces policy, a new autonomy statement for discussion by individual general assemblies, the compilation of an Occupiers’ Handbook, the foundation of a new cross-site women’s group and the design of a new national website to co-ordinate the dissemination of information.
The conference confirmed its commitment to campaign for a world that is no longer designed for the benefit of the 1%. We seek a more egalitarian and fair society, an open and peaceful environment for discussion, and inclusiveness for people of all backgrounds. We seek a twenty first century Enlightenment.
Conference looked forward to the third national conference which will be held 21-23 January 2012 in Sheffield.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wet & Cold

We're freezing and wet on-site, but for some bizarre reason this has had little impact on OE's morale. It's amazing what hot soup, guitars and a christmas tree can do to keep people smiling.

University terms are going to finish this week and numbers on-site are likely to drop until they return. Measures are being taken to ready the camp for the winter, but we need volunteers and donations of paraffin for lighting and propane for heating. (Anything else you have to donate like blankets, food, and cash are of course much appreciated! Everyone is welcome to come down to the site and make use of them themselves)

We're also planning to send up a delegation to Edinburgh's Occupy Movement National Conference. Should be fun!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Billy Bragg

The one and only Billy Bragg is paying us a visit! He's coming on the 17th December (so not next Saturday but the one after).

The provisional time is for 1pm, an hour before our General Assembly. He'll be coming down for a chat and a few songs (probably a cup of tea to boot).

We even have a Facebook event set up. It'll be lots of fun alongside our other events that usually take place on Saturdays, and an excellent send-off for the students who are going home to see their families over the winter (at least for the ones, like me, who'll probably have to go before then :( )

Day 27 (8th December)

The camp on Exeter Cathedral Green now comprises of 32 tents, a large kitchen & meeting area and a *well occupied* "Thunderbox" composting toilet, constructed by the occupiers over the past few days...
High winds and heavy rain over the past week have not disheartened the activists of Occupy Exeter, their resolve is still as strong as at the beginning of the occupation on the 12th November. Their optimism to continue is buoyed by the camp growing in number, public support and donations and their interconnection to the global occupy movement.

For more pictures see Clive Chilvers' excellent Demotix page:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rowan Williams

According to the ever-reliable Daily Mail, AoC Rowan Williams is on our side!

OE were quite enthusiastic to hear about this a few days ago, especially as it's led to our neighbours inside the Cathedral taking a more conciliatory stance towards us. When your boss tells you that the centrepoint of your faith would be out camping, sharing risks and asking awkward questions (i.e. in the spirit of the whole occupy movement), that changes a fair bit as far as Occupy Exeter's negotiations with the cathedral are concerned. Spirits were high when we heard the report back from the most recent negotiations and we're more determined than ever to move forward and push for radical overhaul of our socio-economic and political system.

Well Archbishop, you and any clergyman, woman and everyone in between are welcome to take part in Occupation to any degree from more statements of support to camping out with us.

After a long hiatus...

OE's blog is back!

In the last month we've had political detractors, anti-socal behaviour on-site, lighting shortages and severe gazebo damage by the wind.

But despite those difficulties the camp is still surviving! Plenty of food to go around (culminating in a generous donation of several boxes of apple pies, several bags of pasties, and a lovely vegetable curry), morale's staying high and we're enjoying the warmth of a large army tent that's recently been set up at the camp. Not to mention our new composting portoloo with a very apt 'Occupied' sign on the front.

We carried out our very first Direct Action, took part in the N30 strike in solidarity with the unions and those suffering under the ongoing draconian Osbornian cuts. We've had a variety of academics from the university come in to give talks (and plenty more in the woodwork!) and lots of workshops and fun events for the public.

With the offer of free food, refreshingly outside-the-box thinkers to debate with, and fun weekend events, what are you waiting for? Come down and visit!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day Twelve (23 Nov)

Today Ben Stevens posted his film - with words by Liz - on Facebook.  It's inspiring...

This is a transcript of the words...
I really think we're coming to the end of what I term an old paradigm. And it's a paradigm that's been built on deep seated materialism, and cause and effect. the idea that everything is determined - as it were - and there was very little room for the play of free will.  I think that paradigm is dying, I believe it is in its death throes. It's coming to an end, and it underlines a feeling in people that's something's got to give.

Our quality of life, and the values we've held - for far too long - which are about materialism, about profit and about structures which are based on the reverence of material things, instead of the human spirit which is precisely what put those material things in position.  And that we have been put into secondary place in our own society.  We're now serving the structure.  It seems to me to be insane.  We're now serving ancient long running structures which do not serve our evolutionary growth at all.

And I think that what is happening now is that people are beginning to feel that deeply inside themselves.  It's not just about being robbed by the banks - that's just the episurface of it.  But it's about this idea that in my life, this isn't, I'm sure, what I'm meant to be here for.  I'm not expressing my true potential.

We need to start creating the structures, which I think are structures in the mind dimension, which entail our own consciousness.  These are the things that need to be built, not the cathedrals of the past, but the cathedrals of our thought. The new cathedrals of the great elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011