Occupy ends Parliament Square action
Occupy Democracy’s successful nine-day action in Parliament Square which defied police harassment and 40 arrests, ended yesterday with assemblies about solutions and strategy.
Report by Paul Feldman
Motorists honked their support throughout the day as police blocked access to the main square, which has now been fenced off by the Tory Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
A week of workshops with guest speakers highlighted the absence of any meaningful democracy.
Occupier John Sinha said:
"Our central message – that the authorities have tried to crush – is that our democracy is not working for the 99% and is in need of urgent radical reform."
The debates this week have attracted celebrities like Russell Brand, Ken Loach and Vivienne Westwood as well as speakers from many supporting groups.
Natalie Bennett from the Green Party told Occupy Democracy:
"The last real reform was in 1918, which was women getting the vote. What we're calling for is a People's Constitutional Convention where people from across Britain draw up a new constitution for Britain."
Labour MP John McDonnell, who went over to the square to protest against police actions, said:
"People are waking up to the fact that we are not living in a democracy but a kleptocracy. Corporations and rich individuals use their power, their influence and the state to steal from us. Since 2008 people who are rich and the corporations have used the crisis not just to ensure that ordinary people pay for it, but also to shift wealth and power back into their own hands."
Melanie Strickland (Occupy Law) outlined how our legal system routinely gives more rights to corporations than to citizens:
“Corporate interests are so embedded into the structure of law that private property interests routinely override fundamental rights, like the right to a healthy environment. The law legitimises the exploitation of our planet and communities, and permits corporations to pollute our bodies.
We cannot say no to fracking, no to GM food, no to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, no to NHS privatisation, or to other abuses. The state has no legitimate authority to permit others to carry out such abuses, nor itself to trade away our fundamental rights as citizens."
27 October 2014