Fighting against capitalism, banks’ spending and government control, protestors have gathered at the foot of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and they’re not planning on leaving any time soon.
It all began on Wall Street when protestors in America set up camp in opposition to the apparent governmental disregard for low-earning citizens. Following in the footsteps of the transatlantic trailblazers, over three hundred protestors have taken up residence in the London camps – the first established at St. Paul’s with a second following in Finsbury Square. With many protestors taking time off work, travelling far and wide and even resigning from jobs to help support the cause, their passion and anger is clear. But visiting the camp, there is a distinct feeling of peace in the air. Camp Security has been renamed Camp Tranquillity and yes there is rage and anarchy but the mood is unexpectedly chilled. Speaking to the new residents of the cathedral’s shadows, the attitude was, “come what may, there will be an outcome, positive or negative, but something has to happen.”
Peaceful though the protests may be, they’re not without disruption. For the first time since World War II, the cathedral has been forced to close but despite the closed doors the area is buzzing with tourists and the protestors have become as much of an attraction as the 17th century cathedral! Ironically though, shops in the local vicinity (Starbucks and Marks & Sparks included) suggest the protestors have caused a rise in their profits.
Who knows how long it will take to make a difference. One thing is for sure though, they are determined and defiant that only a change in government policy can make them move. i-D online did a bit of investigative journalism and spoke to Phil McKeenan who is taking care of press at the camp.
Could you explain in your own words what’s going on here? Basically the general population, as we call ourselves; the 99% have decided that they need to do something about the crisis that is going on. Financial crisis, crisis of government in control and living in the democratic society that we live in we are allowed this luxury, to come and protest. Over the years I think people have understood that a march kind of protest, going through the city for a day has lessened in its effectiveness and so the next level is what you see before you. An occupation, trying to raise awareness of certain things that are happening in our society.
Personally, what excites you about all this? The thing that fascinates me about what’s going on here is that this is an indication of the evolution of human consciousness. What we see here and all over the world with other movements which are coinciding, is an indication of that idea of seeing ourselves changing, that we need to be unified, that we need to be equal. We need to be able to share in the resources, share in riches, share in everything so we don’t have a third of the world starving when here in London we’ve got millionaires and billionaires. That is what excites me here, that we can see human beings realising that unity is the way to move forward.
If you’re keen to show your support but can’t give up the day job, vote for the ‘Robin Hood Tax’ campaign by clicking here.
Text and photography: Declan Higgins
All photos taken on the Lomography Diana Mini Camera.