Occupying the mind 4

Saturday 22nd October 2011

CAMP Anonymous in East Africa is intending to join the movement known as Occupy. They’ve got tents, some sanitation and people trying to keep the place tidy. All they need are a few more essentials – wifi and laptops – and they’ll be ready to connect with the worldwide web of other protestors calling for… whatever it is they’re calling for.

Critics, however, are not impressed.

“Why are these scroungers camping out?” they ask. “Why don’t they do an honest day’s work for a change? They should smarten themselves up and get down to the Job Centre.”

Police are keeping a low profile, awaiting the order to evict them. It’s expected most of these unwashed hippies – who refer to themselves as ‘refugees’ – will eventually leave and go back to… er… go back to… er… Anyway, that’s their problem, not ours.

The camp even has a First Aid centre. I tried to interview one of the workers, but she made some excuse about not having time because a child was busy dying every few seconds, suggesting that the number supporting the campaign continues to fall.

Meanwhile, following a pattern of protests against poverty started in the 60s and 70s, a group of anarchists calling itself Occupied Territories has been taking over expensive properties across North America and Europe.

“We’ve developed the tactic of moving from place to place,” an anonymous man in a suit told me. “It could be a luxury apartment in LA today, a Mediterranean villa tomorrow, one of several yachts at the weekend. We don’t want to make it easier for any jumped-up justice system to find us.”

Many of this latter group will be back at their desks for a few hours next week, proving that Occupy has attracted followers from all walks of life, with each camp reflecting the differences appropriate to its cultural heritage.

Meanwhile an OAP in the Cotswolds is quietly seething, not because of his reduced winter fuel payment, not because everything is costing him more, not because many local services are being cut… but because so few people seem to make the same connections he makes.

And that is why he is proud to be a supporter of Occupy, because he would like his children, his grandchildren, and children everywhere to inherit a planet where humankind finally grows up. He believes it is time the world put moral and ethical principles above the failed financial systems that are currently running – and ruining – everyone’s lives.

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