On Saturday 26 November 2011, I spoke to the occupation at Finsbury Square. Here is a picture of some of the people at "Tent City University". I was set up with a good PA system and, as we were right up against the pavement, several passersby were also attracted to the meeting. First, I expressed London Green Party's solidarity with the Occupy movement and said why the occupiers' physical presence was such an important expression of resistance to the economic system, both in symbol and in fact. I said we were 100% in solidarity with them. Then I delivered a critique of the current economic system by describing virtual and fradulent economic measures which failed to represent true value, either as equal to the labour or value put in or by failing to factor in the true cost to the planet of our consumption activities, whether for human beings or ecosytems. I attempted to describe a localised, meaningful economic system that could ensure that everybody's basic needs were met, such as shelter, food and health, that could safeguard resources for global populations today and tomorrow, and that did not try to commidify everything, whilst still recognising the preciousness of such things as clean air and rich ecosystems. (The second picture is of a great sign made out of coloured bottle tops.)
I found it invigorating to deliver the talk and engage in discussion with the people. Questions were far-reaching, whether about the credibility of conferring international rights to natural systems upon which humans and other species depended; the identification of an alternative currency, whether through valuing things by consensus, or protecting basic goods from commidification and monopolisation; or about the manner in which social and political change could be effected, by transition to grassroots-led participation and representation instead of submission to heirarchy.
Finsbury Square and tents.
Finsbury Square and Democracy as a Work in Progress.