Thursday, 20 October 2011

occupy LSX - day 5 - growing steadily, going slow

The news this morning (especially that around the brutal eviction of Dale Farm) had me start the day feeling fed up and more than a litle hopeless.  What I see at Occupy LSX, and hear from the Occupy Movement in general, restored the hope that things can be different.

Today I got to spend a good few hours at the camp.  Every day I note this, but... every day, it seems, in between my visits, there is growth and there is progress.  Talks, workshops and working groups continue - having attended a working group myself for the first time since Saturday, and also signing up to the Indy Media team, I find still a great level of incusion, real listening, and a welcoming of various ideas and opinions.

General Assembly - rumours that the Cathedral have asked Occupy LSX to leave were officially quashed.  It seems The Times and the Evening Standard have got their facts wrong (great journalism as usual, then!) - a good inidcation, perhaps, that the initial positive reporting on Occupy LSX (what there was of it) has waned now.  
Other announcements included the launch of 'Tent City University' - a fee-less educational establishment open to everyone.  The tech tent is now up and running 24 hours a day.  They have added a projector to their store of technical goods, allowing for the camp to link up to other Occupy groups across the UK and around the world.  Solidarity is the word!

There was also a call for a change to the layout of the tents, following an inspection by the London Fire Brigade.  Some time tomorrow morning, Tent City really will become one - the shelter team are mapping it out into a safer, grid based system, and the morning will bring a mass re-modelling of the site.

Perhaps due to spending more than just an hour or so at the camp today, or maybe continued visits, that have allowed me to learn names and chat to more people, I found a real sense of being part of a community.  It was more than just taking part in meetings, though, or feeling my voice was just as valid as every other person's there, though that definitely played a part.  I think there is something about this microcommunity that reflects the very best of our potential as people - courtesy, inclusion, honesty, diversity, passion and humility.  Very difficult to put without sounding a touch yoghurt-weavery, but it really does feel like a demonstration of how things could be.

Tonight I prayed in the meditation tent, making my prostrations in a space which was also being used at the same time by a Jewish camper, and a non-religious meditation group.  Again, that feeling of how things should be - the simplicity of the settings encouraging a lack of unnecessary boundaries.

There's still so much left to do - in a group on direct action, people debated on whether we work quickly to present a single unified message to the media, or consider the fact that there are no quick fixes, and we're in this for the long haul.  Gradual change, with time for careful consideration, seems to be the hope that emerged - as one member of the Spanish Indignado Movement (15m) pointed out: quick solutions have been tried before, and they've failed.  We don't want to rush into anything knee-jerk, or poorly thought out.  It will take time - a concept that perhaps doesn't fit with a world that thinks in annual returns and 4 year political terms.  Then again, all the more evidence that a new mindset is needed, a new approach to creating solutions that may take longer to reach, but will hopefully because of that have foundations that see them last, positively, and well beyond the immediate future. 

Entering the meditation tent

If you know anyone who tunes pianos, tell them Occupy LSX would be happy to see them!

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