A wave of protests is moving around the globe, inspired by the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, people are mobilising to say that they are fed up of the greed of large corporations, the financial system and the inadequacy of those in charge, with a slogan that has caught everyone’s imagination - we are the 99%.
These are peaceful protests which use direct action and community consensus decision making. The way that the groups are currently working together to create these encampments is inspiring. Soup kitchens, tents, media centres, using each other to relay speeches and announcements throughout the crowd - all these means show how intelligence and community can be used in a way so far removed from our current political system.
British cities joined the wave yesterday, along with protestors as far a field as Tokyo and Honolulu. I was delighted to hear of (via Twitter of course) tents popping up in Market Square in Nottingham and George Square in Glasgow.
The big focus is on London where the #occupyLSX movement ended up taking occupation of the steps of St.Paul’s, where I was amused to note, we met up to start our March for the Alternative back in March 2011. There is a great video on The Guardian website showing the camp being set up and run: http://gu.com/p/32kxv
St.Paul’s is not the intended target which was (and still is) the London Stock Exchange, but I rather like it as a focal point for the British protest. I’m not sure if these protests will reach the politicians or corporations, or get them to change anything (yet!), but I do think they can reach the wider population - those currently not involved in protest, in fighting the cuts, even in considering the wider implications of what is going on in the UK and beyond. I have seen how distorted people’s ideas become when their only source of information is a Murdoch owned news channel, or the BBC (who are under the dictat of the government, whichever side that leans to).
So I hope these protests can start to make a change in the way that people think, in the way that we accept, or not, what is happening around us, financially and politically. We are the 99% and that is by far and away a majority.