OccupyLFS and Islington Council

Hello from all of us on camp at Finsbury Square,

We would like to provide an update, as the St Pauls site goes through the legal process, on our current status at the Finsbury Square camp.  There are currently no eviction proceedings of any kind against our Occupation at Finsbury Square.  We have occupied the site, peacefully, since October 22nd 2011.  Since the early days we have maintained a dialogue with officers of Islington Council to ensure we comply with relevant health & safety legislation so far as possible, and in the spirit of good neighbourliness.  Over the Christmas period and with our continued presence, Islington Council issued us with the following letter which showed a noticable change in tone from our previous communications.

Below are both the Council’s letter, and our response, formally agreed by consensus of a General Assembly of the camp Thursday 9th February 2012.

We invite you to read and welcome your view and thoughts.

Council Letter to Occupy London Finsbury Square:

Letter to protestors 1 Feb 2012

Letter of Response by Occupy London Finsbury Square:

Islington Council – 3 – GA Approved

Three representatives from site met with officers of Islington Council to discuss matters in person between the letters, and will be attending a further meeting this Thursday 16th February.

Solidarity from Goldsmiths University

Goldsmiths University have shown solidarity with the Occupy Movement, here is their statement:

“Goldsmiths is now in solidarity with the UK-wide strike on November 30th and the global Occupy movement. We are here because we reject the privatisation of the university, symptomatic of the neo-liberal agenda that permeates all aspects of life. For this reason, we have strategically occupied the building housing Goldsmiths’ finance offices responsible for executing the cuts and the privatisation agenda. This building also houses the Ian Gulland lecture theatre. Lectures can go ahead as planned on the condition that they are open to the public. All groups on and off-campus are encouraged to use this space to host meetings, events, and planning sessions for actions on November 30th.

Where the current government agenda not only encourages, but enforces the transfer of public resources to private hands, we join people worldwide in taking them back!

 Programming at the occupation is open to everyone to design.”

Read more at http://occupygoldsmiths.wordpress.com

Occupy London to host first ever gathering of UK occupations

Repost from occupylsx

Occupiers from Occupy London’s camps – at St Paul’s Courtyard and at Finsbury Square – will this weekend (19-20 November) welcome representatives from occupations across the UK, who are coming together for the first time ever.

With more than 25 occupations across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales already, delegates will begin defining the national campaign, addressing common challenges and work to find ways of moving forward. [1]

Occupations from as far afield as Newcastle and the Isle of Wight have confirmed that they will be attending, with Occupy London providing a travel subsidy to cover costs. Also attending are Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Norwich and Plymouth. Occupations in Ireland have also been invited.

Nicole Jewitt, supporter from Occupy Sheffield, comments: “In the last five weeks, we’ve seen Occupy camps spring up across the UK, as people take to the streets challenging economic inequality. With more than 40,000 people in Sheffield trapped in a spiral of debt, some of the highest unemployment figures in the country and severe cuts to services, it is galling to see news like the sale of Northern Rock, a bank saved by taxpayers being bought dirt cheap with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money.” [2]

“Now is the time for occupiers and supporters to come together, share knowledge and experience. We need to start working towards a national consensus on the changes we want. We are keen to reach out and work with our neighbours in Ireland as well as those in Europe, the US and around the world.”

Over two days of workshops, plenary sessions and discussions, the occupiers will be forging important links with each other and working out how best to develop the movement throughout the UK and Ireland, as well as the global community. Groups fighting against the cuts and their wider consequences of unemployment, homelessness and fuel poverty will be represented. Social justice campaign groups will also be in attendance, including those focusing on environmental issues and others tackling violence against women as well as racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.

“This is our first chance for UK occupiers to get to know each other. We are aware that Occupy London has received more than its fair share of attention – lots of people don’t even know that there are other occupations in the UK,” said Jenny Atkinson of Occupy London. “Its time for that to change. That is why we want to get everyone together, so that we can do more to support our fellow occupiers.

“With the news about Northern Rock, the timing of this conference is also key. We are seeing the authorities and banks focusing again on the elite with cheap sales of assets favouring the rich one per cent, rather than those truly affected by the crisis – like those stuck with increasing negative equity as falling house prices hit those with Northern Rock mortgages.”

Notes

[1] UK-Ireland Occupations Convention – Agenda
[2] BBC – Up to 40,000 people in Sheffield ‘trapped by debt‘:
[3] Nearest tubes for the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OccupyLSX) site are St. Pauls, Mansion House and Canon Street; buses 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100, 242; do check Transport For London website for delays and closures. The Occupy London Finsbury Square (OccupyLFS) site is near Moorgate; buses 141, 153, 205, 21, 214, 43
[4] On Sunday 16th October at an assembly of over 500 people on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, Occupy London collectively agreed an initial statement. Please note, like all forms of direct democracy, the statement will always be a work in progress.
[5] Bringing together a diverse range of people, Occupy London’s Stock Exchange, Finsbury Square (OccupyLFS) and Bank of Ideas are part of more than 30 occupations happening in towns and cities across the UK and over 1,000 actions worldwide coming together under the banner of “United For Global Change” calling for true democracy. Occupy London is supported by groups including UK Uncut, the London-based Assembly of the Spanish 15M movement and many others. It has already received phenomenal interest, from the public and media in the UK and around the world, with the OccupyLSX facebook group now more than 31,000 members.
[6] More information on UK occupations

Occupy London ‘repossesses’ multi-million pound bank offices

Repost from occupylsx

- First building for the economic justice campaigners as they occupy third space in borough of Hackney, alongside existing spaces in the City of London and borough of Islington

- New ‘Bank of Ideas’ open to public this Saturday. Offices and meeting rooms will be available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs due to savage Government spending cuts

Occupy London has taken over a huge abandoned office block in the borough of Hackney belonging to the investment bank UBS in a move it describes as a ‘public repossession.’ [1]

Overnight on Thursday, a dozen activists from the Occupy London, campaigners for social and economic justice as part of the global fight for real democracy, gained access to the building and secured it, giving them a legal claim on the space.

The multimillion pound complex, which has been empty for several years, is the group’s third space and its first building, adding to its two camps at St Paul’s Courtyard – near the London Stock Exchange in the heart of the City – and at Finsbury Square (borough of Islington).

Occupy London supporter Jack Holburn said: “Whilst over 9,000 families were kicked out of their homes in the last three months for failing to keep up mortgage payments – mostly due to the recession caused by the banks – UBS and others financial giants are sitting on massive abandoned properties.

“As banks repossess families’ homes, empty bank property needs to be repossessed by the public. Yesterday we learned that the Government has failed to create public value out of banking failure. We can do better. We hope this is the first in a wave of ‘public repossessions’ of property belonging to the companies that crashed the global economy.”

The Bank of Ideas
The group say the space will be reopened on Saturday morning as the ‘Bank of Ideas.’ [2] An events programme is being lined up, including talks from Palestinian activists, comedy from Josie Long and a session led by trader Alessio Rastani, who sent shockwaves through the media following a provocative interview on the Eurozone crisis. [3]

Sarah Layler of Occupy London added: “The Bank of Ideas will host a full events programme where people will be able to trade in creativity rather than cash. We will also make space available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs to savage Government spending cuts.”

The Bank of Ideas is a non-residential occupation – so visitors are asked not to bring their sleeping bags. Space will be free from drugs and alcohol from the start, as per Occupy London’s safer space policy.[4]

Notes

1 The complex is owned by Sun Street Properties Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBS. The property includes 5-29 Sun Street, 5-17 Crown Place, 8-16 Earl Street and 54 Wilson Street. See dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/ubs…, http://dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/shoreditch-ubs.PDF, dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/pla…, http://dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/os-map.pdf and dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/lan…

2 www.bankofideas.org.uk

3 www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC19fEqR5bA

4 occupylsx.org/?page_id=1214

5 UBS Bank, which describes itself as a ‘premier global financial services firm offering wealth management, investment banking, asset management and business banking services’ was the subject of a $60bn bailout from the Swiss government in 2008 after piling up the biggest losses of any European lender from the global credit crisis. Since the time, the bank has cut thousands of jobs.

In September, a 31-year old trader at UBS was arrested by City of London police in connection with rogue trading that has cost the bank an estimated $2bn. The New York Times wrote an article in response called ‘At UBS, It’s the Culture That’s Rogue’ (see www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/business/glo…? pagewanted=all)

The Financial Mail ran the headline ‘UBS grabs £1bn from pensioners’ with reference to a controversial form of secured lending that was sold aggressively to pensioners (see dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/ubs….)

The bank has nine offices in the UK including three in London.

A recent report showed a total of 9,200 homes in the UK were repossessed by banks in the third quarter of the year, a rise on the previous three months (see www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15672123). Figures are expected to deteriorate further.

5 Nearest tubes for the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OccupyLSX) site are St. Pauls, Mansion House and Canon Street; buses 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100, 242; do check Transport For London website for delays and closures at journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk/user/XSLT_TRI…. The new Bank of Ideas is just down the road from the Occupy London Finsbury Square (OccupyLFS) space, which is near Moorgate; buses 141, 153, 205, 21, 214, 43

6 On Sunday 16th October at an assembly of over 500 people on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, Occupy London collectively agreed the initial statement below. Please note, like all forms of direct democracy, the statement will always be a work in progress. Details at occupylsx.org/?page_id=575

7 Bringing together a diverse range of people, Occupy London’s Stock Exchange, Finsbury Square (OccupyLFS) and Bank of Ideas are part of more than 30 occupations happening in towns and cities across the UK and over 1,000 actions worldwide coming together under the banner of “United For Global Change” calling for true democracy. Occupy London is supported by groups including UK Uncut, the London-based Assembly of the Spanish 15M movement and many others. It has already received phenomenal interest, from the public and media in the UK and around the world, with the OccupyLSX facebook group now more than 31,000 members.

6 More information on UK occupations at www.occupybritain.co.uk/protest-details

OccupyLFS Party and new Facebook page

photo by Hugh Hill

After a long week we are having an impromptu party. Music will be improvised and nothing will begin before the end of the General Assembly.

Please be aware of our Safe Spaces Policy and make sure everyone has a good time. Bring yourselves.

The event page is here.

The ‘Occupy London Finsbury Square’ page is here.

Update 17 Nov

Tent City University and the Occupied Times have new homes

There are now two new marquees to house our Tent City University and the Occupied Times. The Occupied Times will be sharing their marquee with the ‘in construction’ Radio Occupy coming to some airwaves near you.

Waste Management

We would like to thank London Community Resource Network for donating their resources to help us with our recycling and general waste management.

Woodchipping

We now have woodchipping on the majority of the communal space on camp. This is to ensure the maintaining of the ground.

Energy

In order to comply with Islington Council’s request to use a diesel rather than petrol, we have sourced a diesel generator that will be up and running by the start of next week. This is part of an ongoing effort to make the site both safer and more energy efficient.

As part of this effort we have put in place a four phase programme:

  1. Diesel Generator
  2. Low energy lighting
  3. Battery Bank
  4. Solar (and other alternative energy sources)

Support Those Arrested on 5 Nov

10 people were arrested under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, Section 132(4) – Illegal Protest, while on an authorised march on 5 November 2011.

They are all scheduled to attend Westminster Magistrates Court this Friday 18 November 2011.

For an account of one of the arrested, visit: http://www.scriptonitedaily.org/2011/11/voices-from-occupation-5th-november.html

Please come and show your support for these people. This is a peaceful presence to raise awareness of the issues impacting so many of us today.

Bring banners, bring drums, bring your voices and your energy to raise awareness of the criminalisation of legal protest in the UK.

For more information click here.

Update 15 Nov

World News

It’s been a busy 24 hours.

For those who don’t know, Occupy Wall Street has been violently evicted by Mayor Bloomberg’s New York Police Department (BBC coverage here). Over 100 arrests have been made and nearby Foley Square has been occupied (see @OccupyFoleySq). [UPDATE: The situation in New York is changing by the minute, there are various sources to stay up to date, one example is @OccupyWallSt]

There will be a march here in London in solidarity with our American sisters and brothers at the US Embassy at 3pm. Location here.

London News

Last night saw David Cameron outline his euro-skepticism at London’s Guildhall. Seven arrests were made outside the Guildhall following police violence including, forced exposure and assault.

Finsbury Square News

There will be a banner-making workshop on site today at 3pm.

We are busy making the site viable for winter. Pallets are arriving today and we need a lot of people power to create a new floor for our kitchen. Also in the next few days 2-3 tonnes of wood chippings will be arriving to maintain the path through the middle of the square.

Minutes are now regularly been updated and have there own pages to allow for more transparency.

That is all.

Update 14 Nov

Occupy the World Online Working Group

There is an online meeting happening tonight at 6pm. If you are interested in being part of the Occupy movement online, visit the event page here.

Watch Channel 4′s ’4thought’

Tonight’s ’4thought’ on Channel 4 will feature testimonials from Occupy London. Tune in at 7:55pm, the show is 2 – 3minutes long.

Interview with the Occupied Times managing editor

Londonist Out Loud is presented and produced by N Quentin Woolf. This week, NQW revisits the Occupy LSX camp outside St Paul’s with musician MAILMAN. The pair tour the camp, meeting some of the protesters and discussing their aims and achievements.

Listen to the podcast here.

Minutes now online

Minutes can be read online here.