Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Occupy Lancaster invites public to first General Assembly
Following on from today's TUC Day of Action, an Occupy Lancaster Camp has been set up in Lancaster's Dalton Square. The first Lancaster General Assembly has been called for 6pm on Thursday 1 December at the camp and all are invited.
At 8pm there were just three tents and a communal shelter erected there. About 10 people were gathered talking and eating, with two more arriving and setting up a fourth tent in the short time I was there. They expect others to come and spend some time at the camp as the word travels.
Asked what they hoped for from the General Assembly tomorrow, a man calling himself John Constantine told me he was hoping for honest and straightforward discussions on local, national and global issues. He wanted people to come and talk about their present circumstances, to talk from their own experiences. 'We start with ourselves and our own situations, and organise ourselves from there, from what we know to be real', he said. 'That's the essence of grassroots organisation - it builds organically from the real needs and interests of local people. We need to be able to hear each other without being deafened by spin.'
Riki Price told me she was hoping that local groups, organisations, churches and businesses representing the wide interests of the 99% would become involved.
Will Taylor, a student, told Virtual-Lancaster 'I am angry and scared by the future that is being laid down for me. At the same time I'm inspired by the idea of reclaiming our public spaces and reusing them in a radical way that challenges the status quo.'
Lancaster Police have already visited the camp earlier this evening and appeared satisfied that it posed no threat to public safety. Their central station is just across the road and the Duty Inspector has been over in person to remind the campers that they can call on the police for protection or assistance at any time.
A Free Shop has already been laid out, and anyone can come and leave good things they don't need and look for things they do.
In the meantime, the camp is rather chilly and short on seating. At least one yurt with heating is urgently needed and some camping chairs and tables would be useful. On the plus side, there seemed to be plenty of hot drinks and food, blankets, bonhomie, cosy lighting and warm enthusiasm. And, as one or two joked, if it gets really cold, there's always the market building, a space we pay top dollar for and don't make enough use of, or even the Town Hall....