God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

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God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:41 am

26 October 2011

Mayor joins Bishop of London asking St Paul's campers to go


Protesters outside St Paul's Cathedral The anti-capitalist protest camp was set up on 15 October

London's mayor has joined the Bishop of London in calling on anti-capitalist protesters to quit their camp outside St Paul's Cathedral.

Boris Johnson, who has met cathedral and police officials, said protesters had made their point and "have to go."

Earlier, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres said the camp's presence threatened to "eclipse" the issues being raised.

Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) said it was open "to dialogues" but intended to remain at the site.
'Important questions'

The camp was set up 11 days ago and led to the closure of the cathedral on Friday on health and safety grounds.

The OLSX activists said they were protesting at what they called corporate greed and inequality.

St Paul's is caught in a difficult position.

The cathedral is part of a church which has spoken out vociferously against corporate greed, and as the Bishop of London Richard Chartres pointed out yesterday, it has pressed for shareholders to have more influence over executive pay.

When the protesters arrived last week, the Chancellor of St Paul's, Canon Dr Giles Fraser was quick to assert their right to free speech, and, as he thought, defuse a potentially violent encounter with the police.

Now the cathedral feels its good will is not being repaid and even Canon Fraser is prepared to see the law used to evict protesters, but not violence.

No-one in the cathedral chapter wants the spectacle of a situation like Dale Farm outside the west door, even on a far smaller scale.

It is understood that Canon Fraser would resign rather than tolerate the forcible removal of protesters.

Mr Johnson said: "With the greatest respect to their point of view, they have made it.

"You have got a situation in which London businesses, tourism, the cathedral, the ability of people to worship, I'm told, is being disrupted.

"That being so, if the cathedral authorities and the City of London Corporation can come to a common legal position I think that would be a good thing."

On Friday, the City of London Corporation's planning committee is due to hear legal advice and decide whether to take court action to move the demonstrators on.

'Mixed messages'

The bishop, the third most senior cleric in the Church of England, said: "This demonstration has undoubtedly raised a number of very important questions.

"The St Paul's Institute has itself focused on the issue of executive pay and I am involved in ongoing discussions with City leaders about improving shareholder influence on excessive remuneration.

"Nevertheless, the time has come for the protesters to leave, before the camp's presence threatens to eclipse entirely the issues that it was set up to address.

"The Dean and the Chapter, who are responsible for St Paul's, have already made it clear that the protest should come to an end and I fully support that view."

Although the bishop is understood to have been briefed on the matter, the final decision will be taken by the Dean and the Chapter.

Ronan McNern, from OLSX, said the group was getting "mixed messages" as St Paul's Cathedral cited health and safety issues for closing the building to the public while the Bishop of London "did not reference the central issue".

WHO ARE THE PROTESTERS?

BBC London gave a form to 150 of the protesters asking them about themselves. The following is a snapshot of the protest camp makeup:

81 out of 150 say they go home at night
69 say they are unemployed
50 say they have been to five or more demos in the past year
39 say they receive benefits
35 say they are students

Mr McNern said: "The Bishop of London's comment has nothing to do with health and safety, he has only talked about business.

"We are getting completely mixed messages. The bishop should get involved in some of our discussions (with the St Paul's Cathedral).

"We do want open dialogue and we do not want to be engaged in a battle in the media."

The Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, Rt Revd Graeme Paul Knowles, had repeatedly asked the protesters to leave before deciding to close its gates for the first time since World War II.

Demonstrators have refused several requests from church officials to move on.

The cathedral said it was losing up to £20,000 a day and held its Sunday services in private for the first time since 1940.

Meanwhile OLSX demonstrators have denied claims that several tents were unoccupied overnight.

The group said it has a "sign in/sign out system" in place to keep "vacancy to a minimum".

Earlier a City of London councillor, Matthew Richardson, claimed several empty tents were revealed by a thermal imaging camera used by City of London Police to monitor the camp.


The area around St Paul's Cathedral


Last edited by eddie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:11 pm

^

I've been absolutely fascinated by this developing story.

St Paul's cathedral has never struck me as a place of worship, but rather as state institution (the Duke of Wellington and Nelson are entombed in its crypt).

After the farcical wedding of Charles and Diana at St Paul's (a sham marriage, as we now know, conducted purely for raisons d'etat), it's no wonder that William didn't want to get married in the same church as his mother, electing instead for Westminster Abbey.

For the benefit of non-UK residents, it should be pointed out that St Paul's cathedral is the main centre of Christian worship in the City of London (i.e. the financial & business district).

The only question worth asking here is, "Whose side would Jesus be on?"

The overwhelming response of callers to the Nicky Campbell BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in prog yesterday morning suggested that Jesus- the scourger of money-lenders from the Temple- would be on the side of the protesters.

Apart from one honorable resignation, the response of the clerical authorities of St Paul's, tools of the City money-boys, has been pathetic.

Thoughts?



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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:21 pm

London Tory Mayor Boris Johnson has likened such protest camps to "an eruption of boils" and has proposed the use to water sprinklers- as opposed, presumably, to water cannon- to disperse them.

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:34 pm


The Tribute Money by Gustave Dore.

“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ Matthew 22:21). (Wikipedia)

So....God or Caesar? whose side are you on?

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:23 pm

St Paul's Protesters Facing Legal Action
Sky NewsSky News

Legal action is being taken to evict hundreds of anti-capitalist protesters who have been camped outside St Paul's Cathedral in London for almost two weeks.

St Paul's and the City of London Corporation will seek separate High Court injunctions in a bid to clear more than 200 tents.

A spokesman for St Paul's called the action "regrettably necessary".

The news came as the doors of cathedral opened to worshippers after being
closed since last Friday - for the first time since the Second World War.

Hundreds of people attended the Eucharist at 12.30pm, including some of the Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters.

The decison to take legal action came a day after St Paul's chancellor Canon Dr Giles Fraser resigned, fearing plans to evict the protesters could lead to violence.

He said he could not tolerate the possibility of an eviction similar to that at the illegal travellers' site at Dale Farm.

Hours after Dr Fraser's resignation, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey launched a stinging attack on the leadership of St Paul's.

He said its handling of the protests was a "debacle" that threatened the very reputation of Christianity.

Legal action is being taken amid fears the protests could drag on for years, similar to those in Parliament Square.

"The long-drawn legal battle over Parliament Square has made it imperative to get the very best legal advice about how to keep the City's highways free of campers," the City of London Corporation said on its webite.

"Of course, we fully support the right of people to express their views through peaceful demonstration, but no city can be a campsite."

The camp was set up on October 15 after activists gathered in the City of London to attempt an occupation of the London Stock Exchange in imitation of anti-capitalist protests in Wall Street.

When police cordoned off the entrances to the square where the stock exchange is located, protesters set up tents in front of nearby St Paul's instead.

The demonstration was part of a worldwide day of action by anti-capitalists which lead to violence in cities such as Rome.

The protesters have vowed to oppose any action taken to remove the tents.

Ronan McNern, a spokesman for the Occupy London Stock Exchange campsite, said the injunctions were only in the "interest of big business".

He added: "This decision will take us into a long and protracted legal battle which will cost a lot of money.

"We will not accept any offer to stay here without the campsite - if you take
away the tents you take away the sense of community we have managed to create
here."

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:39 pm

The corporation of the City of London has become very concerned, all of a sudden, about the cleanliness of its streets.

Their new 'NO IFS, NO BUTTS' initiative stipulates an £80 fine if you stub out a cigarette on its hallowed pavements.

More laughably still, it is now forbidden for businesses to leave bagged-up rubbish on the pavement between 6am-8pm. London Underground sub-contracts station cleaners to collect from Aldgate tube station- the terminus of the Metropolitan Line serving the City- mountains of discarded free (*) newsprint (the METRO and the EVENING STANDARD) every morning and afternoon weekday peak. There is no other practicable place to leave this pyramid of rubbish bags for collection/recycling by the Tubelines truck than the pavement outside the station.

A huge row is brewing on this issue between London Underground and the Corporation of the City of London.



(*) No such thing as a free newpaper, of course. They make a profit through the advertising they carry.

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:07 am

Action To Evict St Paul's Protest Is 'Paused'
Sky News

Legal action to evict demonstrators at the Occupy London protest camp outside St Paul's Cathedral has been suspended.

Church leaders announced they were putting any legal proceedings on hold after a string of meetings following the dean's resignation on Monday.

And the City of London Corporation, which was due to serve a letter on the protesters demanding they remove their 200 tents within 48 hours or face eviction, said it was "pausing" its action.

St Paul's change of heart comes after its Chancellor, Canon Dr Giles Fraser, and Dean, Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, resigned amid a row over its handling of the protest.

In a statement following the U-turn, St Paul's said: "The resignation of the dean... has given the opportunity to reassess the situation, involving fresh input from the bishop.

"Members of Chapter this morning have met with representatives from the protest camp to demonstrate that St Paul's intends to engage directly and constructively with both the protesters and the moral and ethical issues they wish to address, without the threat of forcible eviction hanging over both the camp and the church."

Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres has invited investment banker Ken Costa, former boss of UBS Europe and chairman of Lazard International, to lead an initiative "reconnecting the financial with the ethical".

Dr Chartres said: "The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul's has now heard that call.

"Today's decision means that the doors are most emphatically open to engage with matters concerning not only those encamped around the cathedral but millions of others in this country and around the globe."

Canon Pastor Michael Colclough said the church believed the protesters were "people they can do business with" and that the separate action by the Corporation of London "is a matter for them".

Occupy London spokesman Ronan McNern described the development as "really positive", adding: "We are very excited about hopefully great new beginnings."

Scores of tents were set up in front of the world-famous landmark almost two weeks ago - inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.

Clergy have been divided over how to deal with the protest, which forced the iconic cathedral to close for the first time since the Second World War.

Dr Fraser quit last week, saying that he could not support the use of legal action to force out the protesters.

The dean resigned on Monday , saying that criticism of the church's approach had made his position "untenable".

Home Secretary Theresa May has told Sky News she hopes the authorities will work together to remove the camp, which she called a "squat".

"It is important people are able to make peacef l protest but it becomes a bit different when it becomes a squat," she said.

"I think we do need to look at the powers available. I would hope that the St Paul's authorities, the Corporation of the City of London and the police will work together to ensure the protesters can be moved as soon as possible."

But the protesters have said they will not leave willingly until they have achieved "real change" and are preparing a response to the legal action.

Protest spokesman Mr McNern earlier told Sky News: "We have a just cause, a serious cause, in terms of addressing the inequalities the financial system has put upon us.

"We are going to say rather than taking us down this route, let's have a talk. We want to make our point.

"A community has been built around these tents and if the Home Secretary makes having a tent impossible as part of a demonstration what they are actually doing is preventing the right of protest.

"We have absolutely no intention and never had of interrupting Remembrance services or Christmas or anything else. There are many Christians here as part of the camp and that would be the last thing they would want."

He added: "Until we start seeing real change I would very much doubt the camp is going to look to move.

"However, that is not to say that we wouldn't compromise as we have done already in terms of the shape of the camp and the make-up of the camp to facilitate the needs of the church.


Council officials in Glasgow are also taking court action in a bid to evict anti-capitalist protesters from George Square in the city centre.

Elsewhere, around 12 people were arrested after scuffles broke out during a protest about squatters' rights outside the Houses of Parliament.

About 150 demonstrators gathered at around midnight but were ordered to disperse by police. Some 40 resisted, claiming they were holding a Halloween gathering.

"Unauthorised" demonstrations are illegal within 1km of Parliament.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has just announced plans to criminalise squatting.

An amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, to be debated on Tuesday, would mean that anyone found illegally occupying a residential property would face a year in jail and/or a £5,000 fine.


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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:09 am

Occupy London's library provides shelf help

The improvised book-lending facility at the St Paul's protest has held a prominent position at the demonstration from the start. Richard Lea checks it out

Richard Lea
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 9 November 2011 11.06 GMT


Occupy London library: 'Very open'. Photograph: Richard Lea

"Books open up a different kind of space for discussion, a different atmosphere." The Occupy London librarian, Nathan Cravens, is in reflective mood. The rain has stopped drumming on the tents outside St Paul's Cathedral for a while, and passers-by pause to browse the table of books, chat for a moment and move on. "It seems that the books themselves attract people to have discussions on the issues and the solutions," he adds.

It's only a table and a couple of bookshelves, set up for the moment opposite the Starbucks that protesters have attracted such criticism for using, but StarBooks sees a steady flow of books being borrowed, books being dropped off. There's a constant trickle of donations as well. A man in a smart jacket asks if he can bring along a few books later on. A couple of gentlemen with neatly-trimmed beards, who say they have "access to a lot of books that would normally be given to charity", but would rather not give their names, take a more direct approach, unloading a stack of donations large enough to temporarily extend the library's collection to a second table.

Will Hutton's The State We're In is shelved alongside Subcomandante Marcos's Zapatista Stories, Dean Koontz's The Husband piled on top of Brian Friel's Translations. Simon Sebag Montefiore's novel Sashenka is cheek by jowl with John Baylis and Steve Smith's The Globalization of World Politics, while David Craig's Squandered sits under a shiny hardback of Cory Doctorow's young adult thriller Little Brother. Dog-eared paperbacks are shelved alongside political pamphlets, economics textbooks piled on top of secondhand science fiction, slim volumes of poetry slipped between hardback history.

"The ones that are political or economic or historical go very quickly, it's the novels that are left," says Cravens, suggesting that maybe fiction doesn't match up to the present situation. "We'd like to see real things, and read about real things and apply real things."

The library – or at least a table of books – has been a feature of the camp right from the very beginning. A young woman involved with the site's welfare committee who will only give the name "Jenny", says that it was "one of the first things on the [action] boards – let's start up a library". The library, in conjunction with the tent university, is a core part of what the camp is trying to achieve, she continues. "As well as finding a space for dialogue, we're looking for a space to co-educate ourselves," she says. "It ties in with what we're trying to do in terms of 'Be the change you want to see'. University is £9,000 a year and councils are being closed right now – these are real-world concerns. So we're breaking down the barriers, mostly financial barriers, which have been put around education and access to books."

According to Carver the library isn't just fulfilling a practical need, it's also demonstrating a different model of interaction, a model based on freedom and sharing, rather than "charging over the amount and creating slaves out of everyone".

"Once the book's made – that does have cost – but once it's exchanged again, then it really doesn't have a cost, that's an artificial rent, so this removes all the rents by just giving and taking," he says.

There are no membership cards, or due dates or fines at StarBooks, which Carver says has a "very open policy" on lending. "If you like it you can keep it, but you have to really like it. If you want to share the knowledge then pass it along."

He's been staying at the camp for about two weeks now, sleeping in a brown tent pitched right next to the library with a rainbow sombrero and a couple of hearts tied to the door. "If I weren't here, if this wasn't happening," he gestures at the rows of tents behind him, the assembly taking place on the steps of St Paul's, "I'd be on a piece of waste land in west London, writing notes on how we could do this theoretically, so it's good to see this applied in practice."

"The City of London want us to stay for two months, I think, but we want to stay until everything's free – or at least that's my position," he says. "I'll be staying for as long as it takes."

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:16 pm

UK Labour Party leader Ed Milliband has given half-hearted and qualified support to the St Paul's Occupy protesters. Here's Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson's view:


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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:17 pm

The neo-Nazi English Defence League (EDL) have been thwarted by the police in their attempt to torch the Occupy LSX camp outside St Paul's cathedral, for which the campers are naturally very grateful.

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:32 am

Alan Bennett drops in for tea with Occupy London protesters

Playwright – no stranger to political engagement – leaves signed copies of books at camp's literary tent

Hannah Godfrey
The Guardian, Saturday 26 November 2011


Alan Bennett took tea with activists at the Occupy London camp on Friday, leaving signed copies of The History Boys and A Life Like Other People's. Photograph: Scoopt/Getty Images

Alan Bennett has added his weight to the Occupy London protest by paying a visit to the encampment outside St Paul's Cathedral.

The playwright took tea with activists on Friday, and left two signed copies of his work at the camp's library tent.

The books – which he dedicated "To Occupy London" – were The History Boys and his family memoir, A Life Like Other People's.

Last week the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood addressed protesters, telling them that what they were doing was "wonderful".

Other public figures to have visited the camp have included WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

Bennett is no stranger to political engagement. He described austerity-driven plans to close libraries as "child abuse" and earlier this year joined Zadie Smith and Philip Pullman in the campaign to save a London library – opened by Mark Twain in 1900 – from closure.

Activists have been camped in the churchyard of St Paul's Cathedral since 15 October. Last week the Corporation of London served an eviction notice on Occupy London for obstructing the public highway. A hearing is due to begin at the High Court on 19 December, with protesters vowing to fight any moves to be forced to close the camp.

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:20 am

Police include Occupy movement on ‘terror’ list
By Adam Parris-Long

Yahoo! News

City of London Police have sparked controversy by producing a brief in which the Occupy London movement is listed under domestic terrorism/extremism threats to City businesses.


Picture- Occupy LSX

The document was given to protesters at their “Bank of Ideas” base on Sun Street – a former site of financial corporation UBS. City police have stepped up an effort to quell the movement since they occupied the building on 18 November, with the document stating: “It is likely that activists aspire to identify other locations to occupy, especially those they identify with capitalism.

“Intelligence suggests that urban explorers are holding a discussion at the Sun Street squat. This may lead to an increase in urban exploration activity at abandoned or high profile sites in the capital.” The Occupy movement is listed alongside threats posed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), Al Qaeda and Belarusian terrorists.

“Just the words themselves are enough to deceive the public opinion and this is what we see at the moment,” Occupy spokesman Spyro Van Leemnen told Yahoo! News. “We are clearly nothing to do with extremists or terrorists, we are a peaceful group and we do use direct action to raise our point but definitely not terrorism.

“The building has been abandoned for a good few years now and we think it is crazy for a bank to have it empty and not used when we know at the same time there are so many family homes that have been repossessed. Occupying that building and giving it back to the community is definitely not a terrorist act,” he added.

Commenting on the document, City of London Police said: “[We] work with the community to deter and detect terrorist activity and crime in the City in a way that has been identified nationally as good practice.

“We’ve seen crime linked to protests in recent weeks, notably around groups entering office buildings, and with that in mind we continue to brief key trusted partners on activity linked to protests.”

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:50 am

Occupy London 'take over' Old Street Magistrates Court

By Adam Parris-Long
Yahoo! News


Occupy London protesters have taken over a disused magistrates' court in the city centre, the group has said.

Following from the occupation of an old UBS building on Sun Street, Hackney, protesters have "liberated" Old Street Magistrates' Court- Occupy London's fourth site. The court was decommissioned in 1996.

This comes as the City of London Corporation are fighting in High Court for the closure of the group's base site at St Paul's Cathedral.

The group, protesting against financial corporations, say that they will hold 'trials' in the magistrates' court- symbolically renamed "Occupy Justice".

"We are turning the Old Street Magistrates' Court into a place where the 1% are going to be put on trial," said protester Ronan McNern.

"They are going to be put on trial for how they have caused the financial crisis as well as the variety of issues that that covers," he added. "What you are going to see is a set of 12 trials upcoming, looking at all of these individual issues. We are going to be inviting people who allegedly caused the crisis to give them the chance to defend themselves."

Ongoing legal proceedings mean that Occupy London's St Paul's Cathedral site may be disbanded before the new year, following the group's decision to ignore a eviction notice served on 16 November. Lawyers representing the City of London Corporation at the High Court said on Monday that the camp was a "magnet for crime".

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Re: God vs Mammon: The St Paul's anti-capitalist protest camp

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:00 pm

Jeremy Hardy on Louise Mensch and the London Occupy movement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qZGSnsYalg

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