Saturday, 16 November 2013

Occupy Bath - Notes from the Past

Two years ago, the hot topic in the city was a small encampment in Queen Square. In six weeks, so much happened there. Many friendships were made, many people decided that enough was enough and made the decision to make a stand, and many people were inspired - and this legacy still continues today.

A few weeks ago, a friend informed me that they had received a mysterious package with my name on it, and finally got round to giving it to me earlier today. Inside was a wire-bound notebook and a card from someone I hadn't heard from in many months, the person who without a doubt spent more time at the camp than anyone else. Inside was a collection of thoughts, questions, statements, a camping rota and some loose pieces of paper with messages of support from members of the public - all written during the time of the original camp. As we have now reached the second anniversary of Occupy Bath, I thought I might share some of the contents, so that people can be reminded of exactly what the camp meant to the citizens of Bath.

Comments from the Public

The majority of these comments were simple - things like "good luck" and "keep going" - but here's a selection of the more interesting ones from the 100 or so comments. At least one is from a very well-known person, but I'll leave it to you to guess who it was and what they said...

"Very happy you're here!"
"This is great! Time for the silent majority to speak up!"
"Well done to you all - good luck and hope the weather gets better soon!"
"Keep the presence going - it's time the majority in this country had a voice"
"Excellent. There's a need for a voice!!"
"Politics is about the personal - it's about the people"
"Speaking for many"
"Keep going and be very much more ambitious"
"Well done - hope you link with the strike on 30 Nov"
"Thank you, you're speaking for many of us"
"Don't let the bastards grind you down! Support and solidarity to Occupy!"
"Let's get talking!"
"Be the change you want to see - Occupy everywhere!"
"We need to be heard!"
"Very grateful to you for being here"
"You are my heroes, I'm so heart-warmed by your commitment"
"Democracy only works with a level playing field - so state funded campaigns by parties means also no vested interest or lobbying by big money!! Governments are in the pockets of big business"
"The web widens!"
"Down with central banking!"
"Freedom is a valuable thing!"
"You are representing so many people who can't be here"
"Good to see you here. Solidarity from an NUT member"
"Thank you for representing me!"
"Sack the bankers!"
"Good luck, solidarity from Wales!"
"Hopefully the Occupy Movement can keep going and get stronger. Keep up the good work!"
"Thank you for making this statement and taking this action - do it IN MY NAME! With love"
"Sorry I can't join you all but keep it up please, you're speaking for us all!"
"I'm supporting every peaceful movement towards the better"


The following questions were put forward to be considered to give to the BRLSI for a debate on the Occupy Movement. Most are still relevant today, perhaps more so. If you weren't there, these are some of the things we were talking about at the camp:

1. Is it time for a legal ratio between minimum wage and a maximum wage?
2. Do we need more women in politics?
3. Should manifesto pledges be legally binding (at least key ones)?
4. Should we consider a universal allowance/credit ensuring food and energy for citizens?
5. Will the virtual removal of legal aid make society fairer?
6. Should MPs have a genuine local connection to their constituency (i.e. long-term residency)?
7. Should Bath have a local minimum wage as in London?
8. Do we want American insurance companies running the NHS?
9. What defines growth and competitiveness in a global economy?
10. 80% of the world's population do not have freedom of movement across all borders - is this right?
11. Does the bombing of a country for their resources influence immigration?
12. Is there a link between poverty, wars, inequality, economic instability and climate change?
13. Is growth and international competitiveness conducive to human happiness?

Ideas for Placards

Most of these suggestions came from visitors to the camp.

- We are the 99%
- Stop the Traders Gambling with Our Money
- XXX Cities Occupied Around the World
- Education for All
- Are You Happy About Minimum Wage?
- Is Your Rent Eating All Your Income?
- Slaves of the Banks
- We Didn't Vote for Traders
- There's Enough for Everyone's Need, But Not for Everyone's Greed
- 1 Job for 50 People... Are You One of the 49 Left Over?
- "The Future Isn't Inherited From Our Ancestors, It's Borrowed From Our Children" - Native American Proverb
- There's Enough For 2 Tennis Courts Per Person of Land in the UK
- Maldives, Bangladesh, Philippines Overflown By Global Warming.... Should Bath Host the Climatic Refugees?
- Having a Job = The Most Important Thing in Life?
- No, We Haven't Found a Magic Solution For Global Warming
- You Don't Change Things By Fighting the Existing System, Instead Design a New System Which Makes the Old One Obsolete
- Non-Violent Resistance Does Not Seek to Defeat or Humiliate the Opponent, But to Win His Friendship and Understanding
- We Can Have Democracy in This Country, Or We Can Have Great Wealth Concentrated in the Hands of a Few, But We Cannot Have Both
- If Not Now, When? If Not You, Who?

1 comment:

  1. What a creative outpouring. I've just returned from a Quaker conference in Brussels on Economic Justice and the European Union; A Fair Share for Everyone, and it's remarkable how the list of questions for debate above corresponds to what we've just been talking about.