Why did I take Millie to the Occupy The London Stock Exchange camp?
A couple of people asked me this while we were there (including the lady who interviewed me for the radio).
Because I thought it was important. Because I want my daughter to know that there are people fighting to save our services and local libraries (which is how I simplistically explained the economic crash: via the closure of our much beloved local library here in Bexley).
I want Millie to know that people are not completely powerless in the face of big government and big business. That there are many good and decent people who disagree with the policy of taking money from ordinary people (and local library services) and giving it to already-very-rich banks.
Back in the ’90s and early ’00s I was involved in peaceful demos with the likes of Reclaim The Streets and the May Day protests. If I didn’t have children to look after and was a bit younger you can bet I’d be taking part in the Occupy LSX camp. The Lovely Melanie might have even joined me – although, we were “kettled” in Oxford Circus for five cold, unpleasant hours one year, for absolutely no reason – an experience that still colours my view of the police in this country and the Lovely Melanie’s view of the wisdom of protesting.
So I wanted to visit the camp to show my support – and for Millie to see that protest is absolutely not something to be afraid of. In future we want to be sure she knows how to stand up against injustice, lies and political/corporate bullies whenever and wherever she finds them.
Seriously. I mean every word of this.
And the camp was great – genuinely fantastic, as such things very often are. I am so glad we took the time and effort to go and see it. At no point did we feel anything but privileged to be there and be a teeny-tiny wishy-washy part of such a movement. The atmosphere was wonderfully friendly and open-minded, the people an eclectic mix of young and old, religious and political, beardy and non-beardy. We spoke with more friendly strangers there in an hour than you normally would in a year anywhere else!
If you get a chance to, I highly recommend popping down to St Paul’s to meet some of the lovely people there and enjoy the friendly and open spirit of the camp.