Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Occupy London: Some First Impressions: UPDATED – Open Thread

As you probably all know, the Square Mile of the City of London is the world’s second biggest financial centre, and ever since the mid 80s has very much followed suit in the Thatcher Reagan concoction of deregulated markets, fluid global finance, strange derivatives, and the sharp increase in wealth inequality that comes from the ‘Anglo Saxon Model’. Indeed, the problems of the last three years are very much an international problem, with a transatlantic origin. So it’s about time the Occupy London movement took root.

I live on the edge of the City, only a ten minute walk from St Paul’s where the demonstrations began at Noon today, so it hardly showed great radical commitment to head down there, be a witness and a supporter, before heading back to diary what I saw. I would have stayed, but my daughter is not well, and I didn’t want to get ‘kettled’ (contained) by the police, and unable to look after her this evening.

So here are some images. It is a preternaturally warm day here in London, and the crowds were pleasant, well behaved and peaceful. It was a great mix of people

Not many people had sleeping bags, and many tourists visit this spot, so it was sometimes hard to separate the tourists from the demonstrators: but many of the demonstrators seemed to come from all over Europe.

Of course, some of the banners were held by the Socialist Workers Party, and some of the more active groups – here blocking the street – were part of the revolutionary fringe. But they were good humoured and entirely peaceful too.

They also chanted “these are our streets” – a sentiment I entirely concur with (especially since the Reclaim the Streets movement cite my book A Shout in the Street as part of their inspiration 🙂 little plug here)

Though obviously not ALL streets are public.

The revolution will be televised, and as well as legal observers, endless camera crews, everyone seem to have their phone cameras at work.

The police presence grew considerably in the hour or so I was there, with vans arriving every minute. They’d obviously underestimated the size of the demo.

Though London life still goes on. Just around the corner, by St Bartholomew’s church, the local clergy were completely oblivious to the thousands on the demo

After the riots of the summer and the looting, the student demos earlier this year (including an attack on the Prince of Wales’ limo), I’m not surprised the police are out in force. But I hope they don’t repeat the brutality that killed an innocent passer by during the globalisation demos several years ago (the police officer is facing trial – as should the NYPD motorcyclist yesterday IMHO).


Back home, there is still a helicopter overhead, and many police sirens. The streets are jammed. I hope it all goes off peaceably, but also that it makes an impact.  I’ll update if any other news comes in and try to upload some videos – if I work out how and if they’re at all worth it.

UPDATE: Should have stayed a little longer. It seems Julian Assange addressed the crowd minutes after I left (though everyone has been kettled and I would have been stuck for hours). Here’s some pictures of him arriving in a V for Vendetta mask. He was cautioned and interviewed before being allowed to continue.

He got to speak to the assembled press, if not the crowds.

Wherever there is corruption in the world… it ends in London


  1. I want to say it was right after the TARP was handed out and the President was looking for ways to keep the people who had received the funds from paying out the huge bonuses, which they did anyway tossing up the middle finger to the President.   Anyhow, the President said something to the effect of I’m the only thing between you guys and figurative nooses be cool.  

    Now for some reason people are preternaturally (every time I read you I get a new word!) disposed to not listen to this President.  He really is a smart guy, but it’s like they play this in their heads whenever he speaks.

    Now our OWS people are mystifying me running around saying they don’t know what they’re for, and yes they preface all their words by saying something like I don’t know what the rest of these people are here for but.  What a mistake!  Do you know when my Moms and Pops did their civil rights protests they had to go to class!  Literally they had to be trained an entire month before testing in one protest.  They had to know what to say how to behave and they had to have the discipline to not react even if they were assaulted which is why my Pops got thrown out not allowed.  Oh well they know better story of this country.

  2. or, to put it another way, less hostile to the movement. I didn’t go. Wanted to, but circumstances prevented it. Notice the quote from the mayor.

    FLINT, MI (WNEM) –

    A national movement is hitting Mid-Michigan today.

    WNEM TV5’s Brian Wood was at the Occupy Flint event that began at noon at the corner of First at Saginaw Streets. He estimates about 400 people were in attendance.

    Leaders of the group say the local demonstration showed solidity with the protesters on Wall Street.

    Flint Mayor Dayne Walling says he supports the movement.

    “They need to come out and have their voices heard,” said Walling. “We commend those who come out and we will have police here to protect them.”

    The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began last month with a small number of young people pitching a tent in front of the New York Stock Exchange, has expanded nationally and drawn a wide variety of activists, including retirees, union members and laid-off workers.

    Soapblox doesn’t like the embed code. Here’s a link to a video of a news report –

  3. November 5

    What I think is keeping Assange alive, and under house arrest in the UK-I think the authorities have zero clue what to do with him, the Swedish charges are just a joke…is that I think the cables you’ve seen so far are just a warmup.

    Whoever is the court of last resort in the UK, perhaps the Privy Council, they’re going to do what they’re told.

    I believe he’s got some seriously higher up the classified document food chain stuff which the US really does not want released. The stuff you’ve seen so far, well sometimes it’s embarrassing, but it’s also like none of what you’ve read is a great surprise. (Well, maybe if you’re as cynical as I am, it isn’t.)

    Locking him up, assassinating him, it’s not going to do anything.  

  4. I’ve been saying there is a possibility of Hillary Clinton being on the ticket as the VP candidate. It looks like the idea is catching on.

    October 14, 2011 1:16 PM

    Hillary Clinton Over Biden for VP? Possible

    By Jonathan Alter

    When does “no” not really mean no? When politicians say it. Reporters understand that if the circumstances are right, the answer can always change.

    On Thursday, NBC News’s Savannah Guthrie asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the rumor du jour, that President Barack Obama might ask Clinton to swap jobs with Vice President Joe Biden. Clinton said, “I do not think it’s even in the realm of possibility and in large measure because I think Vice President Biden has done an amazingly good job.”

    Of course that won’t end speculation about a Great Switcheroo, and not just because it falls short of “Shermanesque,” the standard General William Tecumseh Sherman set in 1884 when he said, “I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected.”

    When Bob Woodward first claimed on CNN in late 2010 that such a switch was “on the table,” I was skeptical. In a profile of Clinton I wrote for Vanity Fair this year, I doubted her denials about running for president in 2016, but thought that a switch with Biden was outlandish.

    Then I heard from an old Chicago friend of Obama’s that Woodward was right. Now, with the economy worse and the president as the self-described underdog, I’d say the odds are long – but it’s definitely not impossible.

    read the rest of the article

  5. creamer

     The Nation had some good articles on the subject. I think its easy to forget how much of a disadvantage women are at when dealing with powerful men. Beyond that thought I really have very little opinion on the Swedish case, except it would seem it has to be about more than condoms.

    I was not a Hillary Clinton supporter in 08. I thought she would bring out the worst in the republicans and Bill Clinton still makes me nervous.(see precceding paragraph)

    I was obviously wrong about the 1st concern(couldnt be much worse), and Bill Clinton is getting older. If everyone was willing I be good with seeing her as VP. But she might be a little old to run in 2016.She would be 69.

  6. This thread has already gone off topic a couple of times, so I’m going to post this here. I’m sure Peter won’t mind.

    Just got done with a fascinating read on the Washington Monthly – http://www.washingtonmonthly.c

    It is rather long, but I found it well worth the read. It is certainly thought-provoking.

    Also, too, as dear Sarah would say, the Washington Monthly, IMO, is the best political publication on the web and Steve Benen is the best political blogger. He is a must read for me.

  7. Rashaverak

    to write this piece of pearl-clutching reduced to words on paper (or on a screen)….

    was much too much.

    Occupy Wall Street has failed to produce sound legislative proposals!

    The international protest movement is without a coherent program!

    National democracies cannot cope with the desire for global political change, nor can they control things that happen outside their borders!

    “Global” activists, if they are not careful, will undermine the legitimacy of Western democracies!

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