I had lived in Tent 165 for 7 weeks by the time I edited this film. The cold was biting and Xmas was calling.
At this stage the madness that surrounded Occupy was on the rise. The talk that the police were sending the mentally challenged street folk to Occupy had spread through the camp. Whether this was true or not , and if it were true, whether it was malicious or not, was too hard to decipher.
The thought that some Occupiers were infiltrators was also a challenge for me swallow. Not because it might have been or not have been true, but because it was beyond my coping mechanism to think about. We were an open group...what was there to infiltrate?
The madness was cementing itself around our feet.
The ultimate message in the above video was mainly inspired by the numerous people who danced along the outskirts of Occupy. People who believed in what Occupy was doing but whose contribution was little more than criticism. It is so odd how many of us are under the profound delusion that criticism in a social movement is somehow a positive contribution.
By mid December many General Assemblies began to edge towards total chaos.The cracks were giving way to irreparable chasms, fault lines that divided the movement. A belief had whipped itself up that there was an elite in Occupy who not only had direct access to the money of Occupy and was squandering it, but who also were uncaring and unapproachable. This was partially true depending which way you looked at it.
An elite of sorts had developed but they were not squandering the money. They had taken responsibility for the money. They were hard working but they were not all that communicative about what was going on because that would have meant more work for the benefit of those to 'occupied' to come to meetings and pull their weight in matters that clearly interested them enough during the GAs.
Those who worked at Occupy by going to meetings and actually doing what they volunteered to do, tended to have more power in the camp simply by virtue that they knew what was going on. As much as Occupy tried to purge the endemic class system that permeates all culture in the UK, it could not purge it from the individuals of Occupy some of whom felt more comfortable complaining and whining about being left out rather than making an effort to join in. There really could not have been a more open system. Just ask Sister Ruth or Anon And On And On (name given to him because of his complete anonymity and his ability to go on and on!
I remember one particular GA spiraling out of control. It had come about because the man in charge of 'Accommodation' was packing up the tents of street people who had gone for a few weeks at a time. At first I thought the world of him until he took issue with the palettes I had under my tent. He was vulnerable to power tripping and it is one thing to power trip with a 5 foot woman (that would be me), it is quite another matter altogether to power trip with a group of men who live on the street. They wanted their stuff back and Earthian had no idea what he had done with it. He also had the attitude that he should not have to answer to riff raff. His attitude was deeply classicist but from a different perspective. He was from Iran and he was a very proud man. There was going to be a murder any minute. Many of us had tasted Earthian's obnoxiousness but we could not ignore the enormous contribution he made to the running of the camp.... it was a difficult Occupy GA.
And then out from back a woman who had her hand up for ages was given her opportunity to speak. She was one of the dancers I mentioned before whose main contribution was constructive criticism. She gave us all a speech about how we should get along. Where is the love she asked as our big toes froze in unison at 10am in the morning , never to be felt again till the next morning? She spouted inspiring thoughts and then she up and left before the end of the GA. She left with a final expression that she cannot believe how nasty we are to each other and that she would rather not be around it.
Wow I thought to myself. What an effort!
She comes here, preaches to us how to be nice to each other, we who are the most diverse set of people one could ever come across living in freezing conditions, with depleting food resources, and yet she in all her wisdom did not have the patience and stability of character to stay till the end of the GA. Leading by example I thought. Well go have a nice cup of tea in your warm bed I thought , toasty in the thought that you contributed.
She was not the only one, who came to us during GAs to tell us that we were going about it all wrong. This may or may not have been followed by suggestions of what they thought in their infinite experience of grass roots movements, what to do right. They would not involve themselves in a working group to see if their idea actually worked. They would walk off, possibly smug in the erroneously thought that by telling us what to do, they helped. They only helped their conscience which in the end is all one can do. Was this an English thing I wondered? Don't they get it that we are protesters and that what we need is numbers, and stable commitment?
Instead of giving them a piece of my mind at the time I made this video instead.
Adele does not know that I used her song for this piece and I would love it if someone told her. She may be supportive of Occupy.