Personal vision from Occupy London for the movement in 2012

One active member of Occupy London shared his vision for the Occupy Movement in 2012  on Occupy London Forum which inspired many others to reflect on theirs. What started as a revolution in the Arab world has grown into a massive global movement enabled by networks of trust. The creation of the General Assembly is beyond doubt the most significant institution coming out of the movement. Its potential for the real democratisation of our society is yet to be realised.

As this is the time of year for looking back at what we have achieved and to look forward to what we could become in 2012,  I couldn’t help  but write this short little missive.

There’s no doubt that 2011 has been an extraordinary year of global protest. Its highpoint undoubtedly the revolutions in Arab world,   particularly Tunisia and Egypt in January. The crisis of the Eurozone has led to mass protests in Greece and Italy. In May Spain witnessed the growth of a mass movement of the Indignados calling for real  democracy and an end to neoliberal economic dogma. The events in Spain  and Egypt are a direct inspiration of the Occupy movements both in the US and here in the UK. In the UK the Occupy movement is not alone. In March half a million trade unionists demonstrated against austerity; on 30th June over a million public sectors workers took industrial    action; in August we had over three days of rioting; on October 15th we began our own occupation as part of a global wave of occupations; and in November 30th, two and a half million workers took industrial action over pensions – protest at which we had our own colourful block.

In my view our greatest achievement are not the tents camped out in Saint Pauls churchyard, nor the new building we have occupied. But it is the networks of trust we have created and the institution we have built through our General Assembly.

Through the General Assembly not only have we have created a political space where we can organise our occupation, but also a space where we come together and discuss solutions to the crisis in our society. I don’t think many of us realise just what an important institution we have created through the General Assembly. It was through the GA that we agreed our Common Statement of  initially eight and now ten points. This is arguably the most important political document to come out of a social movement in this country in the last few decades – and that is not to forget the other statements such as on corporations we have also agreed. The GA is an institution whose potential we have hardly explored.

But if our movement is to grow it has to address the concerns of ordinary people. This is something we are not always good at as the following open letter “From two working class old buggers” in the forum makes  clear.

How relevant we are to ordinary people will depend on how effective our network is at mobilising the support to defend their interests. I think the  action taken by the US occupy movement in occupying foreclosed homes to prevent evictions is an excellent  example of the approach we should be taking here. I’m informed that in Spain they are taking similar action. I do not suggest we necessarily copy them because the circumstances here are different.

But what we need to  do is forge the GAs into an institution  where the diverse movements of resistance, whether they be the student movement, the work place movement or the anti-cuts community organised movement  come together, and in doing so, reinforce each other. The General Assemblies could act as the hubs where anti-cuts groups, local workplace organisation, student networks and those on the front-line of resistance come together to openly and democratically organise solidarity and resistance. Such bodies would not only be a forum a where alternatives are debated, but also be the spaces were decisions are taken and power is exercised.

I hope the Sheffield conference is the place where we can discuss such a strategy.

John Sinha


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Categories: Identity & Strategy


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